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The College Majors With The Biggest Lifetime Earnings

Engineering Students LabDavid Hecker/Getty ImagesEngineering majors top the list of highest paying degrees.

Students who study chemical engineering as undergraduates will, on average, make the most money of any college major over their lifetimes, earning more than $US2 million, according to a new study from The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.

The report — titled “Major Decisions: What Graduates Earn Over Their Lifetimes” — tracks data from the Census Bureau to determine which college majors yield the largest financial rewards over a graduate’s lifetime. Unsurprisingly, engineering degrees topped the list, while education and arts majors were found closer to the bottom.

However, as The Washington Post notes, “these rankings exclude people with graduate degrees, which leaves out doctors, lawyers, and professors,” which explains the potentially low ranking of majors that traditionally go on to law school or medical school.

Overall though, the report reaffirms the importance and value of a college degree — according to the findings, a typical bachelor’s degree graduate will earn $US1.19 million over their lifetime, around twice what the typical high school graduate earns.

Here’s The Hamilton Project’s chart of median lifetime earnings by college major, in millions of dollars:

Read the full report on college major lifetime earnings at The Hamilton Project >>

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