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University and Your Future: Career Planning and Making the Most of Your Degree

Identify your strengths and learn how to use your time at university to explore career options and prepare for future job roles.

University and Your Future: Career Planning and Making the Most of Your Degree

Discover how university can form the foundations of your future career

This course will help you to identify ways university can help you work towards your career goals, whatever degree you choose.

You’ll learn how engaging with opportunities on offer at university will benefit you in the future and what you can do to maximise your time at university.

Feel empowered to make informed decisions around your degree choices and career options

The pressure to know what you ‘should’ be doing with your life when school ends can be overwhelming. However, the majority of people – including those who have chosen to study for a degree – do not have clear plans.

This course is designed to help you feel more confident to make decisions about your future study and career plans. You’ll learn that a lack of certainty about career plans is normal, and explore ways to take concrete action to build a foundation for future success.

Identify your strengths and discover modern career theories

Using research-backed career planning and decision-making theories, you’ll learn how to reflect on your own strengths and career goals to decide if studying for a degree is right for you and, if it is, how you can maximise your time at university.

You’ll also explore the practical ways a degree can influence your personal development, without subscribing to the need for a predetermined life or career goal.

Discover the benefits of gaining professional experience through placements

The course also examines the value of gaining professional experience as a means of developing your knowledge and deciding which career trajectory to pursue.

You’ll explore the options of placements and other employability activities that may help you reach your career goals faster and feel inspired to maximise any opportunities that come your way whilst at university.


  • Week 1

    Career theories, your strengths and you

    • Getting started

      This activity will introduce you to the course and its approach.

    • Understanding strengths

      In this activity you will learn how to identify your strengths using the theory of 'visible and invisible strengths'.

    • Understanding career theories

      In this activity you will be introduced to different career theories and how they can help you.

    • Career theory in action

      In this activity, you will learn how the broad theoretical frameworks of career theory that we have discussed can be applied to real-life situations.

    • Week 1 review

      In this activity you will review the week's learning.

  • Week 2

    Making the most of university

    • What can I do at university?

      This activity will introduce you to the kinds of things you can do at university to create your own future.

    • Networking

      This activity will demystify networking and help you get started.

    • Creating an action plan

      This activity will take you through the steps in creating an action plan.

    • Course review

      In this activity you will review what you've learned.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on your own strengths
  • Apply some common career theories to your own context
  • Evaluate ways to maximise your time before and during university to achieve your career goals
  • Describe how a placement year and/or other employability activities can support your career success
  • Develop your own portfolio of activities to investigate your options for future decisions
  • Create an action plan for personal and professional development

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone applying (or considering applying) to university as an undergraduate or postgraduate who would like to reflect on their options and identify how studying for a degree could provide a solid foundation for career planning and thinking, through engaging with a wide variety of activities.

The course will help anyone unsure whether university is right for them to identify how to make the most of a degree to better their employability after graduation.

It will be useful for applicants to undergraduate courses as well as those considering postgraduate study, particularly international students, where engagement in career thinking before they arrive in the UK is key to future career success.

Who will you learn with?

I am a careers adviser in higher education, and a lifelong learner. I work at the University of Surrey. I believe in encouraging potential and possibility, and sustainable futures.

Emma has been a university Careers Adviser for 14 years. She’s passionate about helping people to find fulfilling work that allow them to live the lives they want

Who developed the course?

University of Surrey

The University of Surrey is a global community of ideas and people, dedicated to life-changing education and research. Surrey empowers students for personal and professional success by providing exceptional teaching and practical learning.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Join this course

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  • Access to this course for 4 weeks



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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible


$279.99 for one year

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