The Honours Truth: What studying a joint honours degree is really like

Joint honours degrees don't mean double the work!

Joint honours degrees differ slightly to your standard single honours degrees. As a joint honours student myself, I would like to discuss how joint honours will vary from single honours and what this type of degree entails. 

Joint honours student, Alice, does an undergraduate course in Classical Studies and Comparative Literature

What is a joint honours degree?

A joint honours degree is essentially a degree that involves studying more than one subject as part of your course. This is obvious in the name of your degree, which will have either ‘and’ in the title or ‘with’, depending on how the course is split. ‘And’ courses are divided 50/50 between each subject, whereas ‘with’ courses are 75/25 with a major/minor element – this will be made clear to you with every course. For example, I study Classical Studies and Comparative Literature, so my degree is divided between them equally. This translates to studying the usual four modules per semester, whereby I have two in Classical Studies and two in Comparative Literature. 

Will my workload be larger?

Joint honours degrees might sound slightly more daunting than single honours but don’t panic – it’s not twice the work! You won’t be leading separate lives for each of your subjects, and the difficulty level isn’t double either. Both departments will ensure you have a solid understanding of each subject through core modules. In fact, it’s likely that each of your subjects will inform the other and the skills you develop are transferable, particularly in essay writing. I’ve found that it’s not a case of completely switching mind-sets between my two subjects, especially since I use many of the same skills for both. With joint honours, it’s much less of a balancing act than you may think.  

Joint honours degrees are a great way to expand skill-sets

Will a joint honours degree make me more employable?

If you’re concerned that joint honours degrees are less focused so you can’t obtain enough knowledge for one specific career path, don’t worry! The reality is that studying more than one discipline can expose you to more extensive knowledge and skill-sets, which in turn opens doors to new opportunities and more career paths. And I’ve found that if your heart isn’t set on a single career path after university, a joint honours degree can broaden your horizons, give you a fresh perspective and help you figure out what it is you want to do. 

What will I get out of studying joint honours?

Choosing a joint honours degree has granted me the variety and freedom in my studies which I had hoped for when coming to King’s. One thing I love about studying a degree like this, is that I’ve been able to meet so many more people from across my two departments, whilst developing an expansive range of skills. Choosing this degree also meant that I could create new opportunities for myself, while still keeping my options open.

Hopefully this blog has cleared up any misconceptions or worries about joint honours! So if you’re having trouble pinning down your favourite subjects to one single choice, a joint honours degree may just be the solution you’re looking for.


More information:

To read more blog posts about Arts & Humanities career options at King’s, click here

To see what courses King’s has to offer, click here

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