Best US universities with high starting salaries

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American universities consistently rank highly across leading university rankings. If you’re wondering where you can go to get the best bang for your buck, chances are, you might be wondering where the best US universities are in terms of graduate salaries.

While tuition fees vary across the world, an international education typically comes with an eye-watering fee. According to a 2018 report by HSBC, international students spend an average of 99,417 US dollars throughout their degree.

Meanwhile, Erudera reports that international students in the US can expect to pay between US$32,000 to US$60,000 in tuition fees per year. Coupled with inflation that is driving up the prices of goods and services, students can only expect their expenses to rise. 

Graduating from a prestigious university not only increases your chances for employment with reputable companies, but you may also start off with a higher starting salary. This makes it unsurprising why many international students do their best to secure a spot with the best US universities.

Drawing on data from the US News and World Report, here are some of the best US universities according to their median starting salaries in 2021.

Best US universities according to graduate salary

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

With a focus on STEM subjects, MIT is one of the best US universities that provides a robust STEM education. According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, MIT is among the best global universities for “Engineering and Technology”. It also took the crown as the top university in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

The US News and World Report notes that MIT graduates have a median starting salary of  US$76,900 per year. It’s worth highlighting that its tuition fees are significantly higher given its reputation as a top institution. 

best us universities

MIT is situated in the heart of Cambridge, nestled between Central and Kendall SquaresSource: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America/ Getty Images/AFP

Princeton University

As one of the Ivy League universities, Princeton University is a solid choice for students across all subject areas. Ranked joint 16th in the QS World University Rankings 2023, it is known for its expertise in social sciences, engineering, computer science, and biology, among others.

Students at Princeton University enjoy a central New Jersey location and transiting network, allowing for easy access to New York City and Philadelphia. A total of 300 student organisations, 38 sports clubs, and 15 chaplaincies ensure students lead a vibrant campus life.

The meidan starting salary for graduates is around US$66,700 per year. While tuition fees at Princeton University are on the high end, they are one of the seven US universities that practise a need-blind admission for all applicants, including international students. 

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

CMU caters to students who wish to deepen their understanding of computer science, business administration, and engineering. After all, the US News and World Report ranked CMU first for Undergraduate Computer Science and Graduate Information Systems, and fourth for College of Engineering in 2021.

CMU’s campus is situated in the Oakland neighbourhood, giving students unparalleled access to tech companies, small business entrepreneurs, and startups within Pittsburgh.

The median starting salary for CMU graduates is US$69,700 per year. 

best us universities

Pennsylvania is one of the least expensive states in the US to live in. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Thomas Jefferson University (TJU)

Located in Pennsylvania, TJU is located in the “City of Brotherly Love” and is nationally known for its interprofessional approach to education

A bachelor’s degree for international students can start from US41,889 to US43,088 per year, while fees for a master’s can start from US33,466 to US$43,372 per year.

Graduates of TJU have a median starting salary of US$66,300 per year.



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