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Advantages and Disadvantages of Dual Subject Degrees: Are Joint Degrees Worth it?

By Edited Jun 5, 2015 1 0

If you are thinking of applying to university and unsure as to what degree subject to take, and are weighing up the possibility of one subject or the other or even considering taken both as a joint degree but are unsure as to whether the joint degree is worth it? And whether the joint degree holds the same kind of prospects as a single degree or any general questions you have on a double subject degree etc.

Then hopefully here, this article will clear up some of the advantages and disadvantages of a dual university degree and that this article will be able to answer at least some of your questions on potentially carrying out a joint degree rather by compariring it a single subject one.

You can then interpret yourself from this article whether taking the joint degree is a positive option for you to take or not. Bear in mind however, that the advantages and disadvantages of the dual degree below are mostly subjective and so different people have different views on what they feel are pros and what are cons. The article just aims to point out potential advantages and disadvantages that some people may have.

It will also depend on the two subjects that you are wanting to join, as some two subjects may perhaps be closely related e.g. physics and maths therefore some of the points may not apply, where as it would apply with subjects that can be described as being somewhat less relative to one another e.g. Art and Biology.

You also have to consider the university that they are at as well, as different higher education institutions will carry out things differently to other ones, some maybe more flexible than others, how intensive the courses is - again each of these factors are subjective.

Advantages of a Joint Degree

Variety  - By carrying out a dual degree as apposed to a single subject degree, there is the obvious factor that it could propose more variety for your learning, and you aren't just studying the same thing over and over. Which could lead to some people potentially getting bored of the subject.

Prospects - you can argue that due to you carrying out two different subjects that you have perhaps gained more skills with students who have just carried out the one subject, and therefore this could potentially make you more employable.

Social - You are apart of two different groups, therefore you have the potential to make more friends and make more contacts as you have been given the  opportunity to be apart of two social academic groups.

Keep Doors Open - by carrying out two subjects it may lead you to keeping your options open as it were, by doing something like 'Law and French' for example you are essentially keeping doors open if you find later on that you want to be a lawyer of some kind you will probably have the opportunity to do that, and if you wanted to become a translator you will have the skills to do that also. Where as with one or the other you perhaps aren't given the same options.

Disadvantages of a Joint Degree

Greater Work Load  - Some may argue that by carrying out two different subjects you may find that you have a greater workload than others who carry out one single subject (especially joint degrees that don't particularly relate together) as knowledge that you learned in the other subject can't be transferred easily into another topic that can perhaps be done easier where you are just learning one subject.

Prospects - there is also the counter argument to this however, that if you have carried out more than one subject, you have essentially learned some more skills but have become the master of none. So by just carrying out one subject you have become more specialised in the subject than they have.

Social - as said above, althouhh you do have the aspect of having access to two different types of groups but you are spreading yourself thin essentially, so you may end up hardly spending a lot of time with either, where as with a single degree you are spending time around the same type of people all the time. This one is really how you put your own spin on it?

Limited Places - if you have two specific subjects in mind that you are wanting to carry out then there are likely to be less places with not a lot of places available when compared with one of the subjects or another, therefore it could potentially limit yourself as to what universities you could actually apply to, where as with a single subject you have a wider choice.

Summary of the Pros and Cons of Carrying Out a Joint Degree

The advantages and disadvantages above are just some points that some people may want to consider, but really it all comes down to you the individual as you are likely to place higher weighting on certain factors than others. E,g, you may feel that prospects are more important to you than, limiting yourself to what university you can go to. You are also likely to have different factors that are affecting you, therefore it might be wise to set up your own personal list of what pros and cons there are for you individually of taking a joint degree as apposed to a single degree.

I think it would be best to ask around, tell people your situation and get some feedback from students who have carried out joint degrees and ask them about any of the good things they think have come out of doing that degree rather than a single honours degree and also any of the potential negative things they have come across. A great place to carry out this would be online student forums such as 'the student room' and just set up a thread there and get in touch with some of the students about their experiences.

If you have any other potential advantages and disadvantages for carrying out a joint degree, or have any personal experiences that you would like to share then I encourage you to comment below, for others who read this article. Only you can decide the answer for the question 'are joint degrees worth it?'.

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