Subjects Oxbridge Interviews

The course you choose to study is without a doubt the most important decision you will make during the application process. After all, the primary reason you go to university is to study, and at Oxford and Cambridge in particular, your degree will take up a much larger proportion of your time than elsewhere.

So what should you study? Some of you may know already, but for many, selecting a degree course can be a tough choice. Here are some key things to consider:

1. What have you studied before?

An obvious starting point, though by no means a necessarily decisive factor, is to look at what you know, and what you have studied before. It is a lot easier to get a sense of whether you will enjoy studying, for example, Chemistry, at university if you have studied it at A-level.

That having been said, there are many courses on offer at Oxford and Cambridge that in all likelihood you will probably never have studied before (Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic immediately springs to mind), and these should by no means be ruled out on the basis of unfamiliarity. Instead you can use similar subjects you have studied to get a sense of what new subjects might be like. For instance, with the above example your experience studying a modern language might help inform your choice.

2. Course Content

This really ought to go without saying, as even within the same subject division, different courses can vary so massively as to almost be unrecognisable from each other. Geography is a great example of this. Within the multitude of undergraduate Geography degrees out there, there will be those with an explicitly scientific focus, and those with a social scientific focus. Whereas one degree might be oriented around geographical skills and areas such as climatology, glacial geography and tectonics, others might simply be all about Foucault… Make sure you look carefully through the course outline, at whether there are any compulsory papers, the content of each paper and the scope of choice available. Do not assume your chosen subject at degree level will be the same as at A-level.

3.Career Prospects

For some careers, a specific degree, accredited by the relevant professional body, is required. If you are pursuing a career as a doctor, for example, you have to study Medicine. However, most courses on offer at Oxbridge would not be described as vocational in this sense, and as such will not necessarily exclude you from a particular career path.

Amongst our interviewers, we have Classicists who are now Lawyers, Biologists who now work in PR, and Computer Scientists who are now Management Consultants. Even in those disciplines that require a specific course, such as Law, there are several ways of getting into this career with conversion courses and post-graduate study, so don’t feel your options are limited.

4. What are you good at?

Play to your strengths. This is as important for actually getting a place to begin with as it is for your experience of the undergraduate course once you’ve arrived. If you’ve consistently attained top marks in English, and have been encouraged by your teachers to pursue it, it might be worth considering. Equally, if you only got a B in Maths at AS Level, it may ultimately make more sense to apply to a different subject. Most applicants tend to be strong in all areas, but if you do have particular strengths and weaknesses, it pays to be aware of them.

5. What are you passionate about?

    Even factoring in the other considerations, above all you should choose something you love. Oxford and Cambridge are looking for the most intelligent and passionate individuals. They want people who are fascinated by their subject, and who they will enjoy teaching. You will come across much better in interview if you are speaking about a subject you have a passion for.

    The other thing to consider is that you will spend three years studying this subject, and trust me at Oxbridge you spend a lot of time on it! It will make that 3am essay crisis a lot easier to deal with if you find the subject matter interesting. So be pragmatic up to a point, but above all do something you will enjoy. It’s your life, after all.

    Good luck!


    HSPS

    HSPS

    Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) includes the study of Politics, International Relations, Sociology, and Anthropology. It's a multidisciplinary degree that students can tailor to them.
    CAAH

    CAAH

    Classical Archaeology and Ancient History is a discipline that combines the study of the history, archaeology and art of the classical world. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Oriental Studies

    Oriental Studies

    Oriental Studies is a unique course amongst the humanities in introducing students to civilisations that are different from the Western ones that form the basis of the curriculum in most British schools and colleges. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study Oriental Studies, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Computer Science

    Computer Science

    Studying Computer Science undergraduate is about understanding computer systems and networks at a deep level. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study Computer Science, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Psychology

    Psychology

    Psychology combines cognitive, social, developmental and biological disciplines to study human behaviour. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study Psychology, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Engineering

    Engineering

    Engineering applies creative reasoning, science and maths to a diverse range of subjects. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study Engineering, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    PPE

    PPE

    Philosophy, Politics and Economics brings together some of the most topical disciplines to understand better how societies and individuals function. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University to study PPE, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Land Economy

    Land Economy

    Land Economy combines the study of law and economics alongside a consideration of the relationship between built and natural environments. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Cambridge University to study Land Economy, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Languages

    Languages

    Languages at university provides practial training in written and spoken forms as well as the opportuntiy to study a broad range of literature and history. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study Langauges, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Theology

    Theology

    Theology explores the intellectual underpinning of religious traditions, and the social and cultural contexts for religious belief. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Cambridge and Oxford universities to study Theology, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Biology

    Biology

    Biology is a rapidly developing subject that is preoccupied with the study of living things. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University to study Biology, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.
    Chemistry

    Chemistry

    Chemistry is concerned with the deep study of matter on an atomic and molecular level. Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University to study Chemistry, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your application.