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Study abroad : Subject Guides

The advantages and disadvantages of adding extra subjects to your degree

Some universities allow you to add extra subjects to your degree but what are the benefits to this and are there any downsides? We take a look.

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A university degree can open up so many doors when it comes to your career. In many cases, you actually need a degree to be able to pursue a job role in particular fields. International students may feel that they can only take one subject at university. In fact, you may be able to add extra subjects to your chosen course.   


Many universities offer a variety of subjects for students to add to their degrees, from subject-specific options to more generic topics. This could include, but is not limited to: 



Let's take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of adding extra subjects to your degree. 




Good for your CV / resume  


When you take on an extra subject or two during your time at university, you are accepting more work and responsibility while you’re there.  


This looks great to a potential employer, as it shows a willingness to work hard and strive for more, even when you it isn’t necessary. Though they can be very different, certain aspects of university and the world of work certainly overlap. Having to balance different types of work and deadlines and doing your best are certainly skills that are necessary in both. 


When a potential employer can see that you achieved your degree and willingly took on more work to benefit you in the long term, it shows them the type of team member you will likely be in your career


More career options 


Speaking of your future career, taking on an extra subject can really support you in this area. Firstly, it may mean you’re better suited for a position as you have a deeper knowledge of that particular industry.  


For example, if you were currently doing a law degree and know you want to go into environmental law, adding environmental studies to your course can make a huge difference as you’ll have a much better understanding of the topic. 


An extra subject can also help you in a more broader sense . For example, if you have the opportunity to add a language to your degree, this is a major career boost in itself. Being able to speak another language will be a great asset to have no matter whether you graduate with a degree in business studies or engineering.  




Takes more time 


No matter what university you’re studying at and what course you’re on, it can be stressful. With deadlines to meet and exams to revise for, it can often feel like you don’t have enough time to get it all done comfortably. 


Naturally, the more subjects you have taken on, the less time you will have. Adding just one extra subject will certainly mean more time in lectures and seminars, but it may also involve more assignments that take up your study time. 


For most, university is about getting your degree but it’s also about enjoying the experience. If taking on more subjects means that your core modules will suffer and you will have less free time to see friends, it might not be worth it for you.


More work 


Extra subjects can be a lot more work on your already full workload. Often when students are considering taking on an extra subject, they consider the benefits it will provide at the end of their degree and not what it’s going to actually be like during their time at university. 


Taking a look at the workload on your course as it currently is and measuring whether or not you can take on that extra subject or two that you’re interested in is vital. Make sure that you aren’t taking on more than you can handle. 


This is especially the case for students who have a job at university, as this takes up even more of your hours. 


May cost extra 


Each university and each degree is different, but many universities charge students higher tuition fees for adding certain subjects to their degree. This will, of course, have an impact on the overall cost of your study abroad journey. 


After a lot of consideration, this might still be worth it for you but it’s important to consider if it’s financially possible. Many students budget so that they can go to the university they want and study the subject they are interested in. If your budget is limited, it may not be possible to add extra subjects. 


Generally speaking, although adding extra subjects to your degree may interest you, you should consider the benefits and the drawbacks of doing so.  


A degree can open up so many opportunities for you, whether you’ve added more subjects or not. It’s crucial to keep in mind that your major is far more important than any extra subjects you might add. 



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