Press Release

April 5, 2017 

Top Disciplines for New Faculty Hires in Higher Ed

According to data from CUPA-HR’s Faculty and Department Heads in Higher Education Salary Survey, the hottest disciplines for new faculty hires in higher ed are nursing, psychology and English language/literature. Mathematics and music round out the top five.

Other Findings:

  • Racial/ethnic minority tenure-track faculty are paid equitably at all ranks, but the representation of minority faculty decreases with increases in rank from new assistant professor to professor. 
  • Female tenure-track faculty are underrepresented in higher faculty ranks and as department heads. At all ranks, females make lower salaries than do males.
  • Tenure-track faculty in the discipline of law have the highest median salaries. Tenure-track faculty in the discipline of philosophy/religious studies have the lowest median salaries. 
  • Salaries for almost every discipline tend to increase linearly by age (meaning that older individuals earn more than younger individuals) until the age of 70, when salaries level out or drop off. The exception is in the area of business, where tenure-track faculty from the ages of 30 to 65 are earning nearly equivalent salaries. Also of note, younger business and law faculty are earning much higher median salaries than are faculty in other areas.
  • More than half of department heads receive a salary supplement, and more than half receive course relief. Only one quarter of department heads receive a summer salary. 
  • Adjunct faculty make approximately $1,000 per credit hour. Overall, there are three adjunct faculty members for every four full-time faculty members.

This year’s survey collected detailed aggregated salary information for 237,231 full-time faculty by discipline, rank, tenure status, gender, minority status, age and years in rank. Salary information was also reported for academic department heads and adjunct faculty. Purchase results or read an overview of the findings

CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving nearly 23,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 1,900 member institutions and organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

CUPA-HR is the recognized authority on compensation surveys for higher education, with its salary surveys designed by higher ed HR professionals for higher ed HR professionals and other campus leaders. Learn more about CUPA-HR research.