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5 creative subjects and fields you can pursue

Which degrees are best for creative people? We've taken a close look at 5 subjects to help you decide which course might suit you best.

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Looking for a degree which allows you to flex your creative muscles while also improving your employment prospects? We’ve looked into five popular creative subjects to give you a better idea of what to expect. After reading this article you should realize that a degree doesn’t have to be all theory and no practice. There are many courses out there which will give you the freedom to express yourself in new and creative ways, while still equipping you with the skills needed for your dream career.

 

1. Media

To enter into a career in television, radio, journalism, publishing, public relations or other communications roles, a degree in media would equip you with relevant skills and knowledge. Undergraduate media courses tend to take three to four years to complete so you need to make sure that this is something you want to commit to.

 

But first, what exactly does a media course involve? While the focus of a media studies degree will differ according to each institution, typical modules might include:

 

  • Film and art
  • Entertainment
  • Media and society
  • Media ethics
  • Digital media
  • Media technologies
  • Radio
  • Podcasting
  • Photography
  • Video

 

This type of course generally attracts creative thinkers and those who are personable and enjoy storytelling. This degree will also encourage you to gain work experience in a field of your choice as the media industry has a reputation for being highly competitive. It will therefore be hugely beneficial to leave university with some sort of professional experience. Some courses may have a dedicated module for internships where the university can assist with organizing a placement.

 

 

Media degrees tend to cover a broad range of topics, but you can choose to specialise in certain areas during your degree. For example, you may decide that you want to focus on video production and editing or you might realize that you have a flair for film and want to develop your expertise in this area.

 

Although media studies has received some criticism over the years, there are lots of employment opportunities within the digital sphere. This can be seen with the rapid growth of global brands such as Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime and more. In fact, new roles are being created all the time and this can be seen with jobs which didn’t exist ten years ago.

 

2. Film

Consider yourself a film buff? Want to learn more about filmmaking? A degree in film could be the right path for you. It is an incredibly competitive industry though and requires networking and relationship building with industry contacts. However, if you are driven and can prove yourself, then you should consider a film degree.

 

Typical modules on a film course might include:

 

  • Film production
  • Cinematography
  • Film criticism
  • Screenwriting
  • Critical analysis
  • Film history
  • World cinema
  • Documentary film making
  • Gender and cinema

 

Common careers to follow a film degree include:

 

  • Film director
  • Music producer
  • Film producer
  • Sound technician
  • Film/video editor
  • Location scout
  • Camera operator

 

 

As these roles tend to be highly desirable and therefore competitive, many graduates start out as runners at the beginning of their careers. This involves assisting with the smooth running of a project with different tasks being expected of you. You might be organizing props, liaising with actors or constructing a set. This is a great way to make new contacts and learn more about the film or TV industry from behind the scenes.

 

Pursuing a career in film is of course highly creative, but there is also a large component of logistics and organisation. To be successful in the film industry, you need to gain work experience, show dedication to every task and be ready to work hard. Directors and producers will be looking for people who show up on time, are organised and can use their own initiative. An undergraduate degree in film can set you up with the skills you need within three to four years depending on the university and country. For more insights, check out our interview with an international student who studied production management in Manchester in the UK.

 

3. Photography

Studying a creative field like photography can provide you with a range of employment opportunities that aren’t limited to just taking photos. Having a keen eye for detail, editing skills and a flair for design is highly sought after by lots of employers. A few examples are as follows:

  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Film/video editor
  • Stylist
  • Photographer
  • Art director
  • Animator
  • Advertising executive
  • Camera operator
  • Food photographer

 

While this is a highly creative degree, you will also learn the technical and theoretical side of photography. It’s good to be aware that once you’ve graduated, you’ll need to keep developing your portfolio if you want to pursue the core photography route, whether this is working at events like weddings or helping out on fashion shoots. This work can be unpaid, but can be helpful for making contacts for future paid work. Typical modules for photography courses:

 

  • Photography and identity
  • Photography and place
  • Photographic processes
  • Photojournalism
  • Documentary photography
  • Cultural theory
  • Studio and digital photography
  • Building a portfolio

 

What’s great about a photography degree is that you don’t necessarily have to become a photographer. The transferrable skills are highly employable as most companies require someone with design and visual skills.

 

 

In addition, you’ll also develop your ability to work on projects independently and generate ideas from scratch. On a photography course you will also gain desirable experience using technical programmes like Photoshop, Premier Pro, Illustrator and InDesign, to name a few. These skills will set you apart from other candidates, helping you land a job after university. Want to know more about the types of skills employers want in graduates?

 

4. Art

An art degree is typically categorized as a Bachelor of Fine Art but there are several different types of art and design degrees that you could apply for:

 

 

An art degree of any kind helps you to develop your artistic skills in whichever discipline you are looking to refine. You will work on your self-expression and interpretation of other artist’s work. Studying art will help to develop your critical thinking skills and ability to interpret the world around you. A degree in art will also teach you about different art created throughout history and how to identify artworks from different periods.

 

The course content will vary according to each university, however, a fine art degree might include the following modules:

 

  • Printmaking
  • Ceramics
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Film
  • Developing studio practice
  • Art history

 

To be considered for an art degree, most universities will be looking to see a portfolio of your work. You may also need to complete a foundation year in art before being accepted onto a degree course. These foundational courses are offered by both universities and colleges.

 

Becoming a full-fledged fine artist requires huge amounts of determination, perseverance and skill. In this line of work, you’ll need to be looking for ways to showcase your work to new audiences such as via exhibitions or on social media. However, there are many other relevant professions that are looking for creative individuals with an artistic vision. These are as follows:

 

  • Art gallery curator
  • Fine artist
  • Art lecturer
  • Art therapist
  • Illustrator
  • Architect
  • Fashion designer
  • Art director
  • Interior designer

 

As you can see there are lots of different careers that you might pursue after an art degree. You might also decide to specialise in a particular area by continuing your studies. For example, a postgraduate course in illustration or graphic design would give you more specific guidance and further support for developing your portfolio. Want to find out more about studying at postgraduate level?

 

5. Music

While breaking into the music industry doesn’t always require a degree, there are many benefits to studying music. As with most of these creative fields, degree options are broad so it’s worth taking the time to consider which discipline or area of music interests you most. For example:

 

  • Music production
  • Musical theatre
  • Music business
  • Sound engineering
  • Composition

 

You can study music at university, college or at a conservatoire where there is a focus on performance. At a conservatoire, you will most likely be asked to do an audition and/or share a portfolio of work. University and college-based courses tend to be more theoretical covering content such as:

 

  • Music technology
  • World music
  • Composition
  • Ensemble performance
  • Pre and post 20th century music
  • Conducting
  • Jazz theory
  • Musical theatre
  • Business of music

 

 

Besides offering a creative outlet, a degree in music also teaches discipline, teamwork, time-management and helps to build self-esteem. These are just a few of the transferrable skills that can result from a degree in music. These are relevant and sought after for the following professions:

  • Producer
  • Musician
  • Music teacher
  • Sound engineer
  • Sound technician
  • Choreographer
  • Event manager
  • Radio producer

 

As with most creative industries, it pays to gain relevant work experience. So, while studying a music degree, you should think about contacting music studios, recording studios or music events companies to gain some professional experience. This is a great way to make industry contacts and boost your CV. You will also meet like-minded individuals during your degree which is another way of networking and hearing about different opportunities.

 

If you’re still not sure what you want to study, you can check out our guide on finding a degree and career to suit your personality or use our course matcher tool to input your preferences. Make sure you also stay up to date with all the latest in international student news.

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