There’s a lot to consider when applying to university. You need to look at course structures, accommodation, city centre or campus and how far from home you want to be. Typically, the best source for all your university information are league tables. These can tell you almost everything you’ll need to know.

What we don’t always consider though is where our uni will take us after graduation. In fact, it’s hard to think what will happen after uni before it has even begun. However, it’s just as important when it comes to securing your future. We have compiled a list of universities where graduates earn the least and the most, so you can make sure you’ve made the right choice of uni for you.

Highest Paid Graduate Earners

5) University of Cambridge

The universities where graduates earn the least after getting their degree
Source: Canva

It is no surprise that at least one of the Oxbridge universities would make the list of highest graduate earners, with 7% of grads earning over £51,000 per year. Cambridge comes in second place on the Guardian’s university league table, and as it is one of the most prestigious universities (and one of the most difficult to secure a place at). We would expect nothing less.

4) The Open University

This completely online university prides itself on allowing its students to complete their studies anywhere in the world. With the flexibility that this university offers and its selection of over 200 qualifications, students and graduates are able to prepare for a whole range of high-paying career options. In fact, 8% of students have a salary above £51,000.

3) Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

The universities where graduates earn the least after getting their degree
Source: Canva

Imperial College London was ranked 7th in the world in the QS 2022 World University Rankings. It offers exclusively STEM-based courses which often lead to the highest-paid positions. It’s no shock that this uni boasts 8% of graduates earning more than £51,000.

2) Birkbeck College

Coming in second with 9% of graduates boasting a salary over £51,000, this University of London member institution was named by Buisness Insider as one of the easiest universities to get into. The uni specialises in evening study, with undergraduate classes predominantly taking place on weekdays from 6 pm-9 pm.

1) London School of Economics and Political Science

Another University of London member, LSE has the top paying graduates in the UK. An impressive 12% of graduates make more than £51,000 per year. Coming 4th in the Guardian league table, it is expected that uni specialising in economics would reach the top spot for graduate salaries.

Lowest Paid Graduate Earners

The universities where graduates earn the least after getting their degree
Source: Canva

5) Leeds Arts University

Fifth place for the lowest-earning graduates is Leeds Arts University. Here 22% of graduates make less than £15,000 per year. This uni is home to just over 2000 students and specialises in arts and design courses.

4) BIMM Institute

BIMM is a music institute with campuses across Europe, in cities including London, Brighton, Manchester and Berlin. Despite being such a vast university, its one of the universities where graduates earn the least, with 23% making a salary below £15,000.

3) Academy of Contemporary Music

Similarly to BIMM, ACM is a music university with campuses in London, Guildford and Birmingham. ACM offers more than just music courses, with a Game Design degree also on offer here. 24% of ACM graduates make below £15,000 per year.

2) Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

The universities where graduates earn the least after getting their degree
Source: Canva

Next up on our list of universities where graduates earn the least, we go to Liverpool. Known as LIPA to its students, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts was founded by Paul McCartney in 1996. 27% of LIPA graduates will go on to make below £15,000. However, the institute does accept sixth-form students as well as degree-level applicants, so this should be considered.

1) Leeds College of Music

Coming in first as the UK’s lowest graduate salary university is Leeds College of Music. Yet another music university making the list, this conservatoire offers courses such as classical, jazz and folk music, alongside musical theatre and songwriting.

*(All statistics are from HESA for the 2018/19 academic year and based on graduates who obtained a first-class degree from a public university and entered full-time employment)

Are stuck about what to study at university? Check out our guide, The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2022.