UCB Top-20 Average Salary Rankings By Majors (2018) with UG degree(s)

Here is one of the “things” I wish I knew as a HS senior before coming to UC Berkeley…

Major and respective average salary of Class 2018:

  1. EECS: $111,168
  2. Computer Science: $107,302
  1. Applied Math: $92,694
  2. Engineering Science: $87,030
  3. Materials Science & Engineering: $87,018
  4. Statistics: $80,871
  5. IEOR: $77,236
  6. Mechanical Engineering: $77,042
  7. Physics: $75,985
  8. Business Admin. (Haas): $75,064
  9. Math: $72,500
  10. BioEngineering: $71,337
  11. Economics: $70,179
  12. Cognitive Science: $68,619
  13. Chemical Engineering: $66,902
  14. Civil & Environmental Eng: $65,801
  15. French: $63,010
  16. Chemistry (CoC): $61,827
  17. Political Economy: $59,600
  18. Chemical Biology: $59,486


1. The average salary of Class 2018 graduates with a MUSIC major was actually $112,900 with a small sample size of 15 responses.

2. " Students with multiple majors are represented in each major. For example, a double major in English and Computer Science will have responses included in both reports."

Source: UC Berkeley Career Center


With the “naive” method, it requires no rocket science to tell that the top 10 paid majors in 2019 (to be released in 2020) would still come from STEM majors with a probable exception from HAAS!

And course, the top 2 would still remain the same for the foreseeable future!

For each major, it would be interesting to know the percentage of those who do not have jobs within 3 months from graduation.


@CalCUStanford . . . those are very impressive statistics for UCB graduates, even if we can’t tell what the total class has done from 2018. The high reportage for majors w/i the study seems to be ~ 60% and the low is ~ 20% or so. I didn’t look too deeply into the site as to what percentage were still looking for employment or if this was just a jobs report of those who did find employment. In anyway it is skewed with respect to salary averages because those who didn’t report were possibly (probably) looking at whatever point the survey was conducted.

There’s one other factor one has to consider: the COL indexes, e.g., in Los Angeles and other more dense population centers v. San Francisco and the Bay in general. Here’s a link from best places dot net:


Here are a few examples.

If we assume that two terminal B.S./B.A. holders from UCLA and UCSD make $100,000 working in banking in LA and SD, respectively, and are eight years on the job, and are contemplating moving to San Francisco, here’s what they would need in compensation for the same standard of living:

$100,000 in LA ==> $156,176 in SF

$100,000 in SD ==> $171,662 in SF

If we switch the example above to B.S. holders in CS, and they make $140,000, eight years on the job, here’s what they would need to move to Palo Alto (I guess I could have made it a cheaper city in Silicon – like Hillsborough or Atherton . . . j/k):

$140,000 in LA ==> $314,454 in PA

$140,000 in SD ==> $345,634 in PA

Let me do one more example to try to be fair to Berkeley and Stanford grads working in the Bay, by comparing salaries in Fremont (East Bay) v. LA and SD – or more that the person living in Fremont commutes by BART to the SF or the South Bay in general. I could use Santa Monica and Point Loma or more expensive places in LA and SD, but the point is there are cheaper areas to live for a just-graduated student for UCLA and UCSD students who work in the areas in which they attended. Wordy… So let’s use $50,000 as the starting salary.

$50,000 in LA ==> $65,069 in Fremont, CA

$50,000 in SD ==> $71,521 in Fremont, CA

So it’s quite evident that the Bay is considerably more expensive and the salaries for Adobe and the Silicon techs (FAANG), whatever, have to pay a premium. I think Google opening up for remote work would probably be a good thing for someone who wants to live in Boise, ID. I don’t know what this employee’s compensation should be though – should it be the same as if they lived in Mountain View?

Agree with you. But don’t know if the career center would follow up that far…

A sample size of 10 out of 25 graduates that year. I suspect some people might have double majors with STEM…just got the data from the UCB Career Center.

Here is the detail of the employers and job title: Looks quite reasonable to me.

A Palo Alto Startup (Series B) - Sales Development Representative
Amazon Software - Development Engineer
Bloomberg LLP- Technical Recruiter
CareerLark Inc- Other
MD Anderson Cancer Center- Research Assistant
Other Quality Control Associate

Let’s take Applied Math major for example.

Given the fact that it’s 78 out of 250 with a low response rate of 31.2% for this discipline. ==> It could be an implication for many things, so we can just use it as a reference only.

Here is the Post-Graduate Activities distribution:

*Employed: 62%
*Attending Grad School: 26%
*Seeking Employment: 9% ==> It could most likely be within 3 month from graduation.
*Other: 4%

Sum up to be 1. (Note that it adds up slightly more than 1 due to the round up figure)

@firmament2x in Post#4: Interesting yet informative analysis!

Even for the “top two” majors graduates (BS/BA), the cost of living, especially the housing part, is a common complaint among Bay Area techies." Without incentives such as stock options, etc, it’s virtually impossible for them to survive by base salary alone.

It’s not hard to guess, since they’re all profit-seeking and profit-max corporations - the employee’s compensation package would be significantly less than living in the SF Bay Area.

So the mathematicians who took the easy way out :wink: and majored in applied math went and got jobs, while the pure mathematicians didn’t want to sully themselves by working in the real world ;)?

Haha, I knew someone like you would have said that. It’s just that people w/ “applied” degree (in areas of stat/data science/cs) had had “reality check” long before declairing. You know, even the pure mathematicians such as Jim Simons, the so-called world’s richest mathematician (Ph.D in math from UC Berkeley at age 23), w/ the net worth of USD 21.6 billion, had already figured out the beauty of using quantitative models and algorithms for making lots of $$ after publishing Chern-Simions Theory.

And yes, I have always expressed my great respect to people who are pursuing the most aesthetic value in the whole universe! :smile:

I figured that out after taking 104H, 113H, 110 all together in a single semester with an investment class and failed one of them. And started to realize that…what a xxxx am I doing here with …><

I was actually quite surprised to see that a BS w/ ChemE degree was making merely $67K/yr in 2018…

@CalCUStanford . . . #9

I’m hardly a stock expert, but they can’t keep doling out stock options. If they keep going, they’ll dilute the company’s stock, besides the deleterious effects that COVID has had on the markets. Add that the billionaires tax by the new “regime,” could drive them far away, when they have invested in the markets or in new products to instead drive the economy. Bill Gates might amenably state that he’ll be willing to pay his $Billions/year of tax, but underneath, he has to be sweating.

As far as housing, let’s keep Mountain View as the primary search locale. Best-Places- dot-net has a median home price in MV as being $1.785m. Let’s consider three options of working in MV: four persons each contributing X amount of dollars to a purchase of a four-bedroom and two-bath house in MV, commuting from one’s parents’ home in Fremont, or working remotely from Boise, ID. Let’s just say that renting is out.

One of the realty websites has the cheapest 4br, 2ba home at $2.2m in MV. That would mean that each of the four would be paying down his/her own $550k loan (including downpayment) of essentially living in a quarter of the home w/ one br and shared ba. Additionally, it would be tough to orchestrate all persons being timely with their quarter of the home payments – it would be highly problematic.

Mountain View is undoubtedly nice, but it’s generally considered middle-class. A lot of homes there are in the 1,500 sf range, but still go for $1.5m. Outrageous. The city itself is overpriced because of all the tech-workers who have driven up the home prices all throughout the South Bay, even in pretty plain areas. Additionally, the overpayment towards housing has spread into the East Bay.

Commuting from one’s parents’ home in, say, Fremont would not be an easy commute by BART at ~ 1hr, 30 min. By car in rush hour, probably the same, and double the time for round trips.

Working remotely from Boise? Here’s what you stated:

What I stated was somewhat rhetorical because I realize that the compensation would be less. But here’s what a salary for someone who worked in MV would be if he/she worked in Boise instead based on COL:

$250k/year in MV ==> $67.5k in Boise.

Obviously this wouldn’t work because a swe job in Boise would pay would be considerably higher, additionally because someone doing the same job description in MV would make almost 4x’s the salary. I realize that management, in this case, Google’s Mr. Z, would be opposed to paying equal salaries for those in the two locales, but many of those working remotely are at least initially demanding equal salaries. So there’d obviously have to be some arbitration to hash out the differences.

All in all it looks like working in Silicon would seemingly be impossibly pressurized in performance and impossibly expensive. It’d take someone with an incredibly high resolve.

@firmament2x : Great post w/ details in #15. Regarding to the stock price ups and downs in a short-term period, sometimes it’s just a reflection of storytelling, sort of speak. :wink:

Covid-19 pandemic surely has created a paradigm shift that is disrupting and transforming our daily lives in a long run and is “realigning every system in every industry across the global at once – in an instant.”

I hope you’re right in #16, but I think because of your #17, i.e., COVID, I think things are have changed for the permanent.

Major correction as I was multitasking and got confused:

Not Google’s Mr. Z, but Facebook’s. I mentioned Google throughout whose HQ is in Mountain View, but I was referencing Facebook’s plan to do remote work, and they’re in Menlo. So I guess I have to switch the company reference to Google because that would otherwise blow up my reference of the newly hired employee(s) living in MV. But Google is more on a temporary remote working status until the end of 2020, when they will re-evaluate it. Facebook is looking to go permanently remote.