What Do Postgraduate Students Do?

Around 500,000 students are currently studying a postgraduate course in the UK. Reasons for postgraduate study vary, but many students do so to enhance their career prospects and increase their potential earning power. The tables below show what postgrad students do, after full-time and part-time postgraduate study.

The tables are ranked by the sum of three 'positive' destinations:

  • employed in a professional job,
  • employed in a professional job and studying,
  • studying and not employed.

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Postgraduate students' destinations after full-time postgraduate study

Subject area Professional job* Professional job and study Study Only   Non-professional job** Non-professional job and study Unemployed
Medicine & dentistry 87% 7% 4%   1% 0% 1%
Education 94% 2% 1%   2% 0% 1%
Veterinary science 76% 3% 14%   5% 1% 0%
Subjects allied to medicine 80% 3% 8%   4% 0% 4%
Mathematical sciences 68% 2% 21%   4% 0% 6%
Architecture, building & planning 80% 6% 4%   4% 0% 6%
Combined 87% 0% 0%   7% 0% 7%
Physical sciences 71% 2% 12%   8% 0% 7%
Engineering & technology 73% 2% 9%   6% 0% 9%
Computer science 72% 2% 10%   6% 0% 10%
Law 68% 3% 11%   11% 1% 5%
Social studies 71% 4% 8%   10% 0% 6%
Biological sciences 64% 4% 13%   13% 1% 6%
Mass communications
& documentation
76% 2% 2%   13% 0% 6%
Business & administrative studies 70% 3% 4%   13% 0% 10%
Agriculture & related subjects 68% 1% 8%   15% 0% 8%
Creative arts & design 63% 5% 6%   19% 1% 6%
Languages 53% 3% 17%   19% 2% 6%
Historical & philosophical studies 49% 3% 18%   21% 1% 8%
               
Total 77% 3% 7%   8% 0% 5%

Postgraduate students' destinations after part-time postgraduate study

Subject area Professional job* Professional job and study Study Only   Non-professional job* Non-professional job and study Unemployed
Veterinary science 95% 5% 0%   0% 0% 0%
Combined 88% 7% 2%   2% 0% 0%
Subjects allied to medicine 87% 7% 3%   2% 1% 1%
Education 87% 7% 3%   2% 0% 1%
Architecture, building & planning 89% 3% 5%   2% 0% 2%
Medicine & dentistry 79% 5% 10%   2% 0% 3%
Law 81% 7% 6%   4% 1% 2%
Business & administrative studies 87% 5% 2%   4% 0% 2%
Computer science 85% 5% 3%   3% 0% 4%
Engineering & technology 87% 4% 2%   3% 1% 4%
Social studies 82% 5% 4%   6% 0% 3%
Biological sciences 78% 6% 5%   8% 0% 3%
Mathematical sciences 74% 7% 7%   5% 2% 4%
Agriculture & related subjects 74% 6% 5%   11% 0% 3%
Physical sciences 74% 5% 3%   11% 2% 5%
Historical & philosophical studies 65% 6% 10%   16% 2% 3%
Creative arts & design 72% 5% 4%   15% 1% 5%
Mass communications
& documentation
76% 1% 2%   15% 1% 5%
Languages 64% 6% 8%   15% 2% 5%
               
Total 84% 6% 3%   5% 0% 2%

 

Published October 2016

Notes

  • Date source: HESA 2014–15, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE), which asks UK and EU domiciled graduates what they are doing on a particular reference date roughly six months after graduation. 
  • Combined – courses that cross more than one subject group.
  • *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.
  • Combined – courses that cross more than one subject group.