Beyond A Levels: The University Courses You’ve Never Heard Of

Choosing which subject to study at uni can feel hugely daunting, especially if you’re not keen on taking any of the subjects you’re currently studying further. But if this is you and you’re feeling a little disillusioned, don’t worry! There are lots of degree courses that will let you try something new while building on your current strengths, and will open up a wide range of exciting career opportunities when you finally come to graduate.
This week we’re looking at some of the brilliant courses you might never have heard of so that you can work out whether something a little differenmight be for you. 
When you’re ready to apply, check out our guides to writing a brilliant Personal Statement and filling in a top UCAS application.

1. Geology

Geology is the study of how the earth was formed and shaped over time, and can be directly applied to environmental research, oil and gas exploration, the water industries, geophysical mapping, and engineering. It’s a great way of putting an interest in science into practice in the real world. 
If you’re interested in studying Geology then you should probably be taking at least two of the following subjects as part of your Sixth Form curriculum: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Maths. Geography can be a helpful addition but is not usually an entry requirement.
2. Archaeology and Anthropology
An Archaeology and Anthropology degree involves the study of humankind from the origins of the human species to the present day.

Universities’ entry requirements for Archaeology and Anthropology usually do not specify subjects, but demonstrating a grounding in both Arts and Science subjects can be helpful due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the degree.

Careers that are directly related to the course content of an Archaeology and Anthropology degree include roles in Conservation and Exhibition Curation at museums and galleries, and working with historic buildings and landmarks as an inspector or Conservation Officer. More broadly, Archaeology and Anthropology graduates can be found in various professional roles using the diverse skills, research methods and exam practices that were required by their degree.

3. Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical Scientists study how cells, organs and systems function in the human body. This area of study is highly relevant to the understanding and treatment of human diseases, and can be a good option for students interested in medicine but not keen on a five year degree.

Biology and Chemistry are key requirements for anyone considering a Biomedical Sciences degree, whether you’re taking A-Levels, Scottish Highers or the IB (Higher Level).

Biomedical Science graduates are equipped with transferable skills including data gathering, data analysis and data interpretation, as well as presentation skills that can be used in a variety of professional contexts. Some graduates go on to work in related fields such as medicine, pharmaceutical sciences, cardiovascular pharmacology, and biomedical research.

4. Human Sciences

Human Sciences is a diverse discipline which enables students to study the biological, social and cultural aspects of human life. This can be a hugely varied degree, encompassing the study of genetics, statistical modelling, theories of how human societies are organised, and the impact of major events upon the health of human populations.

It might be worth considering Human Sciences if you’re a bit of an all-rounder who enjoys both Arts and Science subjects.

The specific entry requirements for Human Sciences courses vary between universities but most will require Biology or Maths A-Level.

Due to the varied nature of different Human Sciences degrees, graduates tend to be involved in a variety of careers equipped with the critical thinking skills that the degree offers.

5. Natural Sciences

While you’ve probably heard of all the bits that make up a Natural Sciences degree, you might not know that they can all be studied together. This is great, as it means you don’t necessarily need to choose between your favourite Science subjects, or pursue a Maths degree in order to encounter Maths at degree level.

Natural Sciences degrees focus on understanding the natural world using different scientific perspectives: chemical, physical, mathematical, environmental and geological.

The entry requirements for a Natural Sciences degree will usually be a minimum of either two science A-Levels/Scottish Highers/IB Higher Levels, or Maths and at least one science.

A Natural Sciences degree can offer a good starting point for a career in scientific research or teaching a science subject, but can lends itself well to careers in accountancy, data analysis, patent examination, science journalism and publishing.

6. Computer Science

Everyone is talking about Computer Science right now! Covering the theory of information and computation, Computer Science takes a scientific and practical approach to computation and its applications. It involves the use of algorithms and protocols to transform data in computers. 

Requirements for Computer Science courses vary depending on the university you’re applying to, so check the course breakdown. Whilst some may require A Level Maths, others may not. So make sure to check before applying!

There are a range of jobs to be had as a Computer Science graduate. The most common being in IT, database administration, multimedia programming and the tech industry.

7. American Studies

American Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that looks at the culture, literature, history and politics of the United States of America. If your strength lies in the Humanities but you can’t pick just one subject, then the diverse curriculum offered in American Studies may be for you. Most universities also offer a semester or year abroad option.

Although there are no necessary subject requirements, it is beneficial to study either English Literature, History, or both.

Post-graduation, jobs include: advertising, journalism, and public relations. 

8. Art History

Art History is the study of art and the historical and stylistic context that surrounds it. The type of art studied can include, but is not exclusive to: painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and more.

Again, although there is no subject requirement for Art History, it is expected that you currently take at least one essay writing subject, and have a good knowledge and interest in art.

Although there are no limits on the jobs you can apply for with a degree in Art History, job prospects often include gallery management, conservation, curation, or a career in the creative industries.

9. Law

Although you will have heard of a Law degree, it’s likely that you haven’t had the opportunity to study Law as a subject at school. A combination of subject areas, Law brings together finance, medical ethics, and international human rights.

In order to study Law at university, it is required that you have at least two, but normally three A Levels. The most popular courses do ask for A grades, and unfortunately, few universities accept subjects such as PE, art, photography, or dance, as a main subject. 

The obvious next step after a law degree is to become a solicitor or a barrister. However this is not the only career option with a law degree. You can also become a clerk, chartered legal executive, detective, conveyancer, or paralegal. There are also lots of options totally outside the legal profession, as it’s a highly respected degree that can open lots of doors.

10. International Relations

International Relations is a varied degree that allows you to consider the complex relationships between different countries and apply what you have learnt to the world of work. 

Although there isn’t an official subject requirement, like many of the degrees discussed previously it’s preferable to have at least one A Level in an essay-based subject. 

Common jobs following graduation include the civil service, the diplomatic service, government social research and more. 

And this isn’t all!

As well as the subjects detailed above, there are many more great courses you can study at university, that you might not have come across so far at school or college.

These include: Architecture, Liberal Arts, Theology, Business Management, Theatre & Film, Sports and Exercise Science and Educational Studies, to name just a handful. To see all that’s available, take a look at UCAS.

If you don’t want to study ANY subject at university, that’s okay too – have a look at the great alternatives for school leavers here.

Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.