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investigate your choices, get the facts about university
and discover the truth about student life

Choosing a Course

With over 50,000 different courses to choose from, deciding what to study at university can be a mind boggling process. Unfortunately no one can tell you what to study at university, after all unless you choose a course that you’re really passionate about you’re not going to enjoy your time at university at all.

Whilst this website can’t tell you what to study, we can offer you a little help, advice and guidance to help you choose the course that’s right for you.


Choosing a Subject

Universities offer a much wider range of subjects than you may be used to in school, so there’s definitely something for everybody, whatever your interests or passions.

Subjects at University can be broken down into two main areas, academic and vocational. Academic courses will include some subjects which you may already study in school, such as Geography, History, English and Maths, along with new subjects which you may not have even heard of yet such as Theology, Philosophy and Astrophysics.

Academic courses aren’t necessarily aimed at a particular career, and because of this make a great choice even if you’re not sure what career you want to pursue after university, some people have studied Geography and now work in marketing, some people have studied Biology and now work as project managers and some studied History before going on to become Prime Minister.

If you’re thinking of studying an academic subject, the best advice is to follow your passions and go for a subject that you'll enjoy studying, there’s no point picking a subject you don’t like because chances are you’ll be studying it for at least three years at university.

Unlike academic subjects, vocational courses are aimed at those with a particular career path in mind and courses include subjects such as Law, Medicine, Events Management, Accountancy and Nursing. Many vocational courses also include a placement year giving you the chance to gain real life working experience in your chosen industry (courses involving a placement year are generally refered to as sandwich courses).

If you know what career path you’d like to follow, vocational courses are a great way to get there, and a placement year can offer a real advantage in terms of increasing your employability.

Remember, when choosing what to study at university, pick a course that interests you, matches your talents and matches your future career goals. If you’re totally stuck for ideas, see our web links at the end of this article for some useful online tools to help you choose a subject.

Narrowing it Down

University courses tend to be more specialised than school subjects, allowing you to focus on the particular part of a subject that interests you the most, for example if you love computers, and ICT’s your favourite subject at school, when you get to university there’s a whole host of computing courses to choose from including ICT, Computer Science, Computer Systems Security, Internet Computing, Information Technology, Multimedia Computing, Web Systems Development and quite literally hundreds more specialist courses in just this subject area alone.

Once you’ve decided on a subject area, make sure you look at all of the different courses in that area to find the one that’s right for you – and don’t just look at the course titles, they can sometimes be misleading. Make sure you thoroughly read each course description (on or in the university prospectus) to find out exactly what the course involves, attend university open days and, where possible, speak to current students for an honest opinion.

Different Types of Qualifications

The most common type of qualification studied at university are degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) qualification, however there are numerous different types and level of qualifications, ranging from Higher Education Certificates to PHD’s.

> Click here to find out more about the different types of higher education qualifications.



Full-time or Part-time

Not all students at university study full-time, with many choosing to study part-time attending university for only one day a week. The plus side of studying part-time is that it gives you plenty of time to work alongside university earning money and gaining valuable experience whilst you study, however the downside is that it will take you twice as long to complete your qualification, with most standard three year degree courses taking six years to complete part-time.