23 Apr 2015

Q&A: What if I Wish to Pursue a Degree Unrelated to My Diploma?

Question: I have just graduated from polytechnic and I no longer want to continue studying in the field on which my diploma is based. What should I do if I wish to pursue a degree that is completely unrelated to my diploma?

Answer: It is not uncommon for people to pursue their university studies in an unrelated discipline. After spending three years of your life studying about a certain field, you may discover that your passions lie elsewhere. A change of direction can indeed be beneficial for you. However, consider the following things before embarking on a new path.  

Inability to Transfer Credits

One of the advantages that polytechnic graduates have is the ability to make use of advanced standing and credit transfer to cut down on the time they have to spend in university. Most schools will allow you to reduce the number of units you need to take in order to graduate because the modules you’ve taken in polytechnic are seen as suitable substitutes.

However, if you choose to pursue a completely unrelated discipline, you will not be able to take advantage of this. In all likelihood, you’ve also used one more year to complete your pre-university qualifications compared to your peer from junior college. So before you decide on switching to another course in university, consider if you can afford this lost time. 


Another thing to keep in mind is the difficulty of entering the course of your choice. For example, most science-related degrees require you to have some sort of scientific background. These are the sort of restrictions that you have to take into consideration.

If you are still eager to pursue courses that you do not qualify for, then be aware that you are going to have to work hard. Do research on all the schools that offer your desired course, determine what prerequisites are necessary, and then find out how you are able to fulfil them. This is a lot of information that you have to process, so you might want to make a spreadsheet for easy reference.

Convince Yourself

Find out if you really want to go ahead with this new direction in life. After all, you have spent three years studying something that you no longer want to, can you be sure that it won’t happen again? This is not something to be taken lightly, so don’t make decisions based on whatever tickles your fancy at the moment.

Find out as much information as you can so that you can be sure. Take up a part-time job in the field you’re interested in, talk to people you know who’ve been through the course and invest more time on researching online. Do everything in your power to make sure that this is really what you want. For all you know, you might actually want to continue your education with a related degree, but might have just been burnt out on studying in general.

So take a long and hard look at yourself, bring up all doubts you might have and address all of them. This way, you’ll be in better standing when you finally make your decision.