Thursday, March 18, 2021

Even Elite Schools Have Subprime Majors (Keil Dumsch and Dahn Shaulis)

Even elite US universities have academic majors that result in negative or low returns on investment (ROI).   The Higher Education Inquirer I looked at some of America's most elite schools and found the worst performing majors at each school.  You can find the information yourself by going to the US Department of Education's College Scorecard.  

While the College Scorecard has limitations, including incomplete and missing data, it can still be used as one tool for choosing a college and a major to study.  The College Scorecard has a section for every school called "Salary After Attending." 

If you click on "View More Details" you can see several sections, including a section titled "Salary after Completing."  If you take a look at the range and hover over the low you see the major that had the lowest performing major in terms of salaries.  

The salary ranges for some schools are enormous, and it's amazing what you will find for low salary majors at elite schools. Some may argue that the salaries are misleading if people go on to grad school or medical school, but many do not.  And of those who do continue their studies some still end up as post docs or in other less than optimum jobs while holding an even larger amount of debt.  CalTech is the only school that does not have a low-ROI major. 

Here's a sample. 

Brown, Human Biology, $27,669
Caltech, Mechanical Engineering, $83,177
Carnegie Mellon, Fine and Studio Arts, $20,140
Columbia University, Philosophy, $28,598
Cornell, Geologic and Earth Sciences/Geosciences $25,194
Dartmouth, Biology, $32,563
Duke, Area Studies, $20,262
Emory, Biology, $16,940
Georgetown, Biological and Physical Sciences, $27,476 
Harvard, Anthropology, $26,353
Johns Hopkins, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, $14,627
MIT, Biology, $35,772
New York University, Dance, $16,478
Notre Dame, Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics $20,140
Princeton, Research and Experimental Psychology, $33,993
Rice, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, $24,421
Stanford University, English, $23,649
Tufts, Fine and Studio Arts, $23,538
University of California - Berkeley, Philosophy, $20,824
University of California - Los Angeles, Music, $18,498
University of Chicago, Biology, $23,649
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Microbiological Sciences and Immunology, $16,169
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Philosophy, $18,154
University of Pennsylvania, Film, Video, and Photographic Arts, $24,035
University of Southern California, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, $10,925
University of Virginia, Drama/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, $18,771
Vanderbilt, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, $16,663
Wake Forest University, Health and Physical Education/Fitness, $26,353
Washington University in St Louis, Biology, $16,663
Yale, Ecology, $30,771

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