What’s That Degree Worth?

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Teaching and Learning Philosophy

In August 2011 the median salaries for 2011 bachelor’s degree graduates were released. The ranking of the majors by midcareer salaries is found in the following table:

Top 10 Majors

Starting Salary

Midcareer Salary

Petroleum engineering



Chemical engineering



Electrical engineering



Materials science and engineering



Aerospace engineering



Computer engineering






Applied mathematics



Computer science



Nuclear engineering



Notice anything special? It is not hard to see that every one of these majors require a significant amount of mathematics…but what kind of mathematics?   Most of the jobs that come from the Top 10 majors require unique skills and thinking abilities.  Successful workers in these fields must be able to actively and skillfully conceptualize, apply, analyze, hypothesize, exhibit creativity, synthesize, and/or evaluate information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

Consequently, if we are to serve the students needs that enroll in our mathematics courses we must help students learn to think critically, solve challenging problems, and are required to communicate clearly and effectively with other students.


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