These Colleges and Majors Lead to the Highest Salaries

Which school tops the list of universities that turn out the highest-earning graduates? Find out.

These Colleges and Majors Lead to the Highest Salaries Photo (cc) by US Department of Education

Harvey Mudd College is no longer the best school from which to earn a bachelor’s degree that yields the highest salary.

The private school in Claremont, California — which had held the top position for two years — has been unseated by State University of New York Maritime College (SUNY Maritime College) on Payscale’s list of undergraduate schools with the highest-paid alumni.

Maritime College’s alumni earn an average midcareer salary of $134,000, according to Payscale’s 2015-2016 College Salary Report.

Alumni of Harvey Mudd College, which came in at No. 2 this year among four-year schools, are not far behind with an average midcareer salary of $133,000.

Maritime College’s degree programs include engineering, naval architecture and marine studies. Harvey Mudd College is a liberal arts school focused on engineering, science and math.

Are you sensing a theme?

Payscale’s vice president of data analytics, Katie Bardaro, explains in a news release:

“As with many of the schools that end up at the top of our list in terms of earning potential, SUNY Maritime offers a strong engineering program. College graduates who major in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — are in demand in today’s labor market, and this increased demand drives up wages.”

Four out of the five highest-paying majors are engineering programs this year, according to Payscale’s analysis:

  • Petroleum engineering
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Actuarial mathematics
  • Chemical engineering
  • Electronics and communications engineering

The schools with the highest-paid alumni are:


  • CUNY (City University of New York) New York City College of Technology
  • Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
  • De Anza College, Cupertino, California
  • Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, California
  • Alvin Community College, Alvin, Texas


  • SUNY Maritime College
  • Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
  • California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California


  • Emory University School of Law, Atlanta
  • UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles
  • Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Are you surprised by these rankings? Let us know what you think below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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