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2021 Best Colleges in Pennsylvania by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

We ranked top universities in Pennsylvania based on Salary Score to help students compare schools by alumni salary. While future salary isn’t the primary consideration for every student, we believe this information is useful alongside other metrics, like cost of tuition, financial aid packages, and the overall quality of a program. Salary Score is calculated by comparing alumni earnings by major in the first year after graduation at one college to alumni earnings for the same majors across all colleges. These scores are then combined to create an overall Salary Score for a college. The top 25 schools in Pennsylvania have higher Salary Scores than the median for U.S. colleges. Six colleges in Pennsylvania, including the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, and Bucknell University, have earned spots on our 2021 Best Colleges in the U.S. by Salary Score list.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Salary Scores based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia $57,770 98.85
#2 #2 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Pittsburgh $57,119 97.66
#3 #3 Bucknell University Lewisburg Lewisburg $58,196 92.94
#4 #4 Villanova University Villanova Villanova $55,280 92.80
#5 #5 Lehigh University Bethlehem Bethlehem $55,240 91.74
#6 #6 Swarthmore College Swarthmore Swarthmore $54,656 90.72
#7 #7 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia Philadelphia $46,550 89.14
#8 #8 Lafayette College Easton Easton $55,752 87.24
#9 #9 Dickinson College Carlisle Carlisle $56,523 84.26
#10 #10 Drexel University Philadelphia Philadelphia $54,516 83.57
#11 #11 Gettysburg College Gettysburg Gettysburg $56,390 76.02
#12 #12 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia Philadelphia $41,866 73.40
#13 #13 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster Lancaster $58,800 73.20
#14 #14 Holy Family University Philadelphia Philadelphia $31,040 72.54
#15 #15 Immaculata University Immaculata Immaculata $27,350 71.67
#16 #16 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester West Chester $10,421 70.85
#17 #17 Lebanon Valley College Annville Annville $44,910 69.08
#18 #18 Lancaster Bible College Lancaster Lancaster $26,170 67.69
#19 #19 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown Elizabethtown $32,000 66.71
#20 #20 Pennsylvania State University State College State College $18,450 66.49
#21 #21 The University of Scranton Scranton Scranton $45,790 65.51
#22 #22 La Salle University Philadelphia Philadelphia $31,650 64.32
#23 #23 DeSales University Center Valley Center Valley $38,700 63.34
#24 #24 Alvernia University Reading Reading $36,350 62.59
#25 #25 Temple University Philadelphia Philadelphia $16,970 61.33

2021 Best Colleges in Pennsylvania Highlights

Salary Score 98.85
Annual Tuition $57,770
Graduation Rate 96%

The undergraduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania have an overall high Salary Score, with twenty-three out of thirty scoring a 90 or above. Thirteen of the programs scored 100, including communication and media studies, philosophy, and history. Graduates of the finance and financial management services programs report the highest median salary of all the programs, at $127,540, while alumni from the top-scoring history programs earn a median salary of $48,850.

School Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, a medium-sized private university, sits on 299 acres across the Schuylkill River from Philadelphia's Center City. Enrolling around 10,000 undergraduate students, the Ivy League school was founded in 1740. As a research university, there are many opportunities for students to take part in research outside of the classroom. Students are also encouraged to take part in civic engagement; the President’s Engagement Prizes, which gives some seniors the ability to design their own public service project the year after they graduate, is just one of the awards given by the school in order to encourage public service amongst the students.

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Salary Score 97.66
Annual Tuition $57,119
Graduation Rate 90%

With only one of Carnegie Mellon University’s twenty-five undergraduate programs scoring below a 73 on our Salary Score scale, most graduates earn a higher salary than alumni from similar programs at other schools. The drama/theatre arts and stagecraft, computer science, and psychology programs are among those that have a Salary Score of 100. Three of the highest-scoring programs also have median salaries above $100,000. Computer science is the highest-earning field of study, with a median salary of $156,490.

School Overview

Carnegie Mellon University is a medium-sized private university located a few miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh. Undergraduate students interested in research can do so with the aid of the various grants, awards, and fellowships offered through the Undergraduate Research Center, which supports students doing research in any discipline. The university offers a variety of scholarships and grants, as well as the Yeknik Student Loan Fund, which is available to CMU students with significant financial need.

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Salary Score 92.94
Annual Tuition $58,196
Graduation Rate 90%

The top bachelor’s programs at Bucknell University are English language and literature, natural resources conservation and research, rhetoric and composition/writing studies, and sociology, all of which have Salary Scores of 100. The computer and information sciences and computer engineering programs also rank high with Salary Scores of 91 and 93, respectively. Graduates of computer engineering programs report the highest median salary at $89,860, while alumni of the business administration, management, and operations programs earn a median salary of $53,360.

School Overview

Bucknell University is a small, private, liberal arts university with a student population of less than 4,000. It is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, a small town less than three hours from Philadelphia. More than 60% of students receive financial aid, with an average award of $41,000 per year. Many experiential learning programs are available, including study abroad options, entrepreneurial competitions, and internships for students interested in gaining hands-on experience and networking opportunities.

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