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Best College ROIs by Major


PayScale just released the newest feature of our College ROI Report, a breakdown of which colleges provide the best ROI for specific families of majors. Now you can see which schools provide the best return on investment specifically for students who major in English and the Humanities, Business, Engineering, Computer Science and Political Science.

PayScale’s College ROI Report shows you which colleges provide the best return on investment for all of their bachelor graduates. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that it favors schools where lots of students study science, technology, engineering or mathematics, since these majors tend to lead to jobs in high-paying fields. But what if you know what you want to study? How does your choice of major impact the ROI rating for the schools you are considering?

That’s why we just published Best College ROIs by Major. By running the data on schools where we had sufficient data for each type of major, we were able to calculate which schools give the best ROI to students of specific subjects.

Best College ROI by Major

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What did we learn?

  • If you choose your school wisely, an undergraduate degree in Business can be a wise choice. All of the schools in our top twenty had 30-year ROIs over $1,000,000 with UPenn topping the list.
  • Computer Science is a vital field in our current economy, and it can result in a career that pays handsomely. Lots of schools in or near California’s Silicon Valley dominate this list, since they are so close to tech powerhouses that are eager to hire smart grads. UC Berkley Computer Science graduates report a 30-year ROI of $2,432,000, the highest overall ROI on any of our lists.
  • The top schools on our Engineering list look an awful lot like our overall list… But that shouldn’t come as a surprise. We already know that Engineering is a pretty safe ticket to big lifetime earnings, and Harvey Mudd and CalTech dominate this list.
  • English and Humanities majors don’t always deserve the bad rap they get in terms of earning power. Harvard cracks the one-million-dollar mark for 30-year ROI. California’s public universities have six schools on the list. If you want to major in something creative, it evidently pays to pick schools with strong ties to industries that pay you for the creative and analytical skills you learn studying these subjects, like Publishing, Entertainment and Media.
  • It’s no surprise that some of the top ROIs for studying Political Science are found around Washington, DC. But Stanford beats out The College of William and Mary, James Madison University, George Washington University and University of Maryland at College Park handily, even though it’s on the West Coast. (Keep in mind that this list doesn’t factor in students who go on to get graduate degrees, so no lawyers in this bunch.)

Go to the PayScale College ROI Report for the full list of the 20 top schools for each of these majors. Does your alma mater make the list?

Tell Us More

Take the PayScale Survey to see how you compare to these grads. And tell us what you think of this new spin on College ROI on Twitter or in the comment section.

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