If you are a high school or a college student, chances are you have heard of a double major and/or a dual-degree program. But even though these terms seem to routinely come in conversations, especially with your guidance counselor, you might not fully understand what they mean. Well, worry not, we have got your back covered because we will be discussing what a dual-degree program is, its pros and cons, and would it be a good fit for your career aspirations. Without further ado, let’s dive into the topic and deconstruct it for you.
What is a Dual-Degree Program?
To simplify it a bit, a dual-degree program allows students to pursue two separate academic disciplines simultaneously and earn two separate degrees (one per discipline) when they graduate. As an example, if you were interested in pursuing Business Administration along with Psychology, you would do a dual-degree (or a double degree) that would earn you two separate degrees or diplomas when you graduate: a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).
To further elaborate, dual-degree programs generally award two different types of degrees (such as a BS/BA or a BS/BBA from the previous example). Recently online programs, such as MHA MBA dual degree online course, have gained popularity because of covid restrictions and fewer costs associated with going to an online campus. Some programs even combine an undergraduate diploma with a graduate degree.
It is pertinent to mention that a dual-degree program will typically require more credit hours than a single-degree diploma. The total number will vary depending on the university you choose and whether they have a semester or a quarter system in place. Generally speaking, you can expect to complete anywhere from 140 to 225 credits for graduation.
Is there a Difference between a Dual-Degree and a Double Major?
So, the question is, is there a difference between a dual degree and a double major? After all, they both allow students to study two disciplines simultaneously, right? However, the fact is the two paths couldn’t be more different!
In a dual-degree program, you will study two different disciplines and earn two separate degrees. On the other hand, a double major allows you to study two related fields and graduate with a single degree. Another major difference is that a double major student usually studies both majors in the same university, has to deal with relatively less coursework than a dual-degree, and has the option of completing his degree in four to five years.
Now, there are a plethora of courses and majors that students can do in their academic careers, so it’s impossible to remember all of them. That said, a dual-degree can be divided into three major types to make things simple: Programs that award two bachelor’s, programs that award a bachelor’s and a master’s, and programs that award two masters. We will now look at each of these in more detail.
More common than the other two types, a two bachelor’s program can be used for any kind of combination. Here are a few common combinations students like to go for:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) + Bachelor of Science (BS)
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) + Bachelor of Music (BM)
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) + Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS), etc.
Remember that not every university offers this type of dual-degree path so check with your university first before opting for this program.
Bachelor’s and a Master’s
This popular form of dual-degree program is different from the two bachelor’s one. Students can complete their bachelor’s and master’s simultaneously in this program, usually within five to six years. It combines the undergraduate coursework with graduate-level courses and awards a bachelor’s and a master’s upon graduation, saving both time and money for students who are willing to put in the grueling shift. Here are a few programs students go for:
- Bachelor’s in Business + MBA
- Bachelor’s in Accounting + MBA, etc.
A Double Master’s
The final and least common program combines two separate master’s or a master’s and a professional/doctoral degree. Not all universities offer this path, but the ones that do might even allow students to create their programs. Here are a few common degrees students go for in a double master’s:
- Master of Arts (MA) + Master of Science (MS)
- Master of Public Policy (MPP) + Master of Public Health (MPH)
- Juris Doctor (JD) + Doctor of Medicine (MD), etc.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis
Now that we know what a dual-degree program entails let’s discuss the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
- Pro: You get to broaden your perspective and expertise.
- Pro: You can have a varied career path with a lot of different options.
- Pro: You will save money, especially if you combine a bachelor’s and a master’s or a double master’s.
- Con: Realize that this means spending a lot of time in college without taking a semester off. This also means a lot of coursework, assignments, and exams to prepare for.
- Con: Even though you will end up saving money in the long run, you will need to put forth a hefty amount initially. For some students, that’s just not possible.
- Con: the earning potential remains the same, in many cases, like that of a single-degree program.
Is a dual-degree program right for you? For that, you need to ask yourself a few questions: Do you have the same level of interest in two separate fields? Do you have any plans that might interfere with your longer-than-average academic career? Do you have the required sums of money that would be needed initially? Do you have a clear plan for your future?
So, before you embark on this arduous journey, do your research and prep so you can be sure this is the path for you. Once you have made that decision, jump straight ahead with vigor in your heart and a firm goal in sight.