Special Report

These Are the College Majors That Pay Off the Most

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20. Construction services
> 2019 Avg. annual earnings: $88,872
> 2019 unemployment rate: 1.0%
> 2019 total workforce: 143,633

The average earnings of workers with a construction services degree was nearly $89,000 in 2019, and just 1.0% were unemployed — well below the 4.5% national unemployment rate that year. Those who graduate with a construction services major often work as construction majors, cost estimators, or other similar jobs in the construction field. Just 11.5% of those with a bachelor’s degree in construction services also have master’s degree, and just 2.0% hold a doctorate. No other major on this list has a lower share in either advanced degree.

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19. Physiology
> 2019 Avg. annual earnings: $89,456
> 2019 unemployment rate: 1.4%
> 2019 total workforce: 164,706

Physiologists study how the body functions and help ensure the body stays in good working order. Many physiologists focus on fitness and exercise, helping patients recover from injuries or stay in shape. More than half of all Americans who completed a physiology bachelor’s degree also earned a master’s, and 34.3% hold a doctorate. Like many other jobs that typically require advanced degrees, physiologists earn relatively high wages, with the average physiologist earning nearly $89,500.

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18. Materials science
> 2019 Avg. annual earnings: $89,616
> 2019 unemployment rate: 2.0%
> 2019 total workforce: 38,662

Materials science majors study the properties of matter and how they apply to science and engineering. They can work in a number of laboratory and industrial settings ensuring that fabricated materials can withstand the stress of their usage. Those who majored in materials science had an average annual earning of nearly $90,000 in 2019, one of the highest of any major.

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17. Applied mathematics
> 2019 Avg. annual earnings: $89,756
> 2019 unemployment rate: 4.2%
> 2019 total workforce: 56,510

Applied mathematics degree holders often work as data analysts, actuaries, and financial analysts, using mathematics to gather and interpret data. Nearly half of those who earn a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics also go on to earn a master’s degree. The average worker with an applied mathematics degree earns nearly $90,000 per year, one of the highest average salaries of any degree field.

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16. Public policy
> 2019 Avg. annual earnings: $89,761
> 2019 unemployment rate: 1.7%
> 2019 total workforce: 50,947

Public policy graduates often work for nonprofits or local, state, or national governments. Some work as consultants for companies looking to determine how governmental regulations could affect their business. Public policy majors typically do not struggle to find work, with just a 1.7% unemployment rate in 2019. For comparison, the average U.S. unemployment rate was 4.5% that year.

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