10 Grad School Degrees With the Highest ROIs

10 Grad School Degrees With the Highest ROIs

Let’s start with the good news: The median annual income for grad school alumni is $73,100, according to Kiplinger—almost $23,000 more than the salary of the average worker with a bachelor’s degree.

The flipside? A healthy income may not help you achieve your financial goals any faster if you’re giving up a big portion to repay your student loans or working in a declining industry.


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To help prospective grad students discern whether their degrees will truly be worth the debt, Kiplinger identified 10 fields that offer their grad school alumni the most promising careers. For each degree listed, advanced-degree holders can expect to pay off their student loans in less than 10 years, and the industry growth projections exceed the national expectation of 10.8%.

Computer science tops the list as the industry with the highest-paid workers. Mid-level professionals with a master’s degree in this field can expect to earn $117,000 and pay off their student debt in just a little over seven years. PhD holders also begin their careers with a six-figure paycheck—and climb to $130,000 by the middle of their career.

As for the fastest-growing industry? The spotlight's on mathematics. It was projected that overall growth will hit 22.7% between 2012 and 2022, plus the unemployment rate is just 2.9% (as opposed to 3.3% for all grad school alumni). Workers with a master’s degree in mathematics can expect to earn just under $100,000, while PhD holders are earning closer to $112,000.

Other industries mentioned: civil engineering, accounting, human resources management, information systems and more. Click here to see the complete list.

Still wondering if graduate school is right for you? Plug your information into our graduate school calculator.


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