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A university education is still the best way to land a well-paying job. Over a 40-year period, university graduates on average earn $1.1 million, or 58 percent more than graduates from other Ontario post-secondary programs, and $1.5 million more than the average Canadian high school graduate, according to a 2015 employment report by University Works.

The list below ranks the top ten bachelor’s degrees based on the highest to lowest average salaries (data comes from a national survey of 25- to 54-year-old university graduates who worked full year, full time in 2010). And while figuring out which field is right for you can be challenging, based on the recently released report titled “Earnings of Post-secondary Graduates by Detailed Field of Study” by Statistics Canada, at least students can get a feel for the ROI of their educations.

No matter what program you choose in the end, with careful budgeting, planning and hard work, you can find success in any field.

10. Computer Engineering

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $85,868
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $13,620
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $6,275.20
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,532.24

The number of computer engineers is expected to grow sharply in the next few years, according to Service Canada, as a result of high business investment in the technology sector.

Computer engineers work with computer hardware and software systems. Hardware engineers design communication system networks such as fibre-optic or wireless communication networks and intranets, while software engineers code firmware for hardware systems.

9. Electrical Engineering

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $87,354
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $13,620
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $6,275.20
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,532.24

The number of electrical engineers is expected to increase slightly in the next few years as a result of technological developments in computer products.

Electrical engineering students eventually specialize in one of two streams: power or electronics. The former work for power generation and distribution companies, while the latter work for technology companies, designing electrical control systems and components.

8. Mathematics

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $87,720
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $6,220
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $5,088
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,140.56

Mathematicians have highly valuable skills that can be applied to many fields such as commerce, economics, engineering, and the sciences. For example, they may be hired by financial institutions to build mathematical models to predict the movements of stock markets, or by a retailer as a data scientist to create predictive models for online shopping.

7. Civil Engineering

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $90,360
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $13,620
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $6,275.20
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,532.24

Over the next few years, Canada’s economic growth is expected to boost investments in construction projects, which will lead to a slight growth in employment in this sector, according to Service Canada.

Working civil engineers are involved with the multiple stages of a building project from design to construction, and may work on a range of infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, towers, buildings, and water supply systems.

6. Accounting

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $92,911
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $6,220
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $5,088
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,271.66

Accounting remains a popular profession for many students, and the number of graduates has increased in recent years. However, according to Service Canada, the labour market has enough job openings to accommodate the surge.

The field is quite broad and has two major specializations: public accounting and financial reporting and control. Students in the former learn about financial accounting, tax and audit, management, and graduate to work for public accounting firms. The latter is for students who wish to work as a financial analyst, managerial accountant or internal auditor.

5. Mechanical Engineering

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $95,075
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $13,620
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $6,275.20
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,532.24

Job growth in this field is heavily tied to Canada’s manufacturing sector. The loonie’s decline and strong recovery of the U.S economy have helped our manufacturing sector bounce back in recent years.

Working mechanical engineers are responsible for the entire product development cycle from research and development to installation and final commissioning. They make sure the product is cost-effective, safe, and reliable once manufactured.

4. Finance

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $95,870
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $6,220
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $5,088
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,271.66

After two years of foundational business courses, students who specialize in finance will learn how to plan, manage and analyze the financial aspects of businesses, banks and other organizations. Upon graduation, they will be eligible to work in a variety of financial roles such as security analyst, market research analyst, bank manager, mortgage broker or portfolio manager.

3. Geosciences

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $99,856
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $6,220
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $5,088
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,140.56

A bachelor’s degree in geosciences can lead to work in mineral and petroleum exploration, environmental consulting and urban projects, among others.

These skills are highly valued in Canada’s lucrative mining industry, which has experienced some weakness amid lower commodity prices recently. However, it’s expected to expand significantly with the recent increase in exploration over the next few years, according to Statistics Canada.

2. Chemical Engineering

Average salary in 2010 dollars: $107,267
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $13,620
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $6,275.20
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,532.24

The number of new graduates is projected to meet the number of job openings in the next few years, according to Job Bank Canada.

Chemical engineering students will take the same foundational courses in math and science as students in other engineering disciplines in their first and second years. After, they will learn about subjects such as fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and process modelling in order to design operations that will transform raw material into specified products for the various industries they may be employed in, such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals or energy.

1. Business, aka Management Sciences (MS)

Average salary in 2010 dollars:: $112,536
First year tuition (2015-2016, University of Toronto): $6,220
First year tuition (2016-2017, University of British Columbia): $5,088
First year tuition (2016-2017, McGill University): $4,271.66

Note: according to the survey, a MS degree offers on average the highest salaries for women.

Management sciences degree holders had the highest average salary in 2010, and there continues to be a strong demand for them, according to Services Canada. The discipline is more tied to math than commerce, and will teach students about theories and models in statistics and programming, and how to apply them to a variety of business problems.

No matter what program you choose in the end, with careful budgeting, planning and hard work, you can find success in any field.

Need help with budgeting? Use the Student Budget Calculator to figure out how much money you'll need to get through the school year.