How To Choose The Right Degree For You?

I fully admit this is a strange topic because most people, before they start to think about going to university, tend to think a biology degree (for example) is just that. A biology degree and nothing else. But at many universities, lots of degrees can be divided up into different types and specialisations for the same topic. Therefore, in this blog post I’m going to explain what the benefits are and how to choose the specific degree for you?

What Are The Different Types of Degrees?

I’m not talking about degrees like Bachelors, Masters and PhDs. Instead I’m talking about universities that offer a range of different degrees for the same topic. For example, I study psychology and at my university there are the following undergraduate degrees for psychology:

  • Psychology
  • Psychology with Clinical Psychology
  • Psychology With Clinical Psychology and A Placement Year (My One!)
  • Psychology With A Year Aboard
  • Psychology With A Placement Year
  • And on and on and on…

There’s easily another four psychology degrees that I could add.

Therefore, as you can see there are a lot of options and my university isn’t the only one who offer lots of choices for students. Leading us to the question of how do you choose?

What Are The Benefits of Doing Different Degree?

Generally speaking, there are a lot of benefits to doing the other degrees instead of the normal ones. For example, I chose Psychology With Clinical Psychology and A Placement Year because I wanted to do psychology but I wanted extra experience in clinical psychology and I wanted real-life work experience as part of my degree.

Meaning as a result of doing a more specialised degree, I get extra knowledge about clinical psychology which I would not have gotten if I did a normal Psychology degree, and I get a year’s work experience built-in as part of my degree. Both these things will hopefully benefit me in the job market in the future.

As a result, whenever it comes to choosing the type of degree you want, you need to look at the benefits it gives you. For instance, if I wanted to go into Forensic Psychology, I would choose a psychology degree with that focus as it’ll give you more experience and knowledge of the topic at an undergraduate level.

What Do You Want?

I know I mention this often but this is critical, what do you want from your degree?

What knowledge or achievements do you want at the end of your degree?

This is even more critical than choosing the topic of your degree because deciding what you want will help decide the type of degree you want.

For example, at the end of my degree, I wanted:

  • An understanding of psychology.
  • An understanding of clinical psychology.
  • Work experience to help stand out in the future job market.

Therefore, a normal psychology degree was fairly useless for me because I would have an understanding of psychology, but not clinical or work experience. At least not part of my degree.

Equally, forensic psychology or degrees with A Year Abroad wouldn’t benefit me too much. Since as much as I love the idea of A Year Aboard, I just don’t think it’s for me.

Meaning the degree type I choose was the only one that would allow me to do what I wanted.

However, you could be different. You might love the idea of living and learning in another country for a year. If so, explore A Year Aboard option with your degree.

If you love a specific area of your degree subject then see if there’s a degree with specialist modules in that area. If you are confused about what you want to do, try looking at the Active-Class blog for some tips and advice.

The Real Point of The Post

The real point of this blog post isn’t to talk about the specifics of these particular degrees. The real point is to make you aware and open your eyes to the fact that a degree isn’t a degree. A degree is whatever you want it to be.

Therefore, if you wanted your degree to be a normal one, fine. That’s amazing and I wish you all the luck in the world with it.

But if you want to do something different with your degree, be it a placement year, a Year Aboard, specialised modules, then go out and look for it. You might never know what you’ll find.

Will it be easy?

Probably not.

In all honesty, I’m only aware of these different types of degrees because I stumbled across them on my university’s website and they were mentioned on Open Days.

Am I pleased I found them?


I love my choice of degree, because now I get to do psychology with a focus (mainly in my final year) on clinical psychology, which I love. Also as I write this I get to work with great people on great projects that I never would have been able to work on otherwise without my placement.

All because I took a chance and did a degree type other people weren’t interested.

Note: I should mention when you apply for one of these more specialised degrees, if you don’t get it then the university reconsiders your application for a normal degree. So in a way you’re getting two chances to go to that university for one application. (At least in my experience)


I want to wrap up this blog post by saying, you only get to go to university for a few years. I highly encourage you to make the most of it and that all starts with your degree choice. You might don’t want to do a specialised degree, lots of universities don’t offer these choices. But when you see one, consider it, learn about it, have fun with it.

If the degree aligns with what you want then consider applying for it. It might be great, it might open doors, it might be life-changing.

But only you can make that decision.

And whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck on your university journey.

Connor Whiteley
Connor Whiteley

Psychology student and Podcaster