Which degree course?
Many students know exactly what they wish to study and if you fall into this category then you should pursue this route, particularly if it’s vocational. You need to be genuinely interested in the subject you choose, as studying a single subject for a minimum of 3 years is hard work if you do not enjoy it. It also requires significant self-motivation, as university unlike school will generally leave you to your own devices. So choose well.
However you may find that you do not have a real preference or desire to pursue a particular subject. If this is the case, why not consider the subject that will position you best when looking for a graduate job.
A recent study, showed that nearly 40 per cent of graduates were looking for work six months after graduation, while a quarter are still unemployed after a year. Conducted by the graduate recruitment website , the survey also shows that almost half of all graduates wished they had steered clear of academic courses, opting for ‘something more vocational’ instead.
The degrees that make you rich and the ones that don’t!!
For most university graduates, having a degree pays. Over the course of a lifetime, estimates suggest women can expect to earn about £250,000 more if they have a degree, while the figure is roughly £170,000 for men.
The big decision about what to study at university can be very important for future earnings.
Five years after graduation, the income gap between students who studied the subjects that attract the highest and lowest salaries can be considerable.
Graduates of medicine and dentistry earn an average of £46,700, while those who studied economics take home £40,000.
These figures are about double the average wages of creative arts (£20,100), agriculture (£22,000) and mass communication (£22,300) graduates.
Crucially, these differences are smaller, but remain significant, even when students with similar A-level grades are compared.
As careers progress the gaps get bigger, with graduates of the high-earning subjects pulling even further away.
Which graduates earn the most 5 years after graduating?
Median annual earnings by subject:
- Medicine & Dentistry: £48,000
- Economics: £40,000
- Mathematics: £36,000
- Veterinary Science: £35,000
- Engineering & Technology: £32,000
- Architecture: £31,000
- Computer Science: £30,000
- Languages: £29,000
- Law: £29,000
- Business: £29,000
- Physical Sciences: £29,000
- All Medicine: £29,000
- Nursing; £29,000
- Combined: £28,000
- History & Philosophy:
- Social Studies: £27,000
- Biological sciences: £27,000
- English: £27,000
- Education: £27,000
- Communications: £25,000
- Psychology: £25,000
- Agriculture: £25,000
- Arts & Design; £24,000
2018 Graduate Vacancies by sector:
- Accounting & professional Services: 4300
- Armed Forces: 1962
- Banking & Finance: 1143
- Consulting: 650
- Consumer Goods: 188
- Engineering & Industrial: 2354
- Investment Banking: 1495
- IT & Telecommunications: 953
- Law: 861
- Media: 638
- Oil & energy: 276
- Public Sector: 4272
- Retailing: 782
All Sectors: 20, 277
"If you have the ability and aptitude to read Maths, Physics, Economics, Engineering, or Chemistry, then seriously consider these options."
As you can see from the above tables, many of the graduate roles are in companies that are financial or scientific.
When choosing your degree subject to read, here are a few other considerations:
- Take a look at finance & management courses – these have great applicability and are well respected.
- Business management degrees are proving increasingly popular, with employers particularly, as many have work experience built into their course. They provide experience that employers feel is more relevant to the corporate world than some other disciplines.
- Seriously consider engineering if you have a maths and physics aptitude. It is a highly respected degree and you do not need to go into engineering. It may set you apart from other students when applying for roles. Oxford offers a very interesting course called EEM – engineering, economics and management.
- Law is another respected degree, has great applicability in the corporate world and you do not need to pursue a legal career afterwards. One issue here is that law has a reputation for being a rather tedious degree!! You need to enjoy reading large tomes.
- Languages are also popular, but consider combining them with another subject like economics. You may find that this increases your attractiveness to employers. The problem with studying languages is that the continental European students will outclass you nearly every time. They are generally fluent in a number of languages in addition to studying a subject like finance and management. Alternatively become fluent in a language by living abroad for a year or two and then study something else.
- If you are considering studying politics or philosophy –why not consider a combined course with economics. This will strengthen your degree.
- If you are interested in economics but are concerned about the maths, look at courses on Business Economics or Industrial Economics – these tend to be less mathematical.
- If you know you want to get into the fashion world, then ensure you choose the most applicable degree – this will in the fashion design & textiles area. Choose a sandwich course so you get some work experience.