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  • Technical Majors Projected to Earn Top Salaries Among Class of 2016 Advanced Degree Grads

    February 10, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Compensation
    A computer science major at work.

    TAGS: salaries, trends and predictions, graduate students, spotlight

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    Engineering graduates are expected to be the highest paid at the master's degree level for the Class of 2016, according to results of NACE's Winter 2016 Salary Survey.

    Meanwhile, computer science majors have the top projected salary at the doctoral level.

    The average overall salary projection for Class of 2016 engineering graduates at the master's degree level is $73,871, up from the projected $69,698 for Class of 2015 graduates. (See Figure 1.)

    This year's computer science graduates follow closely with an overall average salary projection of $72,080—1.3 percent higher than the projected average of $71,140 for the Class of 2015.

    Business majors earning master's degrees are also seeing a higher average salary projection this year—$71,663, an increase of 5.5 percent from last year's average of $67,890.

    However, the projected average salaries for both communications and social science majors are down. Class of 2016 communications majors at the master's degree level are expected to earn $55,727 (compared to $59,130 projected for 2015 master's degree grads); among social sciences majors, the average salary is projected at $52,333, down from $54,816.

    At the doctoral degree level, all four of the categories reported here are projected to see increases over last year's salaries.

    Computer science majors are expected to pull in the highest overall salary—$101,324. (See Figure 2.) That's a 7.8 percent increase over the projection of $94,000 for 2015 computer science graduates at the doctoral level.

    Data contained in NACE's Winter 2016 Salary Survey were obtained from August 5, 2015, through November 6, 2015. The Winter 2016 Salary Survey is available to members in MyNACE. An executive summary report is available at www.naceweb.org/salary-resources/salary-survey.aspx.

    Final starting salary data for the Class of 2015 will be available in the Spring 2016 Salary Survey.

    Figure 1: Projected average salaries by discipline, master's degrees

    Broad Category 2016 Average Salary 2015 Average Salary
    Engineering $73,871 $69,698
    Computer Science $72,080 $71,140
    Business $71,663 $67,890
    Math & Sciences $67,891 $64,465
    Communications $55,727 $59,130
    Social Sciences $52,333 $54,816
    Source: Winter 2016 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Projected average salaries by discipline, doctoral degrees

    Broad Category 2016 Average Salary 2015 Average Salary
    Computer Science $101,324 $94,000
    Math & Sciences $98,693 $73,150
    Engineering $95,055 $88,397
    Business $74,459 $58,000
    Source: Winter 2016 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers