Top Paying Undergraduate Majors

March 26th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

As we previously reported, the cost of education has been on the rise for some time now. Especially as US state budgets are cut, colleges and universities are shifting their expenses to the student. Many students – be it US citizens or international students – are looking for ways to finance their education from scholarships to grants to loans. But you may wonder if your education is worth the cost.

While this question has to be individually evaluated and answered, a good starting point is to look at the expected income based on your major (which is your specialization in college or at a university). The path you select will train you in a specific field, which will ultimately determine your job prospects, and thus, your salary.

Not surprisingly, 13 out of the top 20 highest paying positions – whether looking at starting pay or mid-career pay – is engineering. Below is a graph outlining the top paying undergraduate majors in the US:

Looking at these results, it is no wonder why the second most popular field for international students is engineering followed by math and computer science (which ranked third) and then physical and life sciences (which ranked fourth). In fact, it is clear from the data that top paying undergraduate majors that prove more technical in nature are compensated accordingly. Below is a table that reflect the true figures from the graph above:

Starting Median Pay* Mid-Career Median Pay*
Petroleum Engineering $97,900 $155,000
Chemical Engineering $64,500 $109,000
Electrical Engineering (EE) $61,300 $103,000
Materials Science & Engineering $60,400 $103,000
Aerospace Engineering $60,700 $102,000
Computer Engineering (CE) $61,800 $101,000
Physics $49,800 $101,000
Applied Mathematics $52,600 $98,600
Computer Science (CS) $56,600 $97,900
Nuclear Engineering $65,100 $97,800
Biomedical Engineering (BME) $53,800 $97,800
Economics $47,300 $94,700
Mechanical Engineering (ME) $58,400 $94,500
Statistics $49,000 $93,800
Industrial Engineering (IE) $57,400 $93,100
Civil Engineering (CE) $53,100 $90,200
Mathematics $47,000 $89,900
Environmental Engineering $51,700 $88,600
Management Information Systems (MIS) $51,000 $88,200
Software Engineering $54,900 $87,800

*All data was collected from PayScale Salary Survey for full-time employees in the United States who possess a Bachelor’s degree (and no further degree) in order to determine which were the top paying undergraduate majors.


  1. Harelimana Aloys says:

    I am a Rwandan I am searching for Undergraduate scholarships

  2. Tesfaye Butta says:

    I want to study Electrical Engineering ,please give me information.

  3. tunde sanni says:

    i want to study Master in Computer science, i need information concerning tution fees


    I want to study business administration , with the help of financial aid please advice me on how to go about it am augandan student.

    • blindblom says:

      Ngobi and Tunde,

      Thank you for interest. To better assist you with your questions on financial aid, I have sent both of you an email with further information. I hope it helps you with any questions you had.

  5. AHIMANA Jean de Dieu says:


    • blindblom says:

      Hi Ahimana,

      I have sent you an email that has further information regarding your financial aid options. I hope it provides the assistance you were looking for!

  6. Nicola Lok says:

    I want to study an undergraduate business degree in US and I would like to know more about the scholarships and financial aids available to international students.
    Thanks so much for your help!

  7. ABUSH says:

    i need financial aid to study Fine art @ scad.

    • blindblom says:

      Hi Nicola and Abush,

      Since you are looking for more information regarding financial aid I have sent you both an email about our international student loans. Please let me know if you have any questions!

  8. Rishil Khot says:

    I have been admitted for engineering undergraduation in US from FALL 2012. I would like to know more about scholership and financial aids available for international students. How can apply it? I am from India.

    • blindblom says:

      Hi Rishil,

      You should receive an email shortly with information and links regarding finacial aid. This should help you with most of your questions, including how you can apply for international student loans. Please let me know if you have any remaining questions.

  9. Ricardo says:

    Can you give me guidence on how to obtain financial aid for an international student

    • blindblom says:

      Hi Ricardo,

      Thank you for your message! I have sent you an email with information on your financial aid options. Best of luck finding what you need!

  10. JOSEPH NYERERE says:

    i need fanancial help so that i can study petroleum engineering because iam very much interested on that fieled and i like it very much; i wilbe happy my course this year i will be happy if my application will be considered positively.

  11. Stella says:

    Please, i would like to be notified on any scholarship for postgraduate in biochemistry. Thank you.

    • blindblom says:

      Hi Stella,

      You are able to find scholarships for those studying biochemistry by using the new quick search tool. This will narrow down your search and find a scholarship that fits your needs.

      Best of luck!

  12. Albert Owusu-Banie says:

    Please, I am a Ghanaian and would like to study Electrical Engineering in the U.S.A. Which schools are recommended and which of them give very high scholarships?

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