Paying for a university education is a major investment. In this article, we’ve calculated the ROI from more than 70 university programs to help you get a better understanding of schools and majors that offer the best return for your money.
Attending university is a crucial step for advancing your career and salary potential. With that said, the cost of university education continues to soar and not all programmes are created equal in terms of helping students find a job. To help prospective university students and their parents, we’ve analysed data from more than 70 programmes in Singapore to determine which ones give you the value in terms of expected salary compared to tuition cost.
Computer Science & Nursing Offer Great ROI
Our analysis indicates that nursing and computer science are two of the best majors for maximising your return on tuition costs. For example, graduates of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and National University of Singapore’s (NUS) nursing and computer science programmes are employed at higher rates (82% – 97%) and earn higher starting salaries (S$35,251 – S$44,280) than the average university graduate in Singapore (81%, S$33,248). Additionally, 2-year nursing programmes, and other programmes that do not require 4 years of study, ranked particularly well in our study given that they tend to cost less than 4-year degrees.
It is important to note that we did not consider mid-career salaries, as this data was not readily available, which are important because an entry-level position in one industry may see higher salary growth compared to an entry-level job in another industry. Interestingly, a variety of majors and schools made it into our top 10 ROI by programme list. For a look at rankings based on our ROI calculation, please refer to our table below.
Graduates of Lowest Ranked Programmes May Have Trouble Finding a Job
Programmes with the lowest ROI in our study included NUS’s dentistry program and NTU’s fine arts, sport science, English and science degrees. Dentistry made this list due to its high tuition cost (S$28,400 per year for Singaporeans).
However, the other degrees had low ROI scores primarily due to their low employment rates of 49% to 63%, according to the Ministry of Manpower. However, it is also important to consider the fact that graduates of these degrees may be more likely to pursue masters and PhD degrees and therefore potentially less likely to be fully-employed following their undergraduate degree. Additionally, these results should not discourage strong students from pursuing their intellectual interests. Instead, it serves as a reminder that it is important to be fully committed to your studies, given the high cost of attending university, in order to find a fulfilling and well-paying career.
Methodology & Limitations
In order to determine which major offered the highest ROI in Singapore, we gathered publicly available tuition, employment and salary data for SIT, NUS, NTU, SUTD and SMU. To calculate return on investment, we first calculated the expected median annual salary by programme by multiplying the median monthly salary by 12 and then multiplying the result by the proportion of graduates that are employed.
Next, we divided the expected median annual salary by the total programme cost. We calculated total program cost using tuition for Singapore Citizens. While this method presents a clear ROI comparison between university programmes, it is not a comprehensive measure of each programme’s value. Still, our analysis provides an illustration of how new graduates may fare in the labour force following their university studies.
This article originally appeared on ValueChampion.