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There are many reasons to study for a degree. Some do it to broaden their mind, others to bide their time whilst they figure out what they want to do with their life. For the majority of us, a degree is a stepping stone to a good job.

There are now all kinds of degrees available that weren’t previously. Some are traditional and cover a broader spectrum such as Physics and English Language. Others are newer and more niche like Baking Technology Management and Ethical Hacking (real degrees!).

Each has their pros and cons when it comes to landing a career. If you’re struggling to choose, here is a brief guide to help you decide.

The pros of Universal Degrees 

Choosing a universal degree is the obvious choice if you’re undecided over your career path, but want to take higher education as a safety net. Universal degrees can also be more versatile for changing jobs.

If you follow a career path, realise it’s not for you and want to switch to something entirely different, the broad spectrum of skills covered in your degree will probably allow you to make that switch. With a sports journalism degree, you’re less likely to be able to make a switch to marketing than if you had a general English degree.

The cons of universal degrees 

On the flipside, universal degrees can make those undecided on what career they want feel just as directionless when they leave as when they entered. They can also act against those that know exactly what they want to do. If you’re trying to go into pharmaceuticals with a Chemistry degree, you may find yourself losing out to people with a specific Pharmacy degree.

The pros of niche degrees 

Niche degrees have the benefit of offering specific ready-for-work skills. Lecturers and tutors can focus in on individual skills tailored to your career goals, giving you edge over other candidates with general degrees.

You’ll need less training when you do get a job and pick up things faster and potentially climb the career ladder at a faster rate. Many niche degrees may even offer a sandwich year, allowing you find work experience within your field.

The cons of niche degrees 

Sites such as Find Your Context are great for locating niche degrees – although you’ll notice that they’re fewer and further between. With limited courses and limited places, you may also find getting onto this kind of course more challenging.

If you can’t get on a course close to home, you may end up having to move abroad to study your niche course, which could be more costly.

With limited selection you may end up with a degree from a less high-ranking university, which could put off some employers. On top of this, a niche degree may tie you to a career path, which you later decide you don’t want to pursue, only to find it difficult to find another job without getting extra education.

It’s recommended that before taking such a degree you get some work experience within that niche field first. This will allow you to decide whether such a niche is right for you.

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