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How much is YOUR degree worth? How to add £6k to your salary

A new study has provided eye-opening insight into the highest and lowest earning degrees in Britain, revealing that studying medicine and economics could net you an extra £897,500 in a lifetime.

The research, commissioned by the personal finance experts at Money.co.uk, looked at 2,042 adults, and found that for the vast majority of graduates, a degree has a significant impact on lifetime earnings.

Combining its survey data with salary data from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, it proved that the average graduate will earn 23 per cent more over their lifetime than those who do not study at university.

According to the calculator, the average university graduate earns £582,532 over their lifetime, which is £107,532 more than those with a minimum of five A-C grade GCSEs.

On average, by the age of 29, men with a degree will be earning a salary of approximately £35,500 –  a 19 per cent wage increase compared to men of the same age who left education having achieved a minimum of five A-C grade GCSEs.

For women however, this difference is even more prominent, as women aged 29 who left education at this earlier stage typically earn approximately £20,800 per year, while female graduates can hope to be earning as much as £31,500 per year on average at this age – a difference of 51 per cent.

The research reveals the largest increases in lifetime earnings for women can be seen in female graduates with a degree in economics, who earn an average of £671,000 over their lifetime – 122 per cent more than women without a degree in any subject.

Moreover, women with a medicine degree will on average earn 113 per cent more over their lifetimes than the average woman without a degree, whilst female maths graduates can expect an increase in lifetime earnings of 95 per cent.

Graduates of Oxbridge and Russell Group universities are likely to see the biggest increase in lifetime earnings among those who have a degree.

The average graduate of these universities can expect lifetime earnings of £651,000, which is an increase of £176,500 compared to the average UK non-graduate, with a minimum of five A-C GCSEs, who will earn £475,000 across their lifetime.

Recent findings from the Chartered Association of Business School suggest that the UK’s most popular degree subject is currently business. 

According to money.co.uk’s calculator, business graduates can expect to earn an impressive £659,000 over their lifetimes, which is £184,000 more than individuals without a University education.

However of the most popular degrees, which include Business and Sports Science, Performing Arts has proven to be the least financially advantageous, with the average graduate earning £400 less than those without a degree.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk comments: ‘Despite the financial burden of tuition fees, it is clear that university degrees are still a key factor in boosting potential earnings for the vast majority of graduates.

‘Our new calculator is a unique tool that allows individuals to compare just how much they can benefit financially from attending different universities and studying different subjects. This is particularly useful to anyone who may be in the process of deliberating their future academic and professional endeavours.

‘University is a worthwhile, long-term investment for many, both financially and personally. Going to university is definitely something to consider saving up for and opening up a dedicated savings account for this is a great way to do so.’

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