Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not All Majors Are Created Equal

A breakdown of salaries by college major and experience, from Forbes magazine. Note that Forbes orders these based on a 10 to 20 year outlook. This may subject these rankings to a survivor bias (weeding out a portion of people who are either not successful in or dislike a particular profession). If using this information to select a major in college, I would recommend putting greater weight on the 0 to 5 year and 5 to 10 year data. I would have found information like this very helpful in helping to choose a major when I was an undergrad.

As I have previously written, majors that require strong quantitative skills are in very high demand and more limited in supply (therefore paying more). Those not requiring strong quantitative skills are much less so. If I were starting over as an undergrad today knowing what I know now, I would either major in computer or electrical engineering (I studied mechanical engineering as an undergrad) or else double-major in computer science (at an ABET accredited school) and economics.


Major

0 to 5 Years

5 to 10 Years

10 to 20 Years

1

Computer Engineering

$60,500

$80,800

$104,000

2

Economics

$48,100

$71,800

$96,200

3

Electrical Engineering

$59,900

$78,400

$96,100

4

Computer Science

$54,200

$75,100

$94,000

5

Mechanical Engineering

$56,900

$73,000

$88,100

6

Finance

$46,900

$64,300

$84,400

7

Mathematics

$43,500

$64,700

$82,200

8

Civil Engineering

$52,600

$67,100

$81,700

9

Political Science

$39,400

$55,000

$74,400

10

Marketing

$39,400

$54,000

$72,300

11

Accounting

$44,600

$57,900

$71,500

12

History

$37,600

$52,100

$68,000

13

Business Management

$40,900

$51,700

$64,900

14

Communications

$36,400

$50,300

$64,300

15

English

$36,700

$47,900

$62,300

16

Biology

$37,900

$52,600

$60,000

17

Sociology

$35,700

$46,900

$55,900

18

Graphic Design

$34,700

$45,300

$54,700

19

Psychology

$34,700

$45,400

$54,000

20

Criminal Justice

$34,200

$44,400

$53,400


(HT Greg Mankiw)

1 comment:

Dr. N said...

Political Science breaks the top 10, woohoo!

BTW, thanks for mentioning me in your previous post on the value of a college education.