IF YOUR SON or daughter is not sure what to study in college, here’s some research that just might help them in the long term, at least financially. An analysis of a large data set on college graduates confirms prior research (and common sense) that engineering degrees garner the highest income and arts/social science degrees the least, with business and science/math degrees somewhere in the middle. The analysis, however, also indicated when a second major can pay off. Two engineering majors or science/math majors are not worth more than one. Yet it always pays to add an engineering major to another kind of major. A business and science/math double major is worth more than either one by itself. It doesn’t pay to add an arts/social science or education major to a business, science/math, or engineering major. And, finally, women get more out of engineering or science/math degrees, whether as single or double majors.
Del Rossi, A. and Hersch, J., “Double Your Major, Double Your Return?” Economics of Education Review (August 2008).
By the way, that first line is interesting: It seems to assume that parents of college students read newspapers but not college students themselves.