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Highest-paying degrees for the class of 2016

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What's your major?

What if your future pay could be traced all the way back to that freshman philosophy seminar you took in college?

That's not exactly the case, although your choice of major does have a big impact on your future earnings. Because of the increasingly steep costs to attend college and get a degree, that's something more students are now wising up to, said Stephen Dash, founder and CEO of Credible, a student loan marketplace.

"People are starting to pay a lot more attention to the ROI of a college degree," he said. "Think about your college investment as you would think about other investments — there is an upfront cost and resulting returns."

Today, it's no surprise that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors were among the disciplines with the highest future salaries, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"STEM is still at the top, that's consistent with previous years," said Andrea Koncz, research manager at the organization.

Engineering majors, in general, were projected to earn an average starting salary of almost $65,000, the association said.

A separate study on post-college salaries by PayScale found that petroleum engineering majors, specifically, made over $100,000 within their first years out of school.

But what other disciplines made this year's list? Click ahead for the top five areas of study (from lowest to highest) that promise the best starting salaries after school.

By CNBC's Jessica Dickler

Posted 16 May 2016

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