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August 01, 2011 10:00 AM Engineering Wins

By Daniel Luzer

Just in case you were wondering, it turns out that while in many cases one’s undergraduate major doesn’t really matter so much, a few majors pay a lot better than others.

According to an article by Lynn O’Shaughnessy at CBS Money Watch:

If you hope to earn a college degree that will qualify you for the nation’s best paying jobs, ask yourself this question: Do you feel comfortable around these sorts of brain twisters: differential equations, vectors, harmonic functions and complex exponentials?

A more direct question, however, might simply be: how do you like engineering? The top highest-paying college degrees, by median career salary, are

1. Petroleum engineering ($155,000)
2. Chemical engineering ($109,000)
3. Electrical engineering ($103,000)
4. Material science & engineering ($103,000)
5. Aerospace engineering ($102,000)
6. Physics ($101,000)
7. Computer engineering ($101,000)
8. Nuclear engineering ($97,800)
9. Biomedical engineering ($97,800)
10. Mechanical engineering ($94,500)

These are the people who end up making the most money. No surprise here. Math, it’s all about math.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer