A joint honours degree is a degree designed to let university students study two courses in one big degree. A joint honours degree is a good way of being able to fast-track your learning in multiple subjects and is particularly favoured by employers looking to upskill their staff.
What is a joint honours degree?
A joint honours degree is a degree that allows you to study more than one subject under a single qualification.
A joint honours degree is different at each university. Some universities treat these the same as any other degree, but others will treat each subject as their own degrees in their own right. The teaching and the way they are handled, particularly when it comes to exams, will also depend on the university.
How long is a joint degree?
This depends on the degree. Some courses tend to take longer than others, while some courses can be over with as soon as they start! Some are the same as a typical degree (3 years), while some expand over 4.
It also depends on how tough the subjects are to study. For example, law degrees tend to take a little longer than others, so that may make the course longer.
How to apply for a joint honours degree
The process is exactly the same as your usual UCAS application. You can even apply for joint honours options alongside single honours. Explore the choices on off at the individual universities, as not every uni has the same offering for these.
Which universities offer joint honours degrees?
The majority of universities will offer some form of a joint honours degree. Each university will have their own unique take on how these degrees are approached and will have separate ways of grading coursework and carrying out their lectures.
Some universities will even allow you to take as many as three subjects in the degree! This is generally known as a “combined degree”.
How do I choose a joint degree?
It’s usually best to find a course that complements the other one, but the choice is entirely up to you. Finding something you're passionate about is very important, but it’s always valuable to have the two courses support your career goals and each other.
That’s not to say that you can’t just study one degree you love and one you're curious about! Even if they don’t fit together, you can do study what you like, but we recommend picking courses that are more likely to benefit your future career. However, you won’t be able to select the modules as the modules are already pre-selected by the university.
Does a joint degree count as two degrees?
A joint honours degree is just one degree. As the two subjects are combined, it will mean, for instance, that you have a degree in Maths and Science rather than a degree in Maths and a degree in Science.
Should I do a joint honours degree?
To decide, consider what you want to study and your future career goals - are the two subjects both useful for your career development? Will a single-subject degree give you enough to reach your goals? A joint honours degree is an excellent means of gaining a qualification stretching across two subjects and a wonderful way to stand out from the crowd, especially in more niche careers.
Take some time to consider the pros and cons. Consider whether you want to study two subjects at the same time and how these may, potentially, affect your career aspirations moving forward.
The different types of joint degrees
Different universities approach joint honours degrees in different ways. For the most part, all universities have the same general description of their courses. However, the most common one, and the one used by the University of St. Andrews and other universities, are:
This is a 50/50 course. For example, “Maths and English” is a degree that will focus equally on both subjects.
Often referred to as minors and majors. For example, a course like “Physics with French”, will be a degree that majors in one subject (likely Physics in this example) and minors in the other (French) for the final two years of the degree.
“Triple” modern languages degrees
This allows students to study three separate languages at once.
Can I do a joint masters degree?
Yes, but this will need to be studied as a postgraduate degree. A masters degree can be combined with another postgraduate degree, however, you cannot combine a postgraduate subject with an undergraduate course and vice versa.