Highest Paying PhD Majors by Salary Potential

Will earning a PhD dramatically increase your earning potential? Find out which PhDs pay off most. [Read More]

A PhD is the highest degree you can earn, and they certainly don't come easy. Not only do you have to dedicate years of your life to earning a doctorate, you have to figure out a way to pay for it and get a job afterward that pays enough to make it all worthwhile. This year, PayScale's College Salary Report includes a list of the highest paying PhD majors and ranks different majors by alumni salary.

Once again, when it comes to majors and earning potential, STEM subjects reign supreme. Computer engineering is one of the highest-paying PhD majors -- workers with a PhD in electrical and computer engineering report earning well into the six figures after gaining 10 years of experience. Three of the next highest-earning majors (computer engineering, chemical engineering and biomedical engineering), all pay in the six-figure range and often lead to work in the technology sphere.

But it's not only STEM PhDs that pay off. A PhD in economics will often lead to a healthy micro-economy in your own household.

If you want to start earning a high salary as soon as you get your doctorate, make sure the word "computer" appears on your diploma. The PhD majors with some of the highest median early career alumni salaries are Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering.

But if you are pursuing a PhD in the humanities, make sure you do it for the love of the subject and not for an inflated income. One of the lowest-paying PhD majors on our list is history, both for early career salary and mid-career salary.

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