The Economic Value of College Majors

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Author(s): Georgetown University - Center on Education and the Workforce

  • Anthony P. Carnevale
  • Ban Cheah
  • Andrew R. Hanson

Published: May 2015

Report Intro/Brief:
"The Economic Value of College Majors uses Census Data to analyze wages for 137 college majors to detail the most popular college majors, the majors that are most likely to lead to an advanced degree, and the economic benefit of earning an advanced degree by undergraduate major.

In our report, we find that:

  • Top-paying college majors earn $3.4 million more than the lowest-paying majors over a lifetime.
  • Two of the top highest paying majors, STEM and Business are also the most popular majors, accounting for 46 percent of college graduates.
  • STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), health, and business majors are the highest paying, leading to average annual wages of $37,000 or more at the entry level and an average of $65,000 or more annually over the course of a recipient’s career.
  • The 10 majors with the lowest median earnings are: early childhood education ($39,000); human services and community organization ($41,000); studio arts, social work, teacher education, and visual and performing arts ($42,000); theology and religious vocations, and elementary education ($43,000); drama and theater arts and family and community service ($45,000)."