The majority of students today plan their studies at least till a master's degree. Our workplaces have moved from hiring graduates to preferring candidates with specialised skill sets. We are also familiar with the increased demand for management courses after completing graduate degrees. But again, education costs a fortune nowadays, and those who aspire to achieve the heights of careers find it difficult to land on the perfect course that both fits their ambitions and goes easy on their pockets. In any such case, opting for a dual degree (also called a double degree) could be a feasible option. As a relatively new alternative to the academic pathways, many doubts arise in our minds. We shall look into those further in the blog and ease our choices.
What is a Double Degree?
Let us imagine that you want to pursue two courses of study, sometimes remotely related, together - the first option you think of is enrolling in one of the courses and pursuing another either parallel or after finishing the first. But that demands a lot from us. So here comes the dual degree concept, a combination of two degrees that usually reduce a couple of semesters.
There are various combined university degrees that we can find as follows:
1. Two graduate degrees (or a joint degree)
It is pretty common to enrol in two bachelor's degrees at a time. Many students choose a professional course as their primary degree and another humanities subject or a language along with it. Some colleges still don't allow students to take up two graduate courses that have the same year of completion, so for that, you might have to spend a year or two in one of the degrees and, later on, enrol in another.
2. A graduate and a master's degree
This is especially a good option to reduce the time it would take; completing both degrees separately might take around 5-6 years, while the combined degree would help you save at least a year. You may find many technical courses like engineering in this program. On the other hand, such degrees in medicine might be anywhere around 2-3 years less in duration.
3. Two postgraduate degrees
Now that it is almost a trend to study management along with your initial subjects, completing two masters, one after the other, often results in a lack of professional experience. Quite a few prestigious colleges found the solution for this and started double master's with an MBA as one of the degrees. Of course, you can also choose from other subjects.
4. Postgraduate and a doctorate
We all know how tedious doctorates can be. Colleges offer the probability of reducing the duration and starting your research from the beginning of a master's degree. You may save anywhere between one to four years through this course. As the course is not so typical, you will have to look through many colleges that offer the exact subject you are looking for.
Other Types of Degrees
Note that a double degree is quite different from other alternatives. Have a look at them so that you know what suits you better:
1. Double Major
You pursue just one course with two majors/specialising subjects at the same time where you are going to obtain just one certificate. Often, both the subjects are complementary and co-related.
2. Integrated course
The terminology is mainly used where graduate and postgraduate degrees are offered together.
3. Joint Degree
It is very similar to a dual degree, but universities use this word to indicate that they have partnered with other colleges in the same/different country.)
Pros of a Double Degree
There are multiple pros of a double degree and this can help you get better claity with it
1. Saves Time
It is ideal when you already know what you want to study. Separately pursued university courses may cost you a semester extra or two.
2. Goes Easy on Pockets
As you will spend less time in college, you save on fees, even if the cost per academic credit turns out slightly more.
3. Learn Interdisciplinary Subjects Simultaneously
Popular dual degree courses include conjoint management and psychology, engineering and maths, law and political/social science, subjects from sciences and humanities together, etc. If you wish to pursue any interdisciplinary research or keep your options open, go for it. But keep in mind that if you don't have it clear, this might come across as indecisiveness to some employers.
4. Gain Specialised Knowledge
You will be dedicating your whole time to learning a subject in-depth or using bifurcated knowledge to develop your academics. This turns out to be an exceptional skill for research purposes.
Cons of a Double Degree
As there are many pros for a double degree there are a couple of cons too:
1. Time management and Prioritisation is a big factor
Time management is one of the most important things in a students life, however when you are pursuing a double masters degree, time can be very limited and prioritising things in your personal life and things in your double degree graduation can be a task. This may also result in you paying attention to one thing and not prioritising the other. With prioritising being a big thing it is important that you plan and allocate your time accordingly.
2. Not a solution when you don’t know what you want to study
Choosing a dual degree is always a big step, as you study many subjects in it and when you don’t know what exactly you need to study this might confuse you a lot. As you also will have assignments and many exams to study for. If you don’t have an interest in both of the degrees this can be a very big con for studying a dual degree.
Does being a double graduate suit your academic ambitions?
The degree mainly works if you have thoroughly planned your academic route; if you feel like changing your stream or major mid-course, not all universities will allow you. So, in such a case, it sounds better to opt for a separate graduate/postgraduate postgraduate course that you can alter later on. Or find a double degree that will allow you to have a single certificate for the credits you completed if you decide to continue just one degree.
Secondly, if your profession demands knowledge in a subject not initially considered in your primary academic course, a dual degree helps you get there. A dual degree offers more credits, so you will have to dedicate more time to studying. This might not be a good alternative if you wish to balance your academics and extra-curricular activities like part-time internships. Just as your academic consistency is a factor, you also must consider the financial investment a double graduation needs. You should be ready to pay the fees consecutively for years, as there won't be any breaks between the courses to work. If your plan includes earning for a while and then continuing your education, you might as well choose the traditional academic routes. You must go through many university courses and programs to choose the correct dual degree.
You'll surely gain more in-depth knowledge about the subject you want to study if you select an integrated bachelor's and master's course. In simultaneous dual degrees, you will understand the interdisciplinary relations between the subjects and discover a new perspective on looking at any subject. Moreover, some colleges offer joint and dual degrees where you may travel to a new city or a country to learn one of the degrees Always know the downsides of the courses that may not allow you to switch to a different major or opt out of one of the degrees. You will be investing a lot of time studying, which might keep you from gaining practical field knowledge.