Best Research Universities by Salary Potential

Considering a research university for your bachelor’s degree? Learn more about the top research universities with the highest-paid graduates.

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Bachelor's Only
Salary data for alumni who earned a bachelor's degree and did not go on to earn any additional degrees.
All Alumni
Salary data for all alumni who earned a bachelor's degree, including but not limited to those who went on to earn additional degrees from any school.
Rank 
School Name 
School Type
Degree Type 
School Sector
Early Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 0-5 years experience
Mid-Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 10+ years experience
% High Meaning
 
% alumni who say their work makes the world a better place
% STEM Degrees
 
% degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering or math subjects
1Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$86,300$155,20052%69%

1Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$86,300
Mid-Career Pay$155,200
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees69%
2Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$84,100$151,60053%97%

2California Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$84,100
Mid-Career Pay$151,600
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees97%
3Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$74,800$146,80054%19%

3Harvard University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$74,800
Mid-Career Pay$146,800
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees19%
4Engineering, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$79,000$145,20056%51%

4Stanford University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$79,000
Mid-Career Pay$145,200
% High Meaning56%
% STEM Degrees51%
5Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$75,100$139,90047%79%

5Stevens Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$75,100
Mid-Career Pay$139,900
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees79%
6Engineering, Research University, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$75,600$139,60060%93%

6Colorado School of Mines
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$75,600
Mid-Career Pay$139,600
% High Meaning60%
% STEM Degrees93%
7Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$75,200$139,40048%48%

7Princeton University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$75,200
Mid-Career Pay$139,400
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees48%
8Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$70,300$138,30053%22%

8Yale University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,300
Mid-Career Pay$138,300
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees22%
9Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$75,900$136,10045%66%

9Carnegie Mellon University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$75,900
Mid-Career Pay$136,100
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees66%
10Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$73,600$135,50047%86%

10Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$73,600
Mid-Career Pay$135,500
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees86%
11Engineering, Party School, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$69,500$134,10045%52%

11Lehigh University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$69,500
Mid-Career Pay$134,100
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees52%
11Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$71,300$134,10049%78%

11Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,300
Mid-Career Pay$134,100
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees78%
13Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$72,800$133,90041%21%

13University of Pennsylvania
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$72,800
Mid-Career Pay$133,900
% High Meaning41%
% STEM Degrees21%
14Engineering, Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$72,700$133,40048%80%

14Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$72,700
Mid-Career Pay$133,400
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees80%
15Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$71,100$132,10050%26%

15Duke University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,100
Mid-Career Pay$132,100
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees26%
16Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$70,700$131,80049%36%

16University of California-Berkeley
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$70,700
Mid-Career Pay$131,800
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees36%
17Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$71,500$130,90044%35%

17Dartmouth College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,500
Mid-Career Pay$130,900
% High Meaning44%
% STEM Degrees35%
18Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$67,000$130,50045%28%

18University of Notre Dame
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$67,000
Mid-Career Pay$130,500
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees28%
19Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$66,400$130,10058%58%

19Clarkson University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$66,400
Mid-Career Pay$130,100
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees58%
20Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$71,000$129,50050%45%

20Rice University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,000
Mid-Career Pay$129,500
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees45%
21Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$70,100$128,20045%43%

21Cornell University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,100
Mid-Career Pay$128,200
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees43%
22Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$68,200$127,60045%43%

22Brown University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$68,200
Mid-Career Pay$127,600
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees43%
23Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$71,400$126,80045%30%

23Columbia University in the City of New York
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,400
Mid-Career Pay$126,800
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees30%
24Engineering, Research University, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$63,400$123,70052%58%

24University of California-San Diego
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$63,400
Mid-Career Pay$123,700
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees58%
25Engineering, Research University, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$67,300$122,60050%80%

25Missouri University of Science and Technology
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$67,300
Mid-Career Pay$122,600
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees80%
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Research Universities are ones that award at least 20 PhDs per year and dedicate a portion of resources to academic research. Even though these schools place a lot of emphasis on graduate education, they can be a fantastic choice for undergraduate students seeking only a bachelor’s degree as well. To help you choose a research university that will prepare you for a successful career, PayScale’s College Salary Report ranks research universities by the median salaries of their alumni.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is among the highest ranked for mid-career salary (10 or more years of experience).

It’s notable that schools on this list grant a variety of degrees, not just those in the lucrative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) categories. If you sort the list by early career salaries, you will see that schools with the most STEM degrees dominate the list. This illustrates the fact that STEM careers can be very lucrative, but people in non-STEM careers often take longer to reach their earning potential and settle into a career.


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