The best UK universities for high graduate starting salaries

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The best UK universities often rank among the top in the world — but there’s no ignoring the fact that they encompass some of the most expensive, too. In this, it’s important to consider which university will be right for you — especially if you’re doing so as an international student. 

It’s no secret that higher education bears a heavy cost on international students. In the UK, international students often pay double or sometimes triple compared to local students. That’s not to distract from the myriad of other fees that need to be met: rent and housing bills, travel and living expenses, and more. 

While graduating from university doesn’t always guarantee employment, having a degree on your belt will significantly increase your chances. Graduating with a degree from some of the best UK universities will only add to this, and make it more likely that you may start off with a higher starting salary, too. 

Outside of Oxford and Cambridge, though, international students may not be entirely familiar with the top universities in the UK. Here are some of the best UK universities according to the starting graduate salaries they generate in 2021, according to the University Admission Center UK (UACUK).

Best UK universities according to graduate salary

Imperial College London

With a focus on STEM and business-related subjects, Imperial College London is one of the best UK universities any international student can attend. It is ranked #20 among the best global universities by the US News and World Report and fourth in the UK, closely following behind the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. 

Its campus is no less impressive, with a home in the heart of South Kensington and minutes away from the Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Student halls are just a walking distance away from these classic British landmarks. 

Graduates from Imperial tend to start off earning 33,500 pounds per year. However, students should note that tuition fees at Imperial are significantly higher than that of other London universities. For example, the four-year MEng Chemical Engineering programme cost £35,100 in 2021. 

Imperial students are a short walk away from the Natural History Museum, which hosts a yearly skating rink over winter. Source: Hollie Adams / AFP

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Similar to Imperial, LSE only offers specific degree programmes and focuses on building expertise in a small selection of subject areas. It’s a strategy that works given the fact that it’s placed among the top five UK universities, according to Times Higher Education. 

LSE’s campus is scattered along Central London, giving students unparalleled access to the city’s courts, businesses, and economics districts. 

The starting salary for graduates from LSE is around £32,000 per year. While tuition fees at LSE are still higher than the average London university, it is significantly lower than that of Imperial. The three-year BSc Economics programme starts at £26,280 for international students. 

University College London (UCL)

Known as “London’s global university”, UCL is a solid choice for students across all subject areas. The university is well-ranked overall, placing third globally by the US News and World Report, but is particularly renowned for its expertise in education, architecture, archaeology, anatomy and physiology, and psychology, among others

Students at UCL enjoy a campus that bridges between serene and central, with all the parks and squares surrounding the university whilst being walking distance to Chinatown and the British Museum, among others. 

Graduates from UCL can earn around £30,000 on average, which Save the Students reports is equivalent to that which is earned by Oxford and Cambridge degree holders. Fees at UCL are similar to that of LSE: for example, the BA Architecture programme is £26,600 per year for international students.

The University of Warwick

The University of Warwick celebrates the best of both worlds, being one of the best UK universities without the high costs of living in London, Oxford or Cambridge. Instead, the institution is tucked away in the north, giving students a taste of the classic British countryside amidst a vibrant university environment. 

However, the money students save on living expenses is nevertheless counted in the university’s high fee structure. Studying Accounting and Finance at Warwick — which is ranked the best university for the subject in the UK — ranges between £22,280 to £28,410 per year. 

Still, students more than make up for this after graduating. The average graduate salary of Warwick leavers is £29,000 per year

The University of Bath

Internationally, Bath is one of the lesser-known towns of the UK. However, students who attend the university are steeped in a classic English town: cobbled streets, stunning architecture, and the centuries-old Roman baths are just a few highlights. 

In the world of higher education, Bath places among the top 30 UK universities. It is particularly well-regarded for Architecture and Criminology. Tuition fees at Bath generally range from around £19,800 to £22,000 per year, and living expenses are generally much cheaper, too. 

Graduates from Bath generally start earning £28,500 per year once they finish their degrees. 

There’s no guarantee that attending one of the best UK universities will give you a high salary, but they can serve as a reference to the popularity of graduates and how well they are regarded by employers within the UK.





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