There’s nearly 4,000 different colleges and universities in the United States, and almost as many different ways to rank them.
There’s P&Q’s own ranking for the top undergraduate business schools, Georgetown Center on Education’s ranking of schools where a business major most pays off, and Pitchbook’s ranking for students who want to be entrepreneurs. You can school rankings on return on investment, on acceptance rates, and on total cost.
Other rankings look at the hundreds of different college majors. A student’s major could have a greater impact on paying back those student loans than the college students choose to attend, according to Payscale, whose annual College Salary Report found that STEM majors continue to have among the largest mid-career salaries of all majors. And the daddy of them all? Petroleum engineering with starting average salaries topping $93,000 and rising to $187,300 by mid-career.
But how do individual majors fare when evaluated by more than just salary?
Scholaroo, a site that helps undergrads find scholarships and compare schools, compared 103 different college degrees and ranked them in three categories: Job availability and salary, job stability, and career cost. With all these factors, petroleum engineering falls to third overall, preceded by computer engineering in second and actuarial science in first.
JOB AVAILABILITY AND SALARY
Scholaroo evaluated 103 college degrees by 12 metrics in the categories of availability of jobs and salaries, career stability, and cost of the degree. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale. Each degree was assigned an overall score based on the weighted average across all metrics.
Job Availability and salary was weighted the highest, accounting for a possible 50 points. Relevant metrics included starting median salary of the degree, median income, projected job availability in 2028, and annual job openings.
Engineering degrees had the five highest median starting salaries out of all the degrees, and two of those (petroleum and chemical) also had among the highest median salaries after five years. Meanwhile, education and social work degrees ranked among the lowest paid degrees.
JOB STABILITY & CAREER COST
To score degrees on job stability, Scholaroo looked at unemployment rates within the career path, job openings per graduate, and the percentage of workers who leave the profession each year.
Science and medical careers ranked highest in career stability, while arts, anthropology, physics and tourism careers ranked the lowest.
For cost, they measured the median in-state public tuition of four-year schools that offer the degrees as well as the median out-of-state and private tuition. Once again, medical, science, and engineering degrees rank highest.
HOW BUSINESS RELATED MAJORS STACK UP
A cool feature of this weekend is that it gives career specific data for each of the ranked degrees. Students can use the online tool to compare the total workforce, salary figures, degree costs, new job openings per year, turnover rates and other metrics for a variety of degrees.
For example, accounting majors can expect average starting salaries of $54,800 and mid-career salaries of $93,100. They’ll also be able to apply for up to 180,700 new job openings a year. Business administration and management majors start out at an average of $51,400, but average $79,800 mid-career. Meanwhile, finance majors start out at $60,200 but earn an average of $105,200 as they advance.
You can explore other majors with the tool here.
The table below shows Scholaroo’s best college majors, Nos. 11 through 25.
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