Which degree do you need for which career?
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You might be surprised to find that you don’t always need a degree subject connected to the career you want. Let TARGETcareers shatter some of the long-held myths about what degrees you need for the world of work.
REMEMBER: most employers will ask for at least five grade A*–C GCSEs including maths and English (some may ask for science as well).
You usually need an engineering degree. There are a few opportunities for those with closely related degrees, eg maths, physics and materials science.
Medicine, nursing, dentistry and related fields
You need a degree in the relevant subject to pursue a career in any of the above specialisms. For example, medicine (doctor), nursing (nurse) osteopathy (osteopath) and so on.
Undergraduate qualifications include sciences, applied sciences and related degrees. Maths is also a valuable degree for some scientific careers, particularly those related to physics or engineering.
You will need a degree in veterinary science.
You can enter accountancy with any degree subject, but employers will look for a proven ability with numbers and may seek a set number of UCAS points. Good grades are key at A level and degree level and some employers may favour some higher education institutions over others.
Advertising, public relations and marketing
Typically you can enter these careers with any degree subject, though some employers ask for or prefer a relevant degree.
Non-construction graduates will need to take a conversion course for technical roles.
Hospitality and travel management
A number of graduate schemes are open to those with any degree (though not all). However, many ask for a considerable amount of relevant work experience and/or a second language, so you might want to consider a degree that will help you obtain this.
Many employers accept graduates who’ve studied any subject. However, some request a ‘relevant’ degree. Relevant subjects include business studies and psychology.
High academic achievements are valued. Numerate subjects will give you an advantage. You will need at least a 2.1 or a first (the second-highest and highest grades respectively) at degree level to get hired.
Top grades are key. A 2.1 or a first in a numerate degree subject would be an advantage.
For technical roles, many employers require an IT degree (eg computer science). A subject that involves lots of maths may be accepted and some employers accept a postgraduate conversion course. However, some graduates make it in without any of these.
Non-law graduates need to undertake a one-year conversion course after university. There are also essential postgraduate qualifications. High academic achievement is valued throughout, so you will need to obtain a 2.1 or a first in your degree and conversion course.
You need to obtain a 2.1 or (preferably) a first from a highly ranked university. You will also need a good set of extracurricular activities on your application.
Non-cognate (non-property) graduates will require a conversion course.
Publishing and media
If you want to be a journalist you’ll typically need to take a relevant postgraduate course if your undergraduate degree isn’t in journalism.
Retail banking, insurance and actuarial
You can typically get into retail banking with any degree subject. Some insurance jobs are open to all graduates but others aren’t. If you want to be an actuary you’ll usually need a degree that includes a lot of maths.
For most roles your degree subject doesn’t matter. However, if you want a career selling a very technical product (eg pharmaceuticals) you might need a degree that relates to the product to prove that you understand it.
Supply chain and logistics
There are opportunities for graduates from any degree programme, but some employers may require a degree in engineering, logistics or supply-chain management depending on the role you are applying for.
Any degree is accepted, but it is sensible to study for a degree in a subject that you may wish to teach later on. Normally you will also require a postgraduate teacher training qualification before you can start work. You may also be asked to undertake literacy and numeracy tests before you are allowed into the profession.