The only reason you want to go to uni is to get rich, right?
Getting a degree means that you are more valuable in the job market and therefore should be paid more.
And, the best way to ensure that you get rich (fast) is by completing an in-demand, high paying course such as STEM or finance, right?
Competition for high-paying jobs is intense. It’s no longer enough to just get a degree in a notoriously high-paying field and strut into a high-paying company and get hired.
Nope. Not happening.
Nowadays, it’s not just about what you study but where you study.
Consider these stats:
Student A: James graduated from the University of Milwaukee with a STEM degree and is making about $34,600 USD a year.
Student B: Sally graduated from MIT with a degree in STEM and is making $151,000 USD a year.
How could this be?
Well, according to PayScale, the average starting salary for STEM grads is upwards of $50,000 USD a year but there are over 40 US unis whose STEM grads make less than $40,000 USD a year.
Going to a top STEM university such as Stanford opens doors for you that the University of Milwaukee cannot. Stanford’s location alone is one of the major reasons its starting salary is so high.
Hello, MIT, goodbye Milwaukee!
But these insane differences in starting salaries aren’t only true for STEM.
Take a look at the difference between these economics salaries:
Student A: Joe graduated from the University of East London with a degree in Economics and is making $23,100 USD a year.
Student B: Natalie graduated from London School of Economics with a degree in Economics and is making $45,916 USD a year.
Not all high-paying degrees lead to high-paying jobs.
Where you go to uni can be the difference between whether you become a millionaire or not.
And let’s be honest, I know you want that yacht.
Have I convinced you that where you go to uni matters yet?
Don’t even think about attending any other UK unis!
5. University of Bath: Bath, United Kingdom
One of the lesser known universities in the UK, the University of Bath kills it when it comes to high starting salaries and is often targeted by the UK’s top employers.
So what makes Bath so great?
The uni has an awesome placement scheme that gives you real work experience while you’re completing your degree.
The best part is, you may even get paid for your placement!
As part of your placement, you’ll get help with your CV and interview skills while also helping you figure out what you want to do after graduation.
With your real-life experience and excellent CV/interview skills, you’re bound to get a high starting salary just like the grads before you.
Developing practical skills is always the way to go.
And no, unfortunately the university doesn’t have a bathtub in every room. :(
Average Starting Salary (0-2 years after graduation): $32,781-$43,447 USD
Acceptance Rate: 80.4%
Tuition (not including living expenses or financial aid): EU Residents: $12,184 USD a year, International students: $20,944-$26,081 USD a year depending on your course
% of International Students: 16.3%
QS Employability Rank: 151-160
QS Top Ranked Majors: Sports Science
4. University of Oxford: Oxford, United Kingdom
One of the best unis in the UK also has one one of the highest starting salaries in the UK... surprising?
At Oxford, you’ll find yourself among the smartest students and professors around the world. Your education will be top-notch and you’ll have a great brand on your CV making you very attractive to the highest paying employers.
Not to mention, you’ll also get heaps of career guidance in your last year of uni including invites to dinners with top employers who will try to convince you to apply to their companies.
Once you graduate from Oxford, the ball will be in your court.
And that’s exactly the way it should be.
P.S. There are more jobs on Oxford’s online job board than there are graduates to fill them. Not all of those jobs have high starting salaries BUT at least you know you can always find a job!
Average Starting Salary (0-2 years after graduation): $32,781-$44,777 USD
Acceptance Rate: 16.8%
Tuition (not including living expenses or financial aid): EU Residents: $12,184 USD a year, International students: $20,750-$30,543 USD a year depending on your course
% of International Students: 20%
QS Employability Rank: 8
QS Top Ranked Majors: English Language and Literature, Geography, History, Philosophy, Medicine, Law, Politics, Arts and Humanities, Anatomy and Physiology
3. University of Cambridge: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Like Oxford, Cambridge has worldwide name recognition.
If you have Cambridge on your CV, you’re much more likely to grab the attention of high-paying employers than if you have a lesser known school on your CV.
Just remember that what you study is just as important as where you study.
If you study a subject such as English Literature, you’ll probably have a lower starting salary than if you study Computer Science... even if you go to Cambridge.
That being said, studying English Literature at Cambridge will be more lucrative than studying English Literature at a small university in the middle of nowhere.
But let’s not complicate things too much :)
Average Starting Salary (0-2 years after graduation): $34,748-$46,095 USD
Acceptance Rate: 35.7%
Tuition (not including living expenses or financial aid): EU Residents: $12,184 USD a year, International students: $25,284-$66,026 USD a year depending on your course
% of International Students: 12.6%
QS Employability Rank: 6
QS Top Ranked Majors: Modern Languages, Anatomy and Physiology, Archaeology, Geography, Life Sciences and Medicine, Engineering and Technology, Natural Sciences
2. City, University of London (City): London, United Kingdom
City prides itself on curriculum that prepares you for the working world.
So, what exactly does that mean?
Basically, City ensures there are many opportunities for you to interact with high-paying employers and interesting placement in engineering, computer science and maths, which will help you get ahead in your desired field.
By meeting high-end employers and potentially completing a placement with one, you’ll increase your number of professional contacts, which will ultimately help you land a high-paying job.
Average Starting Salary (0-2 years after graduation): $31,470-$47,411 USD
Acceptance Rate: N/A
Tuition (not including living expenses or financial aid): EU Residents: $12,184 USD a year, International students: depends on your major
% of International Students: 16.3%
QS Employability Rank: 191-200
QS Top Ranked Majors: Media and Communication Studies, Accounting and Finance, Business, Marketing, Management
1. London School of Economics (LSE): London, United Kingdom
LSE’s high starting salaries are due to the uni’s strengths in law and economics and LSE’s very selective admissions process.
When a uni picks the best students from the get-go, it’s only natural that those students will go on to have high-paying careers.
LSE’s location also plays a large part in its high starting salaries because you’ll be in close proximity to some of the highest-paying companies in the UK.
LSE is also the gift that keeps on giving.
The uni’s career services puts on events that you can benefit from up to five years after you graduate.
Hello free food!
I mean... free networking…
Average Starting Salary (0-2 years after graduation): $37,370-$50,045 USD
Acceptance Rate: 8.8%
Tuition (not including living expenses or financial aid): EU Residents: $12,184 USD a year, International students: $22,454 USD a year
% of International Students: 51.6% of undergraduates
QS Employability Rank: 54
QS Top Ranked Majors: Social Sciences and Management, Politics, Geography, Social Policy, Economics
Careful not to let your jaw hit the ground when you see these insane starting salaries!
P.S. There isn’t one Ivy League uni on this list. Guess Harvard isn’t that great after all.
5. United States Naval Academy (Navy): Annapolis, Maryland
Although you are required to complete military service after you graduate from Navy, you can study anything you’d like while at uni, plus your tuition is free! Talk about an outrageous return on investment.
Most students at Navy study STEM subjects, which tend to turn into some of the highest paying jobs available.
And, employers can’t wait to get their hands on you after you finish your 5+ years of service because they know you have gained excellent essential skills such as time management, following directions and learning quickly.
STEM + military service = high starting salary.
P.S. Don’t worry if you are an international student, Navy and Army (below) can each take 60 international students a year! High-paying career here you come.
Average Starting Salary (0-5 years after graduation): $75,000 USD
Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ years after graduation): $143,800 USD
Acceptance Rate: 8.4%
Tuition: Free, but must complete five years of service in the Navy after graduation.
% of International Students: 1.5%
QS Employability Rank: N/A
US News and World Report Most Popular Majors: Political Science and Government, Economics, Engineering, History
4. United States Military Academy (Army): West Point, New York
Like Navy, Army (a.k.a. West Point) has very high average starting salaries because of the military skills the uni teaches coupled with the intense academic curriculum it offers.
The uni was started by George Washington to train engineers, wayyy back in 1778!
Today, the military academy is an incredibly demanding university, both physically and mentally, and employers value the hard work you put in.
Time to start marching to your high-paying job.
Left. Right. Left, right, left.
Average Starting Salary (0-5 years after graduation): $75,100 USD
Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ years after graduation): $144,300 USD
Acceptance Rate: 9.1%
Tuition: Free, but must complete five years of service in the Army after graduation.
% of International Students: 1.3%
QS Employability Rank: N/A
US News and World Report Most Popular Majors: Engineering, Social Sciences, Business and Management, Marketing, Computer and Information Sciences
3. California Institute of Technology (Caltech): Pasadena, California
STEM universities reign supreme on this list for a reason.
There’s simply more money in STEM jobs and Caltech is one of the best STEM universities in the world; therefore, your starting salary will probably be really high if you graduate from Caltech.
However, you’ll need to be a bit nerdy to get in (I mean, have you seen the people on the Big Bang Theory?! Super smart... but kinda nerdy.)
Unlike the #1 university on this list (cough cough MIT), Caltech is very small so it’s almost impossible not to make meaningful connections to your powerful professors who can train you and help get you very lucrative jobs after graduation.
Median Starting Salary (0-5 years after graduation): $78,800 USD
Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ years after graduation): $142,500 USD
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Tuition (including room and board but not financial aid): $68,901 USD a year
% of International Students: 8%
QS Employability Rank: 73
US News and World Report Most Popular Majors: Engineering, Computer and Information Sciences, Physical Sciences, Math and Statistics, Biological and Biomedical Sciences
2. Harvey Mudd College: Claremont, California
Harvey Mudd doesn’t have a big brand name like Caltech and MIT because it’s technically a small liberal arts uni but boy does it pack a punch!
Hell, as a Harvey Mudd grad you’ll make so much money you won’t know what to do with it.
No amount of money is too much money. Think about all of the chocolates you could buy!
But Harvey Mudd is kinda cheating.
The uni literally only offers majors in STEM. Yep, no humanities or arts majors here (but you will take liberal arts courses to increase your critical thinking skills #crucial).
Therefore, the data is unfairly skewed.
If you don’t offer notoriously low paying majors, your average starting salary is obviously going to be very high.
But I’m not mad. You do you, Harvey Mudd.
Defs go here if you want to make a lot of money and hang out in sunny California.
Median Starting Salary (0-5 years after graduation): $81,000 USD
Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ years after graduation): $155,800 USD
Acceptance Rate: 12.9%
Tuition (including room and board but not financial aid): $74,428 USD a year
% of International Students: 10.0%
QS Employability Rank: N/A
US News and World Report Most Popular Majors: Engineering, Computer and Information Sciences, Physical Sciences, Math and Statistics
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Cambridge, Massachusetts
And the king of starting salaries and STEM is... MIT.
MIT is a perfect mixture of all of the unis on this list, and its grads have the highest starting salaries in the world.
- A majority of its grads are STEM majors
- It has a never-ending list of famous alumni
- ALL employers from Facebook to Google to Morgan Stanley love MIT grads
- It has international prestige
- It's very selective
Can’t go wrong with MIT.
It's pretty much the Daddy Warbucks of college.
Money, money, money, money.
Median Starting Salary (0-5 years after graduation): $81,500 USD a year
Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ years after graduation): $147,000 USD
Acceptance Rate: 7.2%
Tuition (including room and board but not financial aid): $67,430 USD a year
% of International Students: 9.5%
QS Employability Rank: 5
US News and World Report Most Popular Majors: Engineering, Computer and Information Sciences, Math and Statistics, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences
If you like money, you now know what to do to get the highest starting salary possible.
Just remember this little jingle and you’ll never go wrong:
“Where you go to uni matters just as much as what you study.”
Don’t mess this up.
Simply pick a high-paying subject (such as STEM or Economics) and pair it with a world class uni that guarantees you a high starting salary.
You got this.
It’s time to set you free.
Fly towards the money young bird, fly, fly!