Choosing a field of study you enjoy is the most significant consideration when choosing a degree programs, according to many university graduates. But, earning a degree from a university requires a significant financial outlay, so it’s critical that your degree will pay off when you enter the workforce.
Degree programs pay the most
Not to mention the fact that the majority of us will devote a significant portion of our working life to repaying our student loans. The good news is that you can pursue both earning a respectable salary and having fun while studying. Both are available to you! It’s crucial to select a degree that carefully considers both sides of this complex issue.
Our all-inclusive guide to the highest earning degrees available in the UK will help you choose the courses that will most likely lead to the highest beginning salary upon graduation. Other aspects that we have examined include your potential for future earnings, the level of competition in the job market, and the top universities for study.
Balancing money and passion
First of all, don’t let the thought of beginning your working career in debt scare you. In some ways, borrowing money to pay for necessities is a way of life. One day, you’ll probably want to buy a house, which means taking out a loan that will take 20 to 30 years to pay back.
It makes sense to finance your education similarly if you’re willing to take out a loan to purchase a home. Consider it an investment in your future self and opportunities. One day, your future self will appreciate it.
Increasing your knowledge base, picking up priceless abilities, thoroughly understanding a subject, and leaving with an irreplaceable certificate of achievement are all extremely significant accomplishments. Many recent graduates consider their time in college to have been the highlight of their lives. The aforementioned factors render a degree extremely valuable, enabling, and potentially transformative.
However, we all have to live in the real world, where we have to pay our bills and strive for a decent standard of living for ourselves and any people we might want to support. It doesn’t make sense to spend so much money if there is no return on our investment. Continue reading to see which degrees will benefit you financially and provide fascinating experiences.
What are the highest paying degrees?
The most current HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) survey, which was released in May 2023, provided the data that we used. It polled graduates from 2019 to 2021 to find out the average beginning wage of individuals with various degrees working in the UK in “high-skilled” positions.
The standard occupational classifications of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) determine the skill level of all jobs.Keep in mind that the numbers represent an estimate of what you could make. If, after graduating, you choose to work in a bar instead of studying medicine, it would be considered a “low-skilled” employment, and you wouldn’t be paid the amount we suggested. However, if you were to become a junior physician, that would be categorized as high skill.
- Dentistry – £35,000
Our data comes from the most recent Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) survey, which was released in May 2023. It collected the average beginning wage of individuals who obtained different degrees and were working in the UK in “high-skilled” positions by surveying students who graduated between 2019 and 2021. The Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) standard occupational classifications determine the level of expertise required for every employment.Keep in mind that the numbers represent what is possible for you to earn. You wouldn’t make the amount we’ve quoted if you choose to major in medicine and then choose to work in a bar as your first job after graduation because that would be considered a “low-skilled” position. However, being a junior physician would be categorized as
Since there is a significant need for dentists in the UK, you should be able to find employment quickly after graduating. In less than six months, more than 90% of dentistry graduates find employment. Additionally, there are options for specialization, such as in surgery, orthodontics, or non-clinical public health administration.
You can take our quick preparatory courses with the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield to learn more about what it takes to become a dentist. Some of the top universities for studying dentistry have joined with FutureLearn.
- Medicine – £35,000
Obtaining a medical degree can take up to six years, and becoming a doctor or other healthcare professional is a demanding career path. However, junior doctors and consultants in the NHS are now paid more, so it seems that all of their hard work is paying off. Pay agreements have resulted in increased earnings for nursing graduates as well.
Graduates in medicine often start at £35,000, and junior doctors in the NHS can make up to £32,300 in their first year and £43,900 in three. Between £93,600 to £134,000 is the annual salary range for consultants. As in dentistry, private healthcare services typically provide even better compensation than the National Health Service.
It takes up to six years to get a medical degree, and being a doctor or other healthcare worker is a demanding career. But the hard work will pay off, as seen by the recent salary rises for junior doctors and consultants in the NHS. Due to wage negotiations, nursing graduates are now also making more money.
While junior doctors in the NHS can make up to £32,300 in their first year and £43,900 after three, the typical starting wage for a medical graduate is £35,000. The annual salary range for consultants is between £93,600 and £134,000, and similar to the dental field, private healthcare providers typically offer even better compensation than the National Health Service.
- Veterinary science – £32,000
A job as a veterinarian can be ideal for you if you have a strong passion for animals and animal welfare. Graduates in veterinary science began their careers with an annual income of £32,000, and 91% of them secured employment right away.
According to data, a veterinarian in the UK makes, on average, £45,000. However, specialized and experienced veterinarians make over £70,000 annually. With our dedicated virtual work experience course, discover what it takes to become a veterinarian.
- Engineering – £30,000
Veterinarian may be the ideal career choice for you if you have a strong passion for animals and animal welfare. The starting income for veterinary science graduates was £32,000 per year, and 91% of them were employed right out of school.
According to data, the typical veterinarian in the UK makes £45,000. However, highly skilled and specialized veterinarians make over £70,000 annually. With the help of our customized virtual work experience course, learn what it takes to become a vet.
Being an engineer means that you will always have employment. But since technology is advancing quickly, you will need to continuously learn new abilities throughout your career in engineering.
An engineer in the chemical or civil fields often starts out at £30,000. Graduates in manufacturing and aviation start at £28,000, while electrical engineers start at £29,000. Engineers with experience can make up to £75,000, and obtaining extra professional certifications like chartered engineer status can increase your income even further.
- Maths – £30,000
In the UK, there is currently a drive to make math one of the core subjects once again. Math is arguably the one discipline that has supported the majority of human breakthroughs, inventions, and discoveries throughout history. However, the demand to sharpen our mathematics skills has been waning for some time due to the abundance of digital tools that are already available.
A degree in mathematics will be both rewarding and well-paying if you possess mathematical aptitude. You will probably make a lot of money no matter what field you choose to work in: banking, finance, accounting, economics, or any other field where working with numbers, computations, and problem-solving is crucial, like management consulting.
A graduate in mathematics typically starts out at £30,000, but you may anticipate a sharp rise in pay.
- Computing – £30,000
This degree is appropriate for the current era. Graduates in computer science will begin their careers with an average salary of £30,000, which is the same as graduates in math and engineering. They will also have access to a wide range of industries and businesses.
Computer specialists will always be needed by IT organizations. Today, the majority of businesses worldwide require IT specialists, whether they work in the background to protect an organization’s network from cyberattacks or directly assist users’ gear and software in an office setting.
The 1980s saw the start of a boom in software development, with an average UK income of between £45k and £60k, graphic designers making between £32,000 and £50,000, and coders making between £45k and £55,000. With major computer businesses like Google and Apple always growing, a degree in computing may land you a job at a tech giant’s UK headquarters or in Silicon Valley, where you could potentially make six figures.
- Physical sciences – £28,000
If you studied chemistry or physics in college, you will undoubtedly have received your degree. For incredibly significant problems on Earth and throughout the solar system, physics offers hypotheses and answers. If you study physics or astrophysicist, you may become a professor in a college or university, or you may work for NASA or the UK Space Agency.Meanwhile, chemistry produces findings that are essential to both industrial growth and human health.
The physical sciences demand a high level of intelligence as well as a love for comprehending difficult concepts like propulsion, geology, and gravity. Your pay as a graduate will begin at about £28,000 and rise to about £40,000 over the course of the first ten years. You can make up to £60,000 a year teaching physical science at a university.
- Social sciences – £28,000
Social science is defined as the study of individuals, groups, and behaviors. Sociology and anthropology are the most popular social science degrees, but there are many different job options available to those who study these fields.
Many people choose to work in the legal field, health administration, social work, therapy, journalism, community development, or even the creative arts. A small percentage of people choose to stay in academia, pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees and engaging in research, teaching, or writing books.
A social science graduate’s typical beginning pay is £28,000, and regardless of the profession they choose, they will have gained a solid understanding of human cultures and the reasons behind why the world operates the way it does.
- Business and Management – £27,000
The majority of undergraduate business majors continue on to pursue a postgraduate MBA (master of business administration) degree, which is when the big money starts to come in. You can start earning as much as £50,000 a year with an MBA, and the possibilities are endless. CEOs and directors may make between £80,000 and £2 million or more annually.
After earning your business degree and starting a job right away, your starting salary will be about £27,000. With perseverance, promotions, and job changes, you can eventually earn up to £150,000. Your professional path may take you into company law, HR, communications, or leadership/management at the board level.
- Environmental science – £26,500
With most organizations placing a strong priority on sustainable development and climate change, earning a degree in environmental sciences could put you in a position to save the environment and make you highly sought for. Your capacity to solve environmental problems scientifically and your level of experience will determine how much money you can make.
Starting at £26.5k, you could become the chief sustainability officer of a global corporation and walk away with a massive income, or you could work for a charity or public sector institution and get roughly £50k a year.
Five more degrees and their salaries in brief
There is a wide variety of degrees available, and it is important to remember that the degree you enjoy learning about the most is the one that is best for you. Employers take into consideration the likelihood that a candidate will finish their degree program and receive a high grade—a factor that increases with topic enjoyment.
The following list of the top five UK degrees that pay well is based on whether or not starting income is your top priority:
- Architecture – £26,000
Create the homes and structures of the future while beginning your career with an architect business with an average income of £26,000.
- Languages – £25,500
For organizations like the UN, knowing a language opens doors to living and working overseas and is a highly marketable talent.
- Psychology – £24,500
With the demands on mental health in the modern world, psychology graduates are in greater demand and can begin earning £24.5k annually working in the public or private sector.
- Law – £24,000
Although law graduates don’t start out with the highest wage, they quickly rise to become among the highest paid professions.
- Journalism – £23,000
As many journalists will tell you, the variety of intriguing work is the real reason you go into the media rather than the money. This is reflected in the £23k entry-level wage, but a national newspaper reporter can make about £35k, an editor £50k, and an editor-in-chief up to £500k annually.
Explore our selection of flexible online degrees and take the first step towards a high-paying profession.