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  • Top-Paid Humanities Grads: Science, Technology, and Society

    September 28, 2016 | By NACE Staff

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    Science, technology, and society majors1 were the top-paid Class of 2015 humanities graduates at the bachelor’s degree level, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2015 First-Destination Survey.

    These majors earned an average of $55,427. They were followed by economics ($53,488) and sustainability studies ($51,541) majors. (See Figure 1.)

    Just four of the humanities majors on this year’s top-paid list—economics, cognitive science, international relations, and philosophy—were also among the top 10 for the Class of 2014. (See Figure 2.) Economics majors received the second highest average starting salary in both 2015 and 2014, with the average climbing nearly $4,500 between the two years. On the other hand, the average starting salary for cognitive science majors—last year’s top-paid humanities major—is down significantly from last year.

    For NACE’s Class of 2015 First-Destination Survey, 279 colleges and universities nationwide, representing nearly half a million graduates, provided data for Class of 2015 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree graduates. Overall, data were reported for nearly 244,000 bachelor’s degree graduates in 34 broad disciplines and 185 majors. Detailed results of the survey, which also covered first destinations for associate, master’s, and doctoral degree-level graduates, and details about outcomes by specific major, are available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: Top-paid Class of 2015 humanities majors

    Major Average Starting Salary
    Science, Technology, and Society $55,427
    Economics $53,488
    Sustainability Studies $51,541
    Diversity Studies $47,357
    Cognitive Science $45,657
    Sociology and Anthropology $45,600
    International Relations $45,085
    Area Studies $44,910
    East Asian Languages $44,696
    Philosophy $43,427
    Source: Class of 2015 First-Destination Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. All data are for bachelor’s degree graduates and represent initial post-graduation outcomes as of December 31, 2015.

    Figure 2: Top-paid Class of 2014 humanities majors

    Major Average Starting Salary
    Cognitive Science $57,609
    Economics $49,022
    Criminal Justice $43,650
    Political Science $42,008
    International Relations $41,804
    Classics $40,667
    Geography $38,708
    History $37,557
    Philosophy $37,236
    Urban Studies $37,217
    Source: Class of 2014 First-Destination Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. All data are for bachelor’s degree graduates and represent initial post-graduation outcomes as of December 31, 2014.

    1 Science, technology, and society is an interdisciplinary major that studies how social, political, and cultural vaules affect scientific research and technological innovation, and how these affect society, politics, and culture.