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The Average Income for a Master of Science Degree

by Terri Williams

The average income for a master’s of science degree is dependent on one of two factors. The first determinant is the average starting salaries for this degree, and the second determinant is the average industry salary for positions that require the degree. Salaries vary depending on the specific master's of science degree and the employing industry. The National Association of Colleges and Employers provides insight regarding starting salaries for some master's of science degrees -- which may be offered as a master's of arts at some schools -- and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides average wage estimates for professions that require a master’s of science degree.

NACE Business

According to the 2012 Salary Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, among business majors, those who obtained a master’s of science degree in finance had an average starting salary of $73,000 in 2012. Students who obtained a master’s degree in economics earned an average starting salary of $67,100. In addition, graduates who pursued a master’s of science degree in accounting had an average starting salary of $63,800.

NACE Technology

In the field of technology, students who obtained a master’s of science degree in computer science earned an average starting salary of $80,400 in 2012. Mechanical engineers with a master’s of science degree earned an average starting salary of $75,700. Graduates with a master’s of science in electrical, electronics and communications engineering garnered an average starting salary of $73,000.

NACE Sciences

Among health care and sciences, NACE reported that a master’s of science degree in health sciences produced an average starting salary of $66,000. Students with a graduate degree in biological sciences and life sciences averaged $57,600 their first year. Graduates with a master’s of science degree in mathematics had an average annual salary of $48,500.

BLS Sciences

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not distinguish salaries by degree; in addition, it does not report starting salaries. However, the BLS lists a master’s degree as the minimum educational requirement for several positions, which provides insight regarding salaries for these degrees. According to May 2012 wage estimates, political scientists, who often earn a master of science degree, made $104,600. Among other physical, life, and social sciences, mathematicians earned $101,280, and sociologists made $80,820. In addition, hydrologists earned $78,920, epidemiologists made $71,400, and anthropologists and archaeologists earned $60,230.

BLS Health Care

Among health care professions that require a minimum of a master’s degree in science, physician assistants earned a mean annual wage of $92,460. Occupational therapists made $76,400 annually. Speech language pathologists earned $72,730, while orthotists and prosthetists made $69,960.

About the Author

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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