Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


To do a degree I love instead of a degree with the best career prospects?

40 replies

SaltAndPepperKingPrawns · 07/09/2015 19:33

Posting here for traffic.

I'm 26 and have two children. I have a place to do Social Work at a good university. This has been two years in the pipeline as I had to defer to have my second child.

As the start date draws ever closer, I keep feeling that social work isn't right for me. The worry, the responsibility, the low pay etc. Although everyone I have spoken to says I would make a good social worker.

I originally wanted to do Sociology. I am also interested in Criminology, Gender and Women's Studies and Religious Studies. I was advised against doing these courses by my college course tutor as they are not professional degrees, and I may struggle getting a job afterwards. Opposed to social work, where I will be a qualified professional. I also worry that some of the other courses are 'weak' degrees, and not worth the money in terms of a future career.

But I don't want to be a social worker.

I approached my tutor again recently who told me again to stick with it, and that even if I didn't want to be a social worker, doing the degree is much better and opens more doors than the other courses. Others who I have spoken to (family and friends) say that it is madness to spend 27k on a degree that I'm not fully sure on.

Another thing that concerns me is my criminal record. I have two cautions for assault occasioning abh from 11 years ago, when I was 15. The uni obviously consider me still suitable as it has been declared, and I had to attend an additional interview to discuss this. This was a very difficult period for me, and one that I am truly ashamed of, and the thought of this hanging over me my whole professional career worries me. Obviously in a career like social work, this would have to be discussed and could possibly hold me back every time I change jobs.

I am very academic, enjoy being in education. But I have no real idea what I want to actually do with my life. I am having a real crisis, and it's got to the point where I lie awake thinking about it all night.

It is possible to change my course, but I would need to decide asap as I am due to start in a few weeks.

Any help/insights/experience would be massively appreciated!

OP posts:

Doobigetta · 07/09/2015 19:37

If you do Sociology, you'll probably get the option to do modules in gender studies, social policy, social work etc. You did at my university (Manchester) although admittedly this was 20 years ago.


ImperialBlether · 07/09/2015 19:37

You would be absolutely mad to take up a vocational degree for a job you've no intention of doing. That really would be crazy.

For many careers, a degree is a degree - it wouldn't matter what you studied as long as you did well and got good references. If you are concerned about a career you could take a joint honours, combining a 'useful' subject with an interesting subject. However, I would just do the degree I loved and focus on that for three years. If you are academic, who knows? You might go on to take an MA or a PhD.

If it's possible to change it, do it now!


lougle · 07/09/2015 19:42

Do the sociology -you could then do a 1 year SW conversion if you wanted. Or a 2 year PGDip in nursing. Or a PGCE .....basically, the BA will still open doors.


Yourethe1formefatty · 07/09/2015 19:44

Yes, do Sociology.

I did Sociology and went into research within the Civil Service. Was well paid and interesting.

Then took a career break due to small kids and did a PGCE and went into teaching.


SacredHeart · 07/09/2015 19:46

As I posted on your other thread -

I originally was looking at social work but my tutor convinced me that sociology and social policy would be a much more rewarding and interesting degree.

Moreover, social work is on the cusp of looking for a masters not BA in social work. This means that you may be on the back foot anyway on leaving uni so doing a wider degree then converting to a social work masters was a better option.

If you do decide to change I recommend adding social policy as it is the application of sociological and political theory therefore much more translatable into a job.

At the end of the day you have to do what you think is right, but the quicker you decide the better it will be for you.


LobsterQuadrille · 07/09/2015 19:49

Sociology not a professional degree?? My DD is currently doing her personal statement for a Psychology degree and we've been reading through some on-line reviewed statements for both Psychology and Sociology. My one regret career-wise was abandoning the English degree I really wanted to do in favour of a maths degree because it would be more useful in my accountancy career. Then got to the accountancy firm to find that others had done everything from English to Geography and History, and just had to do a conversion course. I'd definitely do what you love - you'll probably get a better degree because you love it.


SaltAndPepperKingPrawns · 07/09/2015 19:49

Research is something that I quite fancy but have no idea how to get into! I have had a quick google, but it's not overly clear. Honestly my brain is just going crazy with the uncertainty!

OP posts:

SonjasSister · 07/09/2015 19:51

Look at the sociology course details and checj the 'transferrable skills' if that might reasure you. Also it may well list 'destinations of our graduates'

Is your tutor from the SW course? Someone from the sociology course might say something different!


Error404usernamenotfound · 07/09/2015 19:52

I started a vocational diploma for a career that, despite my own doubts, everyone told me I'd be good at, and that even if I didn't follow through with the career it would open doors, provide transferable skills, yadda yadda...

I crashed and burned. Spectacularly. It simply didn't suit me, and trying to study for assignments and exams that I wasn't interested in was very unpleasant. In the end I dropped out, with severe consequences to my self esteem, finances, and cv.

If you are having second thoughts about the course then listen to them. Are you able to transfer to a different degree, especially as they are related? If not, perhaps defer for another year and reconsider your options. Or give it one term and see how you feel then?


Theycallmemellowjello · 07/09/2015 19:53

I think you should think about what sort of job you might want after graduation and work out what you would need to get that. I agree there's no point doing a vocational course in an area you're not interested in, but it's also true that employers might be (unfairly) snobby about gender studies.


SaltAndPepperKingPrawns · 07/09/2015 19:53

They don't do the social policy at my uni. The choice would be between:

Sociology and Criminology
Sociology and Politics
Sociology and Religious Studies
Sociology and Organisational Studies
Film and sociology

OP posts:

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary · 07/09/2015 19:54

But I don't want to be a social worker

That is the only part of your OP that really matters!! You have your whole life/career ahead of you!

I have a similar thread going to yours, OP.


ImperialBlether · 07/09/2015 19:56

My daughter took a Joint Honours with Film and it was absolutely amazing. It covered sociology, politics, anthropology etc - very academic (not practical film making) and very, very interesting.


SaltAndPepperKingPrawns · 07/09/2015 19:56

I think I know the answer.

The tutor that advised me to stick with it was the college tutor from my access course. She has a sociology degree herself, and in general I really value her opinion. She said that she knows of lots of sociology and criminology graduates working in call centres.

OP posts:

cashewnutty · 07/09/2015 19:58

I have a degree in SW. It isn't worth doing if your heart isn't in it. My DD1 did her degree in Theology (she switched from Art history) and adored it. She got a first and now works in a legal publishing company. DD2 wants to do sociology or anthropology. She is the cleverest of clever people and will probably remain in academia.

I would say to do something you love AND something you are good at (hard to know i understand but my first degree was in biochemistry which i loved but it was beyond my capability at uni and i got a rubbish grade. My second was in psychology which i excelled in then it led to my SW qualification)


SacredHeart · 07/09/2015 20:01

The problem is most call centres, shops and restaurants are full of graduates... Don't let that sway you. Most young people have degrees both vocational and not so its s bit of a moot point.

I would always go for a dual honours if you can as you get a larger breadth of knowledge. Look at which of those is most interesting to you and run with it I say.

A degree is only achievable if you have the interest and drive to do it well.


leghoul · 07/09/2015 20:01

You should do what you enjoy not what you've got a place on or sounds sensible. You won't do well if you don't enjoy it. You may not even complete it. If you don't want to be a social worker it's somewhat meaningless to get a degree in social work.
I do know the feeling though - I had an offer for oxbridge as a mature applicant but when it came down to it, I realised I wanted to do a different degree and it made no sense to spend another 3 years doing something I didn't ultimately want to do. Sure, it's been longer not accepting it and doing the different one and also with DC. But your future is the rest of your life so definitely don't do a course in something you don't completely want to do.
I find health sociology, criminology & politics quite interesting. From your options I'd do politics with it but, depends where your real interests lie. You may also find they change of course with time and reading. Good luck OP and good call.


ownerofagingerfurball · 07/09/2015 20:03

I'm in my final year of a social work degree. If you don't love it, don't do it!

It is not an easy course. And it is very difficult to stick to 3 years of hard work when you're ultimately not committed to the course.

Pick something you truly want to do - defer for another year if necessary. Don't make a rash decision and waste the £9k student tuition fee loan :-)


Foxesinmygarden · 07/09/2015 20:08

Honestly follow your heart. It's hard work studying and juggling children. You won't have much time free. You'll work harder and get more out of it if you study something you're really interested in rather than grudgingly going through the motions.

Plus the point of studying is not always to get a job, sometimes it's about finding out what you are really interested in and finding opportunities you didn't know about at the start. I studied Art History, I loved it. Hardly anyone who does art history ends up working in this area though - but it doesn't mean it's wasted time or knowledge.


TheSkiingGardener · 07/09/2015 20:26

Fuck me, do a degree in something you love and are passionate about. Don't grind out 3 years just because it might lead to a job. I did a masters in Physics. Never used it since but don't regret one single moment!


MrsGentlyBenevolent · 07/09/2015 20:37

Do a degree in what you want to, I wish I had. I know someone who has a degree in Criminology, they never had an issue getting a job. with Sociology, sounds a very interesting combo. There are enough social workers in this world, most of them seem to resent their job as it is (like many a teacher, who only do it for the vocational qualification, end up pretty bitter about it, it seems to me). Out of everyone I know who did a vocational degree - about half the people I went to uni with - only one is using their undergraduate degree and two others became teachers (I mean actually working as such, know plenty who have a PGCE and don't use it) after gaining their original degrees. Nothing is certain with University qualifications these days, even ones that promise jobs at the end.


AyeAmarok · 07/09/2015 20:51

Are you in Scotland?


Junosmum · 07/09/2015 20:52

My first degree was criminology and social policy with 2 modules of women's studies. I loved it but career prospects are dreadful. I did it because I didnt want to be a social worker. You end up being an unqualified social worker, and can't move up in to management because you don't have a professional qualification. And the pay in such roles is craps. So I went back to uni (8years later) and now have a master's in social work. I didn't plan to go into a social work department- I wanted to be a middle manager in the voluntary sector or such but I enjoyed my placement so much that I'm now a social worker for adults, and I absolutely love it.

If you do a social work degree you don't have to be a social worker. You can also write your assignments with a focus on an area you are interested in, such as women's studies. You get a degree and can do a number of jobs with it.


SaltAndPepperKingPrawns · 07/09/2015 20:57

See that's what I am afraid of Junosmum

OP posts:

SacredHeart · 07/09/2015 21:02

Look at the employability rates for your uni in those degrees, that will give you some indicator (although nothing is absolute).

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?