What to study at uni: a guide

In your last few years of high school? Then you’re about to reach a new stage of your educational journey – university. But what to study at uni? Which degree is the right one for you? The decision might feel daunting. But here’s the good news: you’re not alone. We’re here to help, with some hints and tips to help you find your way to your perfect course.

Step one: reflect on your interests and strengths

When deciding what to study at uni, the first step is thinking about your interests. Think of these as landmarks on a map – they’ll help you navigate through your options. Reflect on:

  • What genuinely excites you
  • what inspires you
  • what makes you lose track of time
  • what topics you naturally dive into.

Whether it’s unravelling the mysteries of the universe through science or crafting compelling stories as an aspiring writer, your interests hold the key to a rewarding career path.

And what are your strengths? Think about what skills come naturally to you. Whether it’s:

  • Problem-solving
  • creativity
  • analytical thinking
  • communication.

Identifying these strengths can help you narrow down which fields of study might be right for you. For example, if you find yourself drawn to resolving complex issues or are naturally adept at breaking down problems, you could consider engineering, mathematics or computer science.

Step two: map your career goals

Okay, so you’ve got your map, now it’s time to find a compass (yes, we’re sticking with this metaphor). Your career goals act as that compass for what to study at uni – they can point you in the direction, toward the right degree. Knowing the destination (career) you’re aiming for makes finding the perfect degree much easier.

Certain jobs need specific degrees, like doctors, engineers or lawyers. On the other hand, some careers are more flexible, so you can get in with a range of qualifications. Think industries like business. Here, having skills like problem-solving, communication and innovation is more important than a particular degree. For instance, a degree in business could see you working in anything from a multinational corporation to a not-for-profit. The skills you’ll develop in the course are adaptable to a wide range of jobs.

It’s also worth thinking about market trends, to find out what professions are in demand – and likely to be in demand in the future. At the moment, high-growth industries include areas like artificial intelligence, renewable energy and digital marketing.

Two male engineers in high vis vests use a tape measure to measure a pothole on the road

Exploring your options: a few examples

Let’s take a look at how you can use your passions and career goals to find out what to study at uni.

Do you have a flair for creativity, a passion for expression, or a fascination with history and culture? The humanities and arts might be perfect for you. You could study topics like literature, fine arts, history, philosophy and languages. Then build a career in writing, journalism, art curation or teaching.

Is exploring new frontiers in the natural world your calling? The sciences could be for you. From biology, chemistry, and physics to astronomy and environmental science, this area opens doors to careers in research, healthcare, academia and beyond.

Have a knack for strategy, management and numbers? The business world is waiting for you. Business majors encompass finance, marketing, management, entrepreneurship and more. This field offers diverse opportunities, including corporate roles, startups, consulting and e-commerce.

If problem-solving and innovation is more your thing? Consider engineering and technology. From electrical and civil engineering to computer science and robotics, you’ll shape the future by designing, building and fine-tuning the tools that power the world.

And that only scratches the surface of the careers at your fingertips! But hopefully you can see how different fields play to different interests and strengths.

Step three: seek guidance about what to study at uni

Remember, you don’t have to go on this voyage alone. Finding the right degree can be tricky, so seek different people’s perspectives.

Friends and family

Your community can provide a helpful sounding board. And they can give you useful advice (yes, even your parents). Try getting their thoughts. While their opinions shouldn’t dictate your decision, their input can help you gain clarity. Similarly, your teachers and school’s careers adviser can provide insights into your academic performance and strengths.

Industry professionals

If you’re drawn to a specific field, try reaching out to professionals who are already working in that domain. They can provide insights about the industry, as well as give you a realistic understanding of what to expect, and what sort of degree to choose. And if you’re really keen, seek out internships or opportunities to shadow professionals in your areas of interest. You’ll get a glimpse of the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of that career.

Uni tours

Attend university open days and campus tours. These firsthand experiences can give you a feel for the environment, facilities and overall vibe of the uni. You can also talk to academics and current students about the degrees you’re considering.

Ready to find your route?

Your decision about what to study at uni is a huge one. Take your time, gather info and reflect on what you’ve learnt. Trust your inner compass (and that’s the last of the travel metaphor, we promise).

And feel free to chat to our friendly team. We’re more than happy to lend a hand as you plot your course (okay, we lied).