Oxbridge vs the Ivy League – Who is the wealthiest?

Considering the high costs involved in pursuing a degree at the world’s best universities, prospective students should be able to find out the return on investment that they can expect, as they prepare to sign up for hefty student loans.

Emolument.com has analysed 5,013 salaries from Oxbridge and Ivy League alumni to compare the returns graduates can expect on their degrees. The eight American institutes of teaching excellence clearly come top of the class when it comes to pay. However, across all institutions the gender pay gap is just as bad.


University Salary Bonus Total
IVY LEAGUE £81,000 £8,000 £89,000
Harvard £97,000 £8,000 £105,000
Brown £86,000 £10,000 £96,000
Princeton £79,000 £11,000 £90,000
Dartmouth £77,000 £12,000 £89,000
Pennsylvania £79,000 £9,000 £88,000
Columbia £79,000 £9,000 £88,000
Cornell £81,000 £6,000 £87,000
Yale £65,000 £8,000 £73,000
OXBRIDGE £64,000 £5,000 £69,000
Oxford £65,000 £5,000 £70,000
Cambridge £63,000 £5,000 £68,000

Graph 1 & Table 1. Median salary and bonus for each university (excluding MBAs)

Top Universities Rich List. American Ivy League Universities have the upper hand with earnings of almost 30% higher than Oxbridge. Higher earnings in the US when graduating from Ivy League universities is a contributing factor to the US luring some of the best brains away from the UK.


University Junior Professional earnings Tuition fees for an Undergraduate degree Return on Investment
Harvard £120,000 £34,000 3.5
Oxford £58,000 £17,000 3.4
Cambridge £58,000 £18,000 3.2
Pennsylvania £103,000 £39,000 2.6
Brown £93,000 £38,000 2.5
Princeton £80,000 £34,000 2.4
Yale £85,000 £37,000 2.3
Dartmouth £80,000 £38,000 2.1
Columbia £86,000 £41,000 2.1
Cornell £78,000 £38,000 2.1

Graph 2 & Table 2. Median earning (salary+bonus) of junior professionals with a bachelor degree, based on professionals with 2-6 years of experience


OXBRIDGE OR IVY LEAGUEReturn on investment: Oxbridge back in the race. Thanks to its lower fees, Oxford and Cambridge closely follow Harvard with pleasing return on investment. Cornell trails behind with fees of £38,000 per year and median compensation of £78,000.


University Arts Science Upside of a Bachelor of Science
IVY LEAGUE £93,000 £98,000 5%
OXBRIDGE £66,000 £67,000 1%
Oxford University £72,000 £69,000 -4%
Cambridge University £63,000 £66,000 5%

Graph 3 & Table 3. Difference between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in the Ivy League and Oxbridge


Bachelor of Arts versus Bachelor of Science. Graduates with an Ivy League Bachelor of Science degree earn 5% more than those with a Bachelors of Arts degree. However, at Princeton, Bachelor of Science degrees boost earning by a staggering 42%. At Oxford though, the tables are turned with Bachelor of Arts holders earning the most, leveraging Oxford’s excellent reputation for Humanities.

Universities Men Women Difference
Ivy League £135,000 £91,000 33%
Oxbridge £86,000 £57,000 34%

Graph 4 & Table 4. All figures: Total compensation (salary + bonus)

No leader when it comes to the gender pay gap. Unfortunately, both Oxbridge and the Ivy League institutions are evenly matched when it comes to producing young professionals with uneven pay between men and women. The current gap stands at over 30%, a shocking figure considering women in these samples are high achievers aiming for top jobs.

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder & COO at Emolument.com said: ”Earnings are clearly higher in the US thanks in part to a strong bonus culture. The huge costs of high-end degrees however leaves students well out of pocket by the time they graduate. Why not aim for the best of both worlds and stay in the UK to achieve a top degree then strive to move to the US for better earnings?”


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