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What do Masters graduates do? - Biosciences

May 2018

Biosciences postgraduates – more than half of whom study psychology – are more likely than the average Masters student to go into further study or part-time work

In 2016, biosciences were the 2nd most popular study area at Masters level, with 4,880 UK postgraduate qualifications awarded.

A significant proportion of these graduates studied psychology (51.1%), while 14.5% studied sport and exercise science, the second most popular subject.

The majority (73.4%) of biosciences Masters graduates chose to study full time, while 26.6% opted to study part time.

Subject overview

  • 4,880 graduates
  • 16.7% of total Masters cohort
  • 73.4% studied full time
  • 26.6% studied part time


There were notable differences between the outcomes of graduates who studied full or part time.

A higher than average number of full-time biosciences Masters graduates pursued further study. There is often a lot of demand for a PhD in scientific roles, so this is to be expected. For graduates in this field, further study appears to be a valuable next step in their career.

Biosciences Masters graduates who studied part time were more likely to be in full-time work six months after graduation than their full-time counterparts, although figures for both groups were lower than average. A higher than average number of full and part-time biosciences Masters graduates went into further education, or found part-time work.

Biosciences Masters graduates who studied full time experienced a lower unemployment rate than average, although those who studied part time had a higher than average figure.

Outcomes,Biosciences FT,Biosciences PT
Full time work,51.2,64.1
Part time work,16.1,17.6
Working and studying,4.5,5.3
Further study,17.7,4.7


For both full and part-time biosciences Masters students the most popular work industries were health and education. The health industry was favoured by those who studied part time, while their full-time counterparts preferred education.

Many of these graduates (55.5%) found work at large companies with more than a thousand employees. It is likely that a number of biosciences Masters graduates were employed by the NHS.

Industries,Biosciences FT,Biosciences PT
Construction · engineering · research and development,8.2,5.1
Hospitality and tourism,3.5,1
Media and publishing,0.7,0.5
IT and telecoms,1.9,1.2
Legal and accountancy,1,0.6
Management consultancy,1.5,1.9
Other business and finance,6.2,4.3
Marketing and PR,1.3,1.1
Social care,9.5,8.5
Local and central govt,5,6.9
Arts · sports and leisure,7.5,8.3
Other industries,1.9,3


A high number of full-time biosciences Masters graduates went into professional roles, working as:

  • sports coaches
  • instructors
  • officials
  • researchers.

Social and welfare occupations were also popular and, unsurprisingly, many were employed as psychologists.

A greater proportion of part-time biosciences Masters students were working in health roles, typically as therapy professionals. Other popular occupations included:

  • biochemists
  • medical scientists.

A number of psychologist roles were also filled by those who studied part time.

The graph shows that biosciences Masters graduates who studied part time tended to experience better outcomes, with 89% in a professional-level job six months after graduation, compared with the 75.6% who studied full-time. A large quantity of retail and service occupations were filled by those who studied full-time – a potential issue that needs monitoring.

Types of work,Biosciences FT,Biosciences PT
Education ,5.1,11.9
Social and welfare,15.9,13.5
Business and finance,8,8.1
Marketing and sales,4,2.6
Arts and media,0.9,0.5
Other professionals,17.1,13.1
Health and education occupations,7.6,4.3
Clerical and secretarial,5.9,3.1
Retail and service ,7.3,1.5
Other occupations,4,1.6
Unknown occupations,0,0.1


Many biosciences Masters graduates found employment in London, the dominant region. Graduates who studied full time were more likely to find opportunities in the capital than those who studied part-time. The remainder of graduates appear to be dispersed throughout the country.

The South East and East of England employed more biosciences Masters graduates than they taught.

Aside from London other popular cities included:

  • Manchester
  • Leeds
  • Edinburgh
  • Sheffield
  • Birmingham.
Location,Biosciences FT,Biosciences PT
North East,4.2,2.2
North West,11.3,9.7
Yorkshire and The Humber,8.9,7.4
East Midlands,7.5,4.6
West Midlands,6.4,6.8
East of England,8.6,7.3
South East,12.1,12.9
South West,7.2,7.5
Northern Ireland,2.7,3.1
Guernsey · Jersey and the Isle of Man,0.3,0.3

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