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Choosing your degree

There are so many factors to consider when deciding the subject you want to study at university. You may have a particular career in mind – such as law or medicine – which will guide your choice. If not, it can be helpful to think about subjects you enjoy, what you are good at and the different careers you are interested in. 

To help you narrow down your choice, read our guides for selected university degree subjects to find out more about each one, including key skills, specialisms and typical career paths.

Study at a world-class university 

Durham University International Study Centre offers access to more than 30 different degree subjects at Durham, with preparation programmes that lead to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. These are just some of the subjects available to study following successful completion of your programme. 

10 Subjects

ranked in the World Top 50

(QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024)


Studying human societies and cultures, anthropology is a fascinating subject that gives you a variety of transferable skills.


Focusing on the human past, archaeology covers all aspects of people in the past. You will learn to uncover the secrets of human history, gaining skills that will help you pursue a variety of careers.


Studying arts often opens up a variety of pathways for you to follow. Whether you want to progress onto a liberal arts degree or be more specific and follow a degree such as music, you will usually have that option.


Biology or biological sciences is the study of life and living organisms. Explore different fields, state-of-the-art facilities, research opportunities and typical career paths.


Business studies covers economics and management. It helps you to develop a range of skills, including crucial communication skills and can help you follow a career in a number of industries.


Chemistry is the study of properties of substances and interactions with energy. It combines aspects of biology and physics and offers many unique fields that you could specialise in.

Computer science

Computer science is the study of computers, computing systems and computational theory.

Earth sciences

Earth sciences is the study of the physical constitution of Earth and its atmosphere. It is made up of four major branches and studying it at university will prepare you for a number of specialist careers.


Leading to exciting career prospects and high salaries, engineering gives you the chance to specialise in a variety of fields.


Geography focuses on the physical features of the earth and mankind's relationship with the environment. Combining social and natural sciences, it can lead to a number of careers.


History is the study of past events, typically focussing on human affairs. Graduates of history can pursue opportunities in teaching and government for example. You will also gain transferable skills to allow you to work in a range of industries.

International Relations

The study of international relations focuses on key global issues and challenges.


A law degree is widely respected by employers and leads to a prestigious career path. Understand the areas you can specialise in, the legal system, ethics and the benefits of studying at Durham Law School. 


Maths is the abstract science of quantity, number and space. It is used in our everyday lives and is a core element in everything around us, from technology to architecture. Studying maths at university can lead to a range of careers and give you key transferable skills.


Covering the basic nature of how we think about the universe and society, philosophy asks basic questions that give complicated answers - giving you a new view on life.


The study of physics covers energy, forces, waves, mechanics, atoms and the physical Universe.


Studying politics looks at systems of government, power, conflict and international relations.


Psychology is the study of human behaviour and thought. This fascinating science provides diverse skills that are valued by employers.

Social Sciences

Social science is a group of academic subjects that focus on society and people. Studying social sciences gives you a variety of pathways to follow in the future, whether that is further study or a career.


Our student enrolment advisors are here to help with your application and answer any questions you have about studying with us.