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PayScale Releases Third Installment of Yearly College Salary Report Focusing On Graduate Degrees

Seattle – October 22, 2014 – PayScale, Inc. today announced PayScale 2014-15 College Salary Report Part 3: Graduate Degrees.

For the first time ever, PayScale is releasing alumni outcome data for graduate school alumni with advanced degrees from:

• 55 law schools

• 166 business schools

• 336 non-MBA master’s schools

• 49 doctorate-granting research universities

PayScale is also releasing alumni outcome data for graduate school alumni in 232 fields of study (majors/specialties), as defined by the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).

“A graduate degree requires a significant investment of time and money, and not all graduate degrees have the salary potential that many people assume they do,” said Lydia Frank, Editorial Director, PayScale. “Whether you are considering a master’s degree, MBA, JD or PhD, the type of degree you earn, your major or emphasis and the school you attend each make a big impact on future earning potential. PayScale hopes that publishing alumni outcome data for graduate degrees can help future students make the best possible fiscal decisions.”

PayScale 2014-15 College Salary Report Part 3: Graduate Degrees explores salary potential across Masters, JD, MBA and Doctorial programs.  The report includes the following highlights:

Graduate Degrees by Salary Potential

  • Masters Degree in Petroleum Engineering earns a median mid-career salary of $187,600, a mere $10,000 more than a bachelor’s degree in the same subject.
  • A master’s degree in nurse anesthesia leads to the second-highest mid-career median salary on our list ($162,800) and the highest early career salary ($140,900).
  • The third highest salaries belong to workers who hold a PhD in computer engineering where earnings can reach $150,000 after 10 years in the workforce.
  • Lawyer salary potential varies wildly depending on where you attend law school, but JD alumni report a median mid-career salary of $139,300, making a juris doctor the tenth most lucrative graduate degree on PayScale’s list. The highest alumni salaries come from graduates of Harvard Law School ($201,000).
  • The lowest salaries of grad school alumni belong to workers who hold a master’s degree in early childhood education ($46,300).

PhD Majors by Salary Potential

  • STEM subjects reign supreme. Computer engineering is the highest-paying PhD major – workers with a PhD in computer engineering report earning $150,000 after gaining 10 years of experience.
  • The next three highest-earning majors (electrical and computer engineering, electrical engineering and computer science), all pay over $140,00 a year and often lead to work in the tech sphere.
  • A PhD in economics will often lead to a healthy micro-economy in your own household – workers who hold a PhD in economics report a median mid-career salary of $127,900.
  • The lowest-paying PhD major on our list is history, both for early career salary ($51,300) and mid-career salary ($81,800).

Best MBA Majors

  • The highest-earning MBA emphasis is strategy, with a median mid-career salary of $145,000. An MBA in entrepreneurship results in a median mid-career salary of $138,300.
  • An MBA with an emphasis in computer science provides the second-highest early career salary on our list ($83,000) and a median mid-career salary of $129,900.
  • If you want to study marketing, choose wisely. MBA alum with an emphasis in Marketing Management earn a median mid-career salary of $135,300, but those who study Marketing and Communications only earn $101,700.
  • HR-related majors have the lowest earning potential – workers who earned an MBA in Human Resources Management only earn $80,700 after ten years in the workforce.

The full report can be found at:

Data Visualization: How Do Major and Degree Affect Lifetime Earnings?

Additionally, PayScale created a data visualization-using Tableau to allow users to drill in on earnings by field of study and degree level to see how earnings grow over time (earnings shown in today’s dollars for the following years of experience ranges 0-5 years, 5-10 years, 10-20 years and 20+ years). The data visualization can be found here:

Adds Frank:  “Simply deciding to get a graduate degree isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a high-paying job after you graduate, no matter what industry you go into. By knowing what kind of salary you can expect after earning a graduate degree, students can make smart decisions about what they study, where they go to graduate school and how much they can afford to pay for their advanced education.”


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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