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What is a Joint Degree?

Degrees can be a funny thing. Some are easier than others, some take a long time and some are done in no time at all! Studying a postgraduate degree at university or studying a PGCE degree at university are good examples of the wide variety of degrees available for students in the UK today.

However, one of the lesser-known university degrees that are offered is that of the joint-honours degree. While a university terms glossary will help you to understand a little bit about the various degrees on offer, we’ve composed a helpful guide to tell you a little bit more about one of the universities lesser-known degrees, so let’s dive in!

What is a Joint Degree?

Right out the gates! A joint degree is a degree that allows you to study more than one subject and then amalgamate them into one single qualification. A joint degree allows you to explore more than one subject at university. A good thing to do is to focus on something that you’re passionate about and couple it with a degree that you’ve never studied before. If you’re a History nut, but you’ve also wanted to learn a new language, then study a History degree as a passion and then add a Modern Foreign Language degree on top of that and you’ll have the joint-degree of your dreams!

How do I choose a joint degree?

Well, many universities offer joint courses as it is. So the best thing for you to do is to go out there and look for a degree offering that will offer two courses as one degree. These courses are offered naturally by the university in question and will often have an overlap in some way for you to understand it.

Can I choose which subjects I study in my joint degree?

Nope! The choice is made for you. The reason for this is because the university itself may have the courses set with different curriculum. For instance, studying a subject with a different language attached will mean that you will most likely have to have a year or so studying abroad in another country, which will probably be in conjunction with the Erasmus Programme, of course, you will need some European Health Insurance too! 

How do I know what is the best combination degree for me?

Well, only you can really know that one. The issue is really more around whether or not you are interested in both degrees. For example, many universities, like the University of Winchester, offer a Drama with Social Care course. If you don’t have an interest in studying a Drama degree at university, then it’s probably best not to take that course. Do your research before you apply, you’ll find plenty of joint degree courses available when you decide to search for universities.

What are the benefits of a joint degree?

Well, it’s a great way to get yourself ahead in the job market. Students with a joint degree will, therefore, display degree-level knowledge in two different subjects and it will show the people applying that you have a lot of relevant experience, as you will most likely have had to have had a placement.

Does a joint degree count as two degrees?

Nice try! You’re a precocious little scamp, aren’t you? But seriously, no it doesn’t count as two degrees, it is one degree, although with multiple subjects involved. Your degree will, therefore, be in the subjects that you studied as one, rather than individual degree courses in any both subjects. If it were that easy, everyone would do it!

How long does a joint degree take to complete?

This very much depends on the degree itself. If you’re studying something that requires you to have a year abroad as well, then it will be even more. The basic gist of a degree is that it will, unfortunately, “Take as long as it takes”. Many degrees are already long as it is. For instance, a Law degree has been known to take seven years to complete, and if you were to add a Mathematics degree alongside, it then you would find it elongated still, even if they are being done at the same time.

Do all universities offer joint degrees?

For the most part, yes. There may be one or two that don’t, but if you think about it, it’s not really in the university’s best interests to not offer it. That being said, some universities such as UCFB, who specialise in Sports degrees, may not necessarily offer joint degrees as all of the degrees will focus on the same area, however, they may offer additional modules, that otherwise wouldn’t be the main module elsewhere. The best thing for you to do is to check with the university before you apply.

Can I do a joint master’s degree?

Of course, you can. But with the best will in the world, you would have to ask yourself why you’re doing so and if you need it. A Master’s Degree is already insanely difficult as it is, without the added difficulty of another degree alongside it. If you need it, then don’t let anyone stop you, however, don’t go making things difficult for yourself by doing more than one Masters at a time. At this point, we would say that if you are doing a Master’s degree, and wish to add an additional language, we would recommend that you don’t study another language as a degree, but rather as an extracurricular activity, so as to give yourself more time to study your Master’s.

So that’s a joint degree for you. It’s not without its complications and it’s certainly not an easy thing to get involved with and you may soon find yourself a little bit overwhelmed at times, but don’t worry! This is perfectly natural. Many students have spoken about exam stress or about how various mental health issues at university manifested themselves, but you need no stress, all you need to do is concentrate on enjoying yourself and doing the best you can.

The best thing about this degree, is that if you feel that you’re struggling with one of the subjects in particular (For which, we recommend that you speak to one of your course tutors), then the chances are that you’re aceing the other one, so be sure to strike a balance between the two courses and make sure that one doesn’t suffer for the other.