If you’re looking to boost your chances of future career success by going into higher education, then you could do an awful lot worse than doing so in the UK. From world-famous universities such as Oxford and Cambridge/ to specialist universities and colleges like the University of Brighton or Anglia Ruskin, you are spoiled for choice in terms of options.
However, what subjects can you study in the UK? More importantly, what should you study? With over 50,000 available courses to choose from, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possibilities.
Furthermore, what future career do you intend to embark on with the aid of your degree? Are you looking to study and obtain a traditional qualification such as Law or Medicine? Or are you more geared towards subjects like AI or biotechnology – the industries of the future?
Rather than simply reeling off a list of 50,000 courses, this article will explore some of the more popular, traditional, and forward-looking areas of study you can pursue in the UK. The right course for you personally will depend on your attributes, abilities, interests, and ambitions.
Courses in management studies often cover several different areas of study. With the word ‘management’ itself being rather broad and all-encompassing, you can expect to touch upon property, tourism, land, hospitality, and business.
As management studies courses deal with a broad spectrum of study areas, achieving a degree in one will afford you a considerable career advantage in the majority of professional sectors. Management skills are transferable to pretty much any industry where you may have employees working below you.
Not only will you not be restricted or tied down to one specific sector, but you’ll have the human resource management and business organisation skills to get the most out of your workforce and professionally excel/ wherever you end up working in the future.
Courses in administration and business will teach you every aspect of how a business is run, including finances, marketing, and everything in between.
The combination options attached to the subject area of business are virtually endless, and the skills you’ll be equipped with will enable you to be a high-flyer in pretty much any industry you wish. Areas such as data science, economics, statistics, analytics, and information systems can all be covered.
So whether you want to go into the music industry and become the next Simon Cowell, launch your own company and become the next Branson, or if you’re a political sociopath who’d like to follow in the footsteps of Rishi Sunak, a business degree will have you covered!
Medicine & Biotechnology
Another subject that spans a broad range of bases, a medicine degree can cover everything from dentistry, to clinical medicine, to biotechnology.
However, unlike the previous two examples, courses in medicine are usually highly-specific and vocational. In other words, you should have a very good idea of which area of the medical profession you want to work in before enrolling in a course/ and be ready to enter that specific area of work after graduation.
The exceptions to this are graduates who opt to instead go into scientific sales, become science teachers, or find work as scientific (‘B2B’) writers.
Sports & Exercise Science
Due primarily to inspiring British sporting success stories in recent years, most notably the 2012 Olympic Games in London, interest and public funding for UK sport has been going through the proverbial roof. As a direct result of this, degree courses in the subject have become plentiful and diverse. Some of the many specialised topics covered include sports journalism, sports medicine, sports psychology, and therapy.
So whether you’re a sports fanatic or take a very clinical, scientific, and nuanced approach to the subject, there’s something for you. With a sports degree, you can become anything from the next Dr. Steve Peters/ to one day being Sebastian Coe’s replacement in the House of Lords!
Differing from the earlier section on medicine & biotechnology, preclinical medicine courses deal more with the prevention, curing, and early detection of diseases/ rather than the conventional treatment for established ailments in patients. The areas of physiology, nutrition, pharmacy, and anatomy can all be covered – either as specialisms in and of themselves/ or as separate modules within a course that gives a broader overview of the subject.
Traditionally, however, preclinical medicine courses usually focus on a specialised vocation. Upon graduation, you should, therefore, expect to be armed with the skills and expertise to walk straight into a career as a healthcare professional.
Amazingly enough, design studies deal with designing things. The course can cover a broad range of areas, including animation, video games, fashion, and household objects. Factors such as commerce and technology usually need to be incorporated, and the use of computers as design tools can also vastly improve a student’s I.T. skills.
As you can probably imagine (and with this being the 21st century), a design studies degree can open the door to a wide variety of future careers, as well as the option of being self-employed or working as a freelancer.
Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence
The study of computer science is the advanced version of I.T.
The subject can cover numerous bases. A student may wish to become an expert programmer – designing and creating complex computer systems and algorithms. Others may want to learn computer forensics, an increasingly-vital aspect of solving serious crimes. Then, of course, there’s artificial intelligence (AI) – an area that’s been advancing rapidly over the last thirty years/ and will continue to do so long into the future.
More traditional career paths that computer science graduates pursue include analytics, development, management, and consultancy.
Be warned that this is a subject that will favour those with a flair for science and mathematics/ rather than those who are more suited towards humanities.
Another section that’s pretty self-explanatory, the subject of law deals in legality. Students can choose to focus on many different law aspects, including criminal, family, property, and civil law. The obvious benefit to a law degree is the ability to practise law professionally. However, this area of study will also equip you with a proverbial arsenal of transferable skills. These include, but are not limited to:
- Analytical thinking
- The ability to understand, interpret and explain complex subjects
- Practical problem solving
- Attention to detail
- The ability to draft and understand legal and formal documents
Psychologists specialise in the complex study of the human mind. It’s their job to understand and explain why people feel and behave the way they do, then suggest solutions to thought processes that are unhealthy, damaging, or problematic. The career possibilities within this field are uncertain/ but endless.
You could end up being the next Sigmund Freud. You may remain an unsung hero who helps vulnerable people when they need it most throughout your working life. Or, you might end up appearing on This Morning alongside Alison Hammond!
Alternatively, psychology graduates can opt to apply their trade in other areas, such as education, academia, or research.
Despite a decade of funding cuts to the NHS, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic’s current nightmare, nursing remains the most popular subject that students choose to study in the UK. A nursing student can expect to learn the techniques and principles needed to assess, manage, treat, and monitor patients. Within the NHS, the four major nursing specialisms are mental health, adult, child, and learning disability.
Unsurprisingly, the job itself is challenging, tiring, stressful, and often heartbreaking. Nevertheless, nurses commonly report high job satisfaction rates – frequently working ungodly hours to look after people during their time of greatest need.
When it comes to nursing, never has the phrase, “not all heroes wear capes” been more apt!