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Which college majors lead to higher salaries in the United States in 2023?

All university degrees are equal, some more equal than others. The high cost of going to university means some majors will earn much more than others.

Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 15, 2023 Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur and engineers on the pit wall during practice REUTERS/Edgar Su

Student debt is spiralling out of control with no real plan to address it in the long-term. With these fees pricing out students with poorer backgrounds from studying the arts, there is a focus on value for money; that is will a students future earnings mean university is a financially wise decision.

Indeed, only a third of US students feel confident in value for money at college. As a whole average, college graduates had median incomes of $74,154 last year, $30,000 more than people without degrees. Noted below are the study fields in which graduates earn more than this average.

  1. Engineering: $106,736
  2. Computers, Mathematics and Statistics: $100,283
  3. Physical and Related Sciences: $83,706
  4. Business: $80,569
  5. Social Sciences: $80,016
  6. Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences: $76,444
  7. Science and Engineering Related Fields: $75,847

“People are looking at the price tag of college, and it’s looking like an enormous expense, but I think the bigger thing is the uncertainty of the payoff,” New York Times reporter Paul Tough, who covers inequality in education, told CBS News.

Majors like petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, and computer science engineering often lead to high-paying jobs in industries like energy, technology, and manufacturing. With such a big focus globally on reducing emissions and living in a greener world, these disciplines are crucial positions for the future of our planet.

Graduates with a degree in computer science or related fields are also in high demand, and careers in software development, data science, and cybersecurity often come with attractive salaries.

The degrees with the lowest average earnings

The majors which earn the least are all arts based. So it is true that studying the arts could mean less money in the future. However, these studies give graduates other skills and knowledge outside of the structures of an increasingly financialised world. There is something to be said about that as a value.