Research in Higher Education

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 383-405

First online:

The Earnings Benefits of Majoring in STEM Fields Among High Achieving Minority Students

  • Tatiana MelguizoAffiliated withRossier School of Education, University of Southern California Email author 
  • , Gregory C. WolniakAffiliated withEducation and Child Development, NORC at the University of Chicago

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The purpose of this study was to improve our understanding of the association between major field of study in college and early career earnings among a sample of academically accomplished minority students. Results demonstrate the economic benefits minority students experience from majoring in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math field during college, and highlight the importance of gaining employment in a closely related field in order to secure those benefits. The results also illustrate the need to carefully account for self-selection when estimating the earnings premiums in relation to educational experiences during college. Implications for policy and research are discussed.


Earnings College majors STEM Job congruence