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What Is The Highest Earning College Degree?

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The title of highest earning college degree goes to the College of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. A recent survey conducted by NerdWallet examined schools to find the top 50 College Diplomas with the highest earnings. They came to their conclusions based off of the starting salary of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 class of graduates. NerdWallet then examined the average earnings over that three year period. What they found was not all that surprising. The list is absolutely littered with “hard science” diplomas from the county’s top universities.  One unfortunate caveat of the study is the lack of data from Ivy League schools. These schools rarely release salary info.

Growing Concern Over the Growing Price of College

A computer science degree at the top two universities on the list would net you over 80k. A degree from the last 20 schools on the list would still put your first year earnings in the 56K-60K range. That’s not too shabby considering the average national college graduate earns roughly 45K. The exponential growth of the price tag on a four year education(30k a year) has raised concerns on whether a college degree is even worth it. The data seems to suggest that it is still worth the investment. Although, picking the right degree makes all the difference.

Over 50% of the compiled degrees are engineering degrees. Most of the other degrees are Computer Science or Finance related. You can read about one of the great careers available to Computer Science graduate here. These degrees have much higher earning potential than say a 4 year degree in education or the liberal arts. With the growing trend of technology and it’s role in the workforce, the safest bet for a return on investment after four years of partying  is a degree in a “numbers” field of study.

If you’re not the next Pythagoras, you may want to try out nursing. Although filled with science classes, a degree in nursing can help you avoid manipulating data sets while still helping you earn a nice first year salary. There are two schools of nursing on the list, and one in the top five: the average starting salary of a graduate from NYU’s School of Nursing is $79,200!

The data above can be viewed at NerdWallet. For a spoiler, Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, the highest earning college degree, earns you about 89,800 a year!


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