Studying law at the London School of Economics and Oxford University are the best for men and women respectively in terms of their career earnings, ground-breaking new research has found.
By contrast, men graduating in law from Bradford University and women from Anglia Ruskin fared the worst.
The objective of the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) was to identify the impact of different degree subjects and institutions on graduate earnings.
Researchers used a new dataset of school, university and tax records created by the Department for Education and controlled for GCSE results, class, region and ethnicity.
The figures are based on students graduating between 2008 and 2012 and looked at how they were doing five years after leaving university.
For men, the average salary was around £31,000. The LSE’s law course had by far the biggest impact, with earnings £24,608 higher than that. It was followed by Oxford (£18,610), Cambridge (£18,030), Durham (£16,747) and Nottingham (£14,869).
The top 10 was rounded out by Warwick, University College London, Newcastle, Bristol and King’s College London.
At the other end of the scale were Bradford (£6,740 below average), London Metropolitan (£6,725), Brighton (£5,875), Lincoln (£3,390) and Northampton (£3,287).
For women, the average was around £28,500. A law degree from Oxford resulted in a salary boost of £26,062 – the third highest of any degree at any institution – followed by the LSE (£20,769), Cambridge (£19,764), University College London (£17,592) and Warwick (£14,594).
The rest of the top 10 were Bristol, Durham, King’s College London, Manchester and Nottingham.
Women with an Anglia Ruskin degree saw their wages £3,806 below average, followed by Salford (£3,785), Northampton (£3,772), Edge Hill (£3,669) and Bedfordshire (£2,970).
Across the 30 degree subjects investigated, law was the 12th best-paid degree for men, with medicine the best (£44,900 on average) and creative arts the worst (£22,200).
It was the 13th best-paid degree for women, again behind medicine at the top (£42,300) and creative arts at the bottom (£21,000).
The researchers stressed: “These results focus solely on the earnings returns to different degrees and there are clearly many other important outcomes which factor into students’ higher education decisions and the evaluation of universities.”
The BBC has produced a facility to search the findings by degree subject. Click here.