Dual Degrees: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Higher Education

23/08/20238 minute read
Dual Degrees: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Higher Education

Today, dual degrees have gained prominence and popularity as prospective college students seek to bolster their education and career prospects through a more rigorous and diverse academic experience. A dual degree allows students to pursue two separate degree curriculums simultaneously, enabling them to acquire expertise and competencies in two distinct – or related fields. Naturally, this can provide graduates with a competitive edge in the process of job-hunting given their interdisciplinary expertise.

What is a Dual Degree?

A dual degree entails the study of two different academic degrees at the same time, often from two distinct academic disciplines. It must be noted that they differ from double majors, where students study two majors within the span of a single degree, whereas dual degrees culminate in the awarding of two separate degrees upon completion. 

The Benefits of Dual Degrees

The benefits of obtaining a dual degree can be substantial and noteworthy. For one, a wider breadth of study allows graduates to broaden their knowledge base, acquiring expertise across a wider ambit of modules and subjects. 

In turn, these interdisciplinary skills can greatly bolster graduates’ job prospects, particularly in industries or companies where professionals with a breadth of expertise are sought after. 

In the climate where millennials are increasingly embarking on mid-career switches, a broader area of study will open more doors to a wider variety of career options upon graduation. This translates into more back up career options, should you decide along your course of study that either one of your chosen disciplines is not best aligned with your interests.

On a pragmatic note, while the pursuit of two degrees at once can be extremely rigorous and demanding, it is also more time and cost efficient - compared to the separate pursuit of two undergraduate (bachelor) degrees. 

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The Challenges of Dual Degrees

While the pursuit of a dual degree can come with numerous career opportunities - with potential career advantages to be accrued, it is imperative to approach this decision in a holistic and informed manner. After all, the perks are by no means presented on a silver platter; rather, they are arguably earned through a gruelling and demanding rite of passage – requiring grit, perseverance and dedication.

Firstly, the pursuit of a double degree entails a far greater workload, compared to a conventional single degree - as the term “dual degree” implies in itself. One must therefore consider his/her own ability to take on a substantial amount of stress and workload, while maintaining a judicious balance with other considerations like work-life balance and mental health.

Beyond a greater academic commitment, another hurdle to overcome arises in the form of scheduling conflicts. This challenge arises from the different classes or schedules designed for each degree. As such, adept time management and meticulous scheduling will be necessary skills and disciplines that a dual degree will likely call for.

Beyond intellectual and organisational challenges, depending on personal circumstances, a double degree program can pose a financial strain. It is inevitable that it requires more years of study prior to graduation compared to a conventional single degree – incurring greater financial costs. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that many colleges do offer financial aid and scholarships, which could ameliorate this cause of concern where one is fortunate to secure financial assistance.

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Types of Dual Degrees and Example Programs

Some examples of dual degrees are as follows:

  • BA/BS: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science (e.g., BA in Economics/BS in Mathematics)
  • BA/MA: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (e.g., BA in Political Science/MA in International Relations)
  • BS/MS: Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (e.g., BS in Environmental Science/MS in Environmental Policy)
  • BS/MD: Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine (accelerated medical programs)
  • BBA-LLB: Bachelor of Business Administration and Law 

Career Opportunities and Outcomes

As aforementioned, dual degrees can enhance career prospects significantly, especially in sectors which value expertise across different disciplines. For instance, a dual degree in engineering and business can provide graduates an edge in attaining management roles in technology firms. 

Similarly, a dual degree in public policy and a related science or humanities field can equip individuals for a promising career in the civil service, especially in policy related roles. 

Last but not least, a double degree in business administration and business analytics could see a graduate gain the edge he or she needs to attain a coveted spot in top financial or banking institutions. 

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Final Thoughts: Is a Dual Degree Right for You?

Ultimately, deciding whether a dual degree is the right path forward is contingent upon ambitions, interests, aptitudes, and idiosyncratic dispositions. The idea of attaining two degrees at once can seem like a definite plus on the surface, but it is not necessary for career success, nor are the perks of a dual degree guaranteed whatsoever. 

Prospective college students should therefore carefully weigh the challenges of a heavy academic workload against the potential career benefits, and crucially reflect on their personal ambitions, interests, and aptitudes. A dual degree could be rewarding for those seeking an interdisciplinary academic experience, but it may not be suitable for everyone. 

What Makes Crimson Different

Having to finalise a decision on your academic path for the next four, five years or so can be a Herculean endeavour. Fret not, you need not walk this journey alone. With respect to a dual degree in particular, such a consideration in itself can spell feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, or even imposter syndrome.

Make full use of any existing resources available. Seek advice from your school career advisors, mentors, seniors, or tutors. Their invaluable guidance and years of experience can translate into insights that may help inform your decision.

Alternatively, you could contact university counsellors from Crimson Education for personalised advice and assistance in navigating your college application process! With their profound expertise, they are well equipped to optimise and ease the process of pinpointing an academic program that best aligns with your aspirations and dispositions. 

Time and tide wait for no man – seek out your dream college path today!