Further study comes at an extra cost so it makes sense for those considering the postgraduate route to have a think about what they stand to gain once they're out in the professional world. We're not saying it's the be all and end all but it's totally natural for starting salaries to have an impact on the decision making process. The Complete University Guide is here to help.
Here we list the top 10 postgraduate subjects according to average starting salary*.
10. Social Studies
Average Salary: £31,856
Social studies encompasses the full suite of social sciences subjects including Economics, Politics, Social Work, and Anthropology. Social sciences are concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Postgraduate subjects in this area are often open to degree holders from a range of educational backgrounds.
Average Salary: £32,380
The myriad of postgraduate law courses generally equip students with the skills required to practise law as a profession. The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is aimed at budding solicitors whilst the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is for barristers of the future. There's even a course specifically aimed at students of other undergraduate subjects – the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Postgraduate law students will generally go on to be trainee barristers or solicitors and as you can see they'll start on a reasonably decent salary.
8. Subjects allied to medicine
Average Salary: £33,766
Anatomy, Opthalmics, Medical Technology number just a few subjects allied to medicine. It's understandable that postgraduate students of these subjects can look forward to a decent salary – society cares deeply about the standard of its healthcare. A set of courses you're likely to be expected to have a relevant Bachelor's degree.
7. Veterinary Science
Average Salary: £33,831
Veterinary Science postgraduate students are more concerned with the science behind veterinary medicine than the actual clinical practice itself. And many postgraduate students study subjects which will prepare them for vet support roles. Either way enrol on a postgrad course in this area and you can look forward to a decent starting salary.
6. Mathematical Sciences
Average Salary: £34,509
Postgraduate courses in Mathematical Sciences include courses in Mathematics, Operational Research, and Statistics – all very clever stuff and, rightly so, complemented by a great starting salary. Maths is literally everywhere and is applied to all industries so is it any wonder people with high level maths skillset are remunerated well? We think not. The content of a postgraduate Mathematical Sciences course is highly technical so applicants will need a relevant honours degree.
5. Computer Science
Average Salary: £34,899
Is it any wonder that during a period of serious digital innovation postgraduate computer scientists have little trouble finding gainful employment? Computer scientists study and learn how to design and manipulate computers and computational processes. As computers are used so widely those with expertise in this field can find employment in any industry. Most postgraduate computer scientists come from computing or mathematical backgrounds but there are some courses specially designed for students with a less relevant Bachelor's degree.
4. Engineering & Technology
Average Salary: £35,536
The applicable nature of studying Engineering & Technology at postgraduate level makes it easy to see why graduates are likely to find well paid professional-level employment soon after leaving uni. Whether you specialise in Electrical, Mechanical, Automotive, Chemical, Aeronautical – the list goes on – your skillset will be in demand and will continue to be so. Just read the Engineering UK 2015 Report and feel safe in the knowledge that you can expect to enjoy a rewarding and fruitful career. Postgraduate degrees in engineering require applicants have a relevant undergraduate qualification.
Average Salary: £35,760
Courses which cross more than one subject area fall under this category and judging by its average starting salary a combined postgraduate degree may be the way to go.
2. Medicine & Dentistry
Average Salary: £43,219
It's no secret that medics and dentists start their careers on a good salary. Get a postgraduate degree in the field and this will be boosted further. Not only will you earn a decent package but you'll also be making a worthwhile contribution to society's well-being.
1. Business & Administrative Studies
Average Salary: £44,220
Courses include Business Studies itself as well as a number of subjects concerned with the administration of a business such as Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and he illustrious MBA. Degrees exploring the depth and breadth of commerce lead to the highest salary of all and as you'll be in a position to work for a money making entity in a reasonably senior position that sort of makes sense. Business & Administrative Studies postgrads come from all sorts of educational backgrounds and go on to work in all sorts of industries.
For the complete table visit the Complete University Guide's website
* The postgraduate employer statistics are sourced from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE) 2013–14, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Full methodology available on their website.