What Are Dual Degree Undergraduate Programs?IMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay, public domain.

For ambitious students, starting a dual degree program at the undergraduate level can help you give your career aspirations a big boost without making a big sacrifice. By enrolling in a dual degree – also known as a joint degree or double degree – program, you can save time and money and make the most of your education.

What a Dual Degree Program Entails

In a dual degree program, students work toward completing the requirements for two degrees at the same time. Different kinds of dual degree programs allow students to augment their education in different ways. Because much of the coursework students complete counts toward two separate degrees, they can finish earning those degrees in a fraction of the time it would take to complete them separately. This means that students get their degrees quicker and are able to start putting their education to work in the real world sooner. They also save on the costs of tuition and fees because they aren’t spending as many semesters in school or taking double the course load.

Some dual degree programs result in earning two degrees from two different institutions. Often, students who enroll in this kind of dual degree program choose to study internationally, earning one degree from a college in their home country and another in the same subject from a school across the globe. This educational path allows students to learn foreign languages as they earn their degree in a subject of interest and to take advantage of the research opportunities and cultural perspectives that are only available at top-performing international colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.

In other dual degree programs, students earn degrees at two different levels of study. A student who enrolls in a dual degree program as an undergraduate may be able to attain both their bachelor’s degree and their master’s degree in less time than it would take to earn those degrees separately.

Who Should Pursue a Dual Degree Undergraduate Program?

A dual degree program is an excellent choice for some students, but for others, it might not be the right path. To succeed in a dual degree program, you will need dedication, discipline and a strong work ethic.

Though some of the coursework you complete in a dual degree undergraduate program will count for both degrees, you should expect to balance a challenging workload. You may end up taking advanced graduate-level classes while you are still finishing your undergraduate degree requirements, so you must have a solid educational foundation to build on and be willing to put in the work to succeed.

Often, dual degree programs have stricter criteria for admissions than a standard undergraduate program would. You may need to have high grades and letters of recommendation just to get into the program.

Finally, students should consider whether a earning a second degree makes sense for their goals and situation. A student who wants to work internationally or rise to the top of the field can benefit greatly from a dual degree program at international schools. Likewise, a student who already plans to go to graduate school someday may find it best to earn a master’s degree faster through a double degree program. However, for students who don’t envision these or similar career paths, a dual degree program will still take additional time and money – and may not be worthwhile.

Not every school offers dual degree programs, but many of the best degree programs for undergraduates do. A possible double degree option is one more reason to look for a high-quality program where there are plenty of opportunities.