What is your college degree worth? Georgetown researchers break down the value of your major
Attention upperclassmen and graduating seniors: wondering how far that English Lit degree is going to take you in terms of employment? A study from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce may have the answer.
The study makes use of a large amount of newly-available census data in order to track the worth of 171 college majors across several broad fields. The center’s report focuses particularly on the worth of and undergraduate degree in terms of earnings potential and likelyhood of employment, while also analyzing the effects of race and gender on degree selection, employment, and earnings potential.
According to the press release accompanying the report, “while there is a lot of variation in earnings over a lifetime, the authors find that all undergraduate majors are ‘worth it,’ even taking into account the cost of college and lost earnings. However, the lifetime advantage ranges from $1,090,000 for Engineering majors to $241,000 for Education majors.”
Read more of the report’s findings and view the press release after the jump.
The report lists findings for all 171 majors surveyed while also grouping majors into 15 fields for analysis, including “engineering,” “health,” “humanities & liberal arts,” and “business.” Of all undergraduate major groups, those majoring in an engineering field have the highest median earnings ($75,000), followed by computer/mathematics majors ($70,000). Psychology/social work and education field majors are tied for the lowest median earnings ($42,000).
The report also finds earnings differences between men and women across every field, along with significant differences in major choice: 84% of engineering field majors are men, while 85% of health field majors are women. In addition, the report finds some stark differences in earnings by degree when broken down by race. The introduction to the select findings notes that “[...] African-Americans who graduate with a Finance major earn an average of $47,000 per year, which is less than Hispanics ($56,000) and Asians ($56,000) — and much less than Whites($70,000).”