We’ve crunched the numbers and looked at some of the highest paid master’s degrees in 2020. What do you think comes out on top? You might be surprised...
What are the highest paid master’s degrees? It’s certainly a difficult question to answer, given that each country has its own unique job market conditions and labor shortages. However, there is no doubt that master’s degrees in certain subjects transcend borders and are invaluable for employers no matter where they are based. Whilst business degrees remain the most popular overall choice for master’s students, nowadays the available programs are expanding to include specialist degrees on the likes of Computer Science, Sustainability and Blockchain.
There are various reasons why people choose to further their education by studying for a master’s degree, and the salary boost that they provide is often one of the prime reasons behind the decision. In the UK, a study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies showed that postgraduates earn almost 10% more than graduates over the course of their careers, whilst a similar US study conducted by Georgetown University estimates a near 30% salary boost for master’s degree holders as opposed to those holding a bachelor’s degree.
PayScale.com Average Salary: $67,168*
In recent decades Master’s degrees in business have enjoyed an extraordinary growth in popularity to become the most popular field of study today. In 1971 just 11.2% of all master’s students in the USA were studying business, way behind education at 37.2%, yet by 2012 those studying for business degrees had surged to 25.4% of the total to become the master’s program de rigeur. So it should come as little surprise that another business-related discipline, marketing, is one of the highest paid master’s degrees in 2020.
Whilst fulfilling basic marketing roles within a company doesn’t necessarily require a master’s degree, for senior positions in marketing - Head of Marketing, Marketing Manager etc. - the knowledge that comes with a master’s degree on the subject will be invaluable in the job hunt. And it can also lead to a well-paid career heading up marketing teams as well as devising and executing marketing campaigns. As marketing has grown more and more diverse over the years, incorporating social media, SEO, email marketing and the like, so has the need to expand marketing budgets and marketing teams. Being able to pull together all of these disparate threads into a clear and coherent strategy is a skill which has huge earning potential - with a listed average salary of just over $67,000 according to PayScale and $136,850 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the 2020 QS World University Rankings for Masters in Marketing, the MSc in Marketing at HEC Paris comes out on top with Imperial College’s MSc Strategic Marketing following close behind. Follow the links below to learn more about some of the top-ranked schools on MASTERGRADSCHOOLS to feature in this ranking!
PayScale.com Average US Salary: $76,659*
Although a Master of Business Administration, better known as an MBA, is technically a master’s degree, in reality that qualification is a little elevated above other master’s degrees for a number of reasons. Firstly, the price. MBAs typically cost in the region of €50,000, with the top business schools charging over €100,000 a year in tuition. That is significantly more expensive than your average master’s program. Secondly, MBAs also tend to require several years’ work experience from its applicants, adding to the notion that it is a qualification for more experienced professionals than typical master’s applicants.
However, the Master’s in Management (MiM) program, popularised in Europe in recent years, is generally seen as the closest master’s level equivalent to an MBA. With a more affordable price tag and aimed at individuals with less work experience than a typical MBA candidate, the MiM can lead directly into a well-paid career or serve as a precursor to studying for an MBA, which remains one of the highest paid master’s degrees in 2020.
The program was born in Europe and subsequently the majority of top-ranked MiM programs can be found there. Indeed, a look at the 2019 Financial Times Master in Management Ranking reveals that only two programs in the top 20 are located outside of Europe. That same ranking indicates that salaries for MiM graduates from the leading business schools can top $100,000, with the three MASTERGRADSCHOOLS below all featuring in the ranking and boasting average graduate salaries of at least $80,000.
MSc Healthcare Administration
PayScale.com Average US Salary: $78,484*
As public and private healthcare systems around the world grow more complex, so does the need for skilled management staff to oversee their daily processes. Indeed, the sheer size of a developed public healthcare system is evidenced in the fact that the UK’s National Health Service employs 1.7 million people - making it the 5th largest employer in the world. The need for healthcare administrators is also mirrored in countries that don’t necessarily have a public health system that is as developed. In the U.S., for instance, the Bureau of Labor estimates an 18% increase in employment for medical and health services managers between 2018 and 2028.
But what does a healthcare administrator actually do on a daily basis? Well, essentially they are responsible for making sure that the organization runs smoothly, keeping costs under control whilst ensuring patients continue to receive the highest quality of care possible. It is certainly an extremely highly-regarded and notable profession that is also well remunerated. PayScale.com puts the average salary in the U.S. as $78,484, with the top 10% of healthcare administrators earning upwards of $144,000. It’s an attractive program and one of the highest paid master’s degrees in 2020, so naturally universities around the world have a wealth of options when it comes to studying for a master’s in healthcare administration. Here are some of the most interesting options you’ll find on MasterTube!
PayScale.com Average US Salary: $78,940*
A Master’s in Finance covers a wide range of topics that are essential to any business in any country, whether it is a small family firm or a multinational corporation. Graduates holding a Master’s in Finance could work in fields such as investments, banking or accounting. Whilst it is easy to throw all of these possible careers under the same umbrella, in reality they require different skill sets and have different expectations. An accountant, for instance, is responsible for dealing with a company’s tax obligations and paying staff on time, whilst a career as an Investment Manager is a more high-risk option concerned with ensuring your clients’ investments turn a strong profit.
The sheer necessity of finance professionals in almost all walks of life, as well as the close links between finance and business, mean that a career in this field can be an extremely lucrative one. The postgraduate earning capabilities for the top Master’s in Finance programs in the world illustrate that it is indeed one of the highest paid master’s degrees. Graduates of HEC Paris, whose program topped the Financial Times’ global ranking, command an average salary of almost $150,000 whilst graduates of the lowest-ranked programs in the Financial Times list still attract a salary of $45,000+. You can find out more about some of the schools to feature in this ranking via their MASTERGRADSCHOOLS profiles below.
MSc Computer Science
PayScale.com Average US Salary: $102,352*
As computers have gradually occupied almost every aspect of our entire lives, economies around the world have not been able to keep up with the rapid growth in demand for IT experts. As it stands, demand continues to outstrip supply in this area, making a career in a Computer Science-related discipline one of the most lucrative around in 2020.
A master’s degree in Computer Science teaches students not only the programming languages necessary for coding, but also the ‘bigger picture’ aspects of IT such as computer architecture, algorithms and machine learning. In practice it provides students with the skills necessary to build & maintain company IT systems, design computer software and build apps amongst many other things. They’re all essential skills to have for any modern day business, and so Computer Science specialists are understandably in-demand.
Job titles such as Software Engineer, Data Scientist and App Developer are all associated with a master’s in Computer Science, and in the USA graduates report average salaries of around $100,000 for these types of roles. Companies of all shapes and sizes require individuals who can build their website, develop their app or manage their IT infrastructure, and it is one of those fields where there really is no substitute for specialists who can perform these tasks.
Check out the top Computer Science programs on MasterTube:
Computer Science and Engineering (MSc) - Technical University of Denmark
Master in Computer Science - Leiden University
Computer & Systems Engineering - Tallinn U of Technology
*The salary information listed on PayScale.com is user-reported data and so the figure includes several different job titles and levels of experience to arrive at an average. In order to keep the comparison consistent we elected to stick to this same reporting methodology for each degree for the headline average salary, however we did also include data from other sources to illustrate the range of salaries that these degrees can lead to.
by Nick Harland