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Economics, Computer Science and Business among highest paying degrees

Data published this year from the Department for Education (DfE) shows Economics, Computer Science, and Business and Administrative Studies to be among the highest paying degrees from one, three and five years after graduation.

For average salaries five years after graduation, information was taken in 2015-16 from those who graduated from universities in England, Scotland and Wales in 2009-10.

The course with the highest average earnings was Economics at Cambridge, whose graduates could expect to earn £68,000 five years after graduation, followed by Oxford’s Business and Administrative Studies graduates who earned £67,200.

Economics at St Andrews (£61,300) and London School of Economics and Political Science (£61,000) as well as Computer Science at Imperial College of Science and Technology (£60,000) made up the rest of the top five highest earning courses.

Of the 20 highest earning courses overall, Economics clinched nine places with the rest being made up of five other subjects: Business, Computer Science, Maths, Law and Engineering.

Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities courses also made up most of the top twenty rankings after five years in the job market.

While some economics and business courses might bring in the most money individually, the data revealed that Medicine is the degree subject that attracts the highest average graduate salary with the average Medicine graduate earning £46,600 five years after completing their course.

The statistics show that the overall average is £25,700 across all subjects for those graduating in 2009-10.

The highest earning courses at Warwick followed the overall trend with Economics (£52,000) in first place as well as Computer Science (£46,800), Business (£43,700) and Maths (£42,000) in the top five

At the other end of scale, people graduating with Creative Arts degrees had the lowest average salaries of just £20,200 five years after graduation.

Creative Arts courses also made up the bottom three places when the earnings of all institutions and courses were pooled together. Graduates from the course at the University Of The Highlands & Islands, Grimsby Institute Of F&HE and the Conservatoire For Dance & Drama earned only £11,600, £11,400 and £10,700 respectively.

The University of Warwick was ranked in the top 10 for 10 out of 17 courses: Computer Science, Business, Maths, Law, Psychology, Physical Sciences, History/Philosophy and was ranked first for Creative Arts.

Also, earnings five years after graduation for all 17 courses listed for Warwick were above average for that subject, apart from Education.

The highest earning courses at Warwick followed the overall trend with Economics (£52,000) in first place as well as Computer Science (£46,800), Business (£43,700) and Maths (£42,000) in the top five.

However, Medicine and Dentistry claimed Warwick’s second place spot with graduates from this course earning £47,700.

As well, despite Economics taking the top spot at the University, the course was still ranked out of the top five for all Economics course earnings, falling in sixth place.

At the other end of scale, people graduating with Creative Arts degrees had the lowest average salaries of just £20,200 five years after graduation

Seven out of 10 of the highest earning courses one year after graduation were Medicine and Dentistry courses, earning between £36,500-£35,900, including courses at Imperial, Brighton and Warwick.

Earlier this year, after an analysis of graduate earnings by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), universities minister Sam Gyimah claimed there exists a “clutch of underperforming degrees that are not delivering for students” in higher education.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Higher Education Policy Institute, the universities minister said the study showed that universities should take better responsibility for what they offer, “so you are not putting on courses that are cheap to offer, that are threadbare or not as competitive as they could be”.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, responded by warning that graduate earnings were also influenced by “regional differences and socioeconomic inequalities”.

This was reiterated by Jack Britton, an author of the IFS’ report and a senior research economist at the IFS, who said: “Family background has an important impact on graduates’ future earnings, but subject and institution choice can be even more important.

“Even when comparing similar graduates, being from the highest socio-economic background adds around 8 percent compared to being from the lowest. Compared to the average university, going to a Russell Group institution adds around 10 percent.”

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