Average Starting Salary for a Masters Degree Graduate

The average starting salary for individuals with a master's degree depends on their field of study, among other factors. Keep reading to learn about some of the average starting salaries for graduates of master's degree programs in such fields as business, engineering, computer science and the humanities.

What Is the Starting Salary for Master's Degree Graduates?

The average starting salary for master's degree graduates can vary greatly based off of several factors, including the type of degree earned. For example, a computer science program graduate typically earns more than someone who graduates from a sociology program, even though they both hold a master's degree. Salaries for master's degree graduates also vary by region. For example, salaries in the northeastern U.S. tend to be higher than salaries in the Midwest due to the higher cost of living.

Average Starting Salaries by Discipline

According to a salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in September 2013, MBA program graduates took home the top average starting salaries among professionals with business-related master's degrees, while a political science master's degree earned graduates higher average starting salaries than graduates of other social science programs.

The earnings for humanities program graduates were similar, regardless of field. Graduates of special education master's degree programs earned the highest average starting salaries among students completing education programs.

Average starting salaries for some of these graduate degrees are listed below:

Field of Study Average Starting Salary*
Computer science $73,400
Business administration/management $70,400
Mechanical engineering $67,500
Finance $64,700
Nursing $63,200
Accounting $62,700
Biological sciences/life sciences $57,200
Political science/government $53,200
Mathematics $52,800
Special education $52,700
History $49,000
Elementary education $48,600
English language and literature/letters $48,400
Psychology $48,200
Elementary teacher education $48,600
Sociology $43,200

Source: NACE Salary Survey Report, 2013

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