Which subject should you study at university?

Explore our subject guides and career options with this comprehensive resource on choosing your degree subject at university

August 30 2017
How to choose a subject at university

There is one thing that you should try to remember when choosing which subject to study at university. It should be something you enjoy and that you would be happy to study in-depth for the next few years. Consider the subjects you enjoy the most at school and then research similar courses that you can study at university.  

If you are looking for more detail about what each degree programme offers, then our guides below can help you decide which subject fits your interests and goals the best. 

Business and economics degrees

What can you do with an accounting degree?
What can you do with a business and management degree?
What can you do with an economics degree?

Life sciences

What can you do with an agriculture degree?
What can you do with a biology degree?
What can you do with a sports science degree?
What can you do with a veterinary science degree?

Arts and humanities

What can you do with an archaeology degree?
What can you do with an architecture degree?
What can you do with a degree in design?
What can you do with a performing arts degree?
What can you do with an art degree?
What can you do with a philosophy degree?
What can you do with a history degree? 
What can you do with a theology degree?
What can you do with a linguistics degree?
What can you do with a languages degree?
What can you do with an English literature degree?
What can you do with an English language degree?

Engineering and technology

What can you do with a chemical engineering degree?
What can you do with a civil engineering degree?
What can you do with an electrical engineering degree? 
What can you do with a general engineering degree?
What can you do with a mechanical engineering degree? 
What can you do with an aerospace engineering degree?

Physical sciences

What can you do with a chemistry degree?
What can you do with a geology degree?
What can you do with a mathematics degree?
What can you do with an astronomy degree?
What can you do with a physics degree?

Social sciences

What can you do with a media and communications degree?
What can you do with an education degree?
What can you do with a geography degree?
What can you do with a law degree?
What can you do with a politics degree?
What can you do with a psychology degree?
What can you do with a sociology degree?

Computer science

What can you do with a computer science degree?

Clinical and health

What can you do with a medical degree?
What can you do with a nursing degree?
What can you do with a dentistry degree?

While it is completely fine to not know what you want to do after university, if you do have some idea and aren't sure which degree to go for, the table below can help you to work out which degree will help you on to that career path. Further study may be required for some of these occupations after graduation. Of course these are not the only jobs you can do, but this is a good place to start.

Career type

Degrees to lead you there

Accounting

Accounting, maths, economics

Acting

Drama, dance, performing arts

Advertising

Advertising, business, management, communications, English, marketing, communication, media studies, graphic design, illustration, fine art

Air cabin crew

Hospitality management, languages, leisure and tourism, travel

Archaeologist

Archaeology, ancient history, geography, history, sociology, Classics 

Barrister

Law 

Broadcast journalist

Journalism, business, finance, economics, politics

Building surveyor

Economics, geography, languages, mathematics, science, social sciences, urban and land studies

Charity worker

Business, management, finance, accounting, languages, computer science, engineering

Dancer

Dance, theatre studies

Dentist

Dentistry

Dietician

Life sciences, human physiology, biochemistry

Digital marketing

Advertising, media studies, communications, business, journalism, marketing

Doctor

Medicine

Ecologist

Life sciences, biology, botany, environmental management, geography, marine biology, zoology

Economist

Economics, mathematics 

Engineer

Engineering (all forms), mathematics, physics 

Environmental worker

Chemistry, ecology, geology, environmental engineering, geography

Estate agent

Business, estate management, property development, surveying, urban and land studies

Events

Business, event management, leisure and tourism, marketing

Facilities manager

Building management, business studies, construction, hospitality, management, surveying

Farm manager

Agriculture, horticulture, land or estate management

Fashion designer

Fashion, textiles, graphic design, fashion marketing, art and design

Forensic scientist

Biological sciences, chemistry, forensic science

Game developer

Animation, computer science, graphic design, mathematics, physics, software engineering

GP

Medicine 

Graphic designer

Film/television, fine art, graphic design, illustration, photography

Health and safety

Engineering, environmental health, physical and applied sciences

Heritage

Archaeology, education, geography, museum studies, history, marketing

Hotel management

Business with languages, business, management, hotel and hospitality, travel, tourism and leisure studies

Human resources

Business with languages, business, management, human resources, psychology, sociology

Illustrator

Graphic design, illustration, fine art, fashion

Insurance

Business, management, economics, marketing, mathematics

Interpreter

Linguistics, modern languages, translation and interpreting

IT

Business studies, computer science, mathematics, physics, engineering

Magazine/newspaper journalist

Journalism, English

Make-up artist

Fashion, theatrical and media hair and make-up

Marketing

Advertising, business, management, media and communications, IT, computer science, marketing, psychology

Museum curator

History, history of art, languages, English literature

Nurse/midwife

Nursing, midwifery

Nutrition

Dietetics, food, nutrition and health

Office manager

Business administration, business management, computing and IT, human resource management

Optician

Optometry

Paramedic

Paramedic science

Pharmacist

Pharmacy, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, biomedical science, pharmacology 

Photographer

Art and design, fine art, graphics, media studies, photography

Teacher

Education, physical and life sciences, humanities, social sciences 

Production manager

Biochemistry, business, management, chemistry, engineering, food science, physics

Public relations

English, creative writing, business, management, marketing, social sciences, politics 

Publishing

Publishing, media and communications, English

Quantity surveyor

Construction, engineering, economics, geography, mathematics

Retail

Business

Sales

Business, management, marketing, computing, engineering, technology, media studies

Social work

Law, politics, social care, social sciences

Solicitor

Law

Sports

Health science, sports science

Statistician

Economics, geography, mathematics, psychology

Theatre

Drama, theatre studies, performing arts, music

Tourism

Tourism management, marketing, business,  journalism, languages, media studies

Translation

Languages, linguistics, English 

Vet

Veterinary science, biology, zoology

Writer

Communication and media studies, creative writing, English, journalism, performing arts

International study

Going abroad to go to university is becoming more and more common, so it’s also worth knowing how degree programmes are structured in different parts of the world. This might influence not only what you study but where you decide to study. 

In most countries in Europe, most students will study one or two subjects in great depth and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

However, in the US, students are able to take classes across all academic disciplines and then choose a major in the second year to focus on and will receive a bachelor’s degree in this chosen subject. 

Australia follows a similar degree pattern to Europe with students homing in on just one or two subjects and becoming specialists in that field. 

Read more: Applying to university overseas: what to consider

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