Class of 2018 graduates earning engineering and computer science degrees are expected to command the highest starting salaries at the bachelor’s-degree level, according to results of a new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

According to NACE’s Winter 2018 Salary Survey report, engineering majors are projected to average $66,521, while computer science graduates are expected to average $66,005.

Those averages represent very little change from the salaries projected for Class of 2017 graduates in those fields; both are up less than 1%. (See Figure 1 below.)

Other majors fared better in terms of projected increases in their starting salaries.

Those earning degrees in the humanities are expected to see the biggest increase, with a 16.3% hike in salary for an average of $56,688.

Social sciences graduates are expected to earn an average of $56,689 this year, up 6% from last year’s average.

Math and science graduates are expected to earn salaries that average $61,867, a jump of 4.2% over last year’s average.

Business majors saw their overall average salary projection climb 3.5% to $56,720.
Meanwhile, business majors saw their overall average salary projection climb 3.5% to $56,720.

On the other side, Class of 2018 agriculture and natural resources graduates and communications graduates are projected to earn lower average starting salaries than did their Class of 2017 counterparts. However, the decreases are minimal.

Agriculture and natural resources graduates are expected to earn an average of $53,565, which is down just 1.5% from last year. Similarly, the overall average starting salary projection of $51,448 for communications graduates dropped less than 1% from last year’s projection.

Figure 1: Average salary projection by discipline, 2018 and 2017

Broad Category
2018 Projected
Average Salary
2017 Projected
Average Salary
Computer science$66,005$65,540
Math & sciences$61,867$59,368
Social sciences$56,689$53,459
Agriculture & natural resources$53,565$54,364


Survey methodology: The data contained in NACE's Winter 2018 Salary Survey were collected from Aug. 9, 2017, through Dec. 4, 2017. A total of 196 surveys were returned—a 23.9% response rate. Of those responding, 14.8% of respondents were from the West, 25.5% were from the Northeast, 25% were from the Southeast, and 34.7% were from the Midwest.