Starting your college search: The Major

Ready to start your college search? While there are lots of college search websites out there, most persume you already know what you want (location, size, major etc.). What if you have no idea? So there are several ways you can go. Let’s start with the Major. Firstly, some systems evaluate you by the major you plan to study (UK, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zeland, virtually all of Latin America and Europe. For these system, your high school preparation is essential. So let’s start with what UK universities recommend. The Russell Group publishes Informed Choices, a guide to high school preparation. For example:

Archaeology

ESSENTIAL ADVANCED LEVEL QUALIFICATIONS

None

USEFUL ADVANCED LEVEL QUALIFICATIONS

Geography, History or science subjects can all be useful.

Here is another

Medicine

ESSENTIAL ADVANCED LEVEL QUALIFICATIONS

If you do Chemistry, Biology and one from Mathematics or Physics you will 

keep all the medical schools open to you. If you do Chemistry and Biology 

you will keep open the vast majority. If you do Chemistry and one from 

Mathematics and Physics you will limit your range of choices much more.

USEFUL ADVANCED LEVEL QUALIFICATIONS

Further Mathematics or a contrasting (non-science) subject, Computing/

Computer Science.

 

If UK or other direct entry destinations, they not only look at your preparation, but also your suitability. Whih major is right for you? check out UK Course Finder

Which university has a series of subject specifc guides:

 Here is what the guide for Psychology looks like:

If you’re thinking of studying a psychology degree at university, make sure your A-level line-up ticks admissions tutors’ boxes…

Psychology and other social sciences like sociology are popular degrees normally open to you with any A-levels. However, certain A-level subject choices will help prepare you for studying psychology at degree level, and may give you an edge over other applicants.

Essential A-levels (or equivalent)

  • A few courses ask for one or more from biology, chemistry, maths or physics.

Useful A-levels (or equivalent)

  • Biology.
  • Maths.
  • Psychology.
  • Sociology.

Other typical A-levels taken by current psychology students

  • English.
  • General studies.
  • History.

Take a look at individual psychology courses on Which? University to find out the most popular subjects students studied before attending.

Do note that many degrees will be open to you whichever A-levels you choose. Some courses will be happy with a subject just at AS-level while some courses may want the full A-level – something to check before you finalise your A-level choices in Year 12.

Similar subject areas…

  • Sociology.
  • Criminology.
  • Behavioural sciences.

Remember that even similar subjects may have slightly different A-level requirements to psychology, so if you want to keep your degree options open, be sure to check the entry requirements on specific courses.

As you will note, it uses A-levels, but you can easily subsitute AP or IB (in general HL) to ensure you have the right preparation. As you can see it is more generalized, so the student would be wise to visit each university webpage to look at what the specifically require. 

Another usueful resource is the Student room with their subject guides. Here is the one for Psychology