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May 01, 2017 11:11 PM EDT

One of the biggest cause of stress among graduates is the repayment of their student loans, especially for those who are not earning more than they expected. Because of that, a lot of students are wondering which degree or major will give them a strong earning power in the future.

PayScale has conducted a research of the lifetime earnings of different majors and degrees to find out which one has a great earning potential for years to come. The five top-paying jobs by major are petroleum engineering, strategy, statistics, general strategy and management, and organic chemistry.

Petroleum Engineer

A petroleum engineer with a bachelor's degree and has more than 20 years of experience under his belt has a median salary of $185K a year. Despite the high level of pay, the risk that comes with being a petroleum engineer is also high.

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Careers in strategy with an MBA and more than 20 years of experience has a median pay of $175K per year.


According to PayScale, someone with a Ph.D. in Statistics and 20 more years of experience can expect a $172K per annum median salary.

General Strategy and Management

The fourth highest paying major is General Strategy and Management. However, to have a median salary of $169K per year, candidates should have a master's degree and 20 plus years of experience.

Organic Chemistry

Those who earn a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry can expect a median salary of $167K per year.

Based on the top highest-earning majors, petroleum engineers are on top of the list as it only requires a bachelor's degree to earn that median salary compared to the others on the list that needs a master's or a Ph.D. degree.

Aside from the top majors, PayScale also included the top-earning majors by degree level. As expected, petroleum engineers are the highest earners among the other bachelor's degree programs.

For the associate degree level, Political Science is the highest with graduates expecting $86,100 median salary per year. In the master's degree level, the top earner is International Business with a median salary of $158,000.

Meanwhile, Strategy majors are the top earners with an MBA as they expect a median salary of $175K and Statistics majors with a Ph.D. degree are the highest earners in this level with a median salary of $172K per year.

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