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Top 5 Mega-Buck College Majors

Updated on June 25, 2013

Does money motivate? If it indeed does, then all you college-bound high school seniors and parents should discern academia’s "mega-buck college majors." Moreover, of all the college majors available at many of America’s two and four year institutions of higher learning, which five offer the best value in terms of return on investment? College is, after all, an investment in one’s human capital, which is the knowledge, skills, and experience that make an individual more productive, thereby earning him or her higher income over a lifetime. The following list below gives kudos to five of the very best college majors in reference to its ability to garner, over a lifetime, very high income possibilities:

#5 Economics

Economics is the study of scarce resources; therefore, what an economist does is simply a matter of studying the production and distribution of those resources. According to Bureau of Labor and Statistics website, economists can expected to be paid an annual salary of $89,450. In addition, for those select few economic Ph.D. candidates (namely, graduates from MIT, Harvard and the University of Chicago) that go on to attain mythical economic rock star status, the money earning potential becomes tenfold—i.e., candidates that achieve such noteworthy feats can without question earn very high six figures salaries, along with achieving much acclaim in the field of economics in the likes of Dr. Noriel Robini of Harvard University and Ben Bernanke, current Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Do you like the idea of traveling to such breathtaking locations as Davos, Switzerland--or perhaps even Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia? Still yet, becoming a household name in the field of economics may not be for everyone; nonetheless, a prestigious economic job at the World Bank, IMF, an economic consultancy firm, a think tank organization or even the Federal Reserve will require furthering ones career through doctoral studies—preferably from a relatively decent economic program from such notable schools as UC Berkeley, MIT, London School of Economics, UOC or Stanford University.

#4 Accounting

You want to know what all the accounting majors were doing throughout the economic downturn of 2007-2010: making big bank! In fact, accounting, along with certain medical professions, was one the of very few “Great Recession” proof majors. Much of the allure of the accounting major has more to do with simple economics: the global demand for accounting professionals clearly outweigh the current global supply, especially after the demise of Arthur Anderson, an accounting conglomerate that was forced to close its doors in the wake of the 2001 Enron scandal. Accountants and Auditors with bachelor degrees will go on to earn roughly $61,690 per year, according to Perhaps concerned about their long-term job prospect, especially in an uncertain job market, students at home and abroad may have finally realized the virtues of this "mega-buck college major," inundating business school admission offices with applications to their Master’s of accounting program. Students holding a Master’s of accounting, a type of specialized business discipline, typically will have a competitve edge in the international job market, vastly increasing the odds of being hired by one of the Big Four accounting firms such as Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG and PricewaterhoseCoopers.

#3 Political Science (Government)

Looking to contribute to the greater good of society? Look none futher than a degree in political science (poli sci). A bachelor's degree in poli sci denotes a spiriit of social change, and can lead to very exciting careers in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; precollegiate education; electoral politics; research and university and college teaching. Simply put, political science means diversity. Still yet, because of its virtual hegemony within the realms of pre-law majors, it has rightfully earned the distinction of being considered a "mega-buck college major." Virtually anyone who’s anyone that plans to attend law school will at least consider majoring in political science. In fact, the most common major among students entering law school was political science, according to the American Bar Association. Lawyers make bank. Some have been known to start their own law firm—or better yet, even run for political office, both of which could yield millions of dollars in the long-term (i.e., current president Barack Obama).

#2 Computer Science & Mathematics

Both computer scientist and mathematicians are two very high-skilled professionals, solving complex real-world problems at very high levels through the utilization of precise analytical skills reserved only for some of academia’s best minds. Thus, given the sheer magnitude of what the two professions represent on the American and global job market, both majors are considered to be virtual guaranteed "mega-buck college majors." Moreover, a Ph.D. in either profession should wash away any kinds of doubt of job security, as employment of computer scientist and mathematicians are expected to grow by 19 percent, according to

#1 Engineering (Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical & Petroleum)

Why major in engineering? Images of long-term riches usually come to mind. In reality, majoring in engineering isn’t for the faint of heart, at least not in its early stages. To be exact, attaining this "mega-buck college major" will require taking a sequence of calculus and physics courses that will test a prospective student’s analytical, science and mathematical skills—as well as his or her scholastic devotion to the program. The chart to the right says it all: when it comes to long-term income possibilities, majors in certain engineering disciples stands tall above the rest. In this same vein, graduates in electrical, mechanical, chemical or petroleum engineering can easily expect, over a lifetime, to earn six-figure salaries. Perhaps what the chart has left out isn’t easy to discern—namely, conferring a MBA or a PH.D. in either field will drastically catapult one’s salary into the stratosphere, burnishing the notion that when it comes to earning very high salaries, these four engineering majors may very well have little competition.

In final, the typical pathway towards riches for most high school adolescents, as mandated by the American media, has largely been based in the “American Dream,” embellishing the idea that you should open your own Microsoft, become another Bill Gates and go on to earn the title of being another millionaire. In all economic realism, if you really want to earn a million dollars over the course of a lifetime, then your pathway should begin and end with the type of major you decide to pursuit, thus it could be concluded that education truly is ones best investment.


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    • Woodmckinney profile image

      Amanda 4 years ago from Maryland

      I went to college for Forensic Psychology- it is interesting; but You need at least a 5 year degree to earn over 50,000 annually. Whew. Wish I would have seen this hub sooner!!

      Voted up!

    • j80caldwell profile image

      j80caldwell 4 years ago

      Hello Karen, thanks for the vote!

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Good thing I am not entering college now because none of these majors have any appeal to me whatever. I majored in social work so I could help the world. And yes, I have not been rich in terms of money, but I have been rich in terms of personal fulfillment. I guess I have always been destined to not make mega bucks at my job. These majors would not have interested me when I went to college, nor now. But it is a good hub filled with great information about majors that can help a person earn a lot of money over a lifetime. Voted up.