Top 10 Most Expensive Degrees

ExpensiveIdeally, no one wants to spend a lot of money on their college degree. In some cases, however, the investment is worth it. This is a list of the ten most expensive majors in the United States. If you’re thinking about one of these fields, consider your earning potential very carefully.

1. Medicine

The medical field is probably the most expensive degree to obtain because of the number of years spent in school. Potential doctors spend four years getting an undergrad degree, four years at a medical school and at least three years at an in-hospital residency. While the latter does give them a small stipend, many doctors have to defer their loans through this period. Fortunately, earning potential and career prospects are good for those who make it through this time.

2. Law

Becoming a lawyer will take at least four years of undergraduate study followed by three years of law school. Unfortunately, law schools are some of the most expensive schools in the country. To make matters worse, many schools have graduated too many students, making the earning potential of a lawyer lower than it has ever been.

3. Music

While tuition for a music degree is in keeping with other liberal arts degrees, the cost of “books and materials” make this degree one of the most expensive to get. The cost of a high-quality instrument can be well into the six figures. On top of this, music students are expected to buy their own sheet music, and in some cases computer programs to compose. Fortunately, some students are able to work in their field while earning their degree, cutting down on the potential for high student loans later on

4. Graphic Design

While graphic design only requires between two and four years of school,the equipment and technology a student has to buy in order to study these programs make the cost of this degree sky-high. Expect to have to invest in software programs that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and a computer capable of running those programs.

5. Film and Media Arts

Again, the costs of tuition are in keeping with other liberal arts colleges, but the extra equipment needed will run up the tab quickly. Film and Media Arts students need high-end video and/or still cameras, fast and portable computers, and expensive software for editing.

6. Philosophy

While a degree in this field has one of the worst earning potentials of any college major, it is one of the most expensive degrees to get. In part, this is because most Philosophy majors have to get a doctorate in order to become employable.

7. Dance

Getting a degree in dance usually means having to attend a private art school. Since these schools tend to be small and without a lot of alumni support, it is rare to find many scholarships offered for majors in this field. Furthermore, a student will be expected to provide their own shoes, equipment, props, and costumes. Depending on the school, this can run into thousands of dollars a year. Finally, dance students will find themselves traveling frequently for auditions while they are still in school. These travel costs add to the bottom line.

8. Art History

These degrees are usually only offered by private liberal arts colleges. Private liberal arts schools have been effected the most by the bad economy in recent years. Many are struggling with falling enrollment while trying to keep faculty. In response, many have stopped offering scholarship programs and have started to increase their tuition. To make matters worse, most students with these degrees discover that they have to get a Master’s or Doctorate in order to become eligible for most jobs in the field.

9. Education

While the cost of tuition for this degree can be kept fairly low, many Education students discover that their schedule of classes, internships, and student teaching jobs can make it next to impossible to work while going to school. This means that many Education majors have to take on student loans in order to complete their degrees. Once finished, many students discover that jobs in larger school districts will require them to complete a Master’s degree.

10. Engineering

The job prospects for this major are great, but the upfront costs can be high. Engineering students take small classes that are often taught by professors. This makes their staff costs a lot higher than other programs that can get away with adjunct faculty for longer.
In response, most universities charge an “engineering fee” per credit hour to cover these higher costs. Furthermore, engineering students are required to own computers that can run design software and take lab classes that often come with extra fees. In some of the smaller fields, failing a class one semester could mean having to wait an extra year before getting a chance to take it again.

photo by: 401(K) 2013