Special Report

The Highest and Lowest Paying College Majors in America

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10. Finance
> Avg. annual earnings: $91,726
> Unemployment rate: 2.7%
> Total workforce: 1,101,724

Finance majors are some of the most financially well-off college graduates, earning an average of $91,726 a year. This degree field allows graduates to work in a wide array of financial careers, including financial managers, analysts, clerks, and consultants, among others. Many of these positions are expected to be in very high demand in the coming years, with projected employment growth surpassing overall employment growth.

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9. Computer engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $92,343
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Total workforce: 306,292

Computer engineering majors are some of the most in-demand graduates in the U.S. labor force as more of our daily life is integrated with apps and computer programs. Capable of working with hardware and software, these graduates are qualified for a wide range of jobs. A relatively small share of computer engineering degree holders are unemployed at 2.6%. The average annual salary among computer engineering majors is $92,343.

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8. Nuclear engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $93,194
> Unemployment rate: 1.9%
> Total workforce: 17,648

Nuclear engineers generally work in nuclear power plants and health care. Though the nuclear engineering field is projected to have relatively slow job growth in the coming years, the unemployment rate among those who graduate with a nuclear engineering degree is just 1.9%. More than 60% of nuclear engineering graduates have a master’s degree, and more than 20% have a doctorate. This high level of specialization and expertise, along with the complicated and potentially dangerous nature of the job, likely drives up pay, as nuclear engineers earn more than $93,000 on average annually.

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7. Geosciences
> Avg. annual earnings: $94,500
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Total workforce: 14,650

As with many scientific fields, geosciences majors must often complete additional education after their bachelor’s degree. Geosciences has one of the highest master’s degree attainment rates, at 86.7%. This added schooling generally pays off as the average geoscientist graduate earns $94,500. The demand for geoscientists is projected to grow much more quickly than overall job growth due to “the need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management,” according to the BLS.

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6. Applied mathematics
> Avg. annual earnings: $94,897
> Unemployment rate: 2.0%
> Total workforce: 38,349

An applied mathematics degree can be of use in a wide array of fields and sectors, including electronics, technology, aerospace manufacturing, insurance and medical companies, finance, and analytics. Nearly two-thirds of those who earn a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics also go on to earn a master’s degree. The average applied mathematics major earns nearly $95,000 per year, one of the highest average salaries of any degree field.

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