The uni degrees to do and avoid

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 20 Januari 2014 | 20.01

Hannah Smith is in her 5th year studying Psychology and Criminology at Griffith University. Source: News Limited

SCHOOL-LEAVERS considering studying psychology should have their heads read - it is officially Australia's most overrated degree.

Only 63 per cent of the psychology graduates found full-time work in their chosen field - and those lucky ones had a median starting salary of $47,500, only slightly higher than the $42,000 earned by factory workers.

According to the new study by McCrindle Research, surveying is the smartest choice for students, ranking as Australia's most underrated degree.

Australia suffering from high levels of youth unemployment, with more than a quarter aged 17-24 not in full time work or study.

But with surveyors, nine out of ten graduates found full time work in their chosen field - with a median starting salary of $52,000.

Adam Brown, a surveying recruitment specialist with Aspect Personnel, says 2014 should be a boom year for graduates, with building approvals at levels not seen since 2010.

"2013 was a tough year for building approvals, but that is set to change," Mr Brown said. "There will be an urgent demand to fill holes in surveying staff and clients will prefer graduates to train and give more bang for their buck."

Bryce Campbell, who has just completing his first year of surveying at the University of Newcastle, is hoping the buck will swing his way.

"Surveying isn't a popular degree," he said. "In my home town of Port Macquarie a surveyor I know said there is currently a shortage. By the time I graduate, there should be huge demand."

After graduating, his degree could mean working with roads, mapping, oceanography or something with volcanoes.

"I haven't quite decided yet," said Mr Campbell.

Happy with his choice ... Bryce Campbell (right) working as a surveyor. Picture: University of Newcastle Source: Supplied

Emma Eltringham, 21, from Melbourne, is excited about starting the first year of a surveying degree at the University of Melbourne and the future possibilities.

"There are so many options, but it is a stable career with long-term work," she said. "I am really excited about the opportunities it will bring."

Urban and Regional Planning, Rehabilitation and Electrical Engineering are other bachelor degrees creating employable graduates with our changing population driving demand, according to demographer Mark McCrindle.

"Australia's population growth is creating the need for more homes than ever and the redevelopment of many existing urban centres," Mr McCrindle said.

"This planning and construction boom is creating great opportunities for graduates in relevant fields."

While psychology was ranked as the most overrated degree, architecture came in second with 72 per cent finding work in the field, but earning just $32,500.

Just over half of Visual and Performing Arts students working full-time receive a job in their field of study, helping this degree to third place.

The majority of graduates in these degrees require further study and qualifications before commencing full-time employment, according to demographer Mr McCrindle.

But the research also reveals there is less work for graduates and they are increasing entering the workforce in debt.

Between 2011 and 2013, the number of graduates securing work within four months dropped from 76.3 per cent to 71 per cent.

And today there are 1.7 million Australians with a HECS debt, commonly owing between $20,000 and $30,000.


1. Psychology

Full-time employees working in this field: 63%

Median starting salary: $47,500

2. Architecture

Full-time employees working in this field: 72%

Median starting salary: $32,500

3. Visual and Performing Arts

Full-time employees working in this field: 52%

Median starting salary: $38,000

4. Social Sciences

Full-time employees working in this field: 60%

Median starting salary: $45,000


1. Surveying

Full-time employees working in this field: 90%

Median starting salary: $52,000

2. Urban/Regional Planning

Full-time employees working in this field: 81%

Median starting salary: $50,000

3. Rehabilitation

Full-time employees working in this field: 89%

Median starting salary: $50,200

4. Electrical Engineering

Full-time employees working in this field: 76%

Median starting salary: $60,000


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