Is college really necessary in the current day and age? Most, if not all students, attend college in order to get a better job with a higher salary. While, the financial returns for each degree do widely vary depending on the industry, university, opportunities and career path you choose. Hence, I would like to explore more about the Return On Investment (ROI) of the different university majors in Singapore.
- NUS Computer Science gives you the best ROI and is the highest median gross salary for a fresh graduate
- Doctors and Dentists tend to have very low ROI based on tuition fees in terms of starting salary
- Computing, Law and Medicine tends to have a higher starting salary
Preface of this case study
This is assuming:
- You are a Singapore Citizen
- You will be getting the MOE Tuition Grant
- You have not received a Tuition Grant from the Government of Singapore to attain an equal or higher level
- You are attending a full-time degree programme
- The total fees payable for students admitted in AY2023/2024
- Tenure for each degree, we are assuming:
- For NTU business students and NUS Nursing students (3 year programme)
- For Medicine students (5 year programme)
- For SIT Nursing students (2 year programme)
- For SIT students that are taking 180 MCs (3 year programme)
- For SIT students that are taking 240 MCs (4 year programme)
- The rest of the course finishes (in 4 years), Honors Programme
- Not taking into account miscellaneous fees and textbooks for course of study
Tuition Fees (in Singapore)
The Tuition Fees to be paid by Singaporeans to attend local universities still seem relatively affordable. With over 120 degree courses, the total median tuition fees cost about $37,500. This adds up to be about $9,375 annually (over 4 years). Of course, there are outliers in courses such as NUS Medicine, NTU Medicine and NUS Dentistry which cost over $100,000. These specialized fields often require extensive training and resources.
In light of these figures, I wonder: Which majors have the potential to yield the highest Return on Investment (ROI) based on tuition fees?
Majors with the Highest Return on Tuition Fees
How I calculated the ROI =((Gross Median Salary of Degree * 12) – Tuition Fees)Tuition Fees
NUS Computer Science has an astounding 140% Return On Investment (ROI) on the tuition fees you pay. I found that undergraduate programmes pertaining to Computing tend to have the highest level of return. 9 out of 10 of the degrees above consist of Computing which amplifies the surging demand of technology jobs in Singapore’s job market. As many companies are looking to innovate at the moment, technology-driven roles are fortunate to be at the fore-front of such technologies.
Majors with the Lowest Return on Tuition Fees
|Majors with the Lowest ROI on Tuition Fees
|SIT-CIA Food Business Management
|DigiPen Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation
|SUTD Architecture and Sustainable Design
|DigiPen Game Design
|SUTD Engineering Product Development
|SIT-Massey Food Technology
On the other end of the spectrum, medicine and dentistry degrees tend to have the lowest ROI. This is mainly due to the extremely high tuition fees. NUS Medicine tuition fee alone, costs S$30,200 annually for 5 years! The good thing is, medical graduates often have a 100% full-time employment rate and S$5,000 – S$6,000 of median gross monthly salary. However, this figure may under-represent the true economics of a medical degree given the stability of their income stream over the long run.
Top 10 Highest Paid Median Gross Salary Degree (Fresh Graduates)
|Top 10 Highest Paid Median Gross Salary Degree
|NUS Computer Science
|NTU DDP Business and Computing
|SMU Law (Cum Laude and above)
|NUS Computer Engineering
|SMU Information Systems (Cum Laude and above)
|NTU Data Science and AI
|NUS DSA/NUS IS/NUS BZA/NUS Info Sec/NTU CS
|NTU Computer Engineering
The top 10 highest paid median gross salary digress among fresh graduates paints a picture of the most sought-after paths in academia. Of which, many of these graduates come from institutions like NUS, NTU and SMU. The disciplines of computing, law and medicine showcase the various avenues of potential lucrative career prospects.
This is assuming:
- Not all students took part in the Graduate Employment Survey, hence the data may be skewed
- No data for NUS Medicine, the use of NTU Medicine statistics
- This is not a representation of what it may looks like by the time you graduate as the industry changes
Of course, one person’s long term ROI on their degrees are heavily dependent on each individual’s abilities, efforts, success and luck. This measure of ROI is an extremely short-term outlook of the future that lay ahead for many. While, in the pursuit of a university degree, many are driven by the ambition for enhanced career prospects.
Ultimately, I feel it should be about the passion, growth and pursuit of knowledge. While ROI does offer a valuable perspective, it does not encapsulate the full essence of an education impact. Hence, as you contemplate your educational journey, although ROI is significant, it is just one aspect of the broader narrative that defines your future.