School subjects and career ideas

Pupil in a science labLove history, great at maths or is art and design your favourite subject? Check out careers linked to school and college subjects - log into Careers Info and enter 'career ideas' in the search to find 26 subject leaflets from animal care or engineering to media studies or sciences and more.

Find out as much as you can and think about...

  • whether or not you need the subject
  • having a good spread of subjects to keep your options open
  • your ability to cope with the study, you need at least a grade 4 or C at GCSE to study some subjects after Year 11. You will probably work harder and do better if you like a subject.

Core subjects

Most students will have to study the core subjects of English, maths and science. Subjects like physical education, citizenship and sex and relationship education are also usually taken by all students but you don't have to take an exam in them. You will also get the chance to choose optional subjects that lead to a qualification.

English and maths - good grades (grade C or grade 4) in English are important to all employers. You can study both English and English literature. Maths is important for many jobs, from giving change in a shop or working out how much paint is needed to decorate a room.

Functional Skills - are part of maths, English and ICT GCSEs and show that you can use these subjects in practical situations.

Science - most science A levels need you to have studied them at GCSE and obtain grade 5 or 6 or above (or grade B or above). A levels biology, physics or chemistry, usually need you to have at least two science GCSEs. Science degrees and careers are strict about the level and subjects you have to study. If you have to take Applied Science A level because you haven't done single science GCSEs, you may have to do a foundation year or year zero before your degree. Science is needed for careers in primary teaching, healthcare professions, engineering, construction, food and drink manufacturing and laboratory research.

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