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Study abroad : Subject Guides

How to choose what subject you should study abroad

Need help choosing which subject to study abroad? This is your guide to deciding what the best subject is for you on your study abroad adventure.

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So, you know you want to study abroad, but you don’t know what subject you want to study. It’s hard this student stuff, isn’t it?!


Don’t worry, we know how you feel. We’ve been there too. That’s why we’re giving you a helping hand with this guide. As we run through all the crucial factors you must consider before you decide your subject at university abroad, you’ll feel a logical decision slipping into place in your mind (if all goes to plan, anyway)…


Career prospects

Thinking about what career you want to go into after your studies is crucial to what subject you should take as an international student. It may help you decide what country you should study in, too.


After graduating, most international students will stay in the country for a while after they finish their course. As a result, it is worth looking at different countries to see if their booming industries can help you land your dream job. 


For example, if you’re thinking of studying something to do with drama, or acting, maybe the UK is a good place to study? Being the birthplace of famous playwright William Shakespeare, they have always had a rich history in the creative arts. With one of the most vibrant theatre cultures in the world, there will be plenty of opportunities for graduate employment in that industry. The National Theatre company have revealed that they saw their highest audiences for seven years at their Southbank theatre in 2015-16, and that crowds are steadily increasing year on year. So, whether it be set design, sound production or acting itself, Britain could be a very good place to study if you have ambitions of making it in the theatre.




Or, if you are looking for a degree in IT, maybe have a look at courses in Switzerland, where there are some very reputable universities. Careers advisor at ETH Zurich - the top institution in Switzerland - Solene Wolff told us that “IT students are in high demand for employers” in the country. Big companies such as Facebook, Dell and Microsoft have all got offices in Switzerland so they are looking to snap up talented IT students straight after graduation.


However, if you are unsure of what job you want to go into after your studies, it is advisable to choose a course which is quite broad in terms of career prospects. For example, no matter where you end up studying, there are a lot of transferrable skills from a psychology degree. It shows you are able to understand science, you can work with statistics, and ultimately you will have a better understanding of the human brain, so you should be a real people’s person – a skill which is relevant all over the world! That means you leave yourself open to jobs in social care, HR, health, education and many others.




There are almost 2,000 institutions worldwide offering different types of psychology courses, proving the demand all over the world for graduates in the field. If you like the sound of studying psychology, have a look at this article to see why you should study it abroad.


No matter what you end up studying, there is a chance that you may get to the end of a degree and decide you don’t want to continue with that subject for a career. Again, don’t worry, because just by going to university abroad, you can show that you are a sociable person, who is able to go out of their comfort zone and make contacts all around the world – which is a skill that employers will always love, no matter what the industry.


Think of something you enjoy

Another important part of deciding which subject you should study abroad is to make sure that it’s something that you like. There’s always going to be some modules that you enjoy less than others at university, but if you find yourself dreading going to all your lectures, we can assure you that your study abroad adventure is not going to be anywhere near as fun as it could be.


If you have any hobbies that you really enjoy, can you base your degree choice around that? Or is there one subject you’ve studied in the past that you have found interesting? If so, now is the time to do research into whether you can study those things at university. The world truly is your oyster. If you love American literature, go to the US and study it. If you love the ocean and the varied wildlife that comes with it, go to Australia to study marine biology and the Great Barrier Reef.



Or, you could look at degrees that are impressive to employers universally. For example, if you like working with numbers, maybe you could study something like economics? Economics is a degree that is well thought of internationally, as a lot of the principles that you are taught about at university can be applied to the sector all over the world. Also, the economy is the bedrock of the world’s society, so it is useful to know how it works - no matter what country you are in. Interested? Read more about studying economics abroad.


Obviously, your studies should help you on your career path, so starting with something you like should mean you increase your chance of ending up in a job you enjoy.


There are so many options available to you. But don’t let that be a daunting thought, try your best to be excited by how many subjects you can choose between, and the possibilities these will bring in the future.


Talking about variety, you’ll be pleased to know that Hotcourses Abroad actually have over 223,000 different courses available to choose from worldwide, so you have come to the right place for your study abroad subject search.



Think of something you’re good at

If you’re struggling to think of something which you can study that you really enjoy, how about studying something that you’re really good at? Because, let’s be honest, it’s always nice to hear that you’ve done something well!


If you’re moving to a whole new country to study, it is worth studying something you have some skill in. That way, it will be easier to integrate into university life, as you’ll have a sense of belonging with your course mates. You don’t want to be having the pressure of falling behind on your course, as well as moving to a new country, do you?


Also, another positive of studying something that you’re good at is that you’re more likely to get a better grade, which could help you when looking for employment after your studies.



Ultimately, university is supposed to be giving you the skills to go in to employment. If you are good at your chosen subject before you go to university, imagine how great you’ll be at it by the end of three years studying it? You’ll be the perfect employee.


If you can combine something you enjoy with something you’re good at, you are usually on to a winning formula in terms of a good subject to study at degree level.


Think about which qualifications you need

Some university subjects are quite flexible with what you study before applying to enrol on their course. However, most will take into account what you’ve studied before their programme, and look to see how you will adapt what you’ve learnt, and apply it to that particular subject. For example, if you have always studied and excelled in scientific fields, then you will struggle to get accepted onto an art degree as you have no evidence of hard work or interest in that field.


Most universities will ask for some form of qualification after the initial school period. Post-16 qualifications, such as A-Levels (or their international equivalent) or vocational diplomas, will be needed in order for you to get through the application process and onto the books of a university.


What subject should I study abroad? The step by step guide:



  1. Go to the Hotcourses Abroad subject search
  2. Look at the subject areas and note down any you would be interested in learning more about.
  3. Note down all of the subjects you have performed well in throughout your school career.
  4. If there are any subjects you have performed well in, which could also come under the subject areas that you are interested in learning more about, then this could an idea of the subject you want to study!
  5. If you would consider working on this subject for a degree, do some research into what country is a good place to study it in.
  6. Get applying to universities from that country, with help from our application essentials.


Hopefully this has helped you come to a decision about what subject you would like to study at university abroad, so you can go ahead and search for a course now.



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