8 College Majors With the Best Return on Investment

Eager to choose a cost-effective area of study? Major in one of these eight subjects to ensure that your college degree really pays off.

By Sydney Nikols | April 21, 2014

U.S. News listed Harvard University's Economics department as the best in the country.

College is expensive, but you don’t have to feel like you’re wasting your money. If you choose your major wisely, you can get a good return on your college investment, meaning that the money you earn after graduating exceeds the amount you spent on your degree. Recently, Salary.com estimated the ROIs of different degrees by subtracting the average cost of the degree ($121,930 for private colleges and $37,343 for public schools) from the average salary gains over 30 years, and then dividing by the average cost of the degree (the first number). According to their data, these eight majors lead to high-paying jobs that give you a good ROI, regardless of whether you attend a pricey private school or a more economical public institution.

1. Economics

If you’re interested in how economies function and fluctuate, you’ll make a great economics major (and you’ll likely make a great return on your college investment, too). Economics majors with Corporate Finance Associate II positions earn a median salary of $115,671, giving them an ROI of 55 percent if they went to a private college and 182 percent if they went to a public school.

2. Information Technology

If technology fascinates you (and we don’t just mean that you love playing Candy Crush on your iPhone), consider yourself lucky – you’d probably make a great information technology major, and you’ll get a great return on your college investment. Information technology managers make a median salary of $107,578 – that’s a 51 percent ROI for private college graduates, and 169 percent for those who graduate from a public college.

3. Human Resources

If you’re all about making sure your friends and loved ones remain happy and healthy, consider a major in human resources, which will teach you how to keep an entire company happy and healthy. Recruiting managers, many of whom studied human resources in college, make a median salary of $88,916, which gives private school graduates a 42 percent return on investment and public college grads an ROI of 139 percent.

4. Math

If you love solving for x, majoring in math may be the perfect solution for you. Accounts payable/receivable managers, most of whom studied math in college, make a median salary of $76,241, giving them an ROI of 36 percent on a private college education and 119 percent if they come from a public college.

USA News reports that MIT has the best Math department in the United States.

5. Marketing

Marketing majors, who learn how to build and sell brands, can make a median salary of $86,591 as marketing managers and get a 41 percent return on their investment from a private college and a 136 percent return if they attended a public college.

6. English

Even though students studying the sciences classically make the biggest bucks post-graduation, English majors can get a solid return on their college investment, too. Web content managers, many of whom majored in English, make a median salary of $79,674. This gives them a 38 percent return on their investment if they went to a private institution and a 125 percent return if they went to a public school.

7. Engineering

If you have a mind for math and science and have always been interested in how stuff works, majoring in engineering might be your smartest choice. Engineers of all types tend to make a lot of money after graduation. Employees with Chemical Engineer II positions, for example, make a median salary of $75,225, giving them a 35 percent return from a private college and a 118 percent return form a public one.

8. Biology

If you love science and nature, why not combine the two and major in biology? Bio majors who snag Clinical Research Associate II positions earn a median salary of $72,812 and get a 34 percent return on their investment from a private school. That number bumps up to 114 percent for public school grads.

Stanford University as the best Biology program in the country, according to USA News.

A four-year degree is by no means cheap, but look at it this way: If you major in one of these subjects, the money you spend will most definitely be worth it.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Colleges With the Best Return on Investment (ROI)
7 Jobs That Offer the Best Return on Your College Investment
Highest Paying Entry-Level Jobs for Recent College Graduates
Best Jobs for Recent College Grads

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