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September 12, 2005


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I want to clarify something about Ph.D programs (although it may apply only to science/engineering programs).

First, people typically do Ph.D's to get a certain type of job (research/teaching job instead of a code-monkey/pointy-haired-boss job), not to make more money.

That said, at a good school, you will pay NO money out-of-pocket for your education--it is covered by grants (which your advisor applies for), fellowships (which you apply for), or through teaching work (if neither of the above are possible). But you do lose 5-6 years of job income.

That's interesting. I noticed liberal arts is pretty much at the bottom and engineering at the top in 3 of the lists. I have a Bachelor's degree in engineering but it could very well have been in liberal arts. I was torn between the two. And then one day my mom said, "You can always read books on your own but you won't know how to design a bridge without some help." That's what decided me. I never knew the actual $ advantage of my decision until today.

One thing definately evident today is that if a person does not go to college and get some kind of degree, that person will be severely disadvantaged.

Also one thing to note about getting a further degree in a liberal science is whether the person wants to do it for their own self interest and accomplishment. However when doing that, be sure the money is there and do not borrow.

Great article! I wrote an article similar to this recently... Yours clearly breaks it down, nice work. I find it hard to believe that the benefit of a Master's in social science is zero or less. I know for me, a Bachelor's in Political Science will snag me a job in the $40-50k range but with a Master's will bump me up to $60-80k and a PhD. will put me in the $90k+ range. Of course, political scientists are the highest paid social scientists but still... Professors need at least a Master's degree and they get paid well. I've always wondered about that. Anyway... great post!

It appears that the author gathered the data far from my area of the country. As an educator, my bachelor's degree is worth $43,000/year. My master's is worth $45,000 per year and if I would pursue a PhD, I would make $48,000 per year.

If you don't believe this, go to, link to human resources and link to the teacher salary scale.

In regards to what Tim MMF said, teachers get paid differently. Most districts pay teachers more with the amount of education. That is why I received my MA English. However, I would have a very hard time going to work in a place other that teaching or publishing and demanding the same pay/benefits that I recieve as a teacher.

I want to thank the author for the great article. It's been a bit difficult for me lately to motivate myself to pursue a higher education. Now, after reading the article and doing some additional research I am sure that I'm on the right track. Education seems to be one of the best investments one can make during his/her life.

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