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Career prospects

What do postgraduate students do and earn?

Our tables give a snapshot of jobs and earnings in the UK once you’ve graduated from a postgraduate course.

Three students discussing notes around a table

CONTENTS

  1. What do postgraduate students do?

  2. What do postgraduate students earn?

What do postgraduate students do?

Many students continue after their undergraduate degree and study at postgraduate level to enhance their career prospects.

The tables below show what students of each subject do after full- and part-time postgraduate study, ranked by the sum of three 'positive' destinations:

  • Employed in a professional job
  • Employed in a professional job and studying
  • Studying and not employed

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.

Postgraduate students' destinations after full-time postgraduate study

Professional (normally needs a degree)

Subject group Job Job and study Study only
Agriculture and related subjects 66% 8% 7%
Architecture, Building & Planning 82% 5% 3%
Biological Sciences 67% 3% 11%
Business & Administrative Studies 72% 2% 4%
Combined 90% 0% 0%
Computer Science 73% 2% 10%
Creative Arts & Design 67% 3% 6%
Education 93% 2% 1%
Engineering & Technology 73% 2% 8%
Historical & Philosophical Studies 52% 3% 17%
Languages 56% 3% 14%
Law 69% 3% 14%
Mass Communications & Documentation 72% 1% 3%
Mathematical Sciences 67% 3% 20%
Medicine & Dentistry 76% 2% 14%
Physical Sciences 71% 2% 12%
Social Studies 71% 4% 8%
Subjects allied to Medicine 81% 3% 8%
Veterinary Science 79% 3% 11%
Average 72% 2% 9%

Non-professional (doesn't normally need a degree)

Subject group Job Job and study Unemployed
Agriculture and related subjects 13% 0% 6%
Architecture, Building & Planning 4% 0% 5%
Biological Sciences 12% 1% 6%
Business & Administrative Studies 12% 0% 9%
Combined 0% 0% 10%
Computer Science 6% 0% 9%
Creative Arts & Design 16% 1% 7%
Education 2% 0% 1%
Engineering & Technology 7% 0% 10%
Historical & Philosophical Studies 20% 1% 6%
Languages 20% 1% 7%
Law 9% 0% 5%
Mass Communications & Documentation 16% 0% 8%
Mathematical sciences 4% 0% 6%
Medicine & Dentistry 4% 0% 4%
Physical Sciences 8% 0% 6%
Social Studies 10% 0% 6%
Subjects allied to Medicine 4% 0% 4%
Veterinary Science 5% 0% 1%
Average 9% 0% 6%

Postgraduate students' destinations after part-time postgraduate study

Professional (normally needs a degree)

Subject group Job Job and study Study only
Agriculture and related subjects 76% 5% 4%
Architecture, Building & Planning 94% 2% 2%
Biological Sciences 77% 6% 6%
Business & Administrative Studies 89% 4% 1%
Combined 93% 3% 0%
Computer Science 82% 6% 3%
Creative Arts & Design 76% 4% 4%
Education 88% 6% 3%
Engineering & Technology 90% 4% 2%
Historical & Philosophical Studies 64% 6% 12%
Languages 68% 4% 9%
Law 78% 8% 7%
Mass Communications & Documentation 73% 3% 4%
Mathematical Sciences 79% 5% 6%
Medicine & Dentistry 90% 5% 3%
Physical Sciences 79% 4% 6%
Social Studies 83% 5% 5%
Subjects allied to Medicine 86% 6% 5%
Veterinary Science 93% 7% 0%
Average 82% 4% 4%

Non-professional (doesn't normally need a degree)

Subject group Job Job and study Unemployed
Agriculture and related subjects 11% 2% 2%
Architecture, Building & Planning 1% 0% 1%
Biological Sciences 7% 0% 3%
Business & Administrative Studies 3% 0% 2%
Combined 0% 0% 3%
Computer Science 4% 1% 4%
Creative Arts & Design 11% 1% 4%
Education 2% 0% 1%
Engineering & Technology 2% 0% 2%
Historical & Philosophical Studies 13% 2% 3%
Languages 13% 1% 4%
Law 5% 0% 2%
Mass Communications & Documentation 14% 1% 6%
Mathematical Sciences 5% 1% 6%
Medicine & Dentistry 0% 0% 1%
Physical Sciences 6% 0% 4%
Social Studies 5% 0% 2%
Subjects allied to Medicine 1% 0% 1%
Veterinary Science 0% 0% 0%
Average 5% 0% 2%

What do postgraduate students earn?

The higher earning potential of doing a postgraduate degree draws many students into continuing their studies.

The table below shows the average salaries of postgraduate students from different subject areas entering employment into:

Subject group Professional jobs (usually needs a degree) All jobs (professional and non-professional)
Business & Administrative Studies £46,966 £45,547
Medicine & Dentistry £44,836 £44,563
Engineering & Technology £36,930 £36,452
Computer Science £36,522 £36,002
Mathematical Sciences £35,370 £34,986
Veterinary Science £35,331 £35,336
Subjects allied to Medicine £34,601 £34,302
Social Studies £32,881 £31,918
Law £32,699 £31,716
Architecture, Building & Planning £31,755 £31,547
Combined £30,152 £30,152
Physical Sciences £30,080 £29,370
Biological Sciences £29,713 £28,523
Historical & Philosophical Studies £29,149 £27,070
Agriculture and related subjects £28,393 £27,685
Education £27,614 £27,452
Creative Arts & Design £27,151 £25,581
Languages £26,699 £24,892
Mass Communications & Documentation £25,165 £24,241
All Subjects £32,737 £31,965

Published September 2018. Date sources: HESA 2016–17, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE), which asked UK and EU domiciled graduates what they’re doing on a particular reference date roughly six months after graduation.

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