1894
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I have always been completely unsure what subjects to study, even when picking my GCSE's and I am now in year 12 studying English lit, history, physics and maths. I really love all of my subjects and am predicted an A* in them all. I have always particularly excelled at English but am also doing particularly well in physics. I have no idea what career i want but I just really love learning. Could anyone give any advice on how to choose a university course? I am leaning towards physics or english lit (or either of them with something else) but I have no notable preference between those two. I love studying all my subjects and it's getting fairly close to when I need to decide, thanks!!
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Clintt15
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(Original post by 1894)
I have always been completely unsure what subjects to study, even when picking my GCSE's and I am now in year 12 studying English lit, history, physics and maths. I really love all of my subjects and am predicted an A* in them all. I have always particularly excelled at English but am also doing particularly well in physics. I have no idea what career i want but I just really love learning. Could anyone give any advice on how to choose a university course? I am leaning towards physics or english lit (or either of them with something else) but I have no notable preference between those two. I love studying all my subjects and it's getting fairly close to when I need to decide, thanks!!
I'd personally look past just the course itself and to future job prospects and what you will feel most fulfilled in for the next 40-50 years
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Uni of Southampton Students
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Hi 1894
Choosing a university course is such a tricky decision! Similarly, I studied English Language, History and Media Studies A-Levels but really couldn't decide which one to study. Personally, I made lots of pros and cons lists, spoke to lecturers and uni students and did lots of research online with websites like Unifrog and the UCAS course finder.

I was in a similar position as I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career so honestly just chose the subject I loved most. Conveniently, my history degree has somewhat combined the three. I have been able to use English language style analysis whilst discussing primary sources and have been able to study historical media (e.g. propaganda).

Of course, stem and humanities don't necessarily blend as easily. I would look to see if any universities allow you to do a joint honours degree (or major and minor) in the two subjects or have specialties that combine the two? For example, studying science fiction.

As a last resort, I would try and consider possible career paths after uni and see which degree would help you out the most, although don't stress about this too much as lots of people's plans change. Alternatively, you could consider taking a gap year to give it some more thought?

Good luck with whatever you choose and I'm happy to try and answer any other questions you have!

Daisy (a third-year History official rep)
www.southampton.ac.uk
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Keele Postgraduate
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(Original post by 1894)
I have always been completely unsure what subjects to study, even when picking my GCSE's and I am now in year 12 studying English lit, history, physics and maths. I really love all of my subjects and am predicted an A* in them all. I have always particularly excelled at English but am also doing particularly well in physics. I have no idea what career i want but I just really love learning. Could anyone give any advice on how to choose a university course? I am leaning towards physics or english lit (or either of them with something else) but I have no notable preference between those two. I love studying all my subjects and it's getting fairly close to when I need to decide, thanks!!
Hi 1894,

I was in a similar situation when I had to choose my degree programme: I did German, English Literature, and Psychology for A-levels and enjoyed all three, although I eventually chose English Literature (and am now doing my PhD in the same subject!).

My main piece of advice would be to go to university open days and consider both options that interest you. Talk to students and staff on both Physics and English courses to see what studying those subjects is like at university and what sorts of careers graduates from those courses go on to undertake. Many universities want you to sign up to an open day under one subject but they're usually pretty flexible about you seeing/talking to more than one if you're undecided: just contact the admissions team to tailor your visit.

If you don't have time to go to open days, see if there's any way to chat to students and staff on those courses. Lots of universities, including Keele (https://www.keele.ac.uk/study/chat/), use Unibuddy (or similar) as a way of allowing applicants to speak with current students and staff members and find out more about their courses and about university life.

Many universities also offer joint honours degrees. Whilst English and Physics might be a bit of a stretch, English and History is a fairly common joing honours programme and there may be course options that would allow you to study English alongside a more science-based subject, such as Psychology, or to take some modules from another degree programme in your first year. At Keele, for example, we offer English Literature in conjunction with Education, Creative Writing, Film Studies, History, Philosophy, and Psychology (https://www.keele.ac.uk/study/underg...ishliterature/).

Whilst I agree with what Clintt15 has said, I do feel that a passion for the subject you study is as important as considering future job prospects. No one wants to end up on a three-year degree course that they don't find interesting in the hope that they'll get a 'good' job at the end of it. The job market also changes fairly rapidly and, whilst some career pathways are always in demand, others vary. For example, at present there's a huge push towards STEM subjects in the UK but, as fewer students take Arts & Humanities options, this could lead to a shortage of qualified workers in Creative Arts fields a few years down the line and an over-supply of applicants in certain STEM areas.

Job prospects (or 'graduate outcomes', as universities like to call them!) are, of course, important considerations when considering a university degree programme, especially if you want to go into a career that requires a specific qualification. Most universities publish information about the graduate outcomes for their degree programmes (usually quite loudly if they're good!) so it's worth looking into that when considering universities and courses. At Keele, for example, 96% of Keele graduates were in a job or further study within six months of graduating (HESA, 2017) and our course information pages usually contain more information about the kinds of careers that graduates from those courses pursue, and what sorts of roles the course can prepare you for. Careers teams are often part of university open days and are also happy to talk about graduate routes and outcomes, as well as the employability support that they can offer to students of that university.

If you absolutely can't decide between subjects, another option might be a Foundation Year. We run quite a few of these at Keele (https://www.keele.ac.uk/study/foundationyears/) and, although they do mean an additional year of study, they can be a good option for students who are undecided between multiple routes of study. On a Foundation Year, you'd get an opportunity to get a feel for a particular course of study before committing to a subject-specific three-year degree programme.

As a final piece of advice, don't forget that you're not beholden to whatever choice you make now. I did my English degree and then went into a number of very varied careers (journalism, administration, estate agency) for over a decade before returning to do my MA and PhD with a view to changing careers into either academia or the heritage sector. There will also be ways for you to pursue your interests outside of your chosen degree programme whilst at university: there's usually nothing stopping an English student being part of the Physics Society or a Physics student attending the English and Creative Writing Club, for example!

Apologies for the lengthy answer but I hope that helps and good luck with your studies!!

Amy Louise
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