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Average starting salary for MIT grads tops $45K

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Salaries offered to computer scientists topped the job offers reported by the Class of 2000, followed closely by offers made to electrical engineers.

The highest salary offer reported by a graduating senior -- $80,000 -- was made to a graduate of the School of Engineering (major unspecified) for consulting work, according to a survey compiled by the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising based on 446 salary offers voluntarily reported by June graduates.

A student in the engineering school offered a job working with securities or commodity contracts and a Sloan School graduate tied for the lowest offer reported: $32,000.

The salary survey reported the lowest, average and highest offers received by individuals and grouped them in three ways: according to degrees and majors, by type of employer and by job function. Figures in the report are base salaries only and do not include bonuses, which in many industries constitute a significant portion of employees' earnings. The Schools of Engineering, Management, and Humanities and Social Sciences (economics only) are included in the report. The small number of students participating from the Schools of Science and Architecture did not constitute a valid sampling.

For the graduating class, the second-highest offers went to students earning an SB in computer science or management ($75,000), followed by electrical engineers at $70,000; mechanical engineers at $62,000; chemical engineers, materials scientists and engineers, and economists at $60,000; and $58,500 for those in aeronautics and astronautics (aero/astro).

Average offers for graduates ranged from $46,200 to $63,900. Average offers per major were computer science -- $63,900; electrical engineering -- $57,500; materials science and engineering -- $54,300; unspecified engineering majors with offers in financial or consulting services -- $51,800; mechanical engineering -- $51,300; chemical engineering -- $50,800; aero/astro -- $50,500; management -- $49,300; and economics -- $46,200.


Although the report didn't break out e-commerce as a category, jobs with Internet firms would fall into the computer systems design/consulting/programming category, which on average offered the second-highest salaries. Only software publishers offered more.

Average offers per employer type were software publishers -- $61,000; computer systems design -- $58,600; computer and electronic products -- $57,900; electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing -- $55,900; chemicals -- $53,000; management consulting -- $52,800; environmental consulting -- $51,800; aerospace products and parts -- $49,700; transportation equipment -- $49,700; other consulting -- $48,000; pharmaceuticals and medicine -- $45,700; banking -- $44,600; and financial services -- $43,700.


When classified according to job function, computer scientists were in the lead again. The highest offers were for jobs in software design and development and consulting at $80,000. High offers in systems programming and computer programming came in at $75,000.

Average salaries were led by software design and development at $65,300; hardware design and development -- $61,300; computer programming -- $57,400; and systems/programming -- $55,000. Others by job function were consulting -- $53,400; research and development and chemical engineering, both at $50,400; production engineering -- $50,200; project engineering -- $49,400; manufacturing/industrial -- $47,700; portfolio management/brokerage and investment banking (corporate finance) -- $45,000; and investment banking (sales and trading) -- $43,600.


For people earning graduate degrees, the highest salary offers went to PhDs in the School of Engineering (major unspecified) going into financial or consulting and PhDs in electrical engineering and computer science, at $110,000. Other offers at or above $100,000 were for MEng degrees in computer science and MEng or PhD degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, SM degrees in the Leaders for Manufacturing Program (LFM) or the Technology and Policy Program, and SM and MEng degrees from the School of Engineering (major unspecified) going into financial and consulting work. PhDs in mechanical engineering and LFM received high offers of $96,000.

Average reported offers for individuals earning the PhD ranged from $71,000 to $96,700.

Across all degrees, the highest salary offers by job function were made to individuals with PhDs hired to do research and development ($110,000) or technical/scienctific research ($105,000), SM degrees to do consulting ($103,000), and MEng degrees to do software design and development or computer programming ($100,000).

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 31, 2000.

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