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List of Best College Degrees by Salary: What Is Your Major Worth?

A PayScale.com Special Report: A college degree can cost serious cash -- sometimes without the promise of a big salary payoff. Find out what the best college degrees are for high starting salaries.

For what it costs, a B.A. degree might as well be made of gold. For the 2007-2008 school year, the cost of a four-year degree from a public university is $6,185, according to the College Board. And while most students pay less than $9,000 a year, costs at private colleges and universities can skyrocket beyond $33,000 for tuition, room and board.

But beyond the rewards of learning, how will that pricey degree pay you back? A recent report on the best college degrees by salary from PayScale.com shows how starting total cash compensation (base salary plus commission, bonus, profit sharing and other forms of cash earnings) stacks up by major.

Degrees Degrees
Methodology
Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 3 years of experience; mid-career have 15.5 years. See full methodology for more.

20 Best B.A. Degrees by Starting Salary

The salaries below show the median total cash compensation for people who report a given bachelor’s degree major with 0-5 years of experience. All jobs held by people with a given major were included, not just those specific to the major.

1. Chemical Engineering
Average Starting Salary:  $61,800

2. Computer Engineering
Average Starting Salary:  $60,500

3. Electrical Engineering
Average Starting Salary:  $59,900

4. Computer Science
Average Starting Salary:  $54,200

5. Civil Engineering
Average Starting Salary:  $52,600

6. Economics
Average Starting Salary:  $48,100

7. Finance
Average Starting Salary:  $46,900

8. Accounting
Average Starting Salary:  $44,600

9. Mathematics
Average Starting Salary:  $43,500

10. Business Management
Average Starting Salary:  $40,900

11. Marketing
Average Starting Salary:  $39,400

12. Political Science
Average Starting Salary:  $39,400

13. Biology
Average Starting Salary:  $37,900

14. History
Average Starting Salary:  $37,600

15. English
Average Starting Salary:  $36,700

16. Communications
Average Starting Salary:  $36,400

17. Sociology
Average Starting Salary: $35,700

18. Graphic Design
Average Starting Salary:  $34,700

19. Psychology
Average Starting Salary:  $34,700

20. Criminal Justice
Average Starting Salary:  $34,200

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