Top 9 Best Paid PhD Degrees

Best Paid PhD Degrees: A doctoral degree can be a great way to switch careers or build momentum in your current track. But it’s important to think hard about what you’ll get out of a doctoral degree before you make the investment because some Ph.D. degrees are much more valuable than others.

Obtaining a doctorate usually requires an enormous amount of work and time as well as a substantial financial investment. Which degrees offer workers the highest potential salary down the road, making the grueling experience financially worthwhile? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) PhDs tend to pay the most, according to research conducted by Payscale.

Top 9 Best Paid PhD Degrees in 2025

1. Electrical & Computer Engineering:

America’s most lucrative Ph.D., with early career pay reported to be approximately $102,000. That would increase to $142,000 by the mid-point of a candidate’s career. It isn’t all STEM, however. Payscale reports that a Ph.D. in economics also nets a high salary, in the region of $134,000 per year by the mid-point in a worker’s career.

The top-paying PhD degree, by the numbers, is electrical and computer engineering. Though the starting annual salary average is $142,000 a job seeker coming out of school may see a variety of offers when scoping out the jobs market as the salary range for such a doctoral degree is between $90,000 and $140,000.

2. Computer Engineering

In the second place, Computer Engineering earns a fresher Ph.D. degree an average of $90,000. The salary ranges one might see on the jobs market span from $90,000 to $139,000, depending on a variety of factors like experience and responsibilities involved.

3. Chemical Engineering

In third place is chemical engineering – which claimed first place last year – which CERI discovered offers an average starting salary of $61,125. The salary range in the chemical engineering arena spans from $31,000 to $138,000.

4. Biomedical engineering

In Fourth place Biomedical engineering, Biomedical engineering represents new areas of medical research and product development; biomedical engineers’ work helps pave the way for new ways to help treat injuries and diseases. The salary range in the chemical engineering arena spans from $71,000 to $137,000.

5. Ph.D. in Economics

The Ph.D. program is a full-time program leading to a Doctoral Degree in Economics. The average salary for an Economist is $103,602 per year in the United States.

6. Electrical Engineering

A full Ph.D. in electrical engineering may not actually be worth the costs in time and money that are associated with getting a Ph.D. unless the student has a specific goal he or she cannot achieve without the degree. Specifically, an electrical engineer who is hoping to enter into the academic field and potentially teach upcoming generations of electrical engineers would need a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. The average salary is $133,000.

7. Ph.D. in Organic chemistry

Ph.D. programs in organic chemistry typically span at least four years and often longer. A dissertation or other research project is usually required for program completion. Average salary ranges from $90,000 to $133,000.

8. Computer science and engineering

The Ph.D. program in computer engineering prepares students to become innovative leaders in academic, industrial, and entrepreneurial settings. The Ph.D. program is designed with a research focus in mind, having a relatively small number of required courses. The average salary is $132,000.

9. Pharmacology

The objective of the Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology is to have students possess a comprehensive understanding of the general field of pharmacology, in addition to specific expertise in their particular area of interest. They build on their knowledge of pharmacology so that they can think critically about specific areas in pharmacology. They should be able to formulate and design, as well as carry out and interpret investigations. Their findings should be publishable. They should show capacity for continuing significant contributions in pharmacology and for conducting independent research. Salary $131,000.

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