How Much Is A College Degree Worth? Depends On Your Major.

May 24, 2011

A report out today from Georgetown researchers breaks down earnings for college graduates by major.

It's useful for a few reasons.

Unlike many other sources, it's not based on starting salaries for graduates; it uses census data to capture information on people throughout their careers.

Also, there's a ton of detail — the report has information on 171 different majors. The range is huge — from $29,000 a year for people with degrees in counseling/psychology, to $120,000 a year for those who majored in petroleum engineering.

Those figures are medians; the report also information on broader salary ranges, and on how graduate degrees boost earnings in different fields.

Here's a look at earnings for people with bachelor's degrees and those with advanced degrees, in 15 subject areas (click on the graphic to see a version you can zoom in on).

All the standard caveats apply. There's a ton of variation for graduates with the same degree. And, of course, college is about more than just vocational training and increasing lifetime earnings. (I was an English major, so I'm contractually obligated to say that.) Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit