Skip to main content

African Americans: College Majors and Earnings

African Americans

College Majors and Earnings

Full Report


Interactive Tool/Video


Press Release

Earnings vary greatly among college majors. While college access has increased among African Americans, they are overrepresented in majors that lead to low-paying jobs. African Americans: College Majors and Earnings shows that African Americans, who represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, are underrepresented in the number of college majors associated with the fastest growing, highest-paying occupations.

Key Findings


Architecture and engineering is the major group with the highest median earnings ($66,206) for African Americans with a Bachelor’s degree.

The highest paying detailed major among African Americans is pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences and administration with median earnings at $84,000.

African Americans represent 7% of STEM majors.

Twenty percent of African Americans majored in human services and community organization, which has the second-lowest median earnings at $39,000.


View and download our infographic, which illustrates the prevalence of African American degree holders among the 137 detailed major groups. Find out what the 10 highest and lowest earnings were by major.

Interactive Tool

Blacks’ Earnings by College Major: Explore the data on Blacks’ earnings by major and detailed field of study.

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of American Community Survey, 2009–2016 (pooled) of bachelor’s degree holders without advanced degrees, age 25-59 working full-time full-year.


Watch this video to get a snapshot of the report findings.


Despite the increase in college access among African Americans, African Americans are highly concentrated in low-paying majors. African Americans: College Majors and Earningsanalyzes 137 detailed majors among African Americans to find that:

  • African Americans only account for 8 percent of general engineering majors, 7 percent of mathematics majors, and 5 percent of computer majors
  • Law and public policy is the top major group for African Americans with a Bachelor’s degree
  • The highest concentrated detailed major among African Americans is in health and medical administration
  • The second lowest-paying major among African American is in human services and community organization with median earnings at $39,000
Read Full Report
Full Report
Press Release