Not all FSU majors in science/math/computing are created equal: Salaries for bachelors’ degree grads

In a previous post, I may have caused some confusion regarding the State University System’s metrics within its performance funding program.  I’m writing this to clear up that confusion.

FSU struggles with three of the performance funding metrics:  percentage of bachelors’ degrees awarded by an institution that are in programs of strategic emphasis (FSU is last in the system at 39%); percentage of graduate degrees awarded by an institution that are in programs of strategic emphasis (FSU is 9th out of the 10 graduate institutions, ahead of only UWF); and, median wages of bachelor’s graduates employed full-time in Florida one year after graduation (FSU is 9th out of the 11 institutions).

However, not all majors that help with the first of these three metrics – bachelors’ degrees in programs of strategic emphasis – help with the salary metric.

Consider the plot below, which shows median annual salaries of bachelor’s degree holders in science/math/computing majors available in FSU’s College of Arts and Sciences.  These are national numbers taken for a wide range of ages in a 2015 report published by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.  And this point is important:  These are salaries for individuals who have not gone on to earn a graduate or professional degree.  It’s also worth noting that I’ve put Psychology in the graph even though that major is not included in the Programs of Strategic Emphasis.  And I’ve added neuroscience, which is slated to be a new bachelor’s degree program at FSU.  It’s clear that adding neuroscience will not help FSU’s salary numbers.  Biology, Psychology and Neuroscience are all below the average salary for all bachelor’s degree majors.  In fact, Neuroscience is listed in the Georgetown report in bottom 25 college majors for salary, along with Social Work and teaching majors.  Computer science, Applied Math, Physics and Statistics are all listed in the top 25.


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