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Starting Salaries – Do Graduates Earn More?

Graduate salaries are constantly changing. This page shows how they have changed over time; which subjects earn you more as a graduate vs a non-graduate; and whether it is likely you'll be earning more when you graduate than if you were a graduate now.

Skip to:
• How have graduate salaries changed?
• Will a degree be worth it? The professional premium
• Notes about the data

You can click on subject names in the tables to see the best-performing universities for the subject area.

Colleagues

How have graduate salaries changed?

It's good to have a rough idea of what you could be earning when you graduate. Our data shows how starting salaries for graduates have changed in recent years. Use it to see whether you can expect to be earning more or less than the current wage.

The data is from graduates who completed their degree in the academic year 2015–16, compared with those who earned their degree in 2010–11. The percentage change column allows you to see exactly how the professional* starting salary has changed over five years.

Subject 2011 Inflated^ 2016 Original Change Original Change Adjusted^
Accounting & Finance £23,907 £23,478 9% -1%
Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering £26,982 £26,092 8% -3%
Agriculture & Forestry £20,897 £20,903 11% 0%
American Studies £20,861 £20,538 10% -1%
Anatomy & Physiology £22,450 £21,468 6% -4%
Anthropology £23,437 £20,965 0% -10%
Archaeology £20,279 £20,252 11% 0%
Architecture £20,841 £20,400 9% -2%
Art & Design £19,717 £19,235 9% -2%
Aural & Oral Sciences £22,960 £22,725 10% -1%
Biological Sciences £22,071 £21,243 7% -3%
Building £24,445 £26,262 20% 7%
Business & Management Studies £24,712 £24,075 8% -2%
Celtic Studies £18,023 £20,116 24% 11%
Chemical Engineering £30,994 £27,696 0% -10%
Chemistry £23,715 £23,078 8% -2%
Civil Engineering £26,505 £25,847 9% -2%
Classics & Ancient History £23,609 £22,722 7% -3%
Communication & Media Studies £20,046 £19,582 9% -2%
Complementary Medicine £25,511 £31,574 38% 23%
Computer Science £25,484 £25,373 11% 0%
Dentistry £34,408 £31,341 1% -8%
Drama, Dance & Cinematics £19,660 £19,347 10% -1%
East & South Asian Studies £25,628 £22,638 -1% -11%
Economics £30,120 £28,019 4% -6%
Education £23,470 £21,720 3% -7%
Electrical & Electronic Engineering £27,072 £26,418 9% -2%
English £20,444 £19,787 8% -3%
Food Science £22,406 £21,864 9% -2%
French £22,601 £21,759 7% -3%
General Engineering £29,398 £27,654 5% -5%
Geography & Environmental Science £23,076 £22,313 8% -3%
Geology £32,627 £21,852 -25% -33%
German £22,375 £22,120 10% -1%
History £22,269 £22,436 12% 0%
History of Art, Architecture & Design £21,601 £19,979 3% -7%
Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism £20,648 £20,501 11% 0%
Iberian Languages £21,958 £22,461 14% 2%
Italian £22,468 £21,862 8% -2%
Land & Property Management £23,096 £24,329 17% 5%
Law £21,946 £20,892 6% -4%
Librarianship & Information Management £23,606 £24,975 18% 5%
Linguistics £20,770 £21,186 14% 2%
Marketing £21,691 £21,377 10% -1%
Materials Technology £23,636 £23,440 10% 0%
Mathematics £27,164 £25,501 4% -6%
Mechanical Engineering £28,737 £26,837 4% -6%
Medical Technology £24,653 £22,800 3% -7%
Medicine £32,852 £29,352 0% -10%
Middle Eastern & African Studies £23,162 £23,229 12% 0%
Music £19,805 £19,329 9% -2%
Nursing £25,297 £22,846 0% -9%
Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics £15,342 £17,545 27% 14%
Pharmacology & Pharmacy £22,997 £20,028 -2% -12%
Philosophy £23,870 £22,773 6% -4%
Physics & Astronomy £26,793 £25,612 6% -4%
Physiotherapy £23,752 £22,606 6% -4%
Politics £25,132 £23,113 2% -8%
Psychology £20,542 £19,964 8% -2%
Russian & East European Languages £24,372 £24,150 10% 0%
Social Policy £20,776 £21,280 14% 2%
Social Work £26,213 £25,105 7% -4%
Sociology £21,140 £20,387 7% -3%
Sports Science £20,513 £19,688 7% -4%
Theology & Religious Studies £22,200 £21,678 9% -2%
Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design £23,038 £23,297 13% 1%
Veterinary Medicine £28,723 £27,721 7% -3%
Average £23,753 £22,966 8% -2%

Will a degree be worth it? The professional premium†

Changes in graduate earnings over time may make you question whether a degree in your subject area is worthwhile. The professional premium† will show you the difference in salaries between graduates and non-graduates.

The professional premium† is the pay gap between the mean salary for those entering employment in a professional* job, and the mean salary for those starting non-professional employment**.

Scroll through to see which subject areas have the highest and lowest professional premium†. You can also see which subject groups have seen the greatest increase and decrease in professional premium over the last five years.

Skip to:
• Top 10 subjects with the highest professional premium

• Top 10 subjects with the lowest professional premium
• Top 10 subjects with the greatest increase in professional premium
• Top 10 subjects with the greatest reduction in professional premium
• Full table for professional premium

Top 10 subjects with the highest professional premium†– 2016 graduates

Subject Professional Starting Salary* Non-Professional Starting Salary** Professional Premium†
Economics £26,940 £18,143 £9,876
Physics & Astronomy £23,964 £16,121 £9,491
Medical Technology £22,050 £13,322 £9,478
Social Work £23,445 £15,965 £9,140
Chemical Engineering £27,722 £18,613 £9,083
General Engineering £26,294 £19,043 £8,611
Mechanical Engineering £25,703 £18,296 £8,541
Electrical & Electronic Engineering £24,214 £18,005 £8,413
Computer Science £22,793 £16,969 £8,404
Librarianship & Information Management £21,114 £16,796 £8,179

Top 10 subjects with the lowest professional premium†– 2016 graduates

Subject Professional Starting Salary* Non-Professional Starting Salary** Professional Premium†
Pharmacology & Pharmacy £20,569 £18,327 £1,701
History of Art, Architecture & Design £19,320 £16,906 £3,073
Music £17,714 £16,164 £3,165
Art & Design £17,635 £16,014 £3,221
Communication & Media Studies £17,930 £16,327 £3,255
Agriculture & Forestry £18,691 £17,634 £3,269
Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism £18,468 £17,190 £3,311
English £18,286 £16,340 £3,447
Sports Science £18,347 £16,214 £3,474
Drama, Dance & Cinematics £17,584 £15,779 £3,568

Top 10 subjects with the greatest increase in professional premium† 2011–16

Subject Professional Premium 2011† Professional Premium 2016† £ Change 2011-16 % Change 2011-16^
Pharmacology & Pharmacy £5,808 £1,701 £4,107 70%
Geology £16,350 £6,161 £10,189 62%
Anthropology £8,017 £4,584 £3,433 42%
History of Art, Architecture & Design £4,610 £3,073 £1,537 33%
Chemical Engineering £13,105 £9,083 £4,022 30%
Anatomy & Physiology £6,575 £4,615 £1,960 29%
Politics £8,081 £5,863 £2,218 27%
English £4,647 £3,447 £1,200 25%
Law £5,269 £3,912 £1,357 25%
Civil Engineering £8,869 £6,670 £2,199 24%

Full table for professional premium

Subject Professional Premium 2011† Professional Premium 2016† £ Change 2011-16 % Change 2011-16^
Accounting & Finance £5,818 £4,751 £1,067 18%
Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering £9,084 £7,965 £1,119 12%
Agriculture & Forestry £4,274 £3,269 £1,005 23%
American Studies £4,123 £4,343 -£220 -5%
Anatomy & Physiology £6,575 £4,615 £1,960 29%
Anthropology £8,017 £4,584 £3,433 42%
Archaeology £4,797 £4,345 £452 9%
Architecture £4,227 £4,262 -£35 0%
Art & Design £4,143 £3,221 £922 22%
Aural & Oral Sciences £7,513 £7,746 -£233 -3%
Biological Sciences £6,260 £5,238 £1,022 16%
Building £6,772 £7,259 -£487 -7%
Business & Management Studies £6,924 £5,957 £967 13%
Celtic Studies £2,091 £5,152 -£3,061 -146%
Chemical Engineering £13,105 £9,083 £4,022 30%
Chemistry £6,990 £6,139 £851 12%
Civil Engineering £8,869 £6,670 £2,199 24%
Classics & Ancient History £7,054 £6,187 £867 12%
Communication & Media Studies £3,898 £3,255 £643 16%
Complementary Medicine £9,629 £31,574 -£21,945 -227%
Computer Science £7,840 £8,404 -£564 -7%
Dentistry £34,408 £31,341 £3,067 8%
Drama, Dance & Cinematics £3,665 £3,568 £97 2%
East & South Asian Studies £5,023 £4,239 £784 15%
Economics £11,527 £9,876 £1,651 14%
Education £7,877 £5,992 £1,885 23%
Electrical & Electronic Engineering £9,731 £8,413 £1,318 13%
English £4,647 £3,447 £1,200 25%
Food Science £5,683 £5,387 £296 5%
French £5,298 £4,033 £1,265 23%
General Engineering £7,194 £8,611 -£1,417 -19%
Geography & Environmental Science £6,734 £6,057 £677 10%
Geology £16,350 £6,161 £10,189 62%
German £5,657 £5,137 £520 9%
History £5,932 £5,980 -£48 0%
History of Art, Architecture & Design £4,610 £3,073 £1,537 33%
Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism £3,804 £3,311 £493 12%
Iberian Languages £5,027 £4,802 £225 4%
Italian £4,584 £3,955 £629 13%
Land & Property Management £7,653 £24,329 -£16,676 -217%
Law £5,269 £3,912 £1,357 25%
Librarianship & Information Management £3,749 £8,179 -£4,430 -118%
Linguistics £4,383 £5,310 -£927 -21%
Marketing £4,272 £4,305 -£33 0%
Materials Technology £7,251 £5,663 £1,588 21%
Mathematics £9,056 £7,885 £1,171 12%
Mechanical Engineering £9,997 £8,541 £1,456 14%
Medical Technology £9,512 £9,478 £34 0%
Medicine £32,852 £29,352 £3,500 10%
Middle Eastern & African Studies £23,162 £23,229 -£67 0%
Music £3,943 £3,165 £778 19%
Nursing £5,839 £5,015 £824 14%
Pharmacology & Pharmacy £5,808 £1,701 £4,107 70%
Philosophy £7,520 £6,762 £758 10%
Physics & Astronomy £8,136 £9,491 -£1,355 -16%
Physiotherapy £7,434 £22,606 -£15,172 -204%
Politics £8,081 £5,863 £2,218 27%
Psychology £4,629 £3,681 £948 20%
Russian & East European Languages £8,723 £24,150 -£15,427 -176%
Social Policy £5,020 £4,486 £534 10%
Social Work £10,122 £9,140 £982 9%
Sociology £4,845 £3,786 £1,059 21%
Sports Science £4,505 £3,474 £1,031 22%
Theology & Religious Studies £5,883 £5,550 £333 5%
Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design £6,084 £6,933 -£849 -13%
Veterinary Medicine £7,614 £27,721 -£20,107 -264%
All Subjects £7,683 £8,198 -£515 -8%

A degree in a handful of subject areas is becoming a less economical way to begin your career – but basing a decision about going to university solely on salary will not give the best-informed decision!

If you're interested in a graduate job, check out our list of the top graduate employers.

Notes

Source: HESA 2015–16
Published December 2017.

  • This data is based on the latest Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2015–16 and looks at graduate/professional level jobs only.
  • The annual survey is conducted approximately six months after students leave. Approximately two-thirds of survey respondents in full-time paid employment provide information about their salary.
  • Graduates from the academic year 2014-15 were the first to be hit by the rise to £9,000 in university tuition fees.
  • There is insufficient data for the following subjects: Creative Writing; Forensic Science; Occupational Therapy; and Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics.

*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.
Professional premium refers to the average difference in salary between those starting professional employment, and those starting non-professional employment.
^Data adjusted for 15% compound inflation over five years (using the Bank of England inflation calculator, based on composite price index published by the Office for National Statistics).