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The Degrees that Will Pay your Student Debt the Quickest

The Degrees that Will Pay your Student Debt the Quickest

As the cost of living in the UK continues to increase rapidly year-on-year, those repaying their university loans also find that they are faced with an annual increase in student debt. On average, it takes graduates who actually repay back their student loans in full 29.5 years to complete their repayments. Even so, most graduates never repay their entire student loan, working for 30 years at which point the debt is wiped. 

Sonic Jobs has conducted a study, using the student loans repayment calculator in order to find the university degrees that will pay off student debt the fastest out of all available degrees in the UK. The highest paid career paths based on these degrees were analysed, looking at the average post graduate starting salary for each career, as well as the average salary increase year-on-year. 


Dentistry is the highest paying profession attainable through a degree in the UK. 

With an average starting salary of £59,000, dentists can expect to repay their student loan quicker than any other profession, within 16 years, assuming an average 3% yearly increase in salary. 

Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine also has the scope to achieve a high starting salary, with the possibility of those who choose this career path to earn £52,000 per year within the first year of graduating from university. 

Although this fluctuates depending on what region of the UK vets choose to work in, as well as the size of their practice, those with a veterinary medicine degree could well pay their student loan off within 19 years, 10 years faster than the national average. 


The pay grade for those who have studied medicine fluctuated depending on a variety of different factors. As medicine is such a broad career with many different pathways, routes to specialism and initial pay grades, how quickly graduates repay the student debt will differ.

This means that the average salary will differ vastly. On average, the starting salary for those who study medicine is £46,231.5. With an annual wage increase of 3% per year, those within this field can expect to pay their student loan off within 23 years. 


Those who study law in the UK have the potential to attain a starting annual salary of £43,500, although this can be considerably lower, or even much higher, up to £60,000. Looking at the average of £43,500, law graduates can expect to pay their student loan back within 26 years.

Physics and Astronomy

Science-based degrees like physics and astronomy can expect to earn an average of £39,000 when they graduate from university. Although not far above the maximum threshold of 30 years, when student loans are completely written off, physicists and astronomers can expect to pay their student loans off in full within 29 years, a year before the payment deadline is due to expire. 

[Top 5 degrees table]

Other High Paid Degrees

Although these degrees are among the top 10 highest earners in the UK, the fact that the starting salary for each is relatively low, often matching the national average for all degrees, along with the fact that the annual salary rise remains at a relatively low level, none of these degrees will usually pay off their student loan before the 30 year period comes to a close. Chemical Engineering has a higher starting salary than Physics and Astronomy degrees, but due to the annual salary increase stagnating at a lower level than, this means that Physics and Astronomy ultimately ends up paying back a larger amount of the student loan repayments.

As the levels of student loan repayment interest continues to increase, even those earning a higher wage following their graduation will have a tough time ever paying their student loan back in full. 

Lowest Paid UK Degrees 

The lowest paid degrees in the UK still sit beneath the student loan repayment threshold after a five-year period. As all of these degrees do not make £27,295 on average half a decade after graduation, no repayments will be made.

[lowest paid degree table]

Even so, this does not make much of a difference when it comes to student loan repayments. Although a larger amount is paid by the higher paying degrees, aside from the top 5, all other degrees will never fully pay off the full amount of debt, as the 30-year deadline will be met before the debt is repaid.

Less Than 18% of UK Graduates Repay Their Student Debt

With 761,215 people graduating from UK universities annually, the top 5 degrees that have the potential to pay off their student loans in full only make up 42,819 of total graduates, less than 18%. As under a fifth of graduates ever pay their loans off in full, unless you undertake one of the degrees from the top 5 highest paid career paths, you should not worry about debt when comparing one course to another. Ultimately, the end result is that the full amount of debt that you acquire does not reflect the total amount of money you will repay through your student loan deductions, and never until you earn nearly £28,000.



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