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  • Philosophy Projected as Top-Paid Class of 2016 Humanities Major

    February 24, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    A philosophy student reads a book on the campus lawn.

    TAGS: salaries, trends and predictions, liberal arts, nace insights

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    Philosophy majors are projected to be the top-paid Class of 2016 humanities graduates at the bachelor's degree level, according to results of NACE's Winter 2016 Salary Survey.

    Philosophy majors are projected to earn an average starting salary of $49,000. (See Figure 1.) This is up from last year, when projected salaries for philosophy majors reported in NACE's Winter 2015 Salary Survey averaged $46,067.

    Also expected to surpass the $46,000 mark among this year's graduates are visual and performing arts ($47,600), history ($46,286), and foreign language and literature ($46,083) majors.

    The projections for these majors have all increased from last year as Class of 2015 visual and performing arts majors were expected to earn $47,035, history majors $44,946, and foreign language and literature majors $44,688.

    Data contained in NACE's Winter 2016 Salary Survey were obtained from August 5, 2015, through November 6, 2015. The Winter 2016 Salary Survey is available to members in MyNACE. An executive summary report is available at

    Final starting salary data for the Class of 2015 will be available in the Spring 2016 Salary Survey.

    Figure 1: Projected salaries for Class of 2016 humanities majors, bachelor's degrees

    Academic Major Mean 25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
    Philosophy $49,000 $43,000 $48,000 $55,000
    Visual & Performing Arts $47,600 $42,000 $46,000 $50,000
    History $46,286 $40,000 $46,000 $50,500
    Foreign Language & Literature $46,083 $40,000 $43,250 $50,000
    English Language & Literature $45,438 $40,250 $43,500 $48,000
    Liberal Arts/General Studies $45,063 $40,000 $45,000 $50,250
    Source: Winter 2016 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers
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