Monday, 10 September 2012
Study in London for big salaries but head north for the nightlife, new university guide reveals
The universities and degree courses whose graduates earn the highest salaries have been revealed.
The best-paid graduates of the London School of Economics are earning an average salary of almost £29,000 six months after they leave, while the average holder of a new medical degree is on an a salary of £31,383.
The figures were disclosed after universities and colleges were ordered by ministers to provide data on everything from where their students end up working and how much they earn, to the amount of contact undergraduates can expect with professors and how much it costs to live in halls of residence.
The information will be published this week on a website, which will also include research on how students rate campuses across the country. University applications for 2013 open this month.
The figures reveal that the top-earning graduates come almost from either colleges in London or Oxford and Cambridge, while medicine, dentistry, chemical engineering, veterinary medicine and economics are the most lucrative courses across higher education, leading to average annual salaries of at least £25,700 for their graduates.
New tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year, coupled with living costs, means students face graduating with average debts of about £53,000. As the financial burden of going to university has increased and the job market has contracted, demands have come for more information about what undergraduates actually get for their money.
Vice-chancellors were reluctant to provide details on elements such as graduate earnings and the amount of time students spend in lecturers and tutorials.
They argued that such information is not comparable across all courses and all universities and that education is not a "consumer product" like a car or a washing machine.
However, David Willetts, the universities minister, has insisted that higher education is now a market place in which providers, some in the private sector, must compete for intake by delivering an "excellent student experience".
The website, published by Which?, will allow would-be students to build shortlists of institutions and narrow down degree choices by categories such as potential earnings, entry requirements and the percentage of applicants who were offered places on specific courses.
It publishes for the first time statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Higher Education Statistics Agency and the National Student Survey, as well as its own survey of undergraduates.
The findings suggest that students who put nightlife at the top of the agenda should head north.
Northumbria, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds universities are ranked highest, while the campuses rated as having the strongest political scene included the London's School of Oriental and African Studies, the LSE and Oxford University.
The instiutions rated highest for sports are Loughborough, Bath, Stirling, Brunel and Durham.
Those rated as having the most active music, theatre, dance and visual arts scenes are Arts University College in Bournemouth, Goldsmiths in London, and University College Falmouth.
Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, said: "Research show students want more information on employment prospects, course structure and extra-curricular activities. It is crucial that students can access as much impartial information and advice as possible. It should be possible for anyone applying to university to make an informed choice that is right for them."
Mr Willetts said: "The Government is making more raw data about university courses available than ever before. The Which? University site can play a really important role, using their expertise to present the information in innovative and easy to digest formats."
Top 10 institutions ranked by average yearly salary six months after graduation
London School of Economics £28,968
Imperial College London £28,831
St George's London £27,015
University College London £25,020
Royal Veterinary College £24,936
University of Cambridge £24,926
King's College London £24,798
University of Oxford £24,773
Queen Mary London £23,961
City University London £23,674
Top 10 courses ranked by average yearly salary six months after graduation
Clinical Medicine - £31,383
Clinical Dentistry - £29,664
Botany - £28,591
Pre-Clinical Medicine - £28,397
Chemical, Process & Energy Engineering - £28,219
Others In Medicine & Dentistry - £27,931
Operational Research - £26,776
Biotechnology and Industrial Biotechnology - £26,309
Clinical Veterinary Medicine & Dentistry - £25,885
Economics - £25,717