Top 20 Best-Paying College Degrees in 2010

Last Updated Aug 20, 2010 4:35 PM EDT

Want to know what the best-paying college degrees are?Complex math problems on black chalkboard
Here's a hint: The college degrees that lead to the highest salaries all involve high-level mathematics.

Just like last year's survey of salaries by college degrees, engineering majors dominate the list. For undergraduates, seven of the top 10 college degrees, according to PayScale, Inc., belong to engineering majors. The best paying college degree of all -- by a long shot -- is petroleum engineering.

The salary advantage that graduates, who earn these largely technical degrees, enjoy continues as they move into the middle of their careers.

Here are the top 20 best-paying college degrees in 2010:

College Degree Starting Median Pay Mid-career pay
  1. Petroleum engineering $93,000 $157,000
  2. Aerospace engineering $59,400 $108,000
  3. Chemical engineering $64,800 $108,000
  4. Electrical engineering $60,800 $104,000
  5. Nuclear engineering $63,900 $104,000
  6. Applied mathematics $56,400 $101,000
  7. Biomedical engineering $54,800 $101,000
  8. Physics $50,700 $99,600
  9. Computer engineering $61,200 $87,700
  10. Economics $48,800 $97,800
  11. Computer science $56,200 $97,700
  12. Civil engineering $53,500 $93,400
  13. Statistics $50,000 $93,400
  14. Finance $47,500 $91,500
  15. Software engineering $56,700 $91,300
  16. Management info. systems $50,900 $90,300
  17. Mathematics $46,400 $88,300
  18. Government $41,500 $88,300
  19. Information systems $49,300 $87,100
  20. Construction Management $50,400 $87,000

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.
Best-paying college degree image by alist. CC 2.0.

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