Science vs. humanities degrees: Who earns more?

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Any students who have just fired off their UCAS applications to study a humanities course at university may want to look away now.

Research from salary benchmarking firm Emolument shows science graduates’ salaries in their first five years of work tend to be about 5% higher than those of humanities students, at £37,000 versus £35,000.

Emolument puts the early pay gap down to the strong demand for and short supply of technical skills and numeracy.

The disparity is even more pronounced in the US, where starter salaries can be as much as 17% higher for scientists.

However, humanities students get the last laugh, as with 15 years of experience under their belts, those with a Bachelor of Arts degree can be earning an average of £85,000, 11% more than those with a Bachelor of Science.


“Later on, the highest salaries go to managers and strategists: positions where technical knowledge is less crucial, and seeing the big picture is more important,” says Emolument.

But there is still a way for science grads to get a leg up.

Moving to the US with more than 15 years in industry will net them a salary of $177,000 (£114,611), more than the £109,000 an employee with equivalent experience and a BA would get back in Britain.

Overall, Emolument’s data shows graduates across both disciplines typically earn more across the pond.

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October 21, 2015 |
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