The Student Room Group

what should i study at uni

...

Scroll to see replies

Reply 1
The course you prefer, you think suits your interest and what you plan to do in the future.
Well if you're not going to give any hints or suggestions as to what you're interested in, good at, what you've previously studied or what you want to do long term...Sanskrit. Because why not?
Reply 3
sorry - had to put this here as tsr wouldn't let me post this anon.

so im really confused right now... i have been debating between two subjects for ageeees and just DON'T know what to choose. i am interested in chemistry and also in aerospace engineering (very different, ik!)
i have the grades for both as well.
in terms of career paths, im torn between two VERY different career paths. im very interested in medical research/pharma, which i couldnt do if i chose the eng degree. im also interested in sustainable battery design.
however im also very interested in designing motorcars and aircraft as well as renewable energy technologies - this would not be possible with a chemistry degree.
so careers-wise, it's really not helping to narrow it down. the only common field for both is renewable energy/sustainability.
i dont know what id enjoy more, like no idea.
with the chem degree, id need a PhD to work in medical research, which i don't mind. ive also thought about if i dont want to work in the specific industries of these degrees, id fall back on finance or programming/software eng (maybe take a masters in one of these)
ik that eng has higher salaries etc. plus no need for PhD, but thatd be meaningless if i realised my true interest was in chem. on the other side, i would really regret it if it turned out chem was not right for me, in which case i would not pursue a PhD and instead be stuck in an unrelated degree, wishing id done engineering instead
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
Well if you're not going to give any hints or suggestions as to what you're interested in, good at, what you've previously studied or what you want to do long term...Sanskrit. Because why not?


so sorry, tsr was being weird, couldnt put full info in the first post. should all be there below
Reply 5
The course you prefer, you think suits your interest and what you plan to do in the future.


thank you for replying :smile: there's a more detailed post down below.
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous

instead be stuck in an unrelated degree, wishing id done engineering instead


**unrelated JOB
Original post by Anonymous
sorry - had to put this here as tsr wouldn't let me post this anon.

so im really confused right now... i have been debating between two subjects for ageeees and just DON'T know what to choose. i am interested in chemistry and also in aerospace engineering (very different, ik!)
i have the grades for both as well.
in terms of career paths, im torn between two VERY different career paths. im very interested in medical research/pharma, which i couldnt do if i chose the eng degree. im also interested in sustainable battery design.
however im also very interested in designing motorcars and aircraft as well as renewable energy technologies - this would not be possible with a chemistry degree.
so careers-wise, it's really not helping to narrow it down. the only common field for both is renewable energy/sustainability.
i dont know what id enjoy more, like no idea.
with the chem degree, id need a PhD to work in medical research, which i don't mind. ive also thought about if i dont want to work in the specific industries of these degrees, id fall back on finance or programming/software eng (maybe take a masters in one of these)
ik that eng has higher salaries etc. plus no need for PhD, but thatd be meaningless if i realised my true interest was in chem. on the other side, i would really regret it if it turned out chem was not right for me, in which case i would not pursue a PhD and instead be stuck in an unrelated degree, wishing id done engineering instead

Well, although very different from chemistry, you certainly can work in pharmaceutical research and biotechnology, as well as aerospace and automotive engineering, with a chemical engineering degree. Granted you won't be able to work in all areas of those but at the end of the day no single engineer designs and entire aerospace or automotive system.
Reply 8
Original post by artful_lounger
Well, although very different from chemistry, you certainly can work in pharmaceutical research and biotechnology, as well as aerospace and automotive engineering, with a chemical engineering degree. Granted you won't be able to work in all areas of those but at the end of the day no single engineer designs and entire aerospace or automotive system.

i did look at chem eng, however it looks like with chem eng roles in the pharma industry, it's less about actual medical research and designing pharmaceuticals, and more about making processes efficient, as well as being able to produce on a large scale and cheaply, the drugs the chemists have come up with.
idk, im more into the chemistry side of pharma than the eng side...
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger
Well, although very different from chemistry, you certainly can work in pharmaceutical research and biotechnology, as well as aerospace and automotive engineering, with a chemical engineering degree. Granted you won't be able to work in all areas of those but at the end of the day no single engineer designs and entire aerospace or automotive system.


very true, many people from lots of disciplines would be on the same project. but the capacities in which they would be there would be different. i suppose i (think) that id like to be involved in the design of the motorcar?
i also am thinking about electrical eng in this context, but not 100% sure. but either way, the same problem remains :frown: im cut off from chem if i go to eng, and vice-versa
Original post by Anonymous
i did look at chem eng, however it looks like with chem eng roles in the pharma industry, it's less about actual medical research and designing pharmaceuticals, and more about making processes efficient, as well as being able to produce on a large scale and cheaply, the drugs the chemists have come up with.
idk, im more into the chemistry side of pharma than the eng side...

Well yes that's what engineers of all kinds do - make processes more efficient, design scaling productions, and make use this to make the fancy science technologies commercially viable.
Original post by Anonymous
very true, many people from lots of disciplines would be on the same project. but the capacities in which they would be there would be different. i suppose i (think) that id like to be involved in the design of the motorcar?
i also am thinking about electrical eng in this context, but not 100% sure. but either way, the same problem remains :frown: im cut off from chem if i go to eng, and vice-versa

Designing the thermofluid systems of a car is still part of the design. Or for that matter doing CFD stuff on the aerodynamics of things. Engineers aren't generally involved in the aesthetic design of things as that's managed by (product) designers, although the engineering design feeds into that (and to some extent probably vice versa).

Is it actually the engineering you're interested in or the visual design aspect? Because that's really a totally different area. Engineering design is not the same thing as visual design. It uses the iterative design process used by visual designers, but to develop the engineering systems - which is ultimately designing the processes and systems, not the looks. It's an office job with a fair bit of maths for the most part. The CAD stuff you do is not to make it look "pretty" normally but to make it work efficiently.

From what you've said in both these posts I'm not too sure engineering is what you think it is. Which might make me think you may want to focus on chemistry as you seem to have a better idea of what's involved, including the realistic practicalities and limits (e.g. likely needing a PhD to work in drug discovery at a big pharma company or something).
Reply 11
Original post by artful_lounger
Well yes that's what engineers of all kinds do - make processes more efficient, design scaling productions, and make use this to make the fancy science technologies commercially viable.

Designing the thermofluid systems of a car is still part of the design. Or for that matter doing CFD stuff on the aerodynamics of things. Engineers aren't generally involved in the aesthetic design of things as that's managed by (product) designers, although the engineering design feeds into that (and to some extent probably vice versa).

Is it actually the engineering you're interested in or the visual design aspect? Because that's really a totally different area. Engineering design is not the same thing as visual design. It uses the iterative design process used by visual designers, but to develop the engineering systems - which is ultimately designing the processes and systems, not the looks. It's an office job with a fair bit of maths for the most part. The CAD stuff you do is not to make it look "pretty" normally but to make it work efficiently.

From what you've said in both these posts I'm not too sure engineering is what you think it is. Which might make me think you may want to focus on chemistry as you seem to have a better idea of what's involved, including the realistic practicalities and limits (e.g. likely needing a PhD to work in drug discovery at a big pharma company or something).


so with eng, i do understand it's alot of maths and physics - even chem eng contains veryyyyy less chemistry. i also understand that it's mainly an office job, which i'd actually prefer rather than building things etc. in terms of cars/tech specifically, id be interested in designing cars or other technologies to be more sustainable, e.g. design them such that they run on solar energy or hybrids etc. (this was why i was looking at electrical eng too)
as for the visual side of things, that does sound interesting, but i think potentially the other side of things would be more fulfilling and impactful, esp since im more into the scientific side of things than the artistic/creative side.
as for chem, im not 100% certain i want to use it to go into pharma - im also interested in solar power/sustainable chemistry etc.
Reply 12
Original post by Anonymous
so with eng, i do understand it's alot of maths and physics - even chem eng contains veryyyyy less chemistry. i also understand that it's mainly an office job, which i'd actually prefer rather than building things etc. in terms of cars/tech specifically, id be interested in designing cars or other technologies to be more sustainable, e.g. design them such that they run on solar energy or hybrids etc. (this was why i was looking at electrical eng too)
as for the visual side of things, that does sound interesting, but i think potentially the other side of things would be more fulfilling and impactful, esp since im more into the scientific side of things than the artistic/creative side.
as for chem, im not 100% certain i want to use it to go into pharma - im also interested in solar power/sustainable chemistry etc.


also, you're very correct. in school, we never experience eng - it's basically an unknown quantity. you can say it involves maths & physics, but that's only part of what eng. with chem, we at least have a vague idea of what it's about (e.g. organic, thermodynamics, spectroscopy, which is physical/inorganic)
but i don't wan to just go for chem bc it's 'safe' and i know what im getting myself into - if i choose based on this, id be passing up a great degree that would leave me very employable, as well as committing myself to a PhD without really being sure it's what i want, and also giving up the chance to work in a field that may have been way more right for me all along.
equally, i dont want to go for eng bc it's so highly employable and for the money, when in fact it could turn out my true and unrealised interest was in chemistry all along.

all of these career ideas i have are very vague and uninformed as to what they'd actually entail.
Original post by Anonymous
also, you're very correct. in school, we never experience eng - it's basically an unknown quantity. you can say it involves maths & physics, but that's only part of what eng. with chem, we at least have a vague idea of what it's about (e.g. organic, thermodynamics, spectroscopy, which is physical/inorganic)
but i don't wan to just go for chem bc it's 'safe' and i know what im getting myself into - if i choose based on this, id be passing up a great degree that would leave me very employable, as well as committing myself to a PhD without really being sure it's what i want, and also giving up the chance to work in a field that may have been way more right for me all along.
equally, i dont want to go for eng bc it's so highly employable and for the money, when in fact it could turn out my true and unrealised interest was in chemistry all along.

all of these career ideas i have are very vague and uninformed as to what they'd actually entail.

Ultimately engineering isn't actually "more employable" than chemistry, or indeed any other degree. In fact research has shown STEM and non-STEM graduates have equivalent long term career outcomes, and in fact many "highly skilled STEM" roles are in fact filled by people who originally did a non-STEM degree. You can read more here: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421

If you have a very clear idea of what you want to do with the degree and why that's a good sign. If you're just mainly focusing on it because of perceived "employability" that probably is a red flag since as above, it's really a wash in the long run. And you probably don't have enough genuine engagement with the material to get you through the course (and I'm saying this as someone who went into, then left, an engineering degree for much the same reasons!).
Reply 14
Original post by artful_lounger
Ultimately engineering isn't actually "more employable" than chemistry, or indeed any other degree. In fact research has shown STEM and non-STEM graduates have equivalent long term career outcomes, and in fact many "highly skilled STEM" roles are in fact filled by people who originally did a non-STEM degree. You can read more here: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421

If you have a very clear idea of what you want to do with the degree and why that's a good sign. If you're just mainly focusing on it because of perceived "employability" that probably is a red flag since as above, it's really a wash in the long run. And you probably don't have enough genuine engagement with the material to get you through the course (and I'm saying this as someone who went into, then left, an engineering degree for much the same reasons!).

see that's the problem... i have no idea what i want. e.g. for eng, it'll be a really tough degree, and ill probs struggle to keep up unless im sure ab my career path. similarly with chem, it's a tough degree, plus the commitment to do a PhD - again, unless im sure it's what i want to do, ill struggle to get through the degree and PhD - many people realise later on they have no passion for the subject and regret going to PhD.

ig there's room for regret on either side - the one advantage to the eng degree is that it's one of the most employable degrees out there for all sectors, including non-STEM,
Reply 15
Original post by artful_lounger
Ultimately engineering isn't actually "more employable" than chemistry, or indeed any other degree. In fact research has shown STEM and non-STEM graduates have equivalent long term career outcomes, and in fact many "highly skilled STEM" roles are in fact filled by people who originally did a non-STEM degree. You can read more here: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421

If you have a very clear idea of what you want to do with the degree and why that's a good sign. If you're just mainly focusing on it because of perceived "employability" that probably is a red flag since as above, it's really a wash in the long run. And you probably don't have enough genuine engagement with the material to get you through the course (and I'm saying this as someone who went into, then left, an engineering degree for much the same reasons!).

i understand what you're saying. it's just that you get a wider range of transferrable skills from an eng degree, e.g. learning to code, plus it's actually a vocational degree - it actually trains you for a specific job without needing further study (unless you choose it)

if i find i'm not passionate about chem and don't want to do a PhD, it's just pretty ****. or i may just choose to do an eng PhD (which you can do with a non-eng undergrad), and end up working as an engineer in the end anyway, in which case i may as well have done the eng degree to start with, i.e waste of time and money.

if i do the eng degree and realise i shouldve done chem, id probs do an open uni chem course and try to get into a chem PhD with that, but that'd be a colossal waste of time and money.
Original post by Anonymous
see that's the problem... i have no idea what i want. e.g. for eng, it'll be a really tough degree, and ill probs struggle to keep up unless im sure ab my career path. similarly with chem, it's a tough degree, plus the commitment to do a PhD - again, unless im sure it's what i want to do, ill struggle to get through the degree and PhD - many people realise later on they have no passion for the subject and regret going to PhD.

ig there's room for regret on either side - the one advantage to the eng degree is that it's one of the most employable degrees out there for all sectors, including non-STEM,

As I pointed out, it's not "more employable" than any other degree - the degree subject actually does not affect long term employability per the research linked above. You need to let go of that belief before making any further decisions because it will lead you to making decisions based on incorrect information.

Your employment prospects are not better with an engineering degree than with a chemistry degree. In fact they're not better in the long run with an engineering degree than e.g. an anthropology degree. Within 10 years of graduating both STEM and non-STEM graduates had equivalent employment outcomes.

The only difference is the potential sectors you may end up working in - but the process of obtaining a graduate job and salaries etc are generally on par in the long run as noted. Also interestingly the research noted a large proportion of highly skilled STEM roles were filled by non-STEM graduates (and non-graduates) anyway.

If you completely remove the "employability" angle and just focus on the actual type of job you'd be doing and the day to day work you'd be doing in those roles, which do you prefer? That's what you need to focus on - as the odds of getting the graduate job will converge regardless of what degree you do, so the only difference is the nature of the work itself.
Reply 17
Original post by artful_lounger
As I pointed out, it's not "more employable" than any other degree - the degree subject actually does not affect long term employability per the research linked above. You need to let go of that belief before making any further decisions because it will lead you to making decisions based on incorrect information.

Your employment prospects are not better with an engineering degree than with a chemistry degree. In fact they're not better in the long run with an engineering degree than e.g. an anthropology degree. Within 10 years of graduating both STEM and non-STEM graduates had equivalent employment outcomes.

The only difference is the potential sectors you may end up working in - but the process of obtaining a graduate job and salaries etc are generally on par in the long run as noted. Also interestingly the research noted a large proportion of highly skilled STEM roles were filled by non-STEM graduates (and non-graduates) anyway.

If you completely remove the "employability" angle and just focus on the actual type of job you'd be doing and the day to day work you'd be doing in those roles, which do you prefer? That's what you need to focus on - as the odds of getting the graduate job will converge regardless of what degree you do, so the only difference is the nature of the work itself.

but what about what the fact that eng gives a much wider range of transferrable skills, e.g coding, design, modelling? won't get these from a chem degree...

you're very right, im far too influenced by external factors and fears and expectations for myself. however as hard as ive tried, i cant separate these from the considerations that are much more important. my vision is way too clouded and tbh has been for the full past year, and i see that as unlikely to change. im only able to think clearly in retrospect, like when the decision/mistake is already made...

as to what i can see myself doing, i only have vague, broad ideas that are uninformed, and ill possibly never find out if they're right for me unless i experience them.

e.g. im interested in renewable energy - but that's so broad! or im interested in medical research - again, so broad!
there's a million different areas and roles within these sectors, and the only thing i can tell you (as of now) is that i want to be involved in these sectors in some scientific capacity (i.e id rather actually be utilising and applying the knowledge from my degree rather than being a manager/HR/communications etc.)
Something that interests you and opens up doors for the future
Reply 19
Original post by artful_lounger
As I pointed out, it's not "more employable" than any other degree - the degree subject actually does not affect long term employability per the research linked above. You need to let go of that belief before making any further decisions because it will lead you to making decisions based on incorrect information.

Your employment prospects are not better with an engineering degree than with a chemistry degree. In fact they're not better in the long run with an engineering degree than e.g. an anthropology degree. Within 10 years of graduating both STEM and non-STEM graduates had equivalent employment outcomes.

The only difference is the potential sectors you may end up working in - but the process of obtaining a graduate job and salaries etc are generally on par in the long run as noted. Also interestingly the research noted a large proportion of highly skilled STEM roles were filled by non-STEM graduates (and non-graduates) anyway.

If you completely remove the "employability" angle and just focus on the actual type of job you'd be doing and the day to day work you'd be doing in those roles, which do you prefer? That's what you need to focus on - as the odds of getting the graduate job will converge regardless of what degree you do, so the only difference is the nature of the work itself.


Original post by ebyrne2036
Something that interests you and opens up doors for the future


thank you for your reply. i actually added a more detailed post under the main thread explaining my dilemma - stuck between chem and engineering... unfortunately, i have too many very different career ideas in mind to base it on that, and idk what interests me more (esp with eng due to never having experienced it)

Quick Reply