Are degrees worth it?

In our latest study, we asked 1,800 professionals if their degree was worth it. Results show that more than two thirds of degree holders do not regret the time they spent at university, though this feeling is not equally shared among them, especially arts students. University rankings also plays a major role in a degree's perceived worth, with very few Oxbridge students doubting its value.

Most worthwhile degrees

Degree Worth it Not worth it
MBA 80% 20%
PhD & Doctorates 80% 20%
Masters 77% 23%
Bachelors 70% 30%

No regrets. Seven out of ten bachelor graduates consider their degree to be worthwhile, increasing as they spent more time at university (eight out of ten PhD holders).

Putting in the extra years is a good investment : As many as 80% of MBA & PhD holders believe their degree was worth it. Many will have started their career with a bachelor degree before returning to university and seeing the boost to their professional life thanks to their further degree.

Most worthwhile majors

Major Worth it Not worth it
Chemistry & Natural Sciences 87% 13%
Computer Sciences 81% 19%
Mathematics & Statistics 80% 20%
Business & Finance 77% 23%
Economics 76% 24%
Modern Languages 76% 24%
Management 76% 24%
Engineering 75% 25%
Literature 75% 25%
Physics, Life Sciences & Healthcare 74% 26%
Law 71% 29%
Media, Marketing & Communication 54% 46%
History, Geography, Politics 53% 47%
Fine Arts & Design 53% 47%
Psychology 33% 67%

    Science & Math grads don't look back : More than 80% of computer sciences, mathematics and chemistry graduates are happy with their degrees. In addition to being sought-after by high-paying industries like tech, financial services or pharmaceuticals, those with a science degree can easily quantify the skills and knowledge gained during their studies, and how helpful those are in their day to day jobs. Less so for those who majored in fine arts or geography, with few actually working in their area of academic expertise which provides fewer directly transferable skills than science or IT (less than 60% of those who graduated in history, fine arts or marketing believe their degree was worth it).

    Psychology, victim of its own success? Psychology is the least valued degree (only 33% of graduates think it was worth it). Considering it is the second most popular major in the UK, competition for psychology-related jobs is fierce, making it harder for graduates to stand out among other job-seekers and pushing many into careers they did not necessarily choose.

    Most worthwile universities in the UK

    University Worth it Not worth it
    Oxford University 93% 7%
    Cambridge University 92% 8%
    Imperial College London 88% 12%
    King's College London 82% 18%
    Bath University 82% 18%
    Portsmouth University 82% 18%
    Cardiff University 80% 20%
    Warwick University 80% 20%
    Manchester University 78% 22%
    University College London 78% 22%
    London School of Economics 77% 23%
    City University London 75% 25%
    Leeds University 75% 25%
    Durham University 74% 26%
    Reading University 73% 27%
    Edinburgh University 62% 38%
    Birmingham University 62% 38%
    Westminster University 62% 38%
    Nottingham University 57% 43%
    The Open University 50% 50%

    Top university, top degree : More than 9 out of 10 Oxbridge graduates think their degree was worthwhile. In addition to having enjoyed an education considered to be one of the best in the world, graduates notice the preferential treatment they receive from recruiters and blue chip companies just by mentioning their pedigree, boosting their confidence in their degree's worth.

    Is distance learning worth it? Half of The Open University's alumni doubt its value. As the most popular university in the UK, with more than 100,000 students on long distance learning programmes, holding a degree from the Open University will not set graduates apart in job interviews, particularly in a world in which the number of free or almost free online certifications has risen dramatically.

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder & COO at said: 'With the rising requirement in technical and on the job skills such as digital marketing and coding, it is valid to question the cost of a formal university education. However, the overwhelming response to our question is a clear signal that graduates not only enjoyed their time at university but also yielded substantial career-related benefits from it. Despite their high costs and immediate earning sacrifice, the overwhelmingly positive feedback for MBA programmes vouch for the quality of applicable skills they impart as well as the value of boosting one's professional network.'


Emolument provides bonus and salary statistics based on data submitted directly by professionals like you. It is free, anonymous, and already a trusted tool for thousands of professionals worldwide. Are you paid enough? Click here to find out now.

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