A COLLECTION OF ARTICLES ON THE MARKET VALUE OF VARIOUS COLLEGE MAJORS:
The majors with the worst placement records were area studies (44.7 percent in degree-requiring jobs) and humanities (45.4 percent).
I had to look up the definition of "area studies", the college major that ranks lowest in terms of both percent of graduates in jobs that require college degrees and median salary earned by graduates. I've heard parents say that they refuse to pay for their child to major in anything that includes the word "studies". From the CollegeBoard:
Area studies majors study the histories, politics, economics, and cultures of various areas of the world. They usually focus on a specific area, but sometimes compare two or more areas.
Are you going to college? Are you paying for someone to go to college? Then you might want to study this graph closely...The implication is clear: If you’re going to college to get a job after college, you’re better off in a major that lends itself to an obvious job after college. Engineering, say, or teaching. A humanities or communications degree turns out to be a much tougher sell.
Earnings are analyzed for 171 majors.
"It does matter what you major in."
And the differences are striking: For workers whose highest degree is a bachelor's, median incomes ranged from $29,000 for counseling-psychology majors to $120,000 for petroleum-engineering majors. The data also revealed earnings differences within groups of similar majors. Within the category of business majors, for instance, business-economics majors had the highest median pay, $75,000....
Men outearn women in each group of majors, and nearly every individual major, in many cases significantly. For instance, men who majored in math earn a median of $75,000, while women earn a median of $54,000. Some of that can be explained by occupation, Mr. Carnevale said: Many of those women who major in math go on to be teachers. The only majors with which women earned more than men were visual and performing arts, physiology, and information sciences.
Median Earnings by Major and Subject Area – Chronicle of Higher Ed, 5/23/11 An interactive graph
The economic value of a bachelor’s degree varies by college major. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that median earnings run from $29,000 for counseling-psychology majors to $120,000 for petroleum-engineering majors. Even when majors are looked at by groups, such as business or health, there is variation in pay depending on the specific major.
The typical lifetime earnings of engineering and computer science majors are 50 percent higher than those of humanities majors, according to an analysis by researchers at Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce....Most big, long-term investments -- a house, a security, a 401(k) plan -- come with more information than you can use. But a four-year degree, which is a $100,000 to $200,000 investment at many private and public schools, is a black hole of data.It's becoming a black hole of cash, too. The price of a post-secondary education is rising even faster than health care costs. Four-year college student graduate with an average of $25,000 in loan debt ... and those are the success stories, since fewer than 60 percent of four-year college students graduate in six years, anyway.
Better data wouldn't cure education inflation, but it would be a good start. The government should require every college to post a standard fact sheet about its degrees, along the lines of Harvard University education economist Bridget Terry Long's paper. The fact sheet could include total cost of attendance (median and average), loan default rate by degree, six-year graduation rate, employment rate and median salary twelve months after graduation, and alumni satisfaction rate.