Making Your Choice - Higher Education

Subject Ideas

If you like History, you might like: Politics, Law, Archaeology, Heritage Management, Museum Studies, Public Relation, Arts, Administration, Journalism.
If you like Maths, you might like: Accountancy, Engineering, Computer Science, Economics, Optometry, Business Studies.
If you like Languages, you might like: International Business, European Law, Speech Therapy, Marketing, Tourism, Events Management, Journalism.
If you like Biology, you might like: Food Science, Podiatry, Genetics, Medical Sciences, Microbiology, Operating Department Practice, Anthropology, Occupational Therapy.
If you like IT/Computer Studies, you might like: Logistics, Multimedia, Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, Web Design, Business Systems, Computer Games Designs.
If you like Business Studies, you might like: Retailing, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Advertising, Events Management, Finance, Tourism, Public Relations.
If you like English, you might like: Journalism, Creative Writing, Public Relations, Arts Administration, Library Studies, Advertising, Marketing, TV Production.
If you like PE/Sports Studies, you might like: Leisure Management, Sports Development, Sport Science, Health Promotion, Events Management, Sports Journalism.
If you like Psychology, you might like: Social Work, Health Studies, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Community Studies, Criminology, Child Development, Business Psychology.

Not Taking The Right Subjects?

Some subjects need specific subjects for you to get in, but don't worry if you're not taking these subjects, some universities offer a foundation year (or Year 0) so you can catch up on any subjects you might have missed.
Want a change? Some degrees accept a range of subjects, e.g. Archaeology, Law, Anthropology, Surveying, Theology, Business Studies, Hospitality, Marketing, Sociology, Journalism, History Of Art, Politics, Philosophy.
Check out course requirements in prospectuses either by looking on their website or ordering them, or look on the UCAS website. If you still want ideas on what course you can take, try the Stamford Test on the UCAS website, or the computer programme Higher Ideas, which you should be able to access through your school or college.

Making Your Choice

Here are some things to think about when choosing a course:

General or work related?
A work related subject (e.g. Business Studies) helps you prepare for a broad area of work. These courses may include work experience and some professional qualifications too. A general (or academic) course (e.g. Geography) is designed to give you a thorough understanding of that subject rather than prepare you for a career.
A work related subject can mean a clearer career and less need for further (expensive) study after your degree. Sandwich courses (with work placements) can really help you get your first job. However, you may have fewer options if you change your career ideas or if the job market for you subject hits a downturn.

What's in a name?
Courses can have the same title but be completely different, for example, Media Studies might involve learning digital video production or analysing late twentieth century cinema. Check exactly what's involved.

Do you know your predicted grades?
Pick courses that make offers in line with your grades, for example, if you apply for a course that wants 300 UCAS points and your reference predicts that you will achieve 240 points then the university will almost certainly turn you down. Selecting universities that ask for a spread of grades can give you a back up plan if you don't get the results you're hoping for.

Use league tables carefully
Check what the rankings are based on, for example, is that university top because of it's academic excellence or because of the social scene? To guide you through it, check out Unistats.

Where will it lead?
Some degree subjects have better job prospects than others. Your future pay could vary too. Use Prospects or the booklet What do Graduates Do?

Don't rely on prospectuses
Prospectuses are written to promote a university or college; you need other information too.

Where do you want to live?
Check the location as well as the course. Use alternative guides (written by students) and go and visit; use Opendays for open day dates. See 'Home Or Away?' below.

Home Or Away?

Arguments for Staying

You will save money
Studying in your own vity and living at home will probably cost you less (although your student loan will be lower).

Less upheaval
Staying in your own city might mean you could still be near to your family, friends, your part time job or football team!

Plenty of Choice?
Most main cities have two universities with plenty of courses. Have a look at your local college for higher education courses too, with usually cheaper fees.

Arguments for Moving

The experience
Going to a university or college away from home can be a brilliant experience. It's a chance to leave home in a relatively 'safe' way; your accommodation would probably be arranged for you and there will be lots of other students, all looking to make friends.

The competition
Narrowing your options to one or two universities means more competition and less chance of getting a place.

Whichever option you choose, there will be plenty of other students in the same position as you.

Things to do:

• Get as much inofrmation as you can.
• Talk to your family.
• Talk to your friends - will they be moving or staying?
• Make your own list of what matters to you.
• Remember that there are other universities and colleges close to your city. e.g. Sheffield - Derby, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds.


• About 60% of graduates get jobs within 6 months of finishing their course.
• About 65% of the graduates that go straight into work get a "graduate job", however, about 80% are in graduate work within 3 years.
• About 8% of graduates are unemployed 6 months after their course, but in the long term, this is expected to recover as this may be caused by the recession.
• In 2008, the biggest destination for graduates was health care, social and welfare and education careers at 14.6%.
• The average starting salary for new graduates is about 20k. To begin with, you might be paid a similar amount to someone without a degree, but in the long term, you are likely to earn considerably more than a non graduate.
• According to surveys, our skills are more important than any other factor to employers, including your degree subject. Many graduates are in careers that aren't directly related to what they have studied.

For more information about graduates and jobs use Prospects

Higher Education Checklist

Try copying this table out onto some paper (or print it out) - use this checklist to remind you what you need to find out about a university course:

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