Your degree stereotype, according to people on other courses

Pure gutted if you study Accountancy


English students are all going to end up as teachers. If you do History of Art, you’re posh and wish you’d done Fashion instead. Geography? Well, that’s just colouring in.

Stereotypes about certain subjects are older than UCAS itself, and since the first personal statements were written we’ve been forming opinions of each others’ degrees with no basis other than hearsay and half-heard conversations at freshers’ week predrinks.

So where does your course fit into this? Do people who don’t study what you study really think what you think they think? We asked a cross-section of students and grads from across the country to give us their views on your course. Be warned, some of it isn’t pretty.

Accounting

“You fall into one of two categories: you are square as fuck or you want to make a tonne of moolah. Probably a bit of both. Just make sure you’re ready for another three years of education (at least) after you graduate.” – Bella, Politics, Newcastle

American Studies

“So you read ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ in school and found ‘the American Dream’ mildly interesting. Is that a summer doing Camp America I spy on your CV?” – Laura, English Literature, Sheffield

“You claim you’re doing it because you have a deeply ingrained love of American culture, or because you wanted to study a broad spectrum of History, Literature and Politics rather than confining yourself to one thing. In reality, you just wanted a year abroad in Florida.” – Luke, Theatre Studies, Middlesex

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Anthropology

“The humble Anthropologist doesn’t want for much in this world – they’ll settle for an explanation of the Carnac Stones or a place on a Geography course.” – Oli, Politics, Cardiff

Ancient History

“You applied to study Classics, got rejected everywhere, and scraped into Ancient History through clearing.” – Hugh, Classics, King’s

Archaeology

“You’ve seen Raiders of the Lost Ark one too many times, and your mum says you look dashing in a fedora. She lied. You chose poorly.” – Sophia, English and Related Literature, York

Architecture

“You moan a lot about studio and you claim to be drawing stuff 27 hours a day. After a term and a half of never seeing the light of day, all you have to show for it is a little plasticine model of a house that will never get built.” – Josh, Politics, Nottingham

Biology

“Of all the sciences, Biology is the warmest and loveliest. Unlike Physics and Chemistry, we get the allure, and who doesn’t love someone who knows how the human body works?” – Daisy, Art History, Manchester

Business Management

“Three words: chip on shoulder. Business students are constantly on the defense that their degree is as challenging, if not more challenging than any other. In reality we all know that they failed Economics and needed an easier option.” – Laura, English Literature, Sheffield

Chemistry

“The only thing I know about Chemistry is that every tier you go up studying, the first lesson is ‘everything they taught you before now is wrong or oversimplified’.” – Matt, English and Film, Exeter

Classics

“Isn’t it just early history and learning a dead language?” – Victoria, Philosophy, Reading

“People who do Classics will spend half their time studying a pointless subject, and the rest of their time getting furious at everyone around them for telling them it’s a pointless subject.” – Bobby, English Language and Literature, Leeds

Computer Science

“There’s something sexy about someone who knows a more complex way to fix your Mac than ‘off and on again.’” – Daisy, History of Art, Manchester  

Criminology

“So you watched every CSI from every US city and thought that criminology was forensics, policing and detective work all rolled into one alongside casual colleague sex and beautifully brutalist architecture.  You were mistaken. Pathologists don’t solve crimes.” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

Dentistry

“To be honest you’ve nailed it, haven’t you? Sure, you’ll spend most of your adult life peering into people’s mouths but you’ll be a DOCTOR and not have to deal with actual horrific illnesses or poo.” – Bella, Politics, Newcastle

Ecology

“That’s a really nice hemp skirt you’ve got.”- Ed, Politics with Quantitative Methods, Edinburgh

Economics

“You go to lectures looking like it’s dress-down Friday in the Deloitte offices – because that’s your dream. The reality is, you’ll be auditing businesses that build components of printing cartridges, stuffed into a windowless box room and flicking through dusty files.” – Tom, Classics, Nottingham

Engineering

Bobby, English Language & Literature, Leeds

English Language

“All you’ve really learned from your degree is that doing English means you can still maintain your ‘going out three times a week and still get a 2:1’ lifestyle.”- Lauren, English Language, Oxford Brookes

“Your uni didn’t do a straight English Lit course, so you had to spend your first year writing linguistic analyses of scenes from the Big Bang Theory instead of reading angsty novels like you’d planned.” – Bobby, English Language & Literature, Leeds

English Literature

“You fell into the mysterious misunderstood artist category at school and felt like no one ever really understood how much you related to Jack Kerouac. Your Creative Writing module has allowed you to rebel and find your literary voice in the most sheltered, middle class way possible.” – Eleanor, American Studies, Leicester

“Every book you’ve ever enjoyed is now irrevocably ruined and all you have to show for it is knowing the difference between post-colonialism and postcolonialism. Oh, and your employment opportunities are more bleak than a Joseph Conrad novel.” – Callum, English Literature, York

Environmental Science

“You wanted to save the world by studying Environmental Science, but you just ended up getting depressed because you realised how horrible the human race really is.” – Diyora, History of Art, Warwick

Fashion

“It’s quite enigmatic to study Fashion. Obviously the term brings to mind a Starbucks-frequenting stick in a fur coat, their iPhone 7 Plus Plus background a screenshot of their ASOS VIP confirmation. That’s the caricature, but it can’t be what they’re actually like – how would they rationalise spending £9k on tuition fees when they could spend that money on half of a Kenzo x H&M jumper? Maybe if I’d ever met a Fashion student I could explain how they differ from this stereotyped mess, but I haven’t, so I can’t.” – Oli, Politics, Cardiff

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Film Studies

“You wanted to go to uni, but you didn’t actually want to do any work. So here you are.” – Hugh, Classics, King’s

Finance

“You’re bad at maths, but desperately want to be a banker like your Daddy.” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

Geography

“You loved it when Dad made you learn all the capitals of Europe in the car on the way to the Alps and you’ve never stopped being obsessed with colouring things in.” – Conrad, Ancient History, Bristol

Geology

“Very different to Geography. Oh yes, very very different. You’re more serious, of course. Much less colouring in, none in fact. You know all about the Earth, but everyone knows it’s actually just getting super obsessive over rocks.”-  Annabel, English Literature, Manchester

History

“You were alright at History at A-Level, so here you are: not going to any lectures because ‘The Vikings are so not relevant’ and your ‘Nazi Germany lecturer is crap.’ You don’t want to be a teacher, but you have accepted that you probably will.” – Ciaran, Modern History & Politics, Liverpool

History of Art

“You wanted to do a Fine Art degree, but mummy said that would be a waste of time. So you spend your time searching for hidden meanings in pictures that were probably just painted for fun and insist that no one understands Jan Steen’s sense of humour like you do. You’ll graduate only slightly better off than if you’d done that Fine Art degree, and you’ll slightly resent your mother forever.” – Verity, American Studies, Leicester

Information Technology

“Is this the shit version of Computer Science?” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

International Relations

“You thought it’d be more interesting than Politics but six lectures on the Asian Tigers later you’re desperately trying to switch to anything. Please, anything else.” – Ed, Politics with Quantitative Methods, Edinburgh

Joint Honours

“You thought it was a good idea at the time and someone once told you you basically get two degrees in one but realistically you’ve fucked yourself over big time and continually have to write two essays for the same deadline at half the quality.” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

Journalism

“Everyone knows successful journalists do academic degrees and then a Journalism master’s. (Seriously, name a BBC broadcaster who didn’t). BA journalism graduates are destined for Woman’s Weekly and the Radio Times.” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

Languages

“Guaranteed year abroad in France? Belter! Wait, what do you mean I have to read novels? What the fuck is the subjunctive?”- Ed, Politics with Quantitative Methods, Edinburgh

“Your teacher said something about speaking another language making you more employable. What they didn’t say was that every foreign person can speak English better than you can their language. What they also didn’t say was studying a Language doesn’t mean you’ll be fluent in it.” – Daisy, History of Art, Manchester

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Law

“Distancing yourself from the rest of the uni, you tell me people that you are studying to become a professional lawyer who will one day solve the unjust human inequality riffe in society. You will probably end up as a legal assistant photocopying and making tea on a daily basis before you inevitably give up on your big dream.” – Max, American Studies, Leicester

Maths

“It just kind of happened didn’t it? You won every Gold Award at the UK Maths Challenge and you didn’t even pretend to be surprised. It was the only thing that ever made sense to you because it was so logical. Then when you got to university, it suddenly stopped making sense. Don’t worry though, you still have banking as a backup option.” – Diyora, History of Art, Warwick

Medicine

“You don’t need me to tell you about Medicine. Just stand within 50 yards of any Medic at any uni in the country and they’ll make sure you know all about it.” – Bobby, English Language & Literature, Leeds

Midwifery

“Babies and stitches in nasty places.” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

Nursing

“Tell us again how you’re the backbone of the NHS. Or that getting rejected from Medicine turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.” – Hugh, Classics, King’s

Pharmacy

“It’s really hard, we know, and it’s a really well-respected course, we know, but we still can’t hear you say ‘Pharmacy’ without us thinking you’re in for a life of reaching Calpol off the shelves in Boots.” – Bobby, English Language & Literature, Leeds

Philosophy

“Why can’t you carry your copy of Nietzsche in your bag? What do you mean ‘Is this table really here?’ Yes of course it’s here, how is that going to help you get a grad job? Even the Geography crew have better prospects.” Tom, Classics, Nottingham

Physics

“You’re really dedicated and love to bitch about engineers. You’re probably a massive nerd but definitely let your hair down at the pub every fortnight. You don’t like the people on your course, so you bond with arts students. When it comes to discussing your actual degree, no-one gets it. Or cares.” – Annabel, English Literature, Manchester

Politics

“We get it: you idolise Lenin or Margaret Thatcher. Stop telling me that neoliberal-capitalism is poisoning my cornflakes. I don’t care.” – Lucy, History, Liverpool

“If you’re not a Tory or a weirdly intense American, you’re going to fucking hate your coursemates.”- Ed, Politics with Quantitative Methods, Edinburgh

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PPE

“You picked this subject because you thought you could save the world by becoming the next Prime Minister. Two years later, the political dream is over and you’ve found yourself applying to every investment banking grad scheme there is. You’ve accepted the fact that you will end up becoming a slave to the system.” – Diyora, History of Art, Warwick

Psychology

“You thought you would make some groundbreaking discoveries as a Psychology undergrad and read people’s minds, but instead you ended up having to convince your mates to do hundreds of pointless questionnaires.” Diyora, History of Art, Warwick

Sociology

“You’re a moderately attractive brunette from the Home Counties. You want a class where no-one will judge you for showing up in gym leggings and a lacrosse gilet, but all the spots in Psychology have gone to girls who are a little less well-manicured, a little more unhinged. You thought Sociology would help you understand how to climb the social ladder better, when really it gives you nothing to talk about at parties. You’re locked into a hot date with Soren Kierkegaard for three years, sister.  At least you only have one contact hour a week, and can spend the rest of your time on the cross trainer.” – Matt, English and Film, Exeter

Sports Science

“The uni equivalent of the jocks in American high schools. They really like VKs, and they probably punch you a bit too hard in the arm when they make a joke at your expense.” – Luke, Theatre Studies, Middlesex

“PE teachers.” – Max, American Studies, Leicester

Theatre

“With all the pizzaz of someone who just went to uni for the sake of it, you studied Theatre because it promised you three years of acting, directing and generally hogging all the limelight. Now you probably work in advertising like everybody else.” – Bobby, English Language & Literature, Leeds

Theology

“You applied to do English at uni, but got a C and in clearing only Polys would accept you.  Your Religious Studies teacher suggested it first: you were the best in the class she said. There were five people in your class. In final year you have a careers appointment. ‘Ah Theology: you want to work in HR then I guess?’ You end up becoming an RE teacher at your secondary school. Your uncle and aunt express surprise. They thought you wanted to become a priest.” – Robert, French, Manchester

Zoology

“I bet you just watch Planet Earth reruns.” – Lucy, English and History, Liverpool