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Study on the wider benefits of completing a degree

Recent research for DfE has shown that while there continues to be a demonstrable financial benefit to university-level education, some subjects see a much lower earnings returns than others. These subjects include Agriculture, Biosciences and Chemistry, Creative Arts, English, History, Languages, Philosophy, and Psychology. However, other research has also demonstrated that the benefits of Higher Education go beyond earnings.

DfE have commissioned this research as they are keen to better understand the wider benefits of Higher Education in lower-earnings return subject areas. The aim is to find out how students and graduates make choices about their Further and Higher Education and subsequent careers, their goals and motivations, how they measure success, and to understand the wider benefits of HE for subject areas that may not necessarily lead to high levels of pay.

The research will involve a literature review, qualitative research with graduates and quantitative analysis of data from Futuretrack, Destinations of Leavers from higher education surveys and the Labour force Survey.

We are looking for participants to take part in a telephone interview or online focus group. Please follow the link below if the following criteria apply to you and you want to find out more about taking part:

  1. You completed an undergraduate degree in Agriculture, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Creative Arts and Design, Performing Arts, English, History, Languages, Philosophy or Psychology;
  2. You started your degree in or after 2012 and finished in 2015, 2016 or 2017;
  3. You studied at a UK Higher Education or Further Education Institution;
  4. You were classed as an English student for funding purposes.

Graduates taking part in a telephone interview or online focus group will receive a £15 online voucher.

Sign up here

Project Team:

Wil Hunt (Principal Investigator)

Heike Behle

Gaby Atfield

Daria Luchinskaya

David Owen

Beate Baldauf

Clare Lyonette

Project Duration:

December 2018 - December 2021

Project funder:


Link to sign-up page.