10 of the Highest Paying College Majors

Your major in college is an important choice, and while it can set up the foundation for your professional life, it does not necessarily dictate the type of job you’ll have or salary you’ll receive. Statistics show that some college majors, in general, tend to lead to higher-earning careers than others. When it comes to selecting a major, many college students want to pick the ones that are more likely to lead to lucrative careers. According to the 2016-2017 College Salary Report from Payscale.com, the following majors are some of the top-paying college majors for undergraduate degrees.

Here are 10 of the highest-paying college majors:

1. Engineering

Engineering degrees tend to be the highest paying majors that dominate just about any list out there, from petroleum engineering to chemical engineering and computer engineering. This type of degree offers a very broad range of studies, many of which tend to lead to high-paying careers post-graduation.

Career options: This will depend on the specific type of engineer degree acquired, but can range anywhere from chemical engineer to software engineer.

Average starting salary: Depending on the type of engineer, average starting salary can be as high as $96,700.

Average mid-career salary: The average mid-career salary can be as high as $172,000, but again, will depend on the type of engineering that was studied.

2. Actuarial Science

Actuarial Science majors learn how to apply statistical and mathematical methods to assess risk in finance, insurance, and other professions and industries.

Career options: A degree in Actuarial Science can land you a career as an Actuarial Analyst, Actuarial Technician, or an Operating Specialist—just to name a few options.

Average starting salary: $60,800

Average mid-career salary: $119,000

3. Computer Science

If you’re into technology and want a career in the field, a Computer Science major may be the right choice for you. This versatile degree opens the door to plenty of options and opportunities.

Career options: Some of the many career opportunities for those majoring in Computer Science include Software Engineer, Solutions Architect, and Software Developer.

Average starting salary: $65,300

Average mid-career salary: $107,000

4. Mathematics

Another degree that’s extremely versatile is one in Mathematics. Those majoring in Mathematics can also choose areas of concentration, such as Applied Mathematics. If you’re an analytical thinker and enjoy problem solving, a Mathematics major could be the perfect major for you.

Career options: Those who majored in Mathematics are highly sought for a variety of jobs, including Statistician, Data Analyst, and Forensic Accountant.

Average starting salary: $56,200

Average mid-career salary: $110,000

5. Physics

A bachelor’s degree in Physics can be a great first step towards a professional degree in related fields, but on its own, proves to be one of the most lucrative four-year degrees out there.

Career options: Those who studied physics apply their knowledge and work in a variety of industries, including engineering, healthcare, astronomy and research science.

Average starting salary: $55,100

Average mid-career salary: $108,000

6. Government

These types of programs prepare students for critical evaluation of the political and social systems of the world. It’s a broad degree that can be very profitable and open doors to all sorts of opportunities.

Career options: With a degree in Government, you could potentially find yourself working as part of an international organization, government agency, or in public administration.

Average starting salary: $49,600

Average mid-career salary: $105,000

7. Finance

If you’re good with money and numbers, a degree in Finance could be perfect for you. These skills are in demand, and with a degree in Finance, you’ll frequently stand out amongst the competition.

Career options: Finance degree holders might find themselves working as a Financial Analyst or as a Financial Advisor.

Average starting salary: $59,500

Average mid-career salary: $101,000

8. Economics

Like degrees in Finance, a degree in Economics can often be a good choice for those who like math and are good with numbers.

Career options: Some of the many career options for those with Economics degrees include financial controller, compensation analyst, and financial advisor.

Average starting salary: $53,900

Average mid-career salary: $101,000

9. Statistics

While any type of mathematics degree can lead to a rewarding career after graduation, those majoring in Statistics in particular also have a plethora of high-paying career options.

Career Options: Data Miner, Statistician, and Computer Scientist are just some of the many career opportunities available for those with degrees in Statistics.

Average starting salary: $57,400

Average mid-career salary: $97,500

10. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Many students who major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will move on to get professional degrees. However, even as a four-year degree, this is a field of study that can lead to some very rewarding careers.

Career options: With a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, you may find yourself working as a Research Investigator, Senior Scientist, or Associate Researcher.

Average starting salary: $46,000

Average mid-career salary: $97,500


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