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15 Highest paying degrees you can take in college

College prepares us for our lifetime careers. Most of us, if not all, have considerations when choosing a degree to take in college. This includes our location, interests, opportunities for growth, and the ones that can send our earning potential soaring.

If you want to see yourself pursuing a lucrative career in the future and enjoying an amazing paycheck, it’s important to know which programs generally lead to stellar incomes. If you really want to consider pursuing a career that matches your passion and interests but doesn’t earn as much as the highest paying college degree programs, you may want to study further and use your post-graduate degree as a ticket to higher-demand and higher-paying roles.

To get to know more about the highest paying master’s degrees, check out bestdegreeprograms.org.

In this article, we will explore the 15 highest paying degrees you can take in college. Here are some of them:

15. Physics

Physics explores the laws of nature and the relationship between energy and matter. Physics itself is a broad study, and students may choose a specialization of their interest such as astronomy and astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, cosmology, engineering physics, geophysics, medical physics, optics, particle physics, quantum computing.

You could study things as tiny as atoms and molecules or as gigantic as planets and galaxies. Physics degrees sharpen the students’ analytical and quantitative skills that allow them to find work in various industries, including finance, information technology, telecommunications, and energy.

Median salary: $81,143

Best Physics programs in the US:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • Princeton, NJ
  • University of California–Berkeley
  • Cornell University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign

14. Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

An industrial and manufacturing engineering degree equips the students with the knowledge and experiences to help factories and manufacturing facilities streamline their production processes. Aside from that, you learn how to devise the most effective ways to utilize materials, machines, and human resources to produce goods that help elevate people’s lives.

Median salary: $81,452

Best Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering programs in the US:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • University of California–Berkeley
  • Cornell University
  • Northwestern University (McCormick)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University–West Lafayette
  • Stanford University
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Virginia Tech

13. Applied Mathematics

An applied mathematics program prepares students for a career in sectors like insurance, finance, or technology. An applied mathematics degree establishes your foundations in advanced linear algebra, calculus, and statistics courses. You will also undertake training in computer science, economics, or physical sciences.

Median salary: $82,858

Best Applied Mathematics programs in the US:

  • Brown University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • New York University

12. Civil Engineering

A civil engineering degree equips you for a career that involves designing and maintaining our society’s infrastructure. Civil engineers are responsible for building offices, roads, bridges, dams, airports, and even water-supply and flood-defense systems. This field covers many different specializations, such as structural, municipal, environmental, and geotechnical engineering.

Median salary: $82,858

Best Civil Engineering programs in the US:

  • University of California-Berkeley
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Stanford University
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Purdue University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Carnegie Mellon University

11. Computer Science

A degree in computer science explores courses such as data structures, system architecture, and discrete mathematics. If you are interested in operating systems and software applications, you are on the right path to one of the most profitable careers today. ComSci graduates can work as computer programmers, database administrators, systems analysts, and network administrators.

Median salary: $82,858

Best Computer Science programs in the US:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of California–Berkeley
  • Stanford University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • Cornell University
  • Purdue University–West Lafayette

10. Geological and Geophysical Engineering

With geological and geophysical engineering, you learn how to evaluate soil and rock conditions to decide whether they are appropriate sites for mines, roads, dams, or pipelines. Geological and geophysical engineering graduates are responsible for assessing the possible hazards, such as flooding, dewatering, and seismic activities, that could emerge from site development.

Median salary: $86,553

Best Geological and Geophysical Engineering programs in the US:

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of Michigan
  • Stanford University
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • University of Minnesota
  • Michigan Technological University
  • University of Utah
  • University of Nevada, Reno

9. Computer Engineering

If you are torn between studying electrical engineering and computer science, why not study both by taking computer engineering? This degree explores the design and construction of computer components such as routers, circuit boards, memory chips, and microprocessors. Although computer engineering focuses on the hardware aspect, you will also be trained in programming and software development.

Median salary: $86,553

Best Computer Engineering programs in the US:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Texas at Austin

8. Mechanical Engineering

Interested in developing and building devices and machines that involve motion? Why not study mechanical engineering? This degree equips students the knowledge in crafting and maintaining cars, airplanes, sensors, turbines, compressors, and many others. Mechanical engineering graduates can land jobs in different industries, such as the automotive, aerospace, biotechnology, electronics, or manufacturing sectors.

Median salary: $86,883

Best Mechanical Engineering programs in the US:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • University of California–Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University–West Lafayette
  • University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Texas at Austin

7. Aerospace Engineering

If you are interested in designing airplanes, rockets, and satellites, you can study aerospace engineering. This degree equips students with knowledge in areas such as airframe design, structural analysis, flight mechanics, avionics, and thermodynamics. You also have the option to focus on a specific track, whether you want to study aircraft or specialize in spacecraft.

Median salary: $90,141

Best Aerospace Engineering programs in the US:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • Purdue University–West Lafayette
  • Stanford University
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Maryland–College Park
  • Texas A&M University

6. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering prepares you for a career that involves designing and maintaining all kinds of electrical equipment. In this degree, you will explore topics such as circuit design, electrodynamics, and signal processing. Graduates of this program can land a job in the telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, and construction industries.

Median salary: $93,215

Best Electrical Engineering programs in the US:

  • University of California–Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • University of Texas at Austin

5. Chemical Engineering

A Chemical engineering program prepares you to design and strategize manufacturing processes and equipment used to produce or use chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. You will study not only chemistry but also biology, physics, and math. Research labs, industrial plants, and chemical refineries need chemical engineers.

Median salary: $96,156

Best Chemical Engineering programs in the US:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of California–Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • Stanford University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Texas at Austin

4. Mining and Mineral Engineering

If you are curious about how systems to discover and extract minerals like coal, gold, and diamonds are designed, try studying mining and mineral engineering. Not only do you learn how to manage processing operations, but you will also be taught how to ensure worker safety and minimize mining’s environmental impacts. While lucrative, this job also exposes you to highly hazardous environments, like other engineering professions.

Median salary: $97,372

Best Mining and Mineral Engineering programs in the US:

  • University of Nevada – Reno
  • University of Arizona
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • University of Utah
  • West Virginia University
  • Pennsylvania State University – University Park
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • Virginia Tech

3. Metallurgical Engineering

If you are interested in metals like iron, steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc and how to extract and combine them to create different products, metallurgical engineering might be the best course for you. Metallurgical engineering graduates can land a job in various industries involved in refining, producing, or manufacturing metals or metal products.

Median salary: $97,743

Best Metallurgical Engineering programs in the US:

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology. Rolla, MO
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • University of Nevada – Reno
  • University of Utah
  • LeTourneau University
  • The University of Texas at El Paso

2. Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Pharmaceutical Administration

In these programs, you will learn to develop and test drugs and other medicines. You will explore various branches of science, including biology, chemistry, and toxicology. A foundation for graduate work leading to a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, these programs also prepare you for a career in pharmaceutical sales, research, marketing, or manufacturing.

Median salary: $112,519

Best Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Pharmaceutical Administration programs in the US:

  • University of Toledo in Ohio
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Texas in Austin
  • Ohio State University in Columbus
  • University of the Sciences
  • University of Florida
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Washington

1. Petroleum Engineering

Leading the list is the petroleum engineering program. Learners of this degree prepare for a career in developing safe and efficient ways to locate and extract underground oil and natural gas reserves. Geology, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and well drilling are the foundations of this program. Petroleum engineering graduates can work in research labs, consulting firms, and energy companies.

Median salary: $135,754

Best Petroleum Engineering programs in the US:

  • Texas A&M University
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Penn State University
  • Texas Tech University
  • Montana Tech University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • The University of Tulsa
  • The University of Oklahoma
  • University of North Dakota

Ready to kick-start your lifetime career? Start exploring and examining a range of rewarding options with this list!

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