The UK’s universities offer a wide variety of degrees, from the arts to medicine, engineering and more. But what are the most useful university degrees for future careers? We’ve put together a list of ten popular university degrees and their corresponding career paths. So, maybe you’re in the midst of your UCAS application and not sure what subject to pick? Or perhaps, you’re in your third year and are looking for a little validation that it will be worth it. Whatever your motives, we have wrapped up the most employable subjects and useful university degrees to study in the UK 2024, using a range of data from previous government shortage lists and HESA graduate salaries.

1. Medicine

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2022
Source: Canva

Unsurprisingly, medicine is the top option on this list. Graduates with a degree in medicine can work in the NHS or private sector. It’s one of the most useful university degrees to study in the UK, which probably won’t change any time soon. The degree takes five years to complete, during which you’ll spend part of your time doing clinical placements. You can also do a foundation year if you don’t have any scientific qualifications prior.

If you want to work as a GP, then a degree in medicine is essential. After obtaining a medical degree, you’ll apply for foundation training, which is two years of work experience and training. To become a GP, you’ll need to have speciality training for three years afterwards. There are over 60 different specialities to choose from, so it’s a fairly varied career route.

The course is also very competitive and there are only a limited number of places available. You’ll need to be able to show that you have the right knowledge, skills, experience and attributes. Although training lasts considerably longer than other degrees, it’s one of the most stable subject choices for local and international students alike. There are many different specialities within medicine, from surgery to psychiatry, and depending on the speciality, you’ll need additional training post-university. However, with an expected average salary of over £50,000 six months after graduation, it is worth it. The competition for places is fierce, but you’ll get paid a lot. 

2. Dentistry

dentistry is one of the most useful university degrees


Dentistry is a field that is always in demand, which is why dentistry degrees are among the most useful university degrees to study in the UK presently. They usually take five years of study and then one to two years of supervised practice. With the increasing ageing population and more people moving into retirement homes and sheltered accommodation, they’ll still need their teeth looked after by dentists then too!

There are many reasons why dentistry is a great career choice. Dentists have some of the most fulfilling careers around, alongside being one of the highest paid professions in the world. It’s also a well-paid job – the average salary six months after graduation is £30,000, and the average base salary for a dentist across the country is £76,031. That’s a lot of money. 

3. Veterinary Science

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2024
Source: University of Bristol

Veterinary Sciences is another great and useful degree to choose. It focuses on animal health and welfare, so it is a natural choice for any animal lovers out there. There are only 11 vet schools across the UK, so the competition to get a place on any of these programmes is fierce. However, it has a very high employment rate of almost 96% and an expected salary of £30,500. Plus, once you graduate, you’ll be able to spend all your time with animals, which is perfect if you prefer animal to human company.

4. Education Studies

Education is a good degree to choose
Source: De Montfort University

While education studies may not be as highly paid as some of the other options on this list, it is definitely an essential degree. There is a shortage of teachers and education staff, so this could be the perfect option if you want to shape the next generation. The benefit of a career in education is that you don’t necessarily have to do a degree specifically in education to go into the field. Teachers are needed in all fields, so you could pick your subject of interest and then take a teacher training course following graduation. 

5. Architecture

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2024
Source: University of Bath

Architecture is one of the most useful university degrees in that it combines creativity with technical skills. Infrastructure is the most important aspect of modern society, as without it, you wouldn’t have houses, buildings, roads, anything. Architecture is a great option for a degree if you want to make a physical difference in society. Architecture degrees tend to last three years, but most universities provide the option to take a placement year within your studies. That way, you get industry experience while you study. 

6. Law

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK 2024
Source: University of Hertfordshire

Law is unsurprisingly another of the top useful university degrees. You can make a difference in people’s lives on a local, national or even international level. With the degree, you’ll learn about the legal system alongside how people interact with each other and how society works. While law is offered at most universities, there is significant competition for places at firms after university. Therefore, it’s helpful to work out while you’re at uni what area of law you’d like to specialise in to help you post-graduation. 

7. Biological Sciences

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK 2024
Source: University of Bristol

A degree in biology is one of the most varied degrees within the STEM field. It gives you skills in research, healthcare, development studies or conservation work that can help you out in the future. A biology degree can lead to a wide range of careers, from biotechnologists to marine scientists, with hands-on and office-based career paths available. So, if studying living things interests you, then a degree in the biological sciences may be of interest. 

7. Biology

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2022
Source: Canva

A degree in biology is one of the most varied degrees within the STEM field. It gives you skills in research, healthcare, development studies or conservation work that can help you out in the future. A biology degree can lead to a wide range of careers, from biotechnologists to marine scientists, with hands-on and office-based career paths available. So, if studying living things interests you, then a degree in the biological sciences may be of interest. 

As well as the most traditional roles, there are also plenty of other opportunities available that suit all skillsets and interests. Whether you’re looking for something hands-on or something more office-based, a degree in biology can help you find the perfect role. With so many options available, it’s no wonder that this degree is one of the most useful degrees for jobs in the UK. There’s a current shortage in biochemists and biological scientists across a wide range of jobs, and the salary typically isn’t bad either.

8. Economics

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK 2024
Source: University of Manchester

Economics is another degree that can lead to a wide range of career paths. Degree programmes within the social science field (subjects like psychology, sociology or economics) provide a wide range of transferable skills that you can apply to many circumstances. With this degree, you could go into financing, consulting, government or academia, and more. Economics is also a field where you will get paid well – an expected salary between £30,000 to £40,000. 

9. Computer Science

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK 2024
Source: City, University of London

In this digital age, computer science degrees are very handy. Computer science graduates are in high demand, working in a variety of roles. This ranges from software engineers to data analysts to web developers and cyber security analysts. These high-demand jobs are also highly paid. The expected salary six months after graduation is between £35,000 and £45,000.  


10. Engineering

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK 2024
Source: Lancaster University

Engineering is one of the most useful university degrees to study in the UK and also one of the most varied. The specialities of engineering degrees range from geological engineering to chemical engineering and civil engineering to mechanical engineering. Therefore, it’s good to do some research into the different types of engineering so you know which you’re most interested in. However, you don’t need to know immediately – many universities will either offer a foundation year or a general engineering programme. This allows you to get some experience and figure out what your interest is rather than committing to one field off the bat. 

Civil Engineering

Civil engineer

Civil engineering is a highly lucrative career path, where civil engineers design, construct and maintain the physical and natural environment. They work in the construction industry and public sector and are responsible for building roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, airports and railways. The civil engineering field is growing rapidly across the UK as more people seek out professionals for their expertise in infrastructure planning and development.

With a degree in civil engineering, you can work as an engineer designing projects or managing construction teams. You could also pursue roles in research or public policy related to the built environment or infrastructure. You’ll also have the chance to work on projects ranging from large-scale infrastructure developments to smaller scale residential buildings, giving you an opportunity to make a positive impact in your local community.

Civil engineering offers an abundance of job opportunities for those looking for a career with meaningful impact. So if you’re searching for most useful degrees in the UK, a degree in civil engineering is sure to be one of your most promising options. With its diverse job prospects, it provides an exciting and rewarding career path for people with a passion for problem-solving and creating solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. Whether you’re interested in designing structures or managing teams, a civil engineering degree will equip you with the skills and capabilities needed to be successful.

Most employers are willing to offer competitive salaries for those who graduate with a civil engineering degree. It is one of the most useful degrees to pursue in the UK, as it gives you an opportunity to work on projects that create a lasting legacy. Civil engineers are at the forefront of development and progress, and those with a strong skillset will be most likely to find positions in top organisations.

Mechanical Engineering

mechanical engineering degree is useful in the uk

Mechanical engineering is a broad engineering discipline that deals with the design, production and operation of machinery. It is one of the oldest engineering disciplines, with roots extending back to antiquity, when humans invented simple machines such as the lever, pulley and screwdriver. Today, mechanical engineers work in a wide range of industries including aerospace, automotive, civil infrastructure and renewable energy. It’s an exciting career choice that promises to stay relevant for years to come.

Mechanical engineers use their knowledge of materials and design to create products that serve a variety of purposes. They may work on the internal components of cars, such as engines or transmissions, or they may help develop new medical devices for hospitals. They use their knowledge of physics and chemistry to understand how different materials behave under various conditions, such as heat, pressure and stress. From developing new products for medical equipment to finding ways to reduce energy consumption in factories, mechanical engineers are most useful in the most cutting-edge industries

Mechanical engineering is one of the most useful degrees for a job in the UK. With such a versatile degree, mechanical engineers are in high demand across most industries. Currently, there is a shortage of all jobs within this discipline.

Engineering Geology

Engineering geology is a useful university degree

Engineering Geology is another great degree that can lead to a range of exciting and career-defining jobs. From geological engineering to geotechnical consultants, this degree can help you find the most rewarding role for your skillset. With most major cities now facing growing infrastructure needs, having a degree in engineering geology could be extremely valuable to the most successful companies.

This degree is also one of the most useful degrees in the UK, since it covers both scientific and practical aspects of geological engineering. With a combination of theoretical understanding and hands-on field experience, you can be sure that your expertise will be put to good use. So if you’re looking for a career with plenty of opportunities to make an impact, engineering geology could be a great option. Plus, most employers in the UK value this degree highly, meaning you’ll be able to start off your career with a good salary and secure job prospects. So if you’re looking for most useful degrees in the UK, engineering geology may just be the right choice for you.

Chemical Engineering

chemical engineering degrees are useful

A degree in chemical engineering is one of the most useful degrees for finding a job in the UK. It’s a very popular degree, with thousands of students studying it in the UK each year. It’s  essentially an engineering degree that requires you to study maths and physics as well as chemistry, so if you’re good at these subjects then it may be the right choice for you. In this course, you’ll learn how to design and manage chemical processes using mathematical models and computer programs. Additionally, those who pursue a degree in chemical engineering will gain a wide range of skills that can help them stand out from the competition. They’ll learn how to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively as well as having an understanding of mathematics, science and technology.

Chemical engineers are in demand and can earn base salaries of over £37,000. They’re are usually responsible for designing and implementing processes to produce, transport, and use chemicals, drugs, food, and fuel. With this knowledge they can solve problems related to health, energy efficiency or environmental protection. A chemical engineer can work in various sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, food production, biotechnology and energy which makes it a versatile degree. Moreover, many chemical engineers use their knowledge in the development of new products and processes to help improve existing products or services. This makes them an asset to most companies looking for employees with a strong technical background.

You can find more about what to do with a chemical engineering degree in our post.

11. Health and Social Care

most useful university degrees UK 2023

Health and Social Care is a great choice for anyone who wants to work in the health and social care sector. You’ll be trained to deal with patients, work in the community and assist vulnerable people. You could also use your degree to work with children or older people in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, residential homes or hospices. As well as this you can also study how to manage long-term conditions such as diabetes and obesity which will help you understand how these illnesses affect people’s quality of life.

It’s not only one of the most useful degrees to study, but one of the most rewarding. You’ll be taught how to improve people’s health, wellbeing and ability to live independently. These jobs are so important, and are also highly in demand right now.

12. Social Sciences and Humanities

Training to be a psychologist is extremely useful

Social science degrees are useful for careers in public policy, education, and social work. You’ll learn about the social and natural aspects of humanity. Social science degrees combine social and natural sciences. Examples of social science degrees include psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology. These degree programs can prepare you for a wide range of careers in government agencies where you might advise elected officials on policy issues related to health care or education; non-profit organisations that help those experiencing poverty; businesses that aim to make an impact on society at large through their products or services; and more!

Many social science degrees can be combined with a concentration in a specific area of study. For example, if you’re interested in psychology and want to work as a psychologist or counsellor, you can choose a degree program that offers concentrations in child development, health psychology, counselling and therapy, or another subfield.

13. Graphic Design

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2022
source: Canva

For budding creatives, you’re in luck. Graphic design jobs are in high demand right now. With a graphic design degree, you can be employed by a wide range of companies and organisations. What’s more, doing Graphic Design at a degree level opens the doors to loads of opportunities. These include Creative Designer, UX designer, Production Artist, Art director or Marketing Specialist. You could work for a magazine or a newspaper, for example, creating illustrations and photography. Or you might choose to take on roles in advertising or marketing, designing logos and posters. Graphic designers also spend time working on websites or apps that are used by millions of people every day.

You’ll need to have creative skills as well as analytical ones – you need to be able to look at something from all angles and make it look better than it was before! Communication skills are also vital so that you can interact with clients effectively, both in person and over email or other methods of communication like Skype chat rooms etcetera…

You will probably need a degree in graphic design to get into the industry, although some companies will take on people with other qualifications or experience. You could study for an undergraduate degree in graphic design and then look for work once you’ve finished your studies – find out what employers are looking for by talking to them directly or reading their job adverts.

So, these are the most useful university degrees to study in the UK taking into account graduate salaries and how in-demand they are. Unsurprisingly, STEM subjects dominate the list. However, just because STEM subjects dominate this list doesn’t mean that you have to study a STEM subject at uni. Not everyone is a STEM person, some of us are naturally more oriented towards creative subjects. So, don’t feel pressured to study one if you’re not a STEM person. It’s okay. 

Remember that there’s no black and white answer when it comes to picking a degree. Although – it’s worth considering the degrees that are considered to be useless, and weighing up the pros and cons of doing them. But ultimately how well you do, comes down to how much effort you put in and more importantly- how much you enjoy the subject. There’s no point doing a science degree if your heart is in the arts. Follow your passions and remember to think outside of the box- university is supposed to be fun. Check out this list of universities with the best student life, if you know what to study but aren’t quite sure where to study it!

Last Updated on May 26, 2024