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by Vault Education Editors | July 23, 2009


It should come as no surprise that your starting salary after graduation depends on what you study. In my earlier post about the college graduate salary rankings, the colleges with the highest starting salaries were those that specialized in engineering, nursing and other pre-professional or technical programs. But has the economy affected how much students are making? Sure, but probably not by as much as you thought. A Vault survey conducted earlier this year showed that average salary offers for the class of 2009 were the about the same as those the class of 2008 received last year. However, our survey didn't ask about the salary offers for students who earned degrees in different subjects. So, has the economy changed how the earning potential of different majors? Do they still rank the same?

In general, yes. The 2009 National Association of Colleges and Employers Recruiting Benchmarks Survey found that engineering is still on top. And its lead increased this year, as salary offers gained an average of 3.28 percent from 2008. Interestingly, the drop in salary offers for business majors was minimal—less than 1 percent. So while fewer offers were made, the graduates that earned an I-banking job will earn roughly the same amount as 2008 grads.

Here's a table from the NACE survey with some of the most popular majors, their average 2009 starting salaries and the changes from last year:

Undergraduate Salary Offers by Major


Filed Under: Education|Grad School

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