Choosing a stream of subjects for Class 11 and 12 is the first of many big career decisions you will be making in your life. After having studied a variety of subjects for your entire school career, the time has come to select a specific stream that suits your interests, capabilities and career goals.
Even if you haven’t identified any particular career goal so far, don’t worry, there is still plenty of time for that. Selecting a stream is comparatively easier than selecting a career, but making a careful choice is still important as your stream can influence your career.
There are 3 main streams available after Class 10, namely Science, Commerce and Humanities/Arts, and each stream has a distinct methodology, choice of subjects and career options. While Science is based on the theory and application of scientific concepts, Commerce is focused on trade and business, and Humanities is based on the liberal arts.
Recommended Read: Stream Selection in Class 11: A Detailed Look Into All 3 Streams
Science Stream Subjects after Class 10th
The science stream is further divided into 2 branches, namely medical (PCB) and non-medical (PCM) science stream.
The difference between the two lies in the choice of the third subject. While Physics and Chemistry are compulsory for both, the medical stream offers Biology as the 3rd compulsory subject, and the non-medical stream offers Mathematics. English is common to all streams and students can take up any optional subject to meet a total of 5 subjects.
Here is a detailed look into the compulsory subjects in the Science stream:
Physics is among the oldest academic fields in the world and is the science of matter, motion, energy, and force. It focuses on understanding how the universe behaves. Advances in the field of physics enable advancements in technologies, such as the study of electromagnetism, thermodynamics, mechanics, nuclear physics and solid-state physics.
Studying physics at Class 11-12 level will help you develop observational, analytical, investigatory and decision making skills, along with conceptual understanding, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Examples of a few topics you will study are:
- Laws of Motion
- Electromagnetic Waves
- Electronic Devices
After studying physics there are a variety of career options available, including working as a physicist, astronaut, data scientist, technician, and engineer.
Read more: Career In Physics In India
Everything in the universe is made out of atoms and matter, and the study of Chemistry is based on the study of the composition, properties, and structure of matter, including atomic structure and the changes influenced by chemical reactions.
New areas in chemistry, such as synthetic materials, natural resources, biomolecules, and industrial chemistry are also included in the course at the Class 11-12 level, ensuring that you get a thorough understanding of Chemistry fundamentals and contemporary developments. Practical lab experiments further serve to support your theoretical studies.
Examples of topics you will study are:
- Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure
- Chemical Thermodynamics
- Organic Chemistry
- Chemical Kinetics
- Surface Chemistry
Career options after studying chemistry include working in research, pharmaceuticals, healthcare as lab scientists, chemical engineers, biochemists, flavour chemists, analytical chemists, etc.
Recommended Read: Chemistry Vs. Chemical Engineering: How Do the Two Fields Differ?
The term ‘Biology’ is derived from the Greek language, with ‘bios’ meaning life and ‘logos’ meaning study, literally translating into the study of life forms. And that’s exactly what biology is. Biology studies living organisms – plants and animals – including facets such as their physical structures, physiological mechanisms, chemical processes, molecular interactions, and development and evolution.
The subject of Biology at the Class 11-12 level focuses on providing a firm conceptual basis while also connecting the study of the subject with real-life technology, environment, agriculture, health, and industry.
Examples of topics you will study are:
- Structural Organisation in Plants and Animals
- Cell: Structure and Function
- Plant Physiology
- Human Physiology
- Genetics and Evolution
- Biotechnology and its Applications
Career opportunities after studying Biology are immense, including the most popular path of Medicine, whether MBBS or Ayurveda or Homeopathy. Apart from medicine, you can pursue a variety of career paths such as biotechnology, dentistry, veterinary sciences, pharmaceuticals, botany, zoology, marine biology, genetics, bioinformatics, microbiology, and more.
Recommended Read: Planning to Choose PCMB After Class 10? Consider these 6 Things First
Mathematics is a science of numbers and is often the most hated subject for students, and sometimes the most loved with use in money transactions and applications even in architecture, art, engineering, and sports. As a subject, Math focuses on the concepts of quantity, change, structure, and space.
At a Class 11-12 level, you would learn about the principles of underlying processes and skills, identify the flow of reason while solving a problem or proving a result, and learn how to apply acquired skills to solve problems by more than one method. If you pursue the Medical (PCB) stream, you can also take on Mathematics as an optional subject.
Examples of topics you will study are:
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Linear Programming
- Vectors and Three-Dimensional Geometry
Studying Mathematics in Class 11-12 opens up a variety of career options, including those in the field of commerce, if you decide to change your mind about a career in the sciences. Career options include engineering, computer science, insurance, statistics, economics, banking, accountancy, etc.
Recommended Read: Love Maths? One Of These 8 Careers Could Be Perfect For You!
As one of the official languages of India, and as the language used most commonly worldwide, English is an unavoidable subject studied at Class 11-12 level regardless of the stream. English is a common language medium used in offices, colleges and online, which is why a certain level of proficiency is always helpful.
At the Class 11-12 level, the subject focuses on enhancing reading, writing, grammar, and listening/speaking skills in English, preparing students for further studies as well as directly for the workplace.
Career options available after studying English include mass communication, journalism, teaching, public relations, and blogging. The study of English will also help you in your general communication and comprehension skills which will be helpful in nearly every career where the language of communication is English.
Recommended Read: Discover Literature: All You Need to Know About Studying English Honours
Optional Subjects with Science
Apart from the 4 compulsory subjects in the Science stream (Physics, Chemistry, English and Biology/Mathematics), you are required to take on a 5th optional subject. Some schools also allow provisions to apply for a 6th subject as well, allowing you to choose 2 optional subjects.
Here are some of the optional subjects available with Science:
1. Computer Science
Computer Science has become an immensely popular choice with students and is based on a general study of computer applications, programming languages, computing logic, and networking technologies.
Recommended Read: BCA Vs. B.Tech CS Vs. B.Sc Computer Science: What are the Differences?
2. Informatics Practices
Although there are similarities with Computer Science, Informatics Practices focuses more on the processing of information, computer systems, device applications, program development, and integrated device electronics.
Economics serves as a compulsory student for Commerce stream students, but it is also a popular optional subject for Science and Humanities streams. A social science, Economics studies the functioning of an economy and its basic elements, and the interaction of markets at national and international levels.
Recommended Read: What is B.A Economics All About? Career Options & Colleges
4. Engineering Drawing
Engineering Drawing or Engineering Graphics is a specialized subject that teaches the ability to convey ideas and information required for constructing or analyzing machines, structures, and systems graphically. It’s useful for engineers, architects, surveyors, and designers.
Psychology can be defined as the study of the mind, and it has gained immense popularity in the past few years. The subject of psychology examines the mental processes, behaviours, and experiences of people. At the Class 11-12 level, you would learn about the basic concepts and principles in the field, such as emotions, personality, intelligence, etc.
Recommended Read: Exhaustive Guide to Becoming a Psychologist and its Scope in India
6. Physical Education
Another popular optional subject is Physical Education, which is considered scoring and also boosts your physical activity. At the Class 11-12 level, you would learn about physiology, physical fitness, various sports, and yoga.
Recommended Read: Can You Change Your Optional Subject in CBSE Class 11 & 12?
Career Options after Science Stream
There is a multitude of career options available after pursuing Science stream in Class 11-12, however, the subjects are also considerably difficult and will require effort. Thus, you should go for this stream only if you are absolutely sure about your interest and aptitude for the subjects.
You should also have some clarity about which career options and courses you are targeting after class 12. If you have doubts regarding which stream to opt for, try career counselling to help you identify the stream that is most suitable for you.