These Are the Top-Paid Majors for the Class of 2018

For some, starting salaries will be higher than last year's class; others will earn less

Stephen Miller, CEBS By Stephen Miller, CEBS February 9, 2018

Class of 2018 college graduates earning engineering and computer science degrees are expected to command the highest starting salaries, the not-for-profit National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found.

According to NACE's Winter 2018 Salary Survey report, engineering majors are projected to average $66,521, while computer science graduates are expected to average $66,005. Those averages represent little change from the salaries projected for Class of 2017 graduates in those fields; both are up less than 1 percent.

Other bachelor's-degree majors fared better in terms of projected increases in their starting salaries.

  • Humanities graduates are expected to see the biggest increase, with a 16.3 percent hike in salary for an average of $56,688.
  • Social sciences graduates are expected to earn an average of $56,689 this year, up 6 percent from last year's average.
  • Math and science graduates are expected to earn salaries that average $61,867, a jump of 4.2 percent over last year's average.
  • Business majors saw their overall average salary projection climb 3.5 percent to $56,720.

By contrast, Class of 2018 agriculture and natural resources graduates are expected to earn an average of $53,565, down 1.5 percent from last year. For communications graduates, the average starting salary projection of $51,448 dropped less than 1 percent from last year's projection.

The figures are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits or overtime rates. Starting salaries were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from August to December 2017.

[SHRM members-only guide: How to Establish Salary Ranges]


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