How much is that physics major in the window?

6 thoughts on “How much is that physics major in the window?”

  1. Something smells wrong about the $81k figure. I wonder if this survey is systematically biased on all majors. If so, then its greatest utility is probably in comparing majors, not predicting incomes for a given major.

    1. Thinking a bit more: perhaps the $81k number is not so unreasonable. The median starting salary for a physics major is apparently ~$50k (http://physics.illinois.edu/undergrad/post-details.asp?1343). The $81k number from this study is the median salary for ages 24-59 or so (a span of 36 years). At 3% annual real GDP growth, the median of $50 k over 1-to-36 years is $84k — not too far from 81. (If the starting salary were $40k, the median of the compounded salaries would be $67k.)
      Of course, I don’t know how reliable the $50k number is!

      1. Brain fart. I read it as “25-29 year-olds”, thinking this was early career median salary.

        For 25-29 I agree that it makes more sense.

  2. Thanks for this insight Raghu. These plots will be very useful when I speak with prospective physics majors.

    Boy, it is very depressing to see all of those ‘education’ triangles at the top of that plot though. That does not bode well for the future in my humble opinion.

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