Return on Investment in a Philosophy Major Is Comparable To That Of an Engineering Major

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has shown that philosophy is at least as good of an investment as engineering and health fields.

A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), “The Costs and Net Returns to College Major,” finds that offering a philosophy major may be as good an investment of educational dollars as offering engineering and health majors. In other words, given how much it costs to get a philosophy degree, and given how much it costs to get an engineering degree and how much one earns, philosophy majors make at least as much money as engineers.

The Daily Nous website quotes the study and summarized the explanation:

Some majors may lead to high earnings but be costly to produce, offering lower net returns per graduate or per invested dollar than lower-earning but less costly majors. An understanding of net private returns (private returns net of instructional costs) may be valuable for policymakers seeking to maximize the efficacy of higher education spending… We find that costs per credit and per graduate vary by field, and that measures of earnings returns net of cost are in many cases significantly different from returns measured using labor market outcomes only.

For example, while engineering majors earn more than computer science majors, since engineering majors cost more to educate than computer science majors, the “net return” on computer science majors is higher than that of engineers.

You can read Daily Nous’s summary here.

And the full report is available here.

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