What Each College Major Is Actually Worth, In 3 Charts

As the average college debt soars past $30,000, a new report from Georgetown University details just how much money students give up by choosing sociology over calculus.

On average, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees are worth $25,000 more per year than liberal arts. Even particularly talented law majors (the top 75th percentile) won’t earn more than a mediocre computer scientist.

The economist in me likes to think about this another way: how much would each class be worth if schools handed out a check for taking science classes verses other majors?

Here’s some back-of-the-napkin calculations. If we just include what graduates make in entry level jobs in the first 5 years of their career and assume that there’s about 12 degree-specific required earn a particular degree, then a STEM degree would pay about $5,800 per class. That is,

“Dear Art History majors, take this Advanced Computing class instead and we’ll give you a $5,800 check cashable in 5 years.”

Of course, money isn’t the only reason students pick a major. But, when the hard facts are presented, I suspect that students might make different choices while in college. And, the economy would be better for it.

Read the full report here.

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