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'Choosing a course to study at Northumbria' Help Guide

Imogen Smith-Evans Study

So you’ve visited a Northumbria open day, you're amazed by the facilities, fallen in love with Newcastle as a city, persuaded your parents to pay more for ensuite accommodation and have set your heart on Northumbria as your perfect University…. But there’s just one problem - what course do you choose to study???


With over 470 courses available to choose from at Northumbria it’s no wonder many of us arrive at this crossroads not knowing which way to turn. But don’t panic, you’re not alone in this dilemma - I felt the same way when I began my University journey four years ago and I’m now at the other end of the road with advice for you on how to pick the perfect course.


1) - The first thing to consider is the subject area

 You can significantly narrow down your decision by focusing on a key subject area.  Some of you might have always had a clear subject in mind such as History, Sports, Maths or Science. But for those of you still caught up in the fog, I suggest you think about what subjects you enjoyed at school or what subjects you’ve always achieved good grades in.

My best advice to you is to pick a subject you are happy to get up with a hangover to learn about. For me, this led to two obvious subject - either business or graphic design.  I enjoyed studying business at A level, my teacher was amazing and I was predicted an A. I also loved graphics, I enjoyed the creative aspect of the subject and working on different projects.


2) – Consider the career potential of the subject

 So I had two subjects I really wanted to study at Northumbria. The next task for me was identifying out of the two subjects which one would be the best for me.

 Note: If you have your heart set on more than one subject you can always look into a combined course. These course options are designed to combine different subjects to give students a broader learning experience.

Example: History and Politics, Drama and English Literature

 I started to look into the kinds of jobs I could go into with a degree in each subject area and found business to be the most employable and broad. I also looked into the kinds of facilities Northumbria provided for each subject and instantly fell in love with the Business School, which has a global reputation and has won numerous awards.


3) – Identify the best course for you

 So that was it. I had made my mind up. I was going to Northumbria to study Business.  I then started to look into the business courses available and was blow away by the variety. It seemed at Northumbria you could study business with just about any other subject attached: Business and marketing, Business and HR, Business and finance, Business and International Management, Business and Law… the list goes on!

Having only just scraped a C at GCSE Maths, I knew Business and Finance or Accounting were NOT the courses for me. I then thought about marketing, as I knew this area of business would allow me to utilise my creativity. I also loved the idea of studying International Business, as the course required you to complete a semester studying abroad. However, the course also requires students to study a language and I hated learning French and Spanish at school so quickly crossed this option out.

Finally, I arrived at Business Management. The modules covered in the course span a wide spectrum, which I thought was really important for developing a wide range of business skills. I realised I really didn’t want to pick a specific course such as marketing and then after a few years decide this was not the area of business I wanted to pursue.

Note: If you do find yourself in a position where after a year of studying a course you decide it is not the right one for you, it is possible to switch. This is, however, a complicated process and may mean you have to go back a year.

The Business Management program stood out for me as the course allows you to specialise in a key area (Marketing, Finance etc) in your final year, so I knew I could specialise in marketing later on.  You can also specialise in Entrepreneurship and set up your own company in your final year, which is something that I think is a great and unique opportunity.

I also noticed the program was listed as a ‘sandwich course’ – (I know, what the heck does this mean?) – A sandwich course offers a placement year, so students can take a year out to work in industry and significantly build their employability skills. This is something I would definitely recommend, as employers are increasing looking for graduates who can demonstrate practical skills earned through work placements.

Another great aspect of the course is the opportunities to study abroad. If, like me, you have the travel bug then this is great, as on any of the business courses you have the option to study abroad for up to three semesters in three different countries – AMAZING! 



So if at this point you’re thinking WOW, The Northumbria Business School is great! Then imagine how excited you are going to be when I say I haven’t even told you the best bit? - If you’re like me and you’ve heard of this ‘little’ thing called a dissertation that requires you to write a 10,000 detailed report and you’ve completely freaked out and thought ‘Oh no! I might just skip University instead’, then don’t panic! At Northumbria, business students also have the option to complete an ‘Undergraduate Consultancy Project’ instead. This program is weighted the same as a dissertation but alternatively students work with real life companies for four months to help implement and suggest improved methods of operational practice. 

So that was it, the decision made, I went off to Newcastle to join Northumbria’s Business school in September 2013 and have never had any regrets since. I am now in my final year of the Business Management course and can happily look back at my previous 18-year-old self with complete satisfaction and say well done, you made the right decision!

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