Grad students earn big bucks

Compared to other Utah institutes of higher education, more graduates of the U’s graduate-school program earn a salary of $80,000 and have full-time jobs as their first job out of college, a new study shows.

The survey of 2004 graduate earnings reveals that 22 percent of the U’s advanced graduates earn a salary of $80,000 or more and 85 percent have full-time jobs, according to a report by the Utah Foundation.

“Having successfully been admitted to graduate school and received a graduate degree, you are seated at a higher level and achieved skills of higher level,” David Chapman, dean of the graduate school, said.

Graduate school involves more independent thinking, problem solving and writing than undergraduate work. Those skills are critically important no matter what you do, Chapman said.

The next best-performing graduate school is Brigham Young University, with 17 percent of its advanced graduates earning $80,000 or more along with 78 percent finding full-time employment their first year out of school.

Without more information, Chapman couldn’t say exactly why the U outperforms the other universities, but he said, “By and large, the U graduate schools are among the best in the country, and employers recognize that.”

The study also shows that 51 percent of U students with only a bachelor’s degree earn less than $30,000 a year while 2 percent earn that salary with an advanced degree.

Fifty-five percent of U graduates with advanced degrees earn $50,000 or more while only 12 percent accomplish that with a bachelor’s degree.

“There is a general feeling that you should get some sort of payback on investment in our society,” Chapman said. “So if you stay in school for another two years for a master’s degree, or five to seven for a doctorate degree, that is an investment, and there should be reasonable payback.”

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