Best-Paying College Degrees of 2023

Shot of a group of cheerful university students on graduation day.
PeopleImages / Getty Images

You’re planning to attend college but you want to make sure your investment pays off by choosing the best college degree. One way to do that is to find out what college degrees will help you earn the most. Degrees in the fields of engineering, science and mathematics are in demand and typically offer higher pay than other degree types. 

See: How To Build Your Savings From Scratch

To determine the degrees that pay the best in 2023, GOBankingRates picked 10 of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees by average starting salary from the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ winter 2023 salary survey. Types of jobs you can get with each degree were sourced from the Indeed Career Guide. 

10 of the Best-Paying College Degrees

To set you on the right path, here are 10 of the best-paying college degrees of 2023. 

1. Petroleum Engineering 

  • Average starting salary: $85,000

With a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, you can become a petroleum engineer who helps locate oil and gas to fulfill a country’s energy requirements. Different types of jobs that are available with a petroleum engineering degree include the following:

  • Plant engineer
  • Production engineer
  • Support engineer
  • Engineering technician

2. Software Engineering

  • Average starting salary: $80,000
Make Your Money Work Better for You

Software engineers oversee the system and software specifications related to projects. They may supervise software developers, analysts and testers as part of their job. The following types of jobs are available with a software engineering degree:

  • Software quality assurance engineer
  • Video game designer
  • Cybersecurity engineer
  • Applications engineer

3. Computer Engineering

  • Average starting salary: $80,000

With a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, you can work in hardware or software development or a blend of both. 

With a computer engineering degree, the following jobs are available:

  • Multimedia programmer
  • Web developer
  • IT consultant
  • Computer systems analyst

4. Computer Science

  • Average starting salary: $74,000

A computer science degree can help you get technical jobs related to development or design or land you a position in a computer engineering field. Typical jobs include:

  • Web developer
  • UX designer
  • Cloud engineer
  • Machine learning engineer

5. Management Information Systems

  • Average starting salary: $70,000 

With a management information systems degree, you’ll have the ability to determine the technology objectives of organizations and develop a plan to make those objectives happen. You can get the following jobs with this type of degree:

  • Web development
  • IT analyst
  • Systems administrator
  • Data manager
Make Your Money Work Better for You

6. Physics

  • Average starting salary: $72,500  

A degree in physics can help you succeed in a variety of different careers and industries, but if you want a job that directly uses your physics knowledge, here are some to consider: 

  • Chemical engineer
  • Lab manager
  • Test engineer
  • Research scientist

7. Information Sciences and Systems

  • Average starting salary: $70,000 

If you have a degree in information sciences and systems, you are trained in the study of information systems and those related to computer hardware and software. Here are some examples of jobs you can land with this type of degree: 

  • Data analyst
  • Application analyst
  • IT consultant
  • Systems analysts

8. Biology/Biological Sciences

  • Average starting salary: $70,750

A biology degree can open up a wide variety of careers in the life sciences. Here are some jobs that you can pursue with a bachelor’s in biology:

  • Forensic scientist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Science teacher
  • Microbiologist

9. Chemistry

  • Average starting salary: $70,750 

Having a bachelor’s degree in chemistry is not only useful if you want to be a chemistry teacher. It can also help you land various chemistry-related jobs, including the following:

  • Synthetic chemist
  • Quality control chemist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Hazardous waste chemist
Make Your Money Work Better for You

10. Mathematics/Statistics

  • Average starting salary: $70,000 

When you think about getting a degree in mathematics or statistics, you might think of a job as a math teacher. However, there are many other opportunities available with these types of degrees. 

With a mathematics degree, you can confidently apply for the following jobs:

  • Purchasing specialist
  • Budget analyst
  • Mathematician
  • Algorithm engineer

A degree in statistics involves being able to apply high-level analysis skills to large amounts of numerical data. Examples of jobs you can get with this degree include the following:

  • Financial analyst
  • Market researcher
  • Cost estimator 
  • Actuary

What College Degree Is the Most Profitable?

When it comes to four-year college degrees, the most profitable ones are in the engineering and computer science fields, with engineering degrees leading to the highest-paying positions. 

According to the NACE survey, engineering majors claim the top-paid spot. And out of 15 engineering disciplines, two-thirds are reporting salary increases in 2023. However, the average salary projection for petroleum engineering majors is 3.4% lower than last year. 

How To Make $100,000 Without a College Degree

It’s true that getting a college degree can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which is quite an investment — and it also takes around four years to complete. Plus, you might not be interested in pursuing a career in a mathematics, science or engineering field.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

If you’re wondering if you can make great money without getting a college degree, the answer is yes. Your collective experience and knowledge in a specific field can help you earn $100,000 or more without a degree under your belt. For example, you can become a social media manager, advertising manager or freelance video editor and earn $10,000 or more per month. If you decide to go this route, it might take a bit longer to command high pay than it would if you had a college degree, but that’s not always the case.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.


See Today's Best
Banking Offers