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by Vault Education Editors | April 01, 2009

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More than a decade of uninterrupted economic growth has boosted starting salaries for most college graduates, even those who majored in fields that would have once consigned them to a life of shabby academic poverty. Computer science and other technical grads still draw some of the fattest first paychecks, but the urgency to fill jobs in finance, consulting, and other high-paying jobs means even English and philosophy majors tasted the fin de siecle bounty.

Other students, unwilling to give up the humanities but concerned about drawing a healthy salary after graduation, are doubling up on majors. At the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, students created 18 new majors by combining economics with psychology, theater arts, or 16 other courses.

Here, Vault.com presents a small selection of starting salaries offered by a handful of schools from the past two years, compared with national averages compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a group that studies hiring trends among college grads.

1999 Results
Major
National Average
University of Pennsylvania
New York University (mean salary)
Computer Engineering
$45,214


Computer Science
$44,199
$50,000
$49,000
Electrical Engineering
$44,918
$48,120

Chemical Engineering
$46,837


Mechanical Engineering
$47,071
$43,000

History
$27,997
$34,633

Psychology
$26,477
$31,737
$35,000
English
$26,896
$30,318
$32,000
Economics
$35,136
$38,777
$43,000

The 2000 results are on the next page.~
2000 Results

Major
National Average
Kansas State
Princeton
Computer Engineering
$49,055
$47,940
$60,688
Electrical Engineering
$48,613
$50,000
$57,706
Chemical Engineering
$48,890
$48,212
$57,706
Mechanical Engineering
$50,182
$43,457
$51,429
History
$31,599
$27,133
$43,423
Psychology
$28,811
$25,159
$34,760
English
$29,108
$13,838
$34,533
Economics
$37,757
$34,888
$45,266

2000 Results Continued

Major
Rice
MIT
Ohio State
Computer Engineering
$57,855
$63,900
$53,516
Electrical Engineering
$52,161
$57,500
$47,317
Chemical Engineering
$39,000
$50,800
$50,719
Mechanical Engineering
$46,900
$51,300
$49,127
History
$35,000


Psychology
$37,900


English
$54,000


Economics
$49,370
$46,200


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