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College majors that make the most money

  • College majors that make the most money
    1/ Shutterstock

    College majors that make the most money

    Nearly one-third of all college students will change their primary field of study or major at least once within three years, according to one estimate by the National Center for Education Statistics. The challenges of choosing the field that one will work in after school can be overwhelming, with the coursework requirements typically determining the likelihood of a switch. Per the same estimate, more than half of all mathematics majors will switch concentrations, as will 35% of all science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) majors.

    Of the highest-paying majors, most are in STEM fields. In the United States, there is currently a critical shortage of STEM-trained workers; among the hardest jobs to fill are scientists and mathematicians, engineers and architects, IT computer specialists, high-skilled technicians, and construction and extraction workers, according to Monster. This lack of trained workers is slowing corporate growth in some regions, which leads to depressed competitive regional pay and the forced emigration of critical labor to healthier job markets.

    Stacker has examined 403 bachelor's degree programs to determine the 50 majors that lead to the best-paying jobs. For this comparison, data was drawn from PayScale's 2018-2019 College Salary Report. Rankings are based on the mid-career median salary reported for the major, or the salary that is expected after 10 years of continuous employment in the major's field.

    For this calculation, equity or stock compensation, retirement plans, and non-cash benefits—such as health care—were not considered. Salaries are inflation-adjusted to June 2018 dollars for the sake of comparison. In the case of ties, preference was given based on the starting salary expected for a worker in the field within their first five years of employment. This statistic will be provided, along with the majors' median wages. Payscale's College Salary Report is a compensation survey based on the responses of 3.2 million college graduates. Check out the survey's full methodology.

    Continue reading to find out if your major is among the highest paying.

    You may also like: College majors that earn the least money

  • #50. Physics
    2/ Shutterstock

    #50. Physics

    - Early career pay: $60,700
    - Mid-career pay: $110,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 45%

    Physics is the study of matter and how it changes and interacts over time. A diverse field, concentrations in physics include acoustical physics, astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, and theoretical physics. Because of the wide array of concentrations, a major in physics usually precedes graduate study. However, bachelor's degree holders can find jobs in research, teaching, engineering, manufacturing, and industrial processing—such as nuclear and food irradiation technicians.

  • #49. Accounting and economics
    3/ Shutterstock

    #49. Accounting and economics

    - Early career pay: $61,200
    - Mid-career pay: $110,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 42%

    Besides being an accountant, there are multiple avenues an accounting or economics major can take. Financial planning, government work, record-keeping, money planning, internal auditing, teaching, research, and consulting are among the employment options.

  • #48. Information sciences and technology
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    #48. Information sciences and technology

    - Early career pay: $58,900
    - Mid-career pay: $110,200
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 45%

    Information science is the science of data management and analytics in a computer system. Job options for major in this field include application analysts, cyber security specialists, data scientists, database administrators, IT consultants, and software engineers. Jobs in this field are expected to stay in demand for the foreseeable future.

  • #47. Biomedical engineering (BME)
    5/ UC Davis College of Engineering // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. Biomedical engineering (BME)

    - Early career pay: $66,000
    - Mid-career pay: $110,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 71%

    Similar to physics, biomedical engineering is a multifaceted field. Specialties include bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, biomechanics, clinical engineering, rehabilitation engineering, and system physiology. Jobs in biomedical engineering—beyond engineering positions—include teaching, research, orthopedic construction, medical imaging, and medical equipment technician.

  • #46. Astrophysics
    6/ Shutterstock

    #46. Astrophysics

    - Early career pay: $60,700
    - Mid-career pay: $110,800
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 59%

    A specialized concentration in physics, astrophysics studies the application of physical laws in relation to celestial bodies, such as stars and planets. A major that encourages graduate studies, bachelor's degree holders can find jobs as fellows, researchers, and teaching assistants.

  • #45. Metallurgical engineering
    7/ Shutterstock

    #45. Metallurgical engineering

    - Early career pay: $77,300
    - Mid-career pay: $111,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 61%

    Metallurgical engineering is the study of metal, as it relates to the mining, processing, and analyses of metallic products. Degree holders can find jobs in mine equipment design, fabrication, and servicing; forge operations; weaponry design and fabrication; alloy fabrication; and environmental response/recovery.

  • #44. Statistics
    8/ Shutterstock

    #44. Statistics

    - Early career pay: $62,000
    - Mid-career pay: $111,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 38%

    Statistics is the mathematical analysis of data sets and real-world data. As such analysis has use in a wide array of sectors, statistics has one of the largest subsets of career paths of any major. Among these paths are teaching, journalism, statistician, econometrics, sport/performance analysis, biostatistics, environmental statistics, and data science.

  • #43. Industrial engineering (IE)
    9/ Shutterstock

    #43. Industrial engineering (IE)

    - Early career pay: $66,400
    - Mid-career pay: $111,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 43%

    Industrial engineering is the study of how systems, processes, and organizations can be improved with the development and integration of new resources, including labor, money, knowledge, equipment, and materials. Industrial engineering majors have found work as manufacturing (automation) engineers, and in supply chain management, electronic product manufacturing, and human resources system development.

  • #42. Plastics engineering
    10/ Shutterstock

    #42. Plastics engineering

    - Early career pay: $65,300
    - Mid-career pay: $111,900
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    Plastic engineering involves the development, design, and fabrication of plastic polymers and plastic materials. As with many engineering fields, plastic engineering has specialties, such as consumer plastics, medical plastics, automotive plastics, recyclables/recycling, and rubber/elastomers. While most plastic engineering jobs encourage a master's degree or better, jobs in research, development, business application, and consumer relations are available to those who hold bachelor's degrees.

  • #41. Industrial and systems engineering
    11/ Mixabest // Wikimedia Commons

    #41. Industrial and systems engineering

    - Early career pay: $67,600
    - Mid-career pay: $111,900
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 51%

    Industrial and systems engineering seeks to improve systems through proper implementation and integration of materials, energy, people, information, and equipment. This discipline specifically focuses on the productivity and quality improvement of industrial systems. Industrial and systems engineering majors have worked as project managers, astronauts, CEOs of major tech companies—such as Tim Cook of Apple—car designers, and movie producers.

  • #40. Operations management and information systems
    12/ Shutterstock

    #40. Operations management and information systems

    - Early career pay: $61,900
    - Mid-career pay: $112,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 40%

    Operation management and information systems is a multidiscipline major that takes elements of statistics, production/operations management, information systems, and management sciences to apply information technology solutions to industrial problems. Jobs available to majors in this discipline include actuaries, computer programmers, auditors, inventory managers, online service managers, and plant managers.

  • #39. Electrical and electronics engineering (EEE)
    13/ Air Force Photo

    #39. Electrical and electronics engineering (EEE)

    - Early career pay: $69,200
    - Mid-career pay: $112,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 59%

    Electrical and electronics engineering relates to the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism solutions. This includes integrated circuits design and fabrication, power generation and distribution, radiofrequency engineering, signal processing, instrumentation, telecommunications, and robotics/cybernetics. Many careers in this field require professional certification for advancement.

  • #38. Welding engineering
    14/ Shutterstock

    #38. Welding engineering

    - Early career pay: $73,500
    - Mid-career pay: $112,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    While welding itself is not considered welding engineering, automated or robot-aided welding and welding used in the manufacturing of a product, such as automotive welding, constitutes welding engineering. This field works to improve welding efficiency and speed, as well as designing and maintaining effective welding equipment. Welding engineers work in shipyards, building construction, research laboratories, on off-shore drilling platforms and oil pipelines, and for aircraft manufacturers.

  • #37. Engineering
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    #37. Engineering

    - Early career pay: $64,200
    - Mid-career pay: $112,500
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 58%

    Engineering is a catch-all generic term for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of systems, organizations, materials, processes, and devices. As engineering is a multifaceted discipline, specialization via a graduate degree is usually encouraged with this major. Engineering students—besides jobs as engineers—can find work teaching, consulting, managing, or in design or construction.

  • #36. Applied mathematics
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    #36. Applied mathematics

    - Early career pay: $61,700
    - Mid-career pay: $113,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 40%

    Applied mathematics, as its name suggests, is the application of mathematics in different fields, such as engineering, business, and industry. Jobs available for applied mathematics majors include teachers, data analysts, business analysts, researchers, and in finance.

  • #35. Computer and information science
    17/ IBM Research // Flickr

    #35. Computer and information science

    - Early career pay: $58,600
    - Mid-career pay: $113,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 49%

    Computer and information science focuses on the development of computer software, computer networks, and information technology projects. Specializations in this field include computer systems networking, computer programming, computer systems analysis, information technology, and computer systems architecture. Careers in this field include robotics, computer network managing/construction, software programming, hardware design, and internet/intranet system administration.

  • #34. Aerospace engineering
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    #34. Aerospace engineering

    - Early career pay: $68,700
    - Mid-career pay: $113,900
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 49%

    Aerospace engineering is the overlapping of two fields, aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aerospace engineering focuses on the design and construction of flight-worthy vehicles that may travel either in the atmosphere or outside of it. Aerospace engineers work in engineering services, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, research, manufacturing of navigational and control instruments, and federal service.

  • #33. Computer science (CS)
    19/ Shutterstock

    #33. Computer science (CS)

    - Early career pay: $68,800
    - Mid-career pay: $113,900
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 40%

    Another catch-all field, computer science refers to the study of computers and computational systems. This includes the design, application, development, and management of software and hardware platforms, management of digital data systems, and construction and administration of networked systems. Computer science majors can find jobs ranging from game development to teaching to government work, as most industries—public or private—rely on computers.

  • #32. Mining engineering
    20/ pxhere

    #32. Mining engineering

    - Early career pay: $72,100
    - Mid-career pay: $114,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 63%

    Mining is both difficult and dangerous. A mining engineer not only determines the best way to extract materials from the earth, but also determines where mining would produce the best yield. Mining engineering students have found work in petroleum extraction, surveying, metal extraction, mining equipment design and maintenance, and mine safety inspection.

  • #31. Mechanical and aeronautical engineering
    21/ Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Vargas // U.S. Navy

    #31. Mechanical and aeronautical engineering

    - Early career pay: $66,900
    - Mid-career pay: $115,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 56%

    Mechanical and aeronautical engineering is a joint majors degree program, in which students study the principles behind the design, construction, and maintenance of aeronautical equipment. Mechanical and aeronautical engineering majors have found work in flight safety, aircraft manufacturing, aircraft safety inspection, and environmental analysis.

  • #30. Control engineering
    22/ NASA/James Blair // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. Control engineering

    - Early career pay: $68,500
    - Mid-career pay: $115,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    Control engineering is a discipline in which automatic control theory—or systems that require minimal human interaction—is applied to produce specific behaviors for systems under specific circumstances. This is crucial for task-driven complex systems, such as spacecraft launches, where human interaction may prove to be too slow or too prone to mistakes. Such systems can be found on aircrafts, aviation control towers, spacecraft launch systems, oil pipeline networks, electrical grids, and banking networks.

  • #29. Information management
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    #29. Information management

    - Early career pay: $59,600
    - Mid-career pay: $116,800
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    Information management encompasses the acquisition, storage, and disposition of information in an organized system. It differs from data management in that it deals with all components in the information custodial process, including management of physical and digital information and coordination of human resources in the management of this service, instead of just managing the actual data. Information system analysts, information management consultants, data analysts, and recordkeepers are all jobs available with a degree in this major.

  • #28. Business logistics and transportation
    24/ pxhere

    #28. Business logistics and transportation

    - Early career pay: $53,300
    - Mid-career pay: $117,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    Business logistics and transportation deals with the planning and execution needed to effectively move goods from point A to point B. This can include coordinating shipments by air, rail, road, water, pipeline, and space, and ensuring that the lines of communication and record-keeping are maintained. Jobs can be in packaging, documentation, insurance, storage, importing and exporting, freight claims, supply chain management, vendor management, and risk mitigation.

  • #27. Computational and applied mathematics
    25/ Shutterstock

    #27. Computational and applied mathematics

    - Early career pay: $65,200
    - Mid-career pay: $117,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 39%

    Computational and applied mathematics is the application of mathematics to computational analysis. The use of complicated mathematical models in a digital environment can help analysts create theoretical models that could not be produced easily before. This type of modeling is useful in weather forecasting, environmental protection, design and research applications, and molecular chemistry.

  • #26. Naval architecture and marine engineering
    26/ Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin // U.S. Coast Guard

    #26. Naval architecture and marine engineering

    - Early career pay: $68,800
    - Mid-career pay: $117,700
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    Naval architecture and marine engineering deals with the design, maintenance, and construction of vehicles and installations that float or travel at sea. This can include cargo ships, naval vehicles, or instrument buoys. Jobs in this major include ship builders and designers, offshore platform engineers and builders, buoy builders, and submarine engineers.

  • #25. Managerial economics
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    #25. Managerial economics

    - Early career pay: $60,800
    - Mid-career pay: $117,800
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 38%

    Managerial economics is the fusion of economic theory with managerial practice. This field looks at how supply and demand, cost and risk, and economic policy play out in management decisions. Careers in managerial economics include banking, finance, retail management, marketing, accounting, risk assessment, government policy, sustainability, and environmental policy.

  • #24. Engineering science
    28/ Shutterstock

    #24. Engineering science

    - Early career pay: $63,900
    - Mid-career pay: $118,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 39%

    While engineering is science-based, it's a practical field. Theoretical work, such as determining physical limits to an engineering solution, is left to engineering scientists, who are concerned with the physical and mathematical basis of engineering. While most real-world engineers have a working sense of engineering science, many solutions may need laboratory or extensive theory testing to be implemented. Engineering scientists have found work in many of the same fields and companies that hire engineers, including the legal profession, medicine, public and private industry, and the government sector.

  • #23. Electrical engineering (EE)
    29/ Shutterstock

    #23. Electrical engineering (EE)

    - Early career pay: $69,900
    - Mid-career pay: $118,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 52%

    Electrical engineering focuses on the application, generation, and distribution of electricity and the development of electronics and electromagnetism solutions. Electrical engineers have found work in electrical plants maintenance and design, power grid operations, electronics design and construction, and transportation solutions.

  • #22. Construction engineering management
    30/ Shutterstock

    #22. Construction engineering management

    - Early career pay: $64,000
    - Mid-career pay: $118,200
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 45%

    Construction engineering is the design, maintenance, and construction of infrastructure, such as roads, highways, airports, dams, seaports, bridges, tunnels, sewage lines, and public utilities. Construction engineering management looks at construction engineering projects and works to find ways to efficiently manage and fund them. Careers in this field include estimators, planners, schedulers, foremen, construction managers, safety officers, and field engineers.

  • #21. Engineering physics
    31/ Shutterstock

    #21. Engineering physics

    - Early career pay: $65,400
    - Mid-career pay: $119,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 48%

    Like engineering science, engineering physics looks at the physical constraints an engineering solution or problem may have. Unlike engineering science, engineering physics specifically deals with physics questions, such as a project's stress limits, weight tolerance, or material strength. This type of engineering relies more on the use of the scientific method than practical methods—such as real-world trials—to find answers to engineering problems. Like engineering scientists, engineering physicists can be found in the same fields as engineers.

  • #20. Computer engineering (CE)
    32/ Shutterstock

    #20. Computer engineering (CE)

    - Early career pay: $72,600
    - Mid-career pay: $120,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 45%

    Computer engineering is a subset of computer science that looks at the practical development of computer hardware and software. This is different than computer science in the sense that computer engineers receive practical training in electrical engineering, hardware design and integration, and software design, instead of just computer theory and programming. Computer engineers can work in the automotive industry, in robotics, microprocessor design, signal circuit design, sensor building, operating system programming, and computer/digital device design.

  • #19. Computer science (CS) and engineering
    33/ UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr

    #19. Computer science (CS) and engineering

    - Early career pay: $74,000
    - Mid-career pay: $120,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 44%

    Computer science and engineering is a hybrid major that gives students the flexibility to work as either a hardware specialist or a software specialist. This also provides them the opportunity to explore areas that require an understanding of both fields, such as working with supercomputers, high-performance computing, parallel processing, and embedded systems. This major encourages a “whole machine” understanding of computer theory. Students in this major have worked to develop smartphones and smart devices, supercomputers and “learning machines,” virtual reality/augmented reality platforms, and graphics-rendering software.

  • #18. Electrical and computer engineering (ECE)
    34/ Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright // U.S. Marines

    #18. Electrical and computer engineering (ECE)

    - Early career pay: $71,100
    - Mid-career pay: $120,400
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 51%

    Another hybrid major, electrical and computer engineering looks at computer theory from the electronics' point of view. The major evaluates the role electronic components serve in computer design and how improvement in component efficiency can improve processing efficiency. An electrical and computer engineer can find work in robotics, motor construction, computer component construction, motherboard design, biomedical engineering, and systems control.

  • #17. Ocean engineering (OE)
    35/ Jplourde umaine // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Ocean engineering (OE)

    - Early career pay: $68,900
    - Mid-career pay: $121,200
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    More than three-quarters of Earth is covered by ocean. Ocean engineering is a subset of marine engineering that looks at the design and construction of man-made systems meant to be used in ocean environments. This goes beyond construction to include how these structures affect the surrounding environment and how they can be designed for the lowest impact. Jobs in this field include naval architect, environmental engineer, petroleum mining specialist, and marine mechanical engineer.

  • #16. Nuclear engineering
    36/ Idaho National Laboratory // Flickr

    #16. Nuclear engineering

    - Early career pay: $70,700
    - Mid-career pay: $121,700
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 59%

    Homer Simpson would suggest that nuclear engineering is a simple matter. In reality, it's anything but. The science of nuclear fusion—or the splitting of an atomic nucleus into subatomic particles—is complicated and one that's just being understood. With the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster still fresh in many memories, well-trained nuclear engineers are essential to the well-being of the planet. Nuclear engineers work on nuclear plants, nuclear reactors—such as those on vessels—and with nuclear weaponry, as well as in nuclear waste disposal, and medical nuclear instrumentation.

  • #15. Electrical power engineering
    37/ Airman Daniel Garcia // U.S. Air Force

    #15. Electrical power engineering

    - Early career pay: $71,300
    - Mid-career pay: $122,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 65%

    Electrical power engineering is a subset of electrical engineering dealing specifically with the generation, transmission, distribution, and use of electricity. This field is explicit about its focus on high-voltage applications, so electrical power engineers are likely to find jobs in fields that deal with high voltage, such as subway line maintenance, power plant operation and design, high-voltage line repair and maintenance, and electrical phase converter assembly.

  • #14. Aeronautical engineering
    38/ WorldSkills UK // flickr

    #14. Aeronautical engineering

    - Early career pay: $67,900
    - Mid-career pay: $122,500
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 70%

    Aeronautical engineering is the design, assembly, and maintenance of flying vehicles that will not exit the atmosphere. This differs from astronautical engineering, which focuses on spacecrafts, and avionics, which is the design and construction of aircraft electronics and sensors. As air flight makes up a large percentage of the world's personal, business, and military transport portfolio, there will never be a lack of opportunities for aeronautical engineers to build faster, better, and more efficient aircrafts.

  • #13. Actuarial science
    39/ Shutterstock

    #13. Actuarial science

    - Early career pay: $62,700
    - Mid-career pay: $123,500
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 45%

    Actuarial sciences deals with the study of risk. Actuaries use statistics to determine the risk in insurance pools, financial markets, and other fields to weigh what premiums should be, to determine eligibility requirements for insurance products, and to estimate projected mortality in a covered population. Actuarial science majors have found work with insurance companies, in government service, and in finance and banking.

  • #12. Marine engineering
    40/ Shutterstock

    #12. Marine engineering

    - Early career pay: $72,600
    - Mid-career pay: $126,500
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 73%

    Marine engineers apply engineering principles, such as computer science and electrical engineering, toward the design and operation of marine propulsion and on-board systems. This includes maritime power systems, control systems, and navigational frameworks for both surface ships and submarines. Pollution control and anti-fouling methods are important components in marine engineering.

  • #11. Economics and mathematics
    41/ Shutterstock

    #11. Economics and mathematics

    - Early career pay: $63,200
    - Mid-career pay: $126,900
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 36%

    Economics tends to be a function of mathematics. Actuarial tables, market statistics, interest projections, and growth charts are all measures that require a strong understanding of numbers. However, the major economics and mathematics is designed for those who wish to study how mathematical constructs work in an economics systems; this is typically a prerequisite for a graduate degree in economics. Those who have a bachelor's in this field can find work in actuary services or in finance.

  • #10. Chemical engineering
    42/ NASA/JPL-Caltech

    #10. Chemical engineering

    - Early career pay: $71,800
    - Mid-career pay: $126,900
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 54%

    Chemical engineering focuses on the experimentation, design, fabrication, and mass production of chemical compounds. This can range from biochemical fabrication, such as pharmaceuticals and fertilizers, to household chemicals, fuel refinements, and explosives. This conversion of matter can be highly dangerous, as demonstrated in the recent Intercontinental Terminals Co. chemical fire near Houston. Chemical engineers not only work in fabrication and design, but in environmental response, safety consulting, and in disaster response.

  • #9. Business analysis
    43/ Shutterstock

    #9. Business analysis

    - Early career pay: $53,400
    - Mid-career pay: $129,800
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 49%

    A business analyst enables change in a business or organization, with the goal of increasing value to the shareholder. This could include consolidations, mergers and acquisitions, down staffing, offshore staffing, model reforming after bankruptcy, or growth accommodating. The idea is to help businesses understand the challenges they face, so they can make better decisions. Business analysts can work in all aspects of business, as well as in government.

  • #8. Systems engineering
    44/ Shutterstock

    #8. Systems engineering

    - Early career pay: $70,800
    - Mid-career pay: $131,200
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 52%

    System engineering differs from industrial engineering in that it specifically focuses on how systems work and change during their lifespans. This management discipline works to improve system processes from design to decommissioning. This can include logistics management, risk management, team coordination, testing and evaluation, and cost and time management. System engineering majors have taken jobs in civil engineering, software engineering, cybernetics, organizational management, and system control engineering.

  • #7. Aeronautics and astronautics
    45/ NASA/Carla Thomas // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Aeronautics and astronautics

    - Early career pay: $71,400
    - Mid-career pay: $133,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 52%

    Aeronautics and astronautics is the focus on the building, designing, and maintenance of flight-worthy vehicles that can travel in or through the atmosphere. This field is expected to grow 6% from 2016 to 2026, which is average among occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • #6. Building science
    46/ Michal Jarmoluk // pixnio

    #6. Building science

    - Early career pay: $50,700
    - Mid-career pay: $135,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 33%

    Building science is the study of the phenomena that affect buildings, including physical forces, occupation forces, and efficiency. Building science looks at how strong a building is, the conditions inside the building, and the comfort and aesthetics of a building with an eye toward building better, more livable edifices. Building science majors can find work as inspectors, architects, designers, builders, building material engineers, and surveyors.

  • #5. Public accounting
    47/ Shutterstock

    #5. Public accounting

    - Early career pay: $60,700
    - Mid-career pay: $135,000
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 51%

    Public accounting is the auditing and financial record accounting of a business, individual, nonprofit, or government by an outside party. This is done under a specific set of rules and laws. Public accounting is essential to ensure the financial health of the country's public institutions and private businesses. Jobs in this field include tax consulting, certified public accounting, auditing, financial forensics, fraud investigations, and financial management.

  • #4. Chemical and biomolecular engineering
    48/ Office of Naval Research // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Chemical and biomolecular engineering

    - Early career pay: $71,900
    - Mid-career pay: $138,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 42%

    Chemical and biomolecular engineering deals with the design, fabrication, and assembly of biomolecular compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, food additives, or fuels. Majors in this field can work for food manufacturers, household goods manufacturers, fuel refineries, and drug companies.

  • #3. Actuarial mathematics
    49/ Shutterstock

    #3. Actuarial mathematics

    - Early career pay: $54,700
    - Mid-career pay: $158,100
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 46%

    Another hybrid major, actuarial mathematics looks at how actuarial risk is determined, using mathematical models. As actuarial science is a subset of mathematics, actuarial mathematics specifically evaluate the mathematical theory behind risk calculation. Actuarial mathematicians can find work in insurance firms, banks, and financial institutions.

  • #2. Operations research and industrial engineering
    50/ Shutterstock

    #2. Operations research and industrial engineering

    - Early career pay: $79,600
    - Mid-career pay: $166,300
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

    Operations research and industrial engineering looks at how organizations can address both their performance objectives and resources limits to create the most beneficial policies. Akin to business efficiency experts, this field looks at the existing decision-making apparatus to judge if it is efficient and to find ways to make it so. Jobs in this field include project managers and efficiency specialists.

  • #1. Petroleum engineering
    51/ Shutterstock

    #1. Petroleum engineering

    - Early career pay: $82,700
    - Mid-career pay: $183,600
    - Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 60%

    The world runs on oil. A petroleum engineer looks at methods to improve the discovery, extraction, transportation, and refinement of petroleum. Jobs in this field can be in oilfield management, pipeline construction, oil refining, and environmental response.

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