Two students sitting and talking in the arts and social sciences building

What degree should I study?

Hundreds of courses, so many possibilities!
Choosing a degree is an exciting step toward your future career. With so many options available, it can feel overwhelming to make just one choice. Here are a few things to think about when choosing your degree.

For many, university is the natural next stage in your life. You might be fresh from high school or returning from a gap year. Whatever your reasons, choosing a degree could be one of the most exciting steps in your career. So, we’ve rounded up a few questions to ask yourself if you need help making your decision.

What am I interested in?

It really can be that simple. Chances are, you’re more likely to complete your degree if you are interested in the subject area, rather than if you choose a degree based purely on your ATAR results.

Think about what subjects you liked most in school. Did you love biology? Did you spend all your free time in the art room? Maybe you thrived at languages? Regardless, reflecting on what you’re drawn towards is a good starting point for considering your future degree.

You might also be interested in something you haven’t studied before. That’s okay too! It’s never too late to learn something new.

Why am I studying?

Start by thinking about why you’d like to go to university in the first place.

Do you want to help find a cure for cancer? Rethink the way we look at the world? Maybe you simply want to work in your dream industry?

Once you have a general idea, consider which degrees will help you do that.

Don’t worry if your motivation for studying changes over time. Considering your ‘why’ now is a great first step to finding the right degree.

What are my choices?

Head to the course search page to see what degrees are available. Browse through various courses and make note of the ones that spark your interest.

Tip: Most undergraduate degrees tend to fall under two categories – generalist and vocational.

Vocational degrees like nursing, teaching, engineering and architecture are grounded in practical skills. They are often the first step to becoming accredited in a profession.

Generalist degrees like arts and sciences offer you the opportunity to pursue your interests in a much broader way. They allow you to balance subjects that give you the intellectual fuel to view the world in a new way.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to pursue something that gives you both skills and enjoyment.

What's the campus like?

The campus location can have a big impact on your happiness and success at uni. Make sure to factor this in when you’re making your decision.

Ask yourself:

  • Is it easy to get to?
  • Will I need to live on campus?
  • Is the commute time bearable?
  • What’s campus life like?

A good way to see if the campus is right for you is by attending Open Day. This will give you a chance to test the commute, ask about student accommodation options and get a sense of what it’s like to study on campus.

What's the culture at university like?

Going to university is about more than just study; it's the clubs and societies, the facilities, your lecturers and the campus itself.

Make time to attend Info Day and online and in-person events. We have loads of events throughout the year, so be sure to explore your options.

A few other things to consider

Everyone’s day-to-day looks different. Thankfully, the University of Sydney offers degrees that equip you with both the theory and practical skills you need to make an impact in your first role after graduation – all while being tailored to fit your needs.

Have you thought about studying a double degree or a double major? Or, maybe pursue research options? At Sydney, there are opportunities for internships and professional work placements in your chosen industry as part of your course, and many exchange programs to consider.

We offer many courses that fit both remote and on-campus learning. Many vocational-style degrees are better suited to on-campus study, as practical learning is a big part of the course.

What if you’ve found your dream course, but don’t have the ATAR to get in?

These days, your ATAR is just one of many ways to get into university. You can enrol in a similar course for the first six months to a year, then transfer your learning credits into the course you wanted to pursue in the first place.

Remember, your future employer is very unlikely to ask about your ATAR. They just want to know you’ve got the skills and passion to make an impact.

Many students choose to transfer into an entirely new subject area after their first year, simply because their dream course didn’t actually turn out to be 'the dream’ after all. Keep an open mind and don’t rule out the possibility of change.

Last updated: 6 July 2023

10 December 2021

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