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Graduate jobs and future careers can significantly influence your choice of course.

With universities now able to charge £9,250 per year in tuition fees, more students want to do a subject which will assure them of a job, and often a well-paid one, after graduating.

Choosing a course purely based on career prospects is not advisable. You should ask yourself the following questions:

What career do you want to go into? 

The majority of graduate jobs do not ask for a specific degree subject. However, if you want to go into Medicine, Nursing or Law then you need to choose those degrees. Similarly, Architecture and Psychology students will often be required to achieve professional accreditation for their careers, which can be done through the degrees.

How sure are you of the career you want? 

If you are certain that you want to become a dentist, then Dentistry is the degree for you. If you are undecided, choosing a vocational course is not advisable. In this situation, you would be better served studying a non-vocational course such as History or Chemistry to keep your options open.

How important are graduate job prospects to you? 

Some university courses almost guarantee a well-paid, graduate job within six months of graduating. For Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy and Veterinary Medicine, over 90% of graduates are in graduate jobs within six months of finishing their degrees. 

Graduates of these subjects also have some of the highest starting salaries, along with Complementary Medicine, Economics and General Engineering. If having the guarantee of a well-paid job straight after graduating is a top priority, then these jobs could be for you.

Can you wait for your career prospects to improve? 

When looking at graduate job prospects it is important to remember that these figures do not tell the whole story. Nursing, for instance, has excellent starting salaries, but the longer term earning potential may well be less than that of some other subjects with lower starting salaries. 

If the course you want to do has poor graduate prospects, do not be put off. 

Ultimately, enjoying your degree is more important than earning money from it. If you choose a course because of the graduate job prospects, then you may end up on a course you do not enjoy. You are less likely to be motivated by a course you do not enjoy and as a result unlikely to work hard enough to achieve a ‘good honours’ (2:1 or first).

Research into why students leave university early on in their course often finds that choosing the wrong course was a key factor. So, it is crucial to do good research and decide carefully.