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  • Computer Science Projected as Top-Paid Master’s Grads

    January 25, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    A computer science major works on his laptop.

    TAGS: salaries, nace insights

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    Computer science graduates have supplanted engineering graduates atop the list of the projected highest-paid master’s degree graduates for the Class of 2017, according to results of NACE’s Winter 2017 Salary Survey.

    The overall average salary projection for Class of 2017 computer science graduates is $81,039, more than 12 percent higher than last year’s average salary projection of $72,080. (See Figure 1.) Driving this anticipated gain are the projections of each of the individual majors within this category—computer science, information sciences and systems, and software applications—all of which exceed 10 percent and are hovering near the $80,000 mark.

    While master’s degree engineering graduates topped the list of projected highest-paid majors last year, their projected average salary for the Class of 2017 is up just 1.6 percent to $75,053.

    Business degree graduates at the master’s degree level are also projected to receive higher average starting salaries, with their overall average projection of $74,066 up 3.4 percent from last year.

    Although data at the master’s level are extremely limited for other categories, the math and sciences (up 3.2 percent to $70,061), communications (up 20.9 percent to $67,364), and social sciences (up 17.2 percent to $61,333) fields are expected to receive higher average starting salaries this year.

    Data contained in NACE’s Winter 2017 Salary Survey report are annual salary projections for Class of 2017 college graduates and were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from August 5, 2016, through November 30, 2016. The figures reported are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates. Final starting salary data for the Class of 2016 will be available in the Spring 2017 Salary Survey. The Winter 2017 Salary Survey is available to members in MyNACE. An executive summary of the Winter 2017 Salary Survey report is available at

    Figure 1: Projected average salaries by discipline/master's degrees, 2017 and 2016

    Broad Category 2017 Average Salary 2016 Average Salary
    Computer Science $81,039 $72,080
    Engineering $75,053 $73,871
    Business $74,066 $71,663
    Math & Sciences $70,061 $67,891
    Communications $67,364 $55,727
    Social Sciences $61,333 $52,333
    Source: Winter 2017 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers