In Career, Debt, Discussions, Discussions, Education, For Beginners, Investing, Money

Which college degree makes you the most money?

Ever wondered what you should (or should have!!) majored in college?

According to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the majors that give you the best chance of reaching the 1 percent are pre-med, economics, biochemistry, zoology and, yes, biology, in that order.

New York Times

Percentage OF MAJORS who are TOP 1%’ers

  1. Pre-Med: 11.8%
  2. Economics: 8.2%
  3. Biochemical Sciences: 7.2%
  4. Zoology: 6.9%
  5. Biology: 6.7%
  6. International Relations: 6.7%
  7. Political Science: 6.2%
  8. Physiology: 6%
  9. Art History and Criticism: 5.9%
  10. Chemistry: 5.7%

Wow! My major didn’t even crack the 1% 😉

I went into business, and I have friends who are dentists and lawyers who are crazy successful, so I think we should take the survey results with a grain of salt.. or two.

P.S. — English Lit: 3.8%

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. Jaime

    The NY Times is wrong to call health prep programs majors. Pre-med isn’t a major, its just a series of classes that prepare you for med school.

    You still have to pick a major even if you choose pre-med so you can get a bachelor’s degree. A lot of people who major in biology, art history, etc. Tend to actually go to law and med school. So I’m not really surprised if they go on to become part of the top 1%.

    So I know you said you went to business school but consultants tend to earn more than someone that just got a business admin, or general business degree. Also a lot of people that go to med and law school usually tend to come from families that can afford to pay for their kids to go there.

  2. Jaime

    I’m guessing many of them are going to law school, vet/med school? 

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Perhaps? I wish we had their data.

  3. From Shopping to Saving

    This is super random…I want to know how they organized the survey and who they interviewed. I think that the people reporting these things may be much older or something, or possibly a few handful of people skewed the entire thing haha. I think business should be one of the majors up there too but I think there are a lot of other people that bring it down as well. Also I think pre-med only makes the most if you actually continue onto med school..or do something crazy with it. Because what can you do with a pre-med major if you don’t pursue medicine? Kind of like pre-law without going to law school! 

    Okay I’m analyzing this way too deeply haha!

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      You are bringing up really good points like the rest of the commenters.
      If we had their data it would be better.

  4. Banclothing

    Engineering didn’t make the list or am I missing something?

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      It didn’t seem to make the list. Neither did the other usual suspects!

  5. B. (Below Her Means)

    Fun data. I was an English lit. major!

  6. SWR

    But how many of those majors have graduate degrees on top of them?  I think it’s a bit misleading to include the pre-law and pre-med kids in these kind of studies.  It’s the graduate degree, not the undergrad (especially in the case of poly sci) that brings them $$$, no? 

    I think if the study were re-vamped you would see all of the engineering and business degrees at or near the top.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Another good point.

      If they provided such data sets it might be interesting to see all the slicing and dicing.

  7. jeweliette23

    Umm, zoology? Ok.  I was International Relations. 😛  I think this study would have been better if they did the stats based on successful people who are practicing in the same field as their major.  Obviously most pre-med and biology kids became doctors, not research scientists.  Poli sci and similar majors became lawyers. Etc.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Or maybe they all started their own businesses.

      I know in my field, not everyone was a business major, they just fell into the job by chance.


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