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What is a joint honours degree?

Don’t want to study only one academic subject while at university?

Can’t decide between your favourite subjects? A joint honours degree allows you to take the two subjects you want to learn, and combine them in to one degree.

How does it work?

All universities do their joint-honours degree courses slightly differently from each other. For example, at some universities you can even take three subjects, and certain subject combinations are not offered at others.  It is really important to research your preferred combination at a particular university. You need to find out how the balance is structured, what the course would entail, and which subjects they offer. Some joint degrees clearly gear towards future jobs, e.g. business management and accounting or English and creative writing. However, if you’re unsure what you want to do in later life, you can still combine subjects that compliment each other in terms of skills, such as French and media studies.

The workload and lectures are split between your two course choices, so you spend your time doing parts from both courses. You have the same tutors, lectures and resources as someone doing just one of the two subjects, but have access to two departments and not one.

Why study one?

Not everyone is suited to narrowing down to only one subject at university, so with two you can spread yourself wider but still study in depth. But don’t worry – you don’t end up doing double the amount of work as someone studying a single subject!

Inevitably, you will miss out on some elements of each course, but your joint degree means you can learn about two separate academic fields!

It’s also worth remembering that your marks in both subjects will probably be combined to give you your overall degree mark. So if you struggle in one of the subjects, the weaker marks may bring down your higher marks in the other subject.  If you know that you have difficulty juggling two or more different things at once, you may want to take this in to consideration when choosing what type of degree to do.

  • Date published: 16th April 2013

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