Can You Pursue Two Undergraduate Degrees?

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Sometimes, students feel that studying one undergraduate degree just isn’t enough, for a range of reasons. Maybe they want to change their specialism, or they want to broaden their future career prospects, or even just because they can’t choose between subjects! Studying two undergraduate degrees might be unconventional, but is it downright impossible?

It is indeed possible to study two undergraduate degrees either sequentially (one after another), or simultaneously (at the same time). The latter is known as a dual degree, which takes on average 5 years to complete and you receive two separate qualifications for each subject.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can actually study two undergraduate degrees, one after another or at the same time!

Can you do two undergraduate degrees sequentially?

Yes, you definitely can do two undergraduate degrees sequentially!

Once you have graduated after completing your first bachelor’s, you can either progress onto postgraduate degrees (such as master’s and PhD), or you can pursue a second undergraduate degree.

However, be aware that the benefits of a second undergraduate degree are fairly limited unless you want to change your specialism.

Pursuing a second undergraduate degree can be good if you completed your first, but realised you want to work in a different field, and you need more applicable qualifications.

Whatever your reasons for pursuing a second undergraduate degree, you definitely can do that if you want to!

What are the requirements for a second undergraduate degree?

As you’ll already have applied to an undergraduate program before, you’ll probably be familiar with the application process.

With an undergraduate degree already under your belt, however, the requirements to pursue a second undergraduate degree might shift slightly.

For example, on the Bay Atlantic University website, linked here, they state that you may need transcripts and proof of your previous degree and/or an admissions essay.

Alongside having proof of your previous degree, you will also need to have the standard requirements for a university application. This includes a good academic record, relevant qualifications, and references to support your application.

Remember to check with your university directly if you’re unsure about their requirements!

Can you do two undergraduate degrees simultaneously?

To the surprise of many, yes, it is actually possible to study two undergraduate degrees at the same time!

These are called ‘dual degrees’, which I’ll be talking about later in this article, so keep reading for more information.

You can only complete a dual degree program if the degrees are the same qualification: for example, two undergraduate degrees. You can’t apply for a dual degree with one degree as a bachelor’s and one as a master’s.

Naturally, the study time for two simultaneous undergraduate degrees is longer than just one undergraduate degree. However, it’s actually shorter than studying two undergraduate degrees sequentially.

To read more about this, I’d recommend checking out this Think Student article.

How do you apply for two undergraduate degrees in the UK?

Dual degree programs are definitely not the standard at university, so don’t worry if the application process is a bit of a mystery.

Thankfully, the application process is not actually that different.

Looking at the University of Portsmouth as an example, they state that “to apply for a dual degree, you apply to us in the normal way – through UCAS or using the direct application form.”

You can find more information on the University of Portsmouth website, linked here.

If a dual degree is part of a partnership between other universities, you may have to apply to both; it’s important to check the entry requirements before you apply.

What’s the difference between a dual degree and a joint honours degree?

Studying for a dual degree (sometimes called a double degree) is another way of saying you’re studying two undergraduate degrees simultaneously.

A dual degree will take on average 5 years to complete, and at the end, you will leave with two bachelor’s qualifications in your respective fields.

In a joint honours’ degree, you also study in two fields, but these are combined into 1 degree. It takes 3 years to complete (like a single undergraduate degree), and you will only receive one qualification.

This is an important distinction: if you want a separate qualification for each of your subjects, you will need a dual degree.

If you only want 1 qualification and don’t want to study for an extra 2 years, a joint honours’ is probably right for you. Check out this Think Student article for more information about the pros and cons of joint honours’ degrees.

Can you get funding for a second undergraduate degree?

As stated on this page of the government website: You’ll usually only get student finance if you’re doing your first higher education qualification – even if your previous course was self-funded.”

This means that no, you most likely will not be able to receive a student finance loan for a second undergraduate degree. This is the case even if you didn’t apply for student loans for your first undergraduate degree.

However, there are some, albeit very limited, exceptions to this.

For example, Arden University, on this page of their website, state that some subjects are eligible for ‘second degree loans’. However, these must be pre-approved by the government.

If you’d like to know more about funding a second degree, I’d recommend this Think Student article!

Is it difficult to study two degrees at the same time?

Naturally, whether or not you find studying a dual degree difficult will depend on your individual set of skills, but generally, it is quite difficult to study two undergraduate degrees simultaneously.

Although you do get much more time to study to account for this, it is still no mean feat to balance two degrees at once!

There will have to be a lot more revision and organisation that goes into your studying than if you were just studying a single honours degree.

As well as this, obviously, your workload may be more intense. However, if it’s something you’re really passionate about, it hopefully won’t feel too demanding!

Is having two undergraduate degrees better than just one?

Whether or not having two undergraduate degrees is better than just one is dependent on circumstance, and what universities/employers are looking for.

In many high-level jobs, employers are likely to prefer postgraduate degrees, such as master’s or a doctorate, to two undergraduate degrees.

However, if you completed two undergraduate degrees in vastly different fields, such as one in English Literature and one in Economics, then two undergraduate degrees may be preferable. This is only the case if you want to pursue a range of careers, as two different subjects means you can apply for high-level jobs in two different fields.

Ultimately, it is your choice, and you should pursue what you want!

Should you pursue two undergraduate degrees instead of a master’s?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both dual degrees and postgraduate degrees.

A big advantage of having two undergraduate degrees is that you can significantly broaden which fields you are able to work in. This can open many corridors in employment that are otherwise unavailable to you.

However, an advantage of having a postgraduate degree like a master’s is that you can specialise in a specific area, and have a better chance at earning a high-skill (and high paying) job.

To read more on this debate, check out this article by Indeed.

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