What are the best degrees to get?

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 09 Jan 2020

We’ve broken down some of the best degrees to get in terms of average pay and jobs you can expect after graduating. 


It could also be argued that the best degree to get is one in a subject that you enjoy and will keep your interest – you will need to maintain enthusiasm for at least three years! That said, there are some generally high-performing degree subjects that overall produce graduates that go on to earn top salaries in high profile positions.

Obviously all jobs will require different qualifications, so the best way to figure out the most productive way to spend your time at university is looking at the specifications on the types of job you will want to apply for in the future, and taking a degree that fits those careers.

It’s not worth taking maths, for example, if you know that you want to be a marine biologist, but here are the subjects that attract the highest salaries, if that’s the measure by which you want to select a degree.

Here are some of the best degrees to get in terms of average pay and jobs you can expect after graduating:

Civil Engineering

Average pay: £44,851

Jobs you can get: Civil engineer, surveyor, site engineer, structural engineer, environmental consultant.


Average pay: £42,837

Jobs you can get: Aerospace, defence, automotive, chemical, and construction engineer; patent officer; management consulting.


Average pay: £42,404

Jobs you can get: Accountant, management trainee, actuary.

Computer science

Average pay: £41,950

Jobs you can get: Developer, systems administrator, IT consultant.


Average pay: £41,144

Jobs you can get: Economist, banker, financial analyst, statistician. 


Average pay: £40,908

Jobs you can get: Accountant, banker, financial analyst.


Average pay: £40,788

Jobs you can get: Architect, interior designer.


Average pay: £40,409

Jobs you can get: Pharmaceuticals industry, chemical engineering, finance.

Mechanical engineering

Average pay: £39,106

Jobs you can get: Aerospace, defence, automotive, and construction engineer.


Average pay: £39,01

Jobs you can get: Finance worker, accountant, banker, academic, statistician.

It’s worth remembering that plenty of the careers above are accessible via school leaver programmes and apprenticeships; so you can side-step the student debt and get paid while you train.


Image courtesy of Md Saad Andalib

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