Before switching majors or pushing your child into petroleum engineering (the highest-earning major, with a median salary of $120K), however, make note of one flaw in the Georgetown study. The median salaries in the report do not factor in graduate degrees in any way. Those who received something beyond a bachelor’s degree are not represented—English majors who went on to be lawyers, for instance, or Sociology majors who later earned MBAs. For that matter, it’d seem like most full-time school teachers—the vast majority of who wind up with advanced degrees—are not included either.
The study notes that about 40% of Liberal Arts and Humanities majors obtain graduate degrees, and with them a bump up in salary, so maybe all of the engineers aren’t out-earning the English majors by quite as much as the report indicates.
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Alex Friedrich reports on higher education issues for MPR News. Among the stories he has covered: the fall of the Berlin Wall, aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, 2003 Moscow suicide bombing and 2004 presidential elections in the Republic of Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s in European political economy from the London School of Economics.