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Need help deciding what to study at uni

Hello everyone,

This is my first time using The Student Room and I am looking for some general advice about what to study at uni.

I am currently doing A-levels in year 13 and I'm studying English Lit/Lang, History and Fine Art. I'm still not sure what I want to study at uni. I'm very interested in things such graphic design and games art, however I'm debating about whether it would be a good option, as it has a lower pay compared to other career paths. My family are suggesting that I study psychology as there many career paths and a high pay in this field. I'm not sure if psychology would be a good option for me as I have not studied it before in A-levels, so I am worried that I won't enjoy it if I do study it at uni. I would really appreciate if anyone could tell me what psychology and graphic design/ game design courses are like in uni.
Thank you!
You should do some further reading around Psychology, examples:
1. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow.
2. The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova
3. The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
If you find these interesting, I'd also suggest reading the description of some modules of certain Psychology degrees & see if that appeals to you.

English Lit/ Lang + History seem to be a good pipeline into Law, if you think that's something you'd like.

But tbh, if you're VERY interested in things like graphic design & games art - why not follow your passion?
The avg. salary for graphic design is around 35k in UK I think, and, if you're skilled you can always go into Marketing in corporate if you want to earn a bit more.
Reply 2
Forget 'salaries', that is never going to help you pick a degree subject that you will enjoy for 3+ years of intense study - and btw, the majority of grads will end up working in a job area that has nothing to do with their degree subject.

Start by looking at all of the degree subjects on this list that interest you - https://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/
And look at the 100s of job roles / careers on this careers website - https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles
Hello everyone,

This is my first time using The Student Room and I am looking for some general advice about what to study at uni.

I am currently doing A-levels in year 13 and I'm studying English Lit/Lang, History and Fine Art. I'm still not sure what I want to study at uni. I'm very interested in things such graphic design and games art, however I'm debating about whether it would be a good option, as it has a lower pay compared to other career paths. My family are suggesting that I study psychology as there many career paths and a high pay in this field. I'm not sure if psychology would be a good option for me as I have not studied it before in A-levels, so I am worried that I won't enjoy it if I do study it at uni. I would really appreciate if anyone could tell me what psychology and graphic design/ game design courses are like in uni.
Thank you!


Psychology will require at least 1 science so ignore that

Use this link to see what you can do with your subjects
https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=b92ddc92a451f6eeJmltdHM9MTY5NDIxNzYwMCZpZ3VpZD0zNjQzYjFiYS0yNzM0LTZlMzItMWRhNy1hMWNlMjYxMzZmYTkmaW5zaWQ9NTE4OQ&ptn=3&hsh=3&fclid=3643b1ba-2734-6e32-1da7-a1ce26136fa9&psq=informed+choices&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaW5mb3JtZWRjaG9pY2VzLmFjLnVrLw&ntb=1
(edited 10 months ago)
Hi there, welcome to the Student Room :smile:

You should study whatever you want to study at university, not whatever your family wants you to study. It is your life and your life will be all the happier if you do what you want to do and not what other people want you to do. Money isn't everything in life. It sure would be nice to have loads of money at your disposal but doing something that you enjoy is worth a lot in its own, different but just as important way. And even if you like money a lot, there are always a couple of ways to make more within any profession. So don't do Psychology, unless it turns out that that's what you truly want to do.

And if you were to choose Psychology, your options would be somewhat limited since many courses want you to take at least one science A Level. And if you wish to do anything meaningful within the psychological professions, your degree would need to be BPS accredited. You shouldn't be too worried about not studying it before though, it's not even a requirement and I'm just starting my Psychology degree without having taken it at A Level! But again, I'd recommend for you to follow your passions and not what your parents want you to do.

P.S.: moved your thread to the main applications forum since it's a better fit to your thread, since it's not really asking specifically about psychology but what to study at uni :wink:

And if I didn't say so before, welcome aboard! :biggrin:
Reply 5
Reply 6
Original post by Scotland Yard
Hi there, welcome to the Student Room :smile:

You should study whatever you want to study at university, not whatever your family wants you to study. It is your life and your life will be all the happier if you do what you want to do and not what other people want you to do. Money isn't everything in life. It sure would be nice to have loads of money at your disposal but doing something that you enjoy is worth a lot in its own, different but just as important way. And even if you like money a lot, there are always a couple of ways to make more within any profession. So don't do Psychology, unless it turns out that that's what you truly want to do.

And if you were to choose Psychology, your options would be somewhat limited since many courses want you to take at least one science A Level. And if you wish to do anything meaningful within the psychological professions, your degree would need to be BPS accredited. You shouldn't be too worried about not studying it before though, it's not even a requirement and I'm just starting my Psychology degree without having taken it at A Level! But again, I'd recommend for you to follow your passions and not what your parents want you to do.

P.S.: moved your thread to the main applications forum since it's a better fit to your thread, since it's not really asking specifically about psychology but what to study at uni :wink:

And if I didn't say so before, welcome aboard! :biggrin:

Thanks a lot!!
Reply 7
Original post by confuzzledteen
You should do some further reading around Psychology, examples:
1. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow.
2. The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova
3. The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
If you find these interesting, I'd also suggest reading the description of some modules of certain Psychology degrees & see if that appeals to you.

English Lit/ Lang + History seem to be a good pipeline into Law, if you think that's something you'd like.

But tbh, if you're VERY interested in things like graphic design & games art - why not follow your passion?
The avg. salary for graphic design is around 35k in UK I think, and, if you're skilled you can always go into Marketing in corporate if you want to earn a bit more.


Thank you for your advice!
Reply 8
Original post by McGinger
Forget 'salaries', that is never going to help you pick a degree subject that you will enjoy for 3+ years of intense study - and btw, the majority of grads will end up working in a job area that has nothing to do with their degree subject.

Start by looking at all of the degree subjects on this list that interest you - https://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/
And look at the 100s of job roles / careers on this careers website - https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles


Thanks for your help!!
Hello everyone,

This is my first time using The Student Room and I am looking for some general advice about what to study at uni.

I am currently doing A-levels in year 13 and I'm studying English Lit/Lang, History and Fine Art. I'm still not sure what I want to study at uni. I'm very interested in things such graphic design and games art, however I'm debating about whether it would be a good option, as it has a lower pay compared to other career paths. My family are suggesting that I study psychology as there many career paths and a high pay in this field. I'm not sure if psychology would be a good option for me as I have not studied it before in A-levels, so I am worried that I won't enjoy it if I do study it at uni. I would really appreciate if anyone could tell me what psychology and graphic design/ game design courses are like in uni.
Thank you!

To become a professional psychologist you need to do an accredited undergraduate degree then a professional doctorate, which is extremely competitive to get onto and many applicants will have years of work experience, masters degrees, even PhDs before starting the professional doctorate. It's not a "quick money" path and is extremely competitive with multiple attrition points. Besides which, many psychology undergraduate degrees require or strongly prefer at least one STEM subject at A-level. Nothing about your A-level subjects suggests psychology is something you are interested in - you haven't done any science or maths subjects or indicated any enjoyment of these areas.

If you are considering a creative arts course, especially if you are unsure of whether you want to do one or which to do, I would strongly recommend applying to FAD courses near you. You can read more about FAD courses here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5017684

The benefit of a FAD course, other than allowing you to develop a much stronger portfolio (a very large proportion if not outright majority of applicants to creative arts degrees do a FAD course first), is that it allows you to experience both a) what it's like doing a creative subject "full time" (as you're just doing 1/3 of your time doing one - it's can be a different experience doing it 100% of the time!) and b) it allows you to explore areas of creative arts/design subjects that are often not well represented in/supported by A-level Fine Art (e.g. most design subjects proper). It's also an FE course rather than an HE course, so usually if you haven't had any gaps in your education up until now you won't have to pay anything for it and don't need to take out any SFE loans for it (and doing one does not affect your entitlement for SFE loans for a degree later).

Outside of that it's worth noting that researchers have found that STEM and non-STEM graduates have similar career outcomes long term, and so you shouldn't really focus on associating a particular subject with a particular income level - because the reality is that's not how it works. You can read more about that here: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421

I would recommend you consider a FAD course, which will give you some more time to figure out what you prefer and improve your odds for a creative course if that's what you want to do, and also explore subject areas more widely and focus on the academic aspects of the course that appeals to you - not what you think it will do for your earnings potential (since as above, that is basically a wash).
Hello everyone,

This is my first time using The Student Room and I am looking for some general advice about what to study at uni.

I am currently doing A-levels in year 13 and I'm studying English Lit/Lang, History and Fine Art. I'm still not sure what I want to study at uni. I'm very interested in things such graphic design and games art, however I'm debating about whether it would be a good option, as it has a lower pay compared to other career paths. My family are suggesting that I study psychology as there many career paths and a high pay in this field. I'm not sure if psychology would be a good option for me as I have not studied it before in A-levels, so I am worried that I won't enjoy it if I do study it at uni. I would really appreciate if anyone could tell me what psychology and graphic design/ game design courses are like in uni.
Thank you!

i definitly agree with doing som reading on psych and looking into modules. it's an interesting subject but ultimately if you're not passionate about it as well as being more suited to science/math based subjects i just wouldn't. i did my psych AS level and in all honesty i'm glad i never continued with it, i enjoyed learning about everything at the start but it began to feel like a chore to attend those lessons and over time i began to enjoy it less. Also after speaking to people in the field it solidified that it wasn't for me. It can get very competitive and despite what people say in some places you can struggle to find employment depending on what level of higher education you've had. It's a popular degree but it's still not a majorly specialised field.

I'm a strong supporter of doing what you're passionate about regardless of pay bracket because to me as long as i make enough to comfortably live, being in a field i genuinely love and have a passsion for is so rewarding. I was being payed over £10 an hour at a job i hated and it honestly wasn't worth the mental burden to me.
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 11
Original post by stxrm27
i definitly agree with doing som reading on psych and looking into modules. it's an interesting subject but ultimately if you're not passionate about it as well as being more suited to science/math based subjects i just wouldn't. i did my psych AS level and in all honesty i'm glad i never continued with it, i enjoyed learning about everything at the start but it began to feel like a chore to attend those lessons and over time i began to enjoy it less. Also after speaking to people in the field it solidified that it wasn't for me. It can get very competitive and despite what people say in some places you can struggle to find employment depending on what level of higher education you've had. It's a popular degree but it's still not a majorly specialised field.

I'm a strong supporter of doing what you're passionate about regardless of pay bracket because to me as long as i make enough to comfortably live, being in a field i genuinely love and have a passsion for is so rewarding. I was being payed over £10 an hour at a job i hated and it honestly wasn't worth the mental burden to me.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience
Reply 12
Original post by artful_lounger
To become a professional psychologist you need to do an accredited undergraduate degree then a professional doctorate, which is extremely competitive to get onto and many applicants will have years of work experience, masters degrees, even PhDs before starting the professional doctorate. It's not a "quick money" path and is extremely competitive with multiple attrition points. Besides which, many psychology undergraduate degrees require or strongly prefer at least one STEM subject at A-level. Nothing about your A-level subjects suggests psychology is something you are interested in - you haven't done any science or maths subjects or indicated any enjoyment of these areas.

If you are considering a creative arts course, especially if you are unsure of whether you want to do one or which to do, I would strongly recommend applying to FAD courses near you. You can read more about FAD courses here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5017684

The benefit of a FAD course, other than allowing you to develop a much stronger portfolio (a very large proportion if not outright majority of applicants to creative arts degrees do a FAD course first), is that it allows you to experience both a) what it's like doing a creative subject "full time" (as you're just doing 1/3 of your time doing one - it's can be a different experience doing it 100% of the time!) and b) it allows you to explore areas of creative arts/design subjects that are often not well represented in/supported by A-level Fine Art (e.g. most design subjects proper). It's also an FE course rather than an HE course, so usually if you haven't had any gaps in your education up until now you won't have to pay anything for it and don't need to take out any SFE loans for it (and doing one does not affect your entitlement for SFE loans for a degree later).

Outside of that it's worth noting that researchers have found that STEM and non-STEM graduates have similar career outcomes long term, and so you shouldn't really focus on associating a particular subject with a particular income level - because the reality is that's not how it works. You can read more about that here: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421

I would recommend you consider a FAD course, which will give you some more time to figure out what you prefer and improve your odds for a creative course if that's what you want to do, and also explore subject areas more widely and focus on the academic aspects of the course that appeals to you - not what you think it will do for your earnings potential (since as above, that is basically a wash).


Thank you so much for your advice!

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