Choosing your degree and courses
Use our tools to choose an undergraduate degree and select what courses you'll take in your first year of study.
Everyone is different—some people study a degree to help them get a particular job, while others want to keep their options open and study something they are fascinated with. There’s no right way to approach this decision. Be sure to choose subjects and courses that you’re really interested in and excited to spend time on—you’ll always do better at what you enjoy.
How it works
Once you’ve selected your degree(s) and the subjects you want to study, you need to plan your first year. Watch the video below to find out more about how this works.
The year is divided into three trimesters—the first from March to July, the second from July to October, and the third from November to February. They are often referred to as 1/3, 2/3, and 3/3. A course usually takes one trimester to complete.
Only a small number of students choose to study in the third (or summer) trimester—most students use this time to take a break, or to work and save for their next year of study.
Top tips when planning
Choose only 100-level courses
Unless you have special permission, choose 100-level courses, these are at first-year level.
Don’t take on too much
For every hour you spend in class, you should spend around two hours working on your own. The average full-time workload is 120 points a year, although StudyLink considers 96 points the full-time requirement for allowances and Student Loan living costs.
Think carefully about your workload. The transition from school to university can be tough, and some students may benefit from taking fewer points in their first year—particularly in their first trimester.
If you plan to take a subject or course at 200-level in your second year, make sure you check what prerequisites or 100-level courses you may need to do first. You can check prerequisites in the course finder.
Step by step
- To plan your first-year programme, download our course planning template or use the copy at the back of your Guide to Undergraduate Study.
- Visit the degree pages for your chosen degree(s). Read the degree requirements, noting any rules you need to be aware of.
- Look at the required first-year courses for the major(s) and/or minor(s) you want to do. Normally, making sure you follow the first step of the major requirements for a given subject will mean you can progress in this subject to 200-level in your second year. Check the course finder for prerequisites for 200-level and 300-level courses.
- Explore subject areas to find out more about the courses you can select for your major(s) and/or minor(s). For example, what are the first-year HIST courses, and which courses sound interesting to you?
- Put together a balanced programme—this will normally mean taking three or four courses in both Trimester 1 and Trimester 2.
Build your timetable
From October, you’ll be able to check your courses for the next year using the course finder.
Download the programme timetable planner to organise your timetable. Make sure you don’t have two classes scheduled at the same time.
Send us your course plan by email to firstname.lastname@example.org before you apply to enrol and we will double check you have it right.