20 Best-paying college degrees

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By Lynn O'Shaughnessy for CBS MoneyWatch.com

Want to know what the best-paying college degrees are?

Here's a hint: The college degrees that lead to the highest salaries all involve high-level mathematics.

Just like last year's survey of salaries by college degrees, engineering majors dominate the list. For undergraduates, seven of the top 10 college degrees, according to PayScale, Inc., belong to engineering majors. The best paying college degree of all - by a long shot - is petroleum engineering.

The salary advantage that graduates, who earn these largely technical degrees, enjoy continues as they move into the middle of their careers.

Here are the top 20 best-paying college degrees in 2010:

College degree, Starting Median Pay; Mid-career pay

  1. Petroleum engineering, $93,000; $157,000

  2. Aerospace engineering, $59,400; $108,000

  3. Chemical engineering, $64,800; $108,000

  4. Electrical engineering, $60,800; $104,000

  5. Nuclear engineering, $63,900; $104,000

  6. Applied mathematics, $56,400; $101,000

  7. Biomedical engineering, $54,800; $101,000

  8. Physics, $50,700; $99,600

  9. Computer engineering, $61,200; $87,700

  10. Economics, $48,800; $97,800

  11. Computer science, $56,200; $97,700

  12. Civil engineering, $53,500; $93,400

  13. Statistics, $50,000; $93,400

  14. Finance, $47,500; $91,500

  15. Software engineering, $56,700; $91,300

  16. Management info. systems, $50,900; $90,300

  17. Mathematics, $46,400; $88,300

  18. Government, $41,500; $88,300

  19. Information systems, $49,300; $87,100

  20. Construction Management, $50,400; $87,000

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