Attending Northwestern University, a university can pay off very well in the long run. The school is based in Evanston, Ill., and it is ranked in the top 10 percent of universities by return on investment. Athletics form the core of Northwestern University social activity, but these students are also known for their studious nature and excellent test scores. The data in this summary come from NU alumni who took the PayScale salary survey.

College ROI Report


20 Year Net ROI 


Annual ROI 

5.3 %

Total 4 Year Cost 


Compare to Other Schools

College Salary Report


Early Career Salary 


Mid-Career Salary 


% High Meaning 

49 %

Compare to Other 4-Year Schools

Northwestern University Median Salary by Job


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See all degrees for Northwestern University »
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 8 Jun 2019
  • Individuals Reporting: 3,667
  • View Table

About This School

633 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60208


Private School, Research University, For Sports Fans

93 %

17 %

39 %

12 %


Graduates of NU are found working in a number of different fields including software as a service (SAAS) development, the consulting industry, and the financial services industry. The most highly represented industry among alumni is the education industry. Consistent with the high SAT scores and graduation rates reported by NU alumni, former students go on to earn high salaries. Starting salaries of approximately $76K are the median among NU grads.


In the NU alumni community, men make a median salary of $84K compared to their female counterparts, who earn around $67K.


The most generous salaries among NU alumni are reportedly earned by Marketing Directors, whose median earnings come to $120K, followed by Data Scientists (about $95K) and Management Consultants ($94K). Data Analysts face rather mediocre compensation — average salaries are actually the lowest at $61K.


Many NU students are Chicago, Ill.-bound following college. In addition, former NU students often head to Seattle, Wash. after graduating, where the median salary comes to about $99K in this top-paying city. Washington, DC is a popular spot for former NU students at the opposite end of the pay scale; in fact, average salaries there are the lowest at approximately $68K. Other popular cities include New York, N.Y. and San Francisco, Calif.

Degree Major

A graduate with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Finance from NU can rake in a whopping average $138K per year, more than any other degree from this school. Average annual salaries for those with a Master of Music (MM) are the lowest of the pack, earning $39K.


For former Wildcats, proficiency in Strategic Planning warrants a paycheck that is 29 percent more than other alumni salaries. One-sixth of grads report using Project Management as part of their job, making it the most popular skill. Other top skills include Data Analysis, Microsoft Excel, and Marketing Communications.

Benefits and Perks

When it comes to benefits, there is room for improvement — only one-third of alumni are paid for vacation and just one-fifth of alumni for sick time. Most alums set up a 401(k) to save for retirement. Benefits are rather generous for graduates of this school; most grads are rewarded with health insurance and a fair number of former students report dental coverage, too. Northwestern University graduates also take advantage of a casual working environment, a company-subsidized cell phone, life insurance, and flexible hours.

Related Schools

University of Rochester graduates, who earn $76K on average, make a similar amount to NU grads. Other schools similar to NU include the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, and Case Western Reserve University.

Northwestern University Job Listings

Test Scores

Academics 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Scores 2080 2330
ACT Scores 31 34

Key Stats for Northwestern University


55 %
45 %
$42,099 - $97,837
$50,104 - $118,047

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 1053 votes.
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more
$47,293 - $108,469
$42,182 - $96,884
$50,048 - $110,653
$60,276 - $125,056
$40,119 - $92,049
$49,951 - $80,568
$69,404 - $119,881
$74,924 - $94,007
$70,194 - $120,264
$44,646 - $100,238
$41,845 - $102,861
$63,005 - $129,535
$51,127 - $107,561
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