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STEM majors dominate salary-based college ranking

STEM majors dominate salary-based college ranking

Petroleum engineering majors earn the highest salaries, followed by systems engineering majors, according to a new ranking from PayScale

A majority of the highest-paying college majors are in the engineering world. At the top of the heap is petroleum engineering, which yields a median mid-career pay of $172,000, according to a new ranking from research company PayScale.

Compsci-related majors also made a strong showing on the PayScale rankings. Graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in “computer science and engineering” were ranked 5th, reporting a median mid-career salary of $116,000. “Computer science and mathematics” came in at number 11, with graduates earning a mid-career salary $111,000, while “computer science” majors, ranked 19th, earn a mid-career salary of $107,000. (See also: Top 25 computer science colleges)

PayScale, which specializes in compensation data, ranked 336 majors at the bachelor level based on how much money graduates in each field are making. The top 25 bachelor-level majors in Payscale's 2016-2017 College Salary Report all have mid-career median pay numbers above $100,000, and the vast majority of them are STEM majors:

1. Petroleum Engineering
Early career median pay: $96,700
Mid-career median pay: $172,000

2. Systems Engineering
Early career median pay: $66,400
Mid-career median pay: $121,000

3. Actuarial Science (tie)
Early career median pay: $60,800
Mid-career median pay: $119,000

3. Chemical Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $69,800
Mid-career median pay: $119,000

5. Computer Science & Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $71,200
Mid-career median pay: $116,000

5. Nuclear Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $68,500
Mid-career median pay: $116,000

7. Electronics & Communications Engineering
Early career median pay: $68,000
Mid-career median pay: $115,000

8. Electrical & Computer Engineering
Early career median pay: $68,100
Mid-career median pay: $114,000

9. Aeronautical Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $63,000
Mid-career median pay: $113,000

9. Computer Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $69,600
Mid-career median pay: $113,000

11. Computer Science & Mathematics (tie)
Early career median pay: $63,500
Mid-career median pay: $111,000

11. Physics & Mathematics (tie)
Early career median pay: $56,200
Mid-career median pay: $111,000

13. Applied Mathematics (tie)
Early career median pay: $56,100
Mid-career median pay: $110,000

13. Electrical Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $67,000
Mid-career median pay: $110,000

15. Electrical & Electronics Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $64,000
Mid-career median pay: $108,000

15. Industrial & Systems Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $63,800
Mid-career median pay: $108,000

15. Materials Science & Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $65,800
Mid-career median pay: $108,000

15. Physics (tie)
Early career median pay: $55,100
Mid-career median pay: $108,000

19. Computer Science (tie)
Early career median pay: $65,300
Mid-career median pay: $107,000

19. Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $62,600
Mid-career median pay: $107,000

19. Industrial Distribution (tie)
Early career median pay: $56,800
Mid-career median pay: $107,000

19. Mining Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $70,200
Mid-career median pay: $107,000

23. Aerospace Engineering
Early career median pay: $65,400
Mid-career median pay: $106,000

24. Government
Early career median pay: $49,600
Mid-career median pay: $105,000

25. Biomedical Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $62,700
Mid-career median pay: $104,000

25. Industrial Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $63,800
Mid-career median pay: $104,000

25. Structural Engineering (tie)
Early career median pay: $58,700
Mid-career median pay: $104,000

The data used in PayScale's College Salary Report is from the company’s online compensation survey, which collects user-provided data about jobs, compensation, employer, demographics and educational background.

PayScale defines early-career employees as those with five years of experience or less, and mid-career employees as those with at least 10 years of experience.

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