Are you considering doing a master’s degree?
A postgraduate qualification might be exactly what you need to stand out from the crowd at a time when undergraduates are struggling to secure a stable job.
But master’s degree courses in the UK aren’t cheap, so before you commit to spending time, money and energy on one, you need to be sure you’re choosing a degree that will further your career.
Our list of the UK’s top 10 postgraduate courses will help you decide on a degree that has traditionally high employment rates, and one that leads to a decent salary.
So if you’re considering doing your postgraduate studies in the UK, this brief introduction is a great place to start.
Average starting salary: £23,000
The world will never stop needing teachers. That’s why a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (also known as a PGCE) is one of the courses most likely to get you hired.
If you want to become a teacher in England, this one-year course is compulsory.
It offers a mixture of theory and practice that requires you to spend some time working in local schools. You’ll leave the course extremely prepared for the world of teaching, which makes you very appealing to employers.
One thing to consider is that you’ll need to pass the professional numeracy and literacy skills tests before you can begin your course, and complete a year of teaching in order to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
(For Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the system is slightly different so it’s worth doing your research.)
A large number of the UK’s top universities offer this course. To find out which ones, take a look at this list.
Average starting salary: £32,000
Architecture is one of the best postgraduate courses in the UK due to its high employability rate.
That means once students have completed this degree, a large majority of them are offered jobs.
In order to become an architect, a master’s degree is considered to be essential. However, studying a Master of Architecture doesn’t mean you can only be an architect.
The ability to be both creative and technical is a quality that employers love, which gives postgraduates in this field a range of options.
Potential career paths include web design, art history, real estate, project management and even banking.
3. Subjects related to medicine
Average starting salary: £35,000
Master’s courses that are allied to medicine (but aren’t necessarily medicine) have high employability rates and pay extremely well.
That means degrees like medical technology, optometry, anaesthesiology, cardiology and orthoptics that allow you to become an expert in your chosen field.
You shouldn’t be afraid of niching down. When you specialise in a certain area, it often makes you more valuable because there are fewer people who share your skillset.
This additional qualification will usually lead to a higher salary, and it’ll help you establish yourself an authority among your peers.
4. Veterinary Science
Average starting salary: £36,000
Even though having a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science does make you a qualified vet, postgraduate study is considered to be essential.
Most postgraduates in this field find work soon after they’ve completed their degree, which makes this course one of the most employable master’s degrees in the UK.
This two-year course also counts towards the Continuing Professional Development that all vets must complete so they can remain members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
It’s important to know that only nine universities currently offer this course, since it must be accredited by the RCVS.
5. Medicine and Dentistry
Average starting salary: £30,000 – £50,000
Doctors and dentists: what would we do without them?
These are two professions every society needs and depends on, so it’s not surprising that postgraduates in these fields find it easy to secure jobs.
On top of that, the UK is dealing with a shortage of both doctors and dentists, which means there are currently more jobs than people available. This is a great time to find a job in the UK.
You might want to complete a master’s degree in dentistry to specialise in a particular field like orthodontics, restorative dentistry, or dental materials.
As a doctor, you might want to specialise in cosmetic medicine, pain management or even health economics.
Whichever course you decide on, having a master’s degree will put you ahead of your peers, increasing your value, salary and employability.
6. Engineering and Technology
Average starting salary: £37,000
The UK also has a shortage of engineers, but securing an entry level position in this field is still extremely hard.
Employers are looking for people with a combination of technical knowledge and practical experience, which is why a master’s degree dramatically improves your chances of employment.
It shows employers that you have advanced technical skills, specialised knowledge and that you’re dedicated to the field.
If you want to go into research and development, a master’s degree becomes essential.
7. Computer Science
Average starting salary: £37,000
Having a master’s degree in computer science means you’ll earn more than someone who only has a bachelor’s degree.
It allows you to specialise in certain areas of technology, including software theory and algorithms, network security and even artificial intelligence.
The degree is extremely practical, which tells employers you have the technical skills to do the job.
In most cases, if an employer has to choose between a computer scientist with or without a master’s degree, they’re likely to choose the one who has it.
8. Mass Communication & Documentation
Average starting salary: £25,000
Mass communication and documentation refers to journalism, digital media, social media, and marketing – basically all forms of communication that go out to a wide audience.
This master’s degree boasts one of the highest employability rates, most likely because of the range of transferable skills that postgraduates leave with.
It’s a degree that opens up career paths like journalism, photography, broadcasting, marketing, public relations, consulting and writing.
9. Business & Administrative Studies (MBA)
Average starting salary: £47,000
With a starting salary that rivals medicine and dentistry, the MBA offers you a huge advantage.
Not only does it teach you how to run a business, but it also trains you to become a manager and leader.
Employers understand that having an MBA makes you qualified for leadership roles – and the higher your position, the higher your earning potential.
It’s becoming increasingly common that managerial roles ask for this qualification, which means an MBA opens doors that might otherwise be closed to you.
Most graduates choose to become entrepreneurs, consultants, managers or directors, but the great thing about this course is that it gives you lots of career options to choose from.
10. Social sciences
Average starting salary: £33,000
Social sciences like economics, psychology, politics, anthropology and sociology are mistakenly seen as “soft” subjects.
The truth is: a master’s degree in any one of these subjects gives you a range of skills that you can use in most industries and roles.
This makes postgraduates in this field highly employable, and it gives them the chance to shine over undergraduates.
Some of the most highly paid jobs include being a civil servant, a think tank consultant, a finance manager, a financial analyst, an economist and a data analyst.
Applying for postgraduate courses isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it alone.
If you’re ready to start your academic journey in the UK, contact our admissions office so we can help find the perfect postgraduate course for you.
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