May 4, 2023
With the public increasingly skeptical of the value of higher education, new data show STEM majors still get the most lucrative jobs. Critics say future earnings aren’t all students care about.
New data from the Department of Education’s College Scorecard show that tech and STEM majors still vastly outpace liberal arts and humanities majors in terms of future earnings.
The data, released April 27, compare the relative earnings of graduates of more than 36,000 different programs across institutional sectors, from community colleges to for-profit institutions. Computer science programs made up 16 of the top 20 slots on the list, and all but five of the top 100 programs were in STEM fields; the others were in finance or economics, with the exception of Carnegie Mellon University’s Design and Applied Arts program, which came in at 96.
Computer science programs at elite universities like Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology earned the top five spots for four-year degrees, with graduates earning average salaries of over $240,000 four years after receiving their diplomas. The five lowest-earning bachelor’s programs included health-care programs at universities in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, a music degree from Brigham Young University, and the Fine and Studio Arts program at the California Institute of the Arts, whose graduates make a median of $13,336 a year.