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PayScale Releases Second Installment of Yearly College Salary Report Focusing On Majors & Careers

Report Reveals Salary Potential for Common Careers by Major & Best Schools by Salary Potential for Specific Majors; Humanities Majors Can Benefit from Enhancing Their Education with STEM Skills to Stand Out from Their Peers in the Job Market

Seattle – October 1, 2014 – PayScale, Inc. today announced PayScale 2014-15 College Salary Report Part 2: Majors & Careers.

“For the 21st century, it is more important for students to align their passions and interests with the best available information about the quality of the colleges and universities they wish to attend before they apply,” said Martha Kanter, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education, New York University and Former U.S. Under Secretary of Education (2009-2013).

Adds Kanter: “Are college graduates hired into rewarding careers that offer family-sustaining wages, thus enabling students to pay off their college loans and cover housing, transportation, and savings that will lead them to the American dream? Do graduates contribute their time and talent to their communities after they leave college? America’s students and families deserve transparent, easy-to understand Information about the earnings of college graduates by institution to complement information about college quality, costs and the ultimate value of investing in higher education. Better information will allow our nation’s students and families to make the best possible choices about which college meets their needs and resources.”

PayScale 2014-15 College Salary Report Part 2: Majors & Careers explores how major choice affects future earning potential and career options. The report includes the following data sets:

  • Majors That Pay You Back: Ranking of 214 bachelor’s degree majors and 107 associate degree majors by salary potential.
  • Best Schools for Majors: Ranking of 4-year colleges by median mid-career salary of alumni who graduated from the school with a major in a specific subject (engineering, humanities, etc.)
  • Most Meaningful Majors: Ranking of 214 majors by the percentage of alumni with that major that say their job makes the world a better place.
  • Most Recommended Majors: Ranking of 193 majors by the percentage of alumni with that major who recommend the major to others.
  • Common Jobs for Majors: Common jobs for major groupings (engineering, humanities, etc.) and their median salaries.

The full report can be found at:

Highlights from the PayScale 2014-15 College Salary Report Part 2: Majors & Careers include:

STEM subjects result in the highest salaries

  • For associate degrees, the highest earners are those who study Management Information Systems (MIS) ($76,800) and Computer Engineering ($76,700). These two associate degrees have higher salary potential than 131 of the bachelor’s degree majors on PayScale’s ranking.
  • The highest-earning bachelor’s degree holders study Petroleum Engineering ($176,300), earning almost $60,000 more per year than the second highest-earning graduates (Actuarial Mathematics, median salary of $119,600).

Humanities Majors Can Achieve Competitive Salaries

  • A degree in the humanities can lead to a high-paying salary – seven humanities majors have median alumni earnings of $70,000 per year or more with 10 years of experience.
  • Philosophy graduates earn the highest median mid-career salary ($84,000), of any humanities major, followed by Global and International Studies ($80,600) and English Literature ($76,500).

Complimentary Skills Increase Salary Potential

  • Social science, humanities or art majors can increase their future earning potential with complementary STEM skills that make them more valuable to employers. For example, Industrial Designers are paid well (median income of $84,100) because they combine their artistic training with engineering skills. Similarly, Senior Technical Writers, who are usually English majors but may have technical skills like HTML, earn a median salary of $85,100.

Best Schools for Majors

  • Harvard has the highest median mid-career salaries for humanities majors by far ($140,000), which is almost $41,000 more than the second school on the list – Colgate University ($99,100).
  • The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York graduates the highest-earning art majors ($92,600), followed by: New York University ($88,000) and San Francisco State University ($85,000).
  • The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley reports the highest salary for bachelor’s-only business graduates (those that do not go on to earn an MBA) – $138,300 after 10 years of experience.
  • Alumni from Rice University report higher median mid-career salaries ($150,200) for engineering majors than graduates of any other school in PayScale’s report.

“What you major in sets you on a path that can be so impactful on your financial future,” said Lydia Frank, Editorial Director, PayScale. “There are many interesting and important avenues of study for college students, and we hope students make choices that are a good fit for their interests while taking salary potential into account. This type of data helps empower students to make the best choices about which school to attend – a school that will set them up for success in their chosen field and not break the bank when it comes time to pay off those student loans.”

About PayScale

Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world containing more than 40 million salary profiles, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software. PayScale’s products are powered by innovative algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real-time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale Index ™, PayScale’s subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate™, PayScale Insight™, and PayScale Insight Expert™. PayScale’s cloud compensation software is used by more than 3,000 customers including Cummins, Warby Parker, Zendesk, Clemson University and Covenant Dove. For more information, please visit: or follow PayScale on Twitter or Facebook.

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