Highest-Paying Majors Of 2024 (2024)

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It’s no secret that a college degree can lead to higher lifetime earnings. But your major can play a big role in your earning potential.

The average starting salary for all college graduates with a bachelor’s degree was about $60,000 in 2022, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, but certain areas of study can earn significantly more.

If you’re still deciding what to study in college, learning about the best college majors in terms of typical salaries can help you narrow down your choices.

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2024 Average Salaries by Bachelor’s Degree Discipline

When thinking about salaries after graduation, the highest-earning college majors tend to be related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) winter 2024 salary survey, the highest-paying undergraduate majors are in STEM disciplines. While other majors like marketing and business can earn lucrative salaries, workers usually reach those numbers only after working in their fields for several years.

NACE’s report looked at the average starting salaries for entry-level positions; it did not take into account other compensation like bonuses, commissions or additional benefits. We sourced the career data below from NACE and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Based on NACE’s analysis, the average projected wages by bachelor’s degree discipline are as follows:

1. Engineering: $76,740

The highest-paying major is engineering, which saw a 3.1% increase in projected earnings since 2023. Engineers design and build products, structures and technology systems. According to the BLS, architecture and engineering occupations earned a median annual salary of $83,700 as of 2022.

The BLS reports that the top-employing occupations for graduates with engineering degrees are as follows:

  1. Software developer
  2. Industrial engineer
  3. Mechanical engineer
  4. Civil engineer
  5. Architectural and engineering manager

Check out our guide to learn about the different types of engineering degrees.

2. Computer Sciences: $74,780

Computer science deals with both software and hardware. Computer science majors learn how to work with algorithms and design computer architecture to solve complex computing problems. The BLS reports that computer and information research scientists earned a 2022 median annual salary of $136,620.

These are the most popular jobs for graduates with computer and information technology degrees, according to the BLS:

  1. Information security analyst
  2. Software developer
  3. Computer and information systems manager
  4. Other computer occupations
  5. Computer systems analyst

Interested in a computer science major? See our ranking of the best online bachelor’s degrees in computer science.

3. Math and Sciences: $71,080

With a bachelor’s degree in a math or science field, you can pursue a wide variety of careers including actuary, data scientist and operations research analyst. The BLS reports that math occupations made a median annual wage of $99,590 as of May 2022.

Graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the mathematics field most commonly work in the following jobs, according to the BLS:

  1. Data scientist
  2. Software developer
  3. Actuary
  4. Computer and information systems manager
  5. Computer systems analyst

4. Social Sciences: $69,800

A social science major can prepare you to work in anthropology, history, politics, sociology or various other research-based fields. The BLS reports that professionals in life, physical and social science jobs earn a median annual salary of $74,330.

Students who earn bachelor’s degrees in social science subjects most commonly work in these roles, as per BLS data:

  1. Financial manager
  2. Management analyst
  3. Lawyer
  4. Accountant or auditor
  5. Professor

Learn more with our ranking of the best online social science degrees.

5. Humanities: $68,230

With a humanities major, also known as a liberal arts major, you can go on to work in any choice of creative role. Humanities degrees prepare learners to become journalists, graphic designers, teachers, librarians and social workers, among various other professions.

The BLS reports that liberal arts majors most commonly find work in the following occupations:

  1. Lawyer
  2. Human resources specialist
  3. Registered nurse
  4. Professor
  5. Manager

6. Business: $63,910

With a Bachelor of Business Administration or another business-related degree, you can pursue high-earning roles in finance, become an entrepreneur or choose from numerous other careers in the business world. The BLS reports that business and financial occupations earn a median wage of $76,850 per year.

Business-related majors most often land jobs in the following roles, according to the BLS:

  1. Financial manager
  2. Management analyst
  3. Human resources specialist
  4. Accountant or auditor
  5. Manager

If you’re keen to launch a business career, start with our ranking of the best online business administration bachelor’s degrees.

7. Communications: $62,210

If you want to educate the masses and make a statement in your future career, you can start with a bachelor’s degree in communications or a related field. Communications professionals inform audiences using words, images and other forms of media. Media and communications workers garner a median annual salary of $66,240, as reported by the BLS.

The BLS lists the most popular jobs for graduates with communications degrees as:

  1. Market research analyst or marketing specialist
  2. Lawyer
  3. Marketing manager
  4. Producer or director
  5. Human resources specialist

Have a look at the best online bachelor’s degrees in communications, according to our ranking methodology.

8. Agriculture and Natural Resources: $61,400

Finally, choosing an agriculture or natural resources major can prepare you to research or produce crops, livestock or dairy products. You might also go on to study animals, plants or nutrition. BLS data shows that farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers make a median of $75,760 annually.

These are the most common jobs for agriculture majors, according to the BLS:

  1. Veterinarian
  2. Soil or plant scientist
  3. Professor
  4. Manager
  5. Elementary school teacher

Choosing a Major

So, what should you major in? When choosing a major, it’s a good idea to look up the typical starting salaries for recent graduates. However, the starting salary is just one part of the overall picture. Some majors can lead to high-paying careers after earning advanced degrees or gaining some work experience.

For example, the highest-paying careers in the U.S. do not necessarily align with the majors listed above. According to the BLS, the highest-paying occupations—all earning median annual salaries exceeding $239,200—are all in the medical field. The 10 highest-paying jobs as of 2022 were:

  1. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  2. Surgeons, all other
  3. Pediatric surgeons
  4. Orthopedic surgeons, except pediatric
  5. Radiologists
  6. Pathologists
  7. Obstetricians and gynecologists
  8. Emergency medicine physicians
  9. Dermatologists
  10. Cardiologists

While earning potential should play a role in your choice of major, it’s not the only factor to consider.

You should also think about your interests, passions, skills and the amount of student loan debt you would take on. To find out if a major is right for you, also make sure to talk to people who work in your fields of interest. If possible, pursue internships to get firsthand experience—check out our guide to learn how to find internships.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Highest-Paying Majors for Undergrad

What degree is most in demand?

According to BLS projections, the fastest-growing careers for 2022–32 include wind turbine service technicians, nurse practitioners, data scientists, statisticians and information security analysts. Not all the careers the BLS identifies require college degrees, but for those that do, potential majors include nursing, mathematics, computer science, healthcare administration, information technology, business and actuarial science.

Can you make six figures with a bachelor’s degree?

Yes, but it’s unusual to earn a six-figure income from your first job after graduation. The highest-paying jobs for recent bachelor’s graduates—typically found in engineering fields—tend to pay in the $75,000 to $85,000 range on average. However, professionals in these fields may earn over $100,000 after gaining experience.

What is the least-regretted major?

Post-graduation salary is an important factor when choosing a college major, but it’s also important to consider what fields you find motivating and meaningful. Payscale’s 2023 college salary report reveals that respondents who found the most meaning in their jobs often pursued majors related to healthcare, mental health, education, social services and religion. These included majors such as nursing, art or music therapy, physical therapy, elementary special education and ministry.

Highest-Paying Majors Of 2024 (2024)


What is the highest paying degree in 2024? ›

1. Computer Science. First among the highest-paying majors in 2024 is Computer Science. Computer Science graduates can thank the tech sector's rapid growth that continues to create job opportunities for skilled professionals.

Which major is high in demand? ›

Some popular college majors in high demand include computer science, nursing, engineering, finance, and data science. These fields offer excellent career prospects and competitive salaries.

What degree makes 6 figures? ›

Degrees with six-figure salaries

Several degrees led to a median salary of $100,000: aerospace engineering, computer science, chemical engineering and pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, and administration.

What is the most lucrative major? ›

Computer engineering majors ranked first with an annual median salary of $80,000, followed by chemical engineering and computer science — the only two other majors that pay more than $75,000 annually. The trend is expected to continue going forward too.

Which degree is best in 2025? ›

Mathematics is the best degrees for the future 2025

Mathematics degree professionals are needed to fill all kinds of roles in business and corporations such as finance manager, software engineer, data scientist and market research analyst. People with a math degree are highly employed in a variety of business settings.

Which degree will earn you the most money? ›

The highest-paying degree you can get – according to our graduate data – is one in Dentistry. It's a specialised and vocational subject area, where most graduates find professional work in a dental-related role soon after completing their studies.


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