Which degree has the best international prospects?

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Esimm03
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Hey,
I'm currently looking at possible university courses for when I finish the sixth form, and I'm torn between a BSc geography or a BA economics degree. I know that I want to live and work abroad, possibly the USA or Australia, and I was wondering which of these degrees would give me the best chance to land a job abroad?
I know that it is highly dependent on me as a person and whether I possess the required skills for said job, but i guess what I'm asking is which degree would be more desirable, and make an employer more likely to hire me as a foreign national?

My guess would be economics?

Many thanks!
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LuigiMario
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Yes, maybe - but look at it another way

The whole idea of university is that it follows on from high school and is before you start working.
At high school you are taught.
At “work” you probably will have to solve problems, unexpected ones, and be efficient.

My postulation is that undergraduate studies at uni are supposed to teach you how to teach yourself, profs/tutorials/library/internet/expensive-books = thinking.

As an example, in my work, where I’ve basically changed job every five years, whilst nominally staying in the same post, as “things” happen in corporate life. Self-teaching is a very important skill, after uni.

So I’d suggest, BSc geo, if you’d like it - it’s a STEM, and I can guarantee you a job with any STEM, whilst economics isn’t - quite - stemmy- enough.

Australia is very nice, I flew across it in a toy aircraft, spent a week in Darwin - beer stubbies seemed to hold a litre, and was nicely tropical. The week in Alice was amazing, it rained! Sydney was too sunny, but very welcoming.

With a geo degree a friend of mine has been working further south than Tasmania, Antarctica for https://www.bas.ac.uk/ , if she can get a job where it’s minus 10 on average, where to my knowledge they have no space for economists (maybe back at UK base they’ll have a few) then I’m sure you’d be able to choose a wide range of jobs, in a wide range of countries.
Last edited by LuigiMario; 3 weeks ago
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Esimm03
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(Original post by LuigiMario)
Yes, maybe - but look at it another way

The whole idea of university is that it follows on from high school and is before you start working.
At high school you are taught.
At “work” you probably will have to solve problems, unexpected ones, and be efficient.

My postulation is that undergraduate studies at uni are supposed to teach you how to teach yourself, profs/tutorials/library/internet/expensive-books = thinking.

As an example, in my work, where I’ve basically changed job every five years, whilst nominally staying in the same post, as “things” happen in corporate life. Self-teaching is a very important skill, after uni.

So I’d suggest, BSc geo, if you’d like it - it’s a STEM, and I can guarantee you a job with any STEM, whilst economics isn’t - quite - stemmy- enough.

Australia is very nice, I flew across it in a toy aircraft, spent a week in Darwin - beer stubbies seemed to hold a litre, and was nicely tropical. The week in Alice was amazing, it rained! Sydney was too sunny, but very welcoming.

With a geo degree a friend of mine has been working further south than Tasmania, Antarctica
for https://www.bas.ac.uk/ , if she can get a job where it’s minus 10 on average, where to my knowledge they have no space for economists (maybe back at UK base they’ll have a few) then I’m sure you’d be able to choose a wide range of jobs, in a wide range of countries.
Hi,
Thanks for the reply!
My only reservation is that I've heard geography degrees can get bad rep sometimes, being seen as a 'common sense' or 'coloring in' degree, and was worried this would harm job prospects.

Alternatively, my other option would be a BSc/BA Geography and/With economics combined honors degree, although, again, I have heard combined honors are seen as too broad by some employers.

wow! your trip sounds amazing lol! Australia does seem like an awesome place, my parents traveled around there quite a bit before I was born, and we are hoping to go soon... I was looking at studying there, at Monash in Melbourn, but I can't quite justify £25k per year for four years without access to loans .

Thanks again,
Ethan
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Quick-use
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I feel like for years now I've been seeing statistics for how geography graduates struggle to find work and earn some of the lowest. Not sure how relevant this is to you, but it's worth keeping in mind.

It's also not particularly easy to find a job overseas, unless you have technical skills in engineering etc. Do you know what kind of work you'd like to go into? What degree interests you and why?

No point doing Economics if you're not interested in the subject and the same for Geo.
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Esimm03
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(Original post by Quick-use)
I feel like for years now I've been seeing statistics for how geography graduates struggle to find work and earn some of the lowest. Not sure how relevant this is to you, but it's worth keeping in mind.

It's also not particularly easy to find a job overseas, unless you have technical skills in engineering etc. Do you know what kind of work you'd like to go into? What degree interests you and why?

No point doing Economics if you're not interested in the subject and the same for Geo.
Hi,
Yea, I have heard the same about geog graduates, that it is a good degree if you want to go into teaching, or maybe work in the civil service, or as a GIS officer, but it can be harder to get high paying jobs, as it is so broad...

As for my career, I'm not too sure, I'm thinking something in insurance might be for me, maybe claims? I did some work experience at a firm in London, and really enjoyed working with the claims department, but I'm still open to other paths. I am also considering going to flight school after graduating to get my ATPL and to become a commercial pilot.

I never used to be interested in economics, and it's only in the past year or so I have, My dad introduced it to me as he studied it as a part of his training, and I read through some of his old books, and it just seemed to make sense... I decided to do my epq in a related subject (the economic impacts of SARS), and I just enjoyed seeing how everything fit together, it just kind of made sense.

My other idea was to do something like international development with economics, with the aim of doing an economics master's degree.
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LuigiMario
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Agree that you should study exactly what you have a passion for, you’ll have to get out of a warm bed on a winters morning to go to an early lecture (post-COVID!) and unless you are really keen on your study, it can cause probs.

Geo can be nudged into a highly marketable degree, I have some colleagues at my research centre who did geo, then specialised into the social geography & environmental geography, energy systems. They tend to have done a Masters in a highly relevant subject, again following their passions.

Also, whilst at school you tend to think of the ‘classical’ subjects geo, econ etc - whilst universities do an amazing wodge of varied subjects that you know little about , until you start digging through the prospectuses, Environmental sciences rather than Geo.?, what jobs will there be in the future in UKUSAAUSNZCAN etc in Environmental sciences?
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LuigiMario
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Oh, and getting a pilot’s licence in the USA (cheap fuel whilst training) is how a lot of my friends did it. Seemed to be half-price compared to UK.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Esimm03)
Hi,
Yea, I have heard the same about geog graduates, that it is a good degree if you want to go into teaching, or maybe work in the civil service, or as a GIS officer, but it can be harder to get high paying jobs, as it is so broad...

As for my career, I'm not too sure, I'm thinking something in insurance might be for me, maybe claims? I did some work experience at a firm in London, and really enjoyed working with the claims department, but I'm still open to other paths. I am also considering going to flight school after graduating to get my ATPL and to become a commercial pilot.

I never used to be interested in economics, and it's only in the past year or so I have, My dad introduced it to me as he studied it as a part of his training, and I read through some of his old books, and it just seemed to make sense... I decided to do my epq in a related subject (the economic impacts of SARS), and I just enjoyed seeing how everything fit together, it just kind of made sense.

My other idea was to do something like international development with economics, with the aim of doing an economics master's degree.
I've always advocated doing what you're passionate about, but in all honesty, having graduated I've realised just how important transferrable/practical skills are. Learning coding, video editing, bookkeeping/finance, etc are all highly employable.

That said, neither Geo nor Econ are technical degrees but one is more in demand, I suppose... My sincerest advice would be to consider going to a Scottish university where you do 3 subjects (equally) in first and second year before committing to a degree. You could do Geo and Econ both (permitting no timetable clashes).

An alternative would be to also consider Sustainable Development or International Development etc. Economics isn't be all and end all; so many people go into finance-related jobs without an Econ background. I'm considering it myself and my undergrad was in languages!

Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it enough that it motivates you to study hard and get a good grade. Most importantly, however, it's imperative that you get work/internship/volunteering experience during university. And, please, learn some basic coding/web-developing, editing or anything.

Anonymous1502 This thread might also be a little relevant to you, friend.
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Esimm03
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Thanks for the reply,

yea, the University of Aberdeen is one of the ones I am considering, as I like the look of the MA Economics and Geography they offer, and if I do a year abroad it won't be any different to doing a degree in England with a year abroad (time lengthwise), I'm also considering the university of S.t Andrews, however with an ABB prediction at A level, I think it is unlikely I'll get an offer, so may not apply.



I achieved a grade 8 at GCSE computer science and used to be obsessed with programming and coding (built a computer in year 8, and made some games in python), so I like to think of myself as fairly computer literate! I was also originally going to take A level computing, and for the summer work I learned HTML and CSS, as well as some Java (to a VERY basic level), but I ended up dropping Comp Sci for English Literature as I was not enjoying it.



For volunteering/work experience, do you mean in the industry I plan to work in? or like a Saturday job?



The Scottish system seems to have some similarities with the American system (one which I really prefer to the UK's), with the three subjects in the first two years, do these need to be something I studied at A level (or related to)?, so, for example, I'm currently doing A levels in Geography, History, and English, so could I theoretically do Geography, Economics, and engineering(or something unrelated to my a-levels), or does this depend on the university?



Thanks,
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LuigiMario
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Quote:For volunteering/work experience, do you mean in the industry I plan to work in? or like a Saturday job?

A Saturday/Holiday Job is useful....
my friend doing a dual honour Language/Business course was simply told by his business prof that he would be failed on the course if he didn't get some real world job experience!

he signed up for an itinerant bar-staff, using some zero-hours app. (bent the truth slightly about 'already fully trained') It worked well, got in free to quite a few gigs (obviously worked during them) and then he did an internship in Osaka, in a Japanese firm supplying the "new silk road/one-belt-one-road", in a Japanese office environment, scary.


[Aberdeen, really nice campus - new arts building etc, it's rather North! As in, sometimes there isn't snow on the local beaches...
and often referred to as 'furryboots town']
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