If they do one of these seven red flag degrees, this is your sign to run for the hills

No, this isn’t just ‘economics’ written out seven times

Certain degrees spark a unanimously passionate response, and not always in the good way. Your innocent and naive friend Lucy might think she’ll be able to “change them”, but she’s the only one: everyone else knows nothing can stop these degrees from always being red flags.

The flashbacks start, the horror stories come flooding in, and the stereotypes spring to mind. When it comes to picking friends, hook-ups and life partners, not all degrees were created equal — some require more running for your life in the opposite direction than others. 

For the convenience of those young and clueless freshers out there, we’ve decided to make a list of the degrees that are the biggest red flags. Find a depressing summary of some of the most questionable degree personalities below:

English literature

You can tell a girl does English literature because she’s had the same half-read copy of The Bell Jar rattling around in her tote bag alongside a claw clip and antihistamines for almost a year. You can tell a guy does English literature because he writes bad poetry and is the most misogynistic self-described feminist you’ve ever met. 

Either way, you’re dealing with someone who has an unbeatable God complex, and you might want to start running before it gets ugly.

Their obsession with being the main character has ultimately led them to be staler than the 1000 page Penguin Classic they have strategically laid out on their bedside table to act as a substitute for a personality, even though they’ve never read it.

You should quit while you’re ahead with the English lit student, because you’ll never meet their idealistic, over-romanticised expectations, that are purely spawned from Gatsby throwing whole parties for one woman, and Elizabeth hating then loving Mr Darcy all in one breath.


Where do I begin? We’re all aware of the finance boy stereotype and the dopamine rush you get from their reaction when you imply the stock market is made up, or ask them why we can’t just print more money. 

If you’re really lucky you’ll end up with a Manic Pixie Investment Banker, who insists he’s not like other econ guys. He’ll try impressing you by assuring you he’s anti-capitalism and gently agreeing with soft socialist takes, but all of that goes out the window when Spring Week at Goldman Sachs approaches and he changes his political affiliation on Hinge back to “moderate”. 

Their bedrooms are straight out of American Psycho, containing literally nothing except a few get-rich-quick self-help books and a pair of the ugliest shoes you’ve ever seen in your life. If you ever end up inside this room, I fear it’s already too late.

I’d say do yourself a favour and avoid the econ student, but there’s simply too many of them. Besides, we all know your first thought whenever you’re near Canary Wharf is to open Tinder. If they can be crypto miners, we can be gold diggers. It’s the circle of life.


Classics students are the opposite of economics students, because they don’t see the money in terms of stocks, they see it through unlimited bank transfers sent from Mummy and Daddy. “I do classics” is secret rich people talk for “I went to a really good private school and I need everyone to know about it”. 

As a result, classics students tend to be pretty out of touch, which can be a problem if you’re someone whose family owns less than three houses. Slightly more harmless red flags for sure, but still deadly for the ordinary individual, who has to encounter constant reminders of this student’s unbearable amount of money on a daily basis.

Being with a classics student can be like walking on eggshells. You can’t go to museums together because they’ll start giving a Ted Talk on everything they see. You also can’t go anywhere more than 10 minutes from a Waitrose because they’ll break out into hives without one nearby.

Unless you like nonchalant classism and being constantly patronised, classics students are not for you. 


There is no one hornier than a maths student. In an attempt to overcompensate for their awkward school years, they’ve seized the clean slate offered by uni life to reinvent their image, developing an insatiable libido as a result of their newfound desirability.

However when the facade eventually fades and their Big Minecraft Energy begins to shine through, they’ll get defensive and push you away, keen to maintain their post-adolescent arrogance and protect the bullied, traumatised child that still lives within.

You’ll find their intelligence, devotion to numbers and over-affection endearing at first, but – much like the quadratic formula – they were never meant to be in your life forever. 

They’re nowhere near cool enough to establish a tortured, boy genius image, but they’re committed to trying – more so than they will ever be committed to you. 

You deserve better than someone who still owns a calculator.


Geography students are a breed so rare, they’re almost as mythical as their job prospects. They will inevitably end up smoking more trees than they save, despite their investments in Vejas and natural deodorants that definitely don’t work.

While they’re pretty non-offensive, they’re mostly wet wipes, and don’t like not getting their way. For all their knowledge about clouds, their heads are too far in them. Somehow fuelled by a sense of moral superiority, they’re about as individually memorable as the members of Coldplay that aren’t Chris Martin.  

If you’re currently trying to get over a geography student, I recommend you imagine them trudging through a field wearing wellies with one of those set square things to measure the ground. It’s guaranteed to give you the ick, although the fact you didn’t get it a long time ago sounds more like a you problem. 


Doing a degree that should just be called BA Gaslighting, there’s no more obvious a sign to avoid philosophy students like the plague. It’s lovely that they found themselves on their gap year in Thailand, but realistically it’s about time they found themselves something else to talk about instead. 

When they’re not completely puzzled by the fact other people have, in fact, heard of Albert Camus, they can be found trying to stop their oversized quarter-zip and “thrifted” Urban Outfitters harem trousers from carrying them away into the wind. 

Philosophy students will take you on a date to their favourite “underground coffee place” that ends up being the Bloomsbury Coffee House, only swiftly proceeding to tell you that they’re more knowledgeable about the universe than you will ever be, and to start trying your hardest to be like them in every single way.

These students are simultaneously too chill and too pretentious for their own good, leaving you feeling second best to Jeremy Bentham’s wax encased corpse and Planet Organic kombuchas. If you want someone who has both a mattress AND a bed frame, maybe a philosophy student isn’t for you. 


Come to think of it, you won’t have to run for the hills from a PPE student. That’s because they’ll spend most of their time doing it for you, eager to gain more kudos on Strava and leave you completely hanging behind them.

You’re not sure why PPE students seem to be such avid runners, but maybe a lot of it has to do with them running away from their responsibilities to the public, then eventually working for the government. It’s a cruel world, but someone has to take one for the team and make sure capitalism persists and tax avoiders still get away with it.

It’s hard to imagine the life a PPE student must have led for “Prime Minister” being a completely normal and feasible aspiration since the age of seven, but it doesn’t seem improbable that they sleep in smart-casual and sniff wine before they drink it.

You’ll struggle to keep up with the PPE student’s cutthroat political ambitions and seemingly endless list of reservations at restaurants that sell tiny plates of food. Tread lightly with the PPE student – if things go sour, the sight of a signet ring will send you into a string of flashbacks.

Nobody’s perfect, and it’s important not to judge a book by its cover. No two people are the same, and ruling people out because of what they study would be superficial and insane. But if I ever hear you talk about Pulp Fiction in passing, I will definitely ask you to blink twice if you’re being held hostage by a film student. 

Related articles recommended by this writer:

Freshers of 2021, these are the top 10 things no one tells you about going to a London uni

Everyone has one of these post-lockdown personalities and if you don’t, you’re lying

Design a London night out and we’ll tell you what degree you should’ve chosen