Highest Paying PhD Degrees: Students Before Profits 2020

Earning a PhD degree is a long process and it is important to consider whether you are enrolled in one of the highest paying PhD degree programs. Not only is earning a PhD a time-consuming process, it can also be quite expensive. It’s important to consider the earning potential of a PhD program when choosing to enroll. Below you’ll find a list of our top PhD degrees.

Top Highest Paying PhD Degrees Methodology

For students who want to earn one of the highest paying PhD degrees, we have compiled a list of our highest paying doctorate degrees. These programs have been selected based upon their mid-career salary as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These highest paying doctorate degrees are ordered from highest to lowest score.

Top 10 Highest Paying PhD Degrees

#1. Chemical Engineering

Mid-career salary: $146,000

A PhD in Chemical Engineering tops our list as one of the highest paying PhD degrees. Through the study of a PhD in chemical engineering, students will focus on the crossover of chemistry and the physical sciences with engineering. They will study topics including biochemistry, microbiology, and more to gain a better understanding of how to work with and create the chemical compounds needs for our everyday lives. Many chemical engineers find themselves working in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biomedicine, and more.

#2. Organic Chemistry

Mid-career salary: $146,000

Similar to a PhD in Chemical Engineering, a PhD in Organic Chemistry is another one of the highest paying PhD degrees. As a highest paying PhD program, this degree program typically results in people either working in academia or working in research. After completing this doctoral program, graduates can expect to use their organic chemistry knowledge to work with research teams to answer questions with their chemistry knowledge. Others end up working in universities and colleges teaching these advanced subjects.

#3. Computer Science

Mid-career salary: $145,000

A very in-demand PhD degree, a PhD in Computer Science makes our list of the highest paying PhD degrees. With a PhD in computer science, graduates can find careers as computer scientists. This advanced knowledge of computer science will allow these students to have careers working for major software firms, helping to develop the software of tomorrow. Typically computer scientists engage in advanced computer science topics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Computer scientists may also find themselves working on the research side or at the academic level.

#4. Electrical Engineering

Mid-career salary: $144,000

A PhD in Electrical Engineering is another one of our highest paying doctorate degrees. A PhD in Electrical Engineering can result in a number of the highest paying PhD jobs. Those with PhDs in Electrical Engineering can find themselves working in the design or manufacturing of electronics. Whether they are designing computers, televisions, or smartphones, electrical engineers tend to have their hand in some of the most important products of the modern day. To work in a senior-level position as an electrical engineer, many organizations require that you hold a PhD in electrical engineering.

#5. Pharmacology

Mid-career salary: $141,000

Another highest paying PhD, a PhD in Pharmacology typically results in a mid-career salary of $141,000. With a PhD in Pharmacology, graduates can find themselves working in high-level careers in the pharmaceutical industry or in research. Using their advanced understanding of biochemistry, pharmacists work to develop new medicines or work to perfect older ones. The highest-paying jobs in pharmaceuticals are typically found at the research level. If you’re seeking one of the highest paying PhD jobs, a research pharmacist position may be right for you.

#6. Physical Chemistry

Mid-career salary: $138,000

A PhD in Physical Chemistry often yields a long career of working in laboratories or in research. This highest paying PhD often leads to some of the highest paying PhD jobs. Physical chemists can find their highest paying roles in material sciences or other high-tech fields of study. As a researcher, you will use your physical chemistry background to develop new products and processes that can potentially drive entire industries. With your knowledge of chemical reactions, physical chemists can expect to have one of the highest paying doctorate degrees.

#7. Engineering

Mid-career salary: $137,000

The mid-career salary of someone with a PhD in engineering is about $137,000. With a PhD in Engineering, graduates will have the credentials for high-level jobs in engineering outfits. They will take on roles as lead engineering technicians, project managers, and directors. Engineers come in many different types including chemical engineers, materials engineers, computer engineers, and more. The common thread is that engineers use their knowledge of a subject to create concrete processes and solutions. While many engineering jobs will accept a master’s degree, a PhD in engineering is required to have one of the highest paying PhD jobs.

#8. Physics

Mid-career salary: $135,000

Another one of our highest paying doctoral degrees is a PhD in physics. As a physicist, you will gain knowledge of the laws that govern our physical realm. Physicists find careers as professors, research advisors, and more. Physicists can find themselves working with nuclear energy, space travel, aviation, and much more. Other physicists find long and interesting careers working in academics or at the research level. A PhD in Physics often results in some of the highest paying PhD jobs available.

Tuition: $38,160

Score: 98.25

#9. Biomedical Engineering

Mid-career salary: $133,000

Those who earn a PhD in Biomedical Engineering will be poised to have some of the highest paying PhD jobs. With a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, graduates will use their knowledge to design new products for the biomedical field. Biomedical engineers have developed advanced implants, limb replacements, and other very important therapies for people. Biomedical engineers must have an understanding of biology as well as manufacturing and engineering. Biomedical engineering jobs have some of the best outlooks of any of the highest paying doctoral degrees on this list.

Tuition: $73,680

Score: 98

#10. Statistics

Mid-career salary: $131,000

Another one of our highest paying doctorate degrees, a PhD in Statistics yields a mid-career salary of about $131,000. With a PhD in Statistics, graduates will find themselves working as statisticians. Statisticians are crucial in many different industries including healthcare, government, the private sector, and much more. Many financial institutions are also actively looking to employ statisticians. Statisticians can expect to see a very high growth rate in jobs over the coming years. While a master’s degree is sufficient for some career paths as a statistician, a PhD in Statistics often yields the highest paying PhD jobs.


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NPCO Staff
May 2020

This concludes our ranking of the highest paying PhD degrees for 2020.