What can I do with a University Studies degree?

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crossroads1Amanda from the University of Texas at Arlington asked:

What can I do with a degree in University Studies?

Dear Amanda,

You ask a good question regarding a degree that offers many options and is flexible, by design.

You do not, however, say whether you are considering a major in university studies or you are about to graduate with this degree. This is an important distinction. If you are considering it as a major, now is a time to think carefully about what it is you might want to do with such a degree.

If you have already chosen this major and will soon graduate, this is a time to reflect back on what your primary concentrations were, your favorite classes, and your relevant work experience.

Just getting started?

If you are considering university studies as your major, the concentrations you choose will be influential in how you will use your degree when you finish. Depending on the area of emphasis in your studies, you may prepare for a career in health care, government, business, banking, sales, social work, or a number of other options, including the pursuit of further education. Find out what the specific options are for concentrations at your university by talking to your academic and career advisors. Talk to  faculty members and other students as you consider how the different possibilities resonate with your interests.  Make you choice as informed as you can, knowing that few decisions are irreversible. Going forward, seek relevant internships or summer jobs, and you will begin to create a path to your future career.

Getting ready to graduate?

If you are about you graduate, you already have selected your concentrations. You may also have some relevant work experience or internships that point you in a particular direction. Coursework that you most enjoyed may offer insight into the kind of work that will become your passion. Use these factors to develop your own career goals. With almost any degree, the job seeker must define and market his or her own attributes and skills. Emphasis areas in university studies degrees vary greatly and make it all the more important for each individual to market themself to potential employers. If your coursework and experience tell a clearly understandable story to employers, your job is easier. If not, yourjob is more difficult. You will need to write your own story; that is, you need to make yourself understandable to potential employers.

If you haven’t done so before, now is the time to get really clear about what you want and what you can offer to your future employer, including knowledge, abilities, experience and enthusiasm. Only you can define your future.

Either way …

If you are considering a degree in university studies or have chosen that major, it could be that you have had difficulty from the beginning deciding on your future career path. When the time is near for such decisions, it can be daunting. Remember that you need only take one step at a time and you will be less likely to get overwhelmed. Choose your major; collect information; then choose your concentrations.

Focus on finding your first job. The first job will likely not be your last. It is simply a beginning and will give you a stronger base as you hone your interests and navigate the lifelong journey of career development on which you are about to embark.

The fact that you are already willing to find new resources and ask questions (as you are now) shows that you are proactive about exploring your future.  You are on the right track!

Best of luck to you!


Stacy SAbout the Author: Career Coach-in-Training Stacy Sakoulas has a long-time gift for seeing the good in others and a passion for helping others to be the best they can be.  She has 20+ years experience in coaching others through her work as a manager, recruiter, mother, and parochial school board vice-president.  Most recently she has worked privately as a college coach to help students select the right college and is currently working in Human Resources Professional Development, helping business professionals further their careers.  In August 2014, she will graduate with a M.A. in College Student Development with particular interests in career counseling and male student development.

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