Choosing a university

Top universities for graduate starting salaries [2012]

By Rebecca Hughes (Digital content producer, Which? University) - 27 November 2012

Source: City University

It’s a good idea to start thinking early on about your graduate prospects - even while you're weighing up where to go and which degree course to take. And while the subject you choose to study plays a big part in that, you might also be curious to know which university's graduates have the best starting pay packets…

Here are the universities whose students earn the most money on average six months after graduation, stats that are collected as part of the annual Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey. You can also find out the top degree subjects for graduate salaries.

With the most graduates and the highest wages in the UK, it won't be too much of a shock to see that London unis dominate the list. But different parts of the UK can have more jobs for certain industries, such as engineering, so regional employment is something you might want to bear in mind when you’re deciding where to study.

1. London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London: £29k

As its name might suggest, LSE is a specialist university with a particular focus on the social sciences. Its courses range from philosophy and economics through to social policy.

Careers tip: according to the uni, more than a quarter of last year’s grads went on to careers in banking, financial services and accountancy, while one in 10 went into central and local government.

2. Imperial College London: £28.8k

Imperial specialises in science, engineering, technology and management.

Careers tip: the uni has recently launched a new programme, Imperial Horizons, designed to enhance your employability and give you an edge in your future career.

3. St George's, University of London: £27k

Part of the University of London, St George’s is the UK’s only independent medical and healthcare higher education institution.

Careers tip: it shares a site with St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, one of London’s busiest hospitals – ideal for budding medics.

4. University College London, University of London: £25k

Another college that sits under the broader University of London umbrella, UCL offers a wide mix of undergrad courses - covering humanities subjects as well as the sciences.

Careers tip: the university runs eight sector-specific ‘themed weeks’ which usually include employer forums and talks on how to get into different professions.

5. Royal Veterinary College, University of London: £24.9k

Again, the name of this uni gives away its specialism – veterinary science. Royal Veterinary College aims to produce practising veterinary surgeons, bioveterinary scientists and veterinary nurses.

Careers tip: as another member college of the University of London, RVC students have access to the Careers Group, which offers one-to-one sessions and a careers library.

6. University of Cambridge: £24.9k

The first uni in the list outside of London but probably one you were expecting to see, Cambridge offers undergraduate degree courses in the arts, social sciences, sciences, engineering and medical sciences.

Careers tip: its careers service advertises more than 2,000 internships across all sectors, with bursaries offered to support unpaid work.

7. King's College London, University of London: £24.8k

Like UCL, King’s offers a wide range of undergraduate courses, including humanities subjects, law, the sciences and social sciences.

Careers tip: the careers service at King's organises 'professional skills' sessions co-designed and run with employers to boost employability skills, plus a dediciated internships programme for students.

8. University of Oxford: £24.8k

Another uni outside of the capital that probably comes as no surprise, Oxford courses span the humanities, maths, physical and life sciences, medical sciences and social sciences.

Careers tip: each year Oxford hosts more than 150 employer presentations.

9. Queen Mary, University of London: £24k

Yet another University of London entrant - at Queen Mary you can study courses in the arts as well as science and engineering.

Careers tip: bit of an entrepreneur? Queen Mary has a student entrepreneurship prize fund to support students with new business ideas. 

10. City University: £23.7k

City University London specialises in business and the professions, with degrees including accounting and journalism.

Careers tip: the university runs several employability skills programmes in collaboration with major employers. 

Use our university finder and course finder to compare average graduate starting salaries. Remember, though, as a six month snapshot these average graduate salaries only show you the short-term picture - and will vary hugely according to the profession you choose to go into after you graduate.

Note: DLHE survey salary data is based on stats from 2005/6 - 2009/10.

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