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Career prospects

What do graduates do and earn?

Have a look at what you can do and earn after graduation.

Close-up of pink piggy bank with graduation cap

CONTENTS

  1. What do graduates do? 

  2. What do graduates earn?

For many prospective university students, graduate prospects and salaries are top priorities when it comes to choosing a degree.

We've compiled data to help you understand the world of work after graduation – from job prospects to starting salaries. We also have data on the graduate gender pay gap.

What do graduates do?

We’ve broken down the destinations of graduates from 70 subject areas into four categories – employed, self employed, in further study and unemployed. 

Subject Employed Self-employed Further study Unemployed
Accounting & Finance 77% 1% 9% 6%
Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering 72% 2% 12% 7%
African & Middle Eastern Studies 62% 2% 11% 7%
Agriculture & Forestry 70% 3% 10% 4%
American Studies 68% 2% 15% 5%
Anatomy & Physiology 52% 1% 33% 5%
Anthropology 67% 2% 14% 6%
Archaeology 53% 2% 25% 9%
Architecture 65% 3% 9% 7%
Art & Design 60% 8% 6% 7%
Asian Studies 62% 4% 14% 10%
Biological Sciences 53% 1% 28% 7%
Building 84% 2% 4% 4%
Business & Management Studies 74% 2% 8% 6%
Celtic Studies 66% 2% 21% 5%
Chemical Engineering 71% 1% 15% 7%
Chemistry 60% 1% 27% 5%
Civil Engineering 77% 1% 9% 5%
Classics 55% 2% 22% 9%
Communication & Media Studies 65% 8% 7% 7%
Complementary Medicine 25% 44% 3% 1%
Computer Science 73% 2% 8% 7%
Counselling 81% 2% 5% 3%
Creative Writing 53% 5% 14% 10%
Dentistry 54% 31% 4% 3%
Drama, Dance & Cinematics 54% 14% 7% 6%
Economics 75% 1% 11% 5%
Education 80% 1% 8% 4%
Electrical & Electronic Engineering 73% 2% 9% 7%
English 62% 3% 18% 7%
Food Science 74% 1% 13% 4%
Forensic Science 71% 0% 14% 7%
French 65% 4% 16% 6%
General Engineering 70% 2% 13% 6%
Geography & Environmental Science 66% 1% 17% 6%
Geology 57% 1% 25% 8%
German 67% 4% 15% 7%
History 60% 2% 20% 8%
History of Art, Architecture & Design 54% 4% 17% 9%
Iberian Languages 67% 2% 14% 7%
Italian 67% 3% 13% 6%
Land & Property Management 78% 4% 5% 2%
Law 62% 2% 19% 8%
Linguistics 63% 2% 19% 7%
Marketing 79% 2% 5% 6%
Materials Technology 63% 8% 12% 5%
Mathematics 70% 1% 15% 6%
Mechanical Engineering 75% 1% 10% 6%
Medical Technology & Bioengineering 89% 0% 3% 2%
Medicine 94% 0% 4% 0%
Music 45% 17% 14% 5%
Nursing 92% 1% 2% 1%
Optometry, Ophthalmics & Orthoptics 88% 0% 8% 1%
Paramedic Science 93% 1% 1% 1%
Pharmacology & Pharmacy 59% 9% 15% 7%
Philosophy 60% 2% 18% 7%
Physics & Astronomy 57% 2% 29% 5%
Physiotherapy 91% 2% 2% 1%
Politics 65% 2% 17% 7%
Psychology 63% 1% 19% 6%
Russian & East European Languages 61% 8% 15% 5%
Social Policy 66% 1% 12% 6%
Social Work 85% 0% 4% 3%
Sociology 68% 1% 14% 7%
Sports Science 64% 4% 17% 4%
Theology & Religious Studies 62% 2% 18% 6%
Tourism, Transport, Travel & Heritage Studies 77% 3% 6% 6%
Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design 75% 2% 9% 4%
Veterinary Medicine 94% 1% 2% 1%

Overall

This chart shows the overall destinations of graduates. Click on the subjects above to see more detailed information on specific subjects. 

What do graduates earn?

Money shouldn't be the only factor to consider when choosing a degree. However, with universities now charging up to £9,250 per year, it's worth thinking about potential starting salaries.

Use the table below to see the average starting salaries for graduates from 70 subject areas. To see the university rankings table for each subject, simply click on the link.

The table shows the average salaries of undergraduate students from different subject areas entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Full table of average graduate salaries

Subject High-skilled Medium-skilled Low-skilled
Accounting & Finance £25,000 £21,000 £19,000
Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering £28,000 £22,000 £20,000
African & Middle Eastern Studies £26,000 £18,000 N/A
Agriculture & Forestry £23,500 £19,800 £19,000
American Studies £23,000 £21,000 £19,000
Anatomy & Physiology £25,000 £19,000 £17,000
Anthropology £23,000 £19,000 £18,000
Archaeology £21,000 £18,000 £16,000
Architecture £22,000 £20,000 £17,000
Art & Design £21,000 £19,000 £17,000
Asian Studies £25,000 £20,000 £21,000
Biological Sciences £23,489 £18,000 £17,000
Building £28,000 £22,000 £20,000
Business & Management Studies £25,000 £20,000 £19,000
Celtic Studies £23,000 N/A N/A
Chemical Engineering £30,000 £21,000 £22,000
Chemistry £25,000 £21,000 £18,000
Civil Engineering £27,700 £24,000 £15,000
Classics £25,000 £19,000 £18,000
Communication & Media Studies £21,000 £19,000 £17,000
Complementary Medicine £25,000 N/A N/A
Computer Science £27,000 £19,000 £17,000
Creative Writing £20,500 £17,500 £16,000
Dentistry £38,000 N/A N/A
Drama, Dance & Cinematics £21,000 £18,000 £17,000
Economics £29,700 £22,000 £18,000
Education £24,000 £17,000 £17,500
Electrical & Electronic Engineering £29,000 £24,000 £17,700
English £23,000 £19,000 £17,000
Food Science £24,000 £20,000 £17,000
Forensic Science £20,000 £18,000 £18,550
French £25,000 £21,000 £18,000
General Engineering £29,000 £22,000 £19,000
Geography & Environmental Science £24,000 £20,000 £18,000
Geology £24,000 £20,000 £17,000
German £24,000 £21,000 £18,000
History £24,000 £19,000 £18,000
History of Art, Architecture & Design £23,000 £20,000 £18,000
Iberian Languages £24,000 £20,000 £19,000
Italian £24,000 £22,864 N/A
Land & Property Management £27,000 N/A N/A
Law £22,000 £20,000 £18,000
Linguistics £23,000 £19,000 £19,000
Marketing £23,000 £20,000 £18,000
Materials Technology £26,000 £20,000 £17,100
Mathematics £28,000 £20,000 £18,000
Mechanical Engineering £28,000 £25,000 £18,000
Medical Technology £24,000 £25,000 N/A
Medicine £33,500 N/A N/A
Music £22,000 £18,000 £17,000
Nursing £24,000 £20,000 £18,000
Optometry, Ophthalmics & Orthoptics £19,000 N/A N/A
Pharmacology & Pharmacy £30,000 £19,000 £19,000
Philosophy £25,000 £19,000 £18,000
Physics & Astronomy £28,000 £20,000 £18,000
Physiotherapy £24,000 N/A N/A
Politics £26,000 £21,000 £18,000
Psychology £23,000 £18,000 £17,680
Russian & East European Languages £26,000 N/A N/A
Social Policy £24,000 £18,000 £17,000
Social Work £29,000 £18,000 £17,500
Sociology £23,000 £19,000 £17,500
Sports Science £23,000 £18,000 £17,500
Theology & Religious Studies £24,000 £17,000 £17,500
Tourism, Transport, Travel & Heritage Studies £22,000 £19,400 £18,400
Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design £25,000 £21,000 N/A
Veterinary Medicine £31,000 N/A N/A

Date source: HESA 2017–18, published July 2020.

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