What is a Joint Honours
A Joint Honours simply refers to two different university subjects studied simultaneous, but making up one degree. This means half of your subject hours will be on one subject, and half on the other.
But are they worth it, and what are the challenges that come with studying two different subjects simultaneously?
WHO ARE THEY FOR?
Joint Honours are great for those who have more than one area of interest or for those who are indecisive about which two subjects to study.
Alternatively, it’s also aimed at those who want to gain different skills within an area, and/or enrich their understating of the industry as a whole (e.g. if you want to be a screenwriter, you should think of studying both film and creative writing as opposed to just the latter).
HOW IT WORKS
From the choice of combinations to the hours spent on each subject, the drill is entirely dependent on each university.
Sometimes you will be able to combine subjects that are relatively far apart (e.g. economics and french), and sometimes you will be limited to courses within the faculty, partially due to scheduling conflict but also to the logistics of how and if they go hand in hand.
It’s important to stay realistic about your choices and preferably choose subjects that complement each other. Additionally, always consider if you want to do a joint honours because you think both subjects will be helpful in the future, or if the second subject is just due to interest (being keen on learning is great, but remember that the grade of one will affect your overall final mark).
IS IT WORTH IT?
On a personal level, you will be stuck in the middle, and when it comes to choosing your modules you will have fewer choices than your single honours friends, and while two subjects doesn’t necessarily mean double the work it does mean different work.
Depending on your choices, you might have two essays due on the same day, one for geography and the other for psychology. This means prioritising assignments and learning how to divide your time.
From a professional p.o.v, it depends on the career you want to pursue and what combination you chose, but generally many employers like to see an array of skills on your cv, especially those perpetuated by a university diploma.
Having a joint honours degree also tells them that not only were you willing to take on the challenge of pursuing two different degrees, but that you had the capability and time-management skills required to attain it.
HOW TO CHOOSE THEM
After you see the available options, the rest comes down to personal choice. A single honours degree will allow you to cover areas that a joint honours degree won’t, but a joint honours degree will give you a greater range of skills.
At some point you will have the choice to either major in one subject (devote approximately 2/3rds of your time to one subject, and 1/3rd to the other), or to keep them 50:50.
But what happens if you have a change of heart? If you have yet to choose your major/minor or joint degree, you have flexibility to drop a subject, but if you’ve already made your choice and then decide to change it, the options are dependent on your university guidelines.
- You might be able to drop your minor to turn your major into a single honours
- change your major/minor to a joint (equal) degree
- change your minor to another subject (as long as it has the same first-year modules as your original minor).
What you won’t be able to do is:
- swap your major/minors around
- change your major subject
- make your minor into a major. Overall, a joint honours degree can be challenging, but it does come with rewards that single honours students cannot claim. Research your prospective modules, make sure you are happy to take on a range of coursework and, above all, make sure you are passionate about both subjects!
Xiomara Meyer is a drama and creative writing graduate with an interest in psychology and the slightly bizarre. She is part of Hitting Heads Productions.