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Are Degrees Worth It?

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In its latest study, Emolument.com 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

  • 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


  • 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 UK1, 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 Worthwhile Universities in the UK


  • 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 students2 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 Emolument.com 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.’

1- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-32230793

2- www.hesa.ac.uk

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