The Sims 4 University Degrees, Careers and Distinguished Degrees in the Discover University expansion explained

Swot up on how to get the most out of your university education.

The Sims 4 University Degrees is the focal point of Discover University, the late 2019 expansion pack for the ever-popular life simulation game.

Having it installed means your Sims can finally enrol in university and work towards their goal of graduating with a degree that will give them a leg-up in their careers!

This page explains the many University Degrees and University Careers available, which one is right for your Sim, and how to get a Distinguished Degree.

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Looking for more The Sims 4 help? Read how to become a Mermaid in The Sims 4, everything you need to know about Spellcasters as well as our The Sims 4 cheats to help fast track you to various aspects of the game.

University Degrees, Careers and Distinguished Degrees in The Sims 4: Discover University explained

The new world of Britechester introduced in the pack is a traditional college town that is home to two centres of higher learning, alike in dignity but with very different histories, aesthetics, and expertise.

University of Britechester is a venerable institution specialising in the arts and humanities, while Foxbury Institute is a newer but no less prestigious seat of learning with a particular focus on science and technology.

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In Discover University there are thirteen degrees to choose from. Both University of Britechester and Foxbury Institute offer all thirteen subjects to study, but with their respective specialisms in arts and sciences, there are differences between the quality of the degrees on offer.

The degrees particularly associated with each school's specialisms are known as 'distinguished degrees'. While earning a degree from either institution will greatly benefit your Sim's career prospects, graduating with a distinguished degree will give your Sim an extra advantage.

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However, distinguished degrees also carry higher entry requirements, and being accepted onto one is not guaranteed.

Each university also has three organisations that are only open to students at that institution. Choosing to join these student societies and attend their events confers benefits such as gaining extra credit for associated classes; increasing skill development; and unlocking unique social interactions, clothing and decorative items, and free skill-building objects.

University Degrees and Distinguished Degrees list

The following outlines the degrees and organisations on offer at the two universities:

University of Britechester degrees list

Distinguished DegreesOther DegreesOrganisationsOrganisation Theme
Art History Biology Art Society Creative skills
Communications Computer Science Britcechester Spirit Corps General (school pride and sports team)
Culinary Arts Economics The Debate Guild Research and Debate skill
Drama Physics
Fine Art Psychology
History Villainy
Language and Literature

Foxbury Institute degrees list

Distinguished DegreesOther DegreesOrganisationsOrganisation Theme
Biology Art History The Brainiacs Mental skills
Computer Science Communications Bot Savants Robotics skill
Economics Culinary Arts Foxbury Spirit Squad General (school pride and sports team)
Physics Drama
Psychology Fine Art
Villainy History
Language and Literature

How to apply to and enrol in a university in The Sims 4

To apply to university, click on a computer and select 'University > Apply to Universities'. Your Sim's application will automatically be considered for all degree subjects by both University of Britechester and Foxbury Institute.

After one to two in-game days, your acceptance letter will arrive in your household mailbox, informing you of which degrees you have been accepted onto at each university. You can also check back in on your application status using the computer, which can potentially give you an earlier answer.

Once you have received news of your acceptance, you can enrol in university using the computer, mailbox, or cell phone.

How to choose a suitable University Degree to suit your Sim's skills and career in The Sims 4

Perhaps you already have a vocation in mind for your Sim: either because their Aspiration requires them to pursue a specific career, or just because you've got a story you want to tell for that particular character.

On the other hand, maybe you haven't decided everything about their future yet, but have an idea of what skills you'd like them to focus on. Or maybe you've already got your Sim's ideal degree subject in mind, but aren't sure what to do after graduation.

The table below shows every degree subject in Discover University alongside the skills it develops, and the careers it allows graduates improved access to.

DegreeCore skillsCareers (Discover University)Careers (base game) Careers (other packs)
Art History Charisma N/A Painter - Patron of the Arts branch Critic - Arts Critic branch (City Living)
Painting Style Influencer - Trend Setter branch
Writing
Biology Fitness N/A Athlete - Bodybuilder branch Doctor (Get to Work)
Gardening Gardener - Botanist branch (Seasons)
Logic Conservationist - Marine Biologist branch (Island Living)
Communications Charisma N/A Business - Management branch Social Media - Public Relations branch (City Living)
Logic Writer - Journalist branch
Writing
Computer Science Programming Engineer - Computer Engineer branch Criminal - Oracle branch N/A
Robotics Freelancer - Programmer branch
Tech Guru - Start-Up Entrepreneur branch
Culinary Arts Cooking N/A Culinary - Chef branch Critic - Food Critic branch (City Living)
Drama Charisma N/A Entertainer - Comedian branch Social Media - Internet Personality branch (City Living)
Comedy Actor (Get Famous)
Economics Charisma Education - Administrator branch Business - Investor branch Conservationist - Environmental Manager branch (Island Living)
Logic
Research and Debate
Fine Art Painting N/A Entertainer - Musician branch Gardener - Floral Designer branch (Seasons)
Photography Freelancer - Digital Artist branch Freelancer - Fashion Photographer branch (Moschino Stuff)
Violin Painter - Master of the Real branch
Style Influencer - Stylist branch
History Charisma Law - Judge branch N/A Politician - Politician branch (City Living)
Logic Military - Officer branch (StrangerVille)
Research and Debate
Language and Literature Charisma Law - Private Attourney branch Freelancer - Writer branch N/A
Research and Debate Writer - Author branch
Writing
Physics Handiness Engineer - Mechanical Engineer branch Astronaut - Space Ranger branch Scientist (Get to Work)
Robotics
Rocket Science
Psychology Charisma Education - Professor branch Secret Agent - Diamond Agent branch Detective (Get to Work)
Logic Military - Covert Operator branch (StrangerVille)
Research and Debate
Villainy Fitness N/A Astronaut - Interstellar Smuggler branch N/A
Logic Criminal - Boss branch
Mischief Secret Agent - Villain branch

Note: Careers listed under 'other packs' require you to have separately bought and installed the relevant add-on pack in order to access them after graduation. All core skills developed as part of a degree are from either the base game or Discover University. If you have other packs installed, elective (optional) classes are available upon enrollment for many skills added in those packs, which contribute grades and credit towards your degree.

Extracurricular career benefits

Keen-eyed Simmers may have noticed that there are three career branches from the base game that have no associated degree:

  • Athlete - Professional Athlete branch
  • Culinary - Mixologist branch
  • Tech Guru - eSports Gamer branch

However, budding Pro Athletes and eSports Gamers should still consider enrolling in university, as participating in the Soccer Team Player and E-Sports Competitor extracurricular activities will respectively provide the same benefits as a degree for these careers.

Your Sim just needs to be enrolled at either university studying any degree in order to access these activities, which can be joined by "Searching for Job" on a phone - they're under the After School Activity category, and basically function like a part-time job (but unpaid, of course).

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Aspiring Mixologists hoping that there are similar non-academic benefits to university are, unfortunately, out of luck. It seems that in the world of The Sims 4, Mixology is the only career that's considered a full-time vocation and yet not at all an academic pursuit.

(Which is potentially a bit hurtful to all the professional bartenders out there... especially when even career criminals are having their dreams taken seriously.)

What are the benefits of getting a University Degree in The Sims 4?

After they graduate with a degree, embarking upon any of the associated careers listed above will allow your Sim to enjoy a series of perks, namely: higher pay; easier promotions thanks to increased performance; more vacation days; and a signing bonus (up to one per in-game week if you choose to change careers). If only the real-life graduate job market was this good.

Your graduate Sim will also have the opportunity to enter those careers at a higher level: in most cases, this means being able to choose a career branch straight away.

Ordinarily, in most careers a Sim would choose their branch somewhere between promotion levels 5-8, after working their way up from the generic entry level; but since degrees are branch-specific, having one allows you to start at the point where your education can begin to pay off immediately.

Note: Having a degree does not provide any career benefits for the following alternative money-making pursuits:

  • Part-time jobs from the base game (Babysitter, Barista, Fast Food Employee, Manual Labourer, Retail Employee) or the Island Living expansion pack (Diver, Fisherman, Lifeguard)
  • Sims who register as self-employed and/or sell items they've produced (e.g. paintings, harvested plants, etc.)
  • Sims who operate their own business (i.e. retail store from Get to Work, restaurant from Dine Out, or veterinary clinic from Cats and Dogs)
  • Sims who earn money via the Odd Jobs system introduced in Island Living.

Your Sim is still free to pursue these occupations after graduation, but won't receive any degree-related bonuses for doing so... except for the friends you made along the way and the lifetime of happy memories, of course.

What are the benefits of Distinguished Degrees and Honours Degrees in The Sims 4?

Whether or not your Sim got a distinguished degree and whether or not they graduated with honours (a final GPA of 3.9 or higher) determines the extent of their career bonuses.

There are some slight variations but, as a general rule, an ordinary degree without honours allows the graduate to begin a related career around level 6; an ordinary degree with honours, or a distinguished degree without honours, lets them start around level 7; and a distinguished degree with honours gives them the best opportunity, allowing them to jump right in at around level 8.

Other starting bonuses, such as pay and holidays, also enjoy accompanying increases.

How to get accepted onto a Distinguished Degree in The Sims 4

On the one hand, getting accepted into university in The Sims 4 is actually pretty easy: pay your seventy-five simoleon application fee, and your chances of acceptance are nigh-on guaranteed.

But, of course, there's a catch. You may have been accepted onto the ordinary degree courses offered at both institutions; but if you want to access each school's distinguished degrees and reap the greater benefits they offer, there are actual entry requirements beyond paying your application fees - which is something they don't tell you up front.

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To make matters worse, your rejection letter won't include any specific instructions, instead just advising you in vague terms to either accept a place on an 'undistinguished' degree, or else work on your skills and try again.

Hint: To avoid your Sim getting hit with the 'Undistinguished' moodlet (which will boost the Sad emotional state), ensure that they're likely to meet the criteria for acceptance onto at least one distinguished degree before applying to university.

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An obvious place to start is by improving the core skills associated with your chosen degree; however, things are not as straightforward as you might think. There are a lot of skills in The Sims 4 (39 for the teen and older life stages at the time of writing), and proficiency in many of them will get your Sim some way closer to being accepted onto a distinguished degree.

Skill-based improvements to distinguished degree applications come in two varieties:

  • Base skills (which are often, but not always, the core skills for the degree itself), which provide growing benefits to the application as the skill increases. Work on building these skills to at least levels 3, 5, or 9 to enjoy ever greater improvements on your chances. Note: Due to being capped at level 5, the Photography skill will increase base skill improvements at levels 2, 3, and 5 instead.
  • Bonus skills (including several skills added in expansion/game packs other than Discover University), which provide a one-time boost once a low level (usually 3) is reached.

Progress towards a distinguished degree admission, including which skills are useful to improve, is hidden in-game and can't be tracked; so it's useful to plan ahead using a guide. For full details of which skills improve chances of acceptance onto distinguished degrees, see the table below:

Distinguished DegreeBase SkillsBonus Skills
Art History Charisma Photography
Painting Archaeology (Jungle Adventure)
Writing Selvadoran Culture (Jungle Adventure)
Biology Fitness Wellness (Spa Day)
Gardening Veterinarian (Cats and Dogs)
Logic
Communications Charisma Research and Debate
Logic Parenting (Parenthood)
Writing
Computer Science Mischief Rocket Science
Programming
Robotics
Culinary Arts Baking (Get to Work) -
Cooking
Gourmet Cooking
Drama Acting (Get Famous) Fitness
Charisma
Comedy
Economics Charisma -
Logic
Research and Debate
Fine Art Painting Piano
Photography Pipe Organ (Vampires)
Violin
History Charisma Archaeology (Jungle Adventure)
Logic Selvadoran Culture (Jungle Adventure)
Research and Debate
Language and Literature Charisma Vampire Lore (Vampires)
Research and Debate
Writing
Physics Handiness Logic
Robotics
Rocket Science
Psychology Charisma Mischief
Logic Parenting (Parenthood)
Research and Debate Acting (Get Famous)
Villainy Fitness Vampire Lore (Vampires)
Logic
Mischief

The distinguished degree application is not awarded on a pass/fail basis, and therefore there's always an element of chance involved in getting accepted. Nevertheless, building your Sim's relevant skills to a high level dramatically improves the odds, to the point where you'd be very unlucky not to be accepted.

Hint: There's no denying that there are some odd omissions here: for example, why does the Guitar skill not improve a Fine Arts degree application, when all other musical instrument skills do - even the freaking Pipe Organ?!

Fear not: if your Sim has already put in their ten thousand hours perfecting the Guitar skill (or on nearly any other skill that doesn't directly affect distinguished degrees, such as Fishing or Video Gaming), you can still put it to good use by applying for a skill-based scholarship instead. Only two skills in the fully-expanded game (Dancing from Get Together and Media Production from Get Famous) have no effect on either distinguished degree or scholarship applications.

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Other factors which influence acceptance onto Distinguished Degrees in The Sims 4

Teen Sims who are hoping to enrol in university upon reaching young adulthood would understandably do well to keep an eye on their grades.

'A' students are more likely than their peers to be accepted onto a distinguished degree course; while leaving high school with a 'C' grade or lower actually has a detrimental effect on the chances of distinguished admission.

Additionally, with the Get Famous expansion pack installed, there are a couple of, let's say, 'unofficial' things you can do to increase your chances of being accepted onto a distinguished degree:

  • Flaunt Fame: If Sim is a celebrity, you can use this interaction (found on the cell phone menu under the 'Work' tab) to attempt to influence the admissions committee into a favourable decision. Success improves your chance as much as relevant a low-level skill would, but failure will lower your odds to a bit below the baseline.
  • Make a "Donation": Alternatively, if your Sim is both famous and wealthy, they can skip the niceties and just try to bribe their way onto a distinguished degree. This costs 2,000 simoleons and, unlike the Flaunt Fame interaction, can be used to benefit anyone in your household, not just the Sim making the call. Success gives a huge boost to your chances of admission, but failure is hugely detrimental... you are trying to buy the integrity of the admissions panel, after all.
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Then again, if you're too poor, obscure, and/or honest to try underhanded means to get what you want, you can always change universities down the line.

This will cause some loss of progress; but it will allow your Sim to start their university career right away regardless of their existing skills, and still earn their way onto a distinguished degree down the line.

Changing universities can be done upon re-enrollment after completing a term. After using the computer, phone, or mailbox to re-enrol, simply click the back arrow on the 'Degree Selection' page to return to 'Select a University'.

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Our The Sims 4 cheats can help you fast travel your way to all sorts of bonuses in the game. Meanwhile, if you have expansions, we can help with how to become a Mermaid, how to become a Spellcaster and University Degrees and Distinguished Degrees.


Should you go to University without a Distinguished Degree?

Distinguished degrees may carry a little extra prestige, but don't despair if your Sim doesn't make the cut. Being accepted onto a regular degree is almost a certainty, and there is nothing wrong with studying Computer Science at UBrite or Art History at Foxbury, for example.

You'll still come out with a degree that gives you a significant (though slightly smaller) head start in any associated careers; and though you might not find a student society quite so tailored to your interests at a university geared towards a different skill set, both schools have a Spirit organisation that can be enjoyed by anyone.

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So if you're mainly interested in the social side of university life, or if you're quite content with the benefits you'll receive just from having graduated, there's no need to wait until you get onto a distinguished degree. Go ahead and enrol right away!

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