Study: Mason grads earn high wages compared to other Virginia colleges

(Photo courtesy of Jake McLernon)
(Photo courtesy of Jake McLernon)

George Mason University graduates are making about five thousands dollars more than their co-workers, according to a recent study.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia released their institution and program-specific data for the wages of recent graduates 18 months after graduation. The study breaks down the average wages by different majors in each institution.

On average, recent graduates of all programs from the reporting Virginia institutions earned $36,067 for the 2009-10 reporting year. Mason graduates earned considerably more, averaging $41,153 for the year.

According to the Princeton Review, Mason’s three most popular majors are accounting, biology and psychology. In a comparison with Virginia Tech, James Madison University and the University of Virginia, Mason’s recent graduates came out on top of the wage-earning scale for these degrees.

Recent graduates from the accounting program at Mason earned on average $47,008 for the 2009-10 reporting year. Meanwhile, graduates from Tech with the same degree earned an average of $44,915 and JMU graduates earned $44,916.

Biology majors from Mason earned $31,504 for the year, while Tech graduates earned $28,821, JMU graduates earned $27,885, and University of Virginia graduates earned $27,209.

Those Mason graduates who majored in psychology earned $32,875 for the 2009-10 reporting year. The Tech graduates earned $28,864, the JMU graduates earned $27,632 and the graduates from UVa earned $28,864.

Provost Peter Stearns believes many factors contributed to the strong performance of Mason’s recent graduates.

“I actually think [Mason does] a pretty good job of producing work-ready students, partly because of many well adapted programs, partly because students often gain relevant work and internship experiences during college,” Stearns wrote in an email.

Stearns also pointed to the competitive DC-metropolitan area as a source of driving up costs of living and, in effect, wages.

Provost Stearns attributes the success partly to Mason’s emphasis on practical application of studies.

“Again as to policies: [there is] lots of growing emphasis on internships, lots of attention to work implications of programs,” Stearns wrote. He points to Mason’s dance program as an example of how the university prepares its students for the work place. According to their website, the dance program not only trains their students in dance performance and choreography, but also prepares them for earning a teaching license.  

Provost Stearns believes the results of the study will help with student recruitment, and he hopes Mason’s standings will improve even further.

“I'd like even better jobs and earnings results, as we work on even better placement and internship services,” Stearns wrote.

Information on salaries for more majors and other Virginia universities can be found at

Your rating: None Average: 5 (5 votes)
Student Media Group: