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

$97,900

$155,000

Chemical engineering

$64,500

$109,000

Electrical engineering

$61,300

$103,000

Materials science and engineering

$60,400

$103,000

Aerospace engineering

$60,700

$102,000

Computer engineering

$61,800

$101,000

Physics

$49,800

$101,000

Applied mathematics

$52,600

$98,600

Computer science

$56,600

$97,900

Nuclear engineering

$65,100

$97,800

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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