Why I chose to study a joint degree

My name is Georgia and my original offer from King’s was for single-honours History BA. So what made me change my mind and opt for a joint honours course – not to mention learning a language, in my case German, from scratch (known as ab initio)?

At King’s, there are options to study History and French, German or Iberian Studies (Spanish or Portuguese – one of our new degrees!) not to mention a whole host of other joint degrees with a language – have you considered taking up a language element to your degree? Keep reading to find out why I think it’s a great idea.

A joint honours offers a varied degree

Although King’s’ History department has a huge and varied range of countries, time periods, and themes to study, I realised I wanted to split my time between another subject, and a language seemed like the obvious choice for me. Being in the German department led me to study German politics, literature, and even film.

Undertaking a degree in History and a language will enable you to study your target language alongside the politics, society, culture and its history (should you choose) of the countries where it is spoken and enable you to study diverse and exciting modules.


The opportunity to learn a language

Learning a language as part of your course, especially on the ab initio pathway is rewarding, fun, and intellectually challenging. That, and I don’t think there are any real disadvantages to learning a language!

Language ability allows you to explore a new culture and may open other doors – be that career opportunities or friendships when abroad. It may even help you academically; I will be using German sources for my dissertation.

It’s also worth noting that if you want to learn a language, you won’t have a better opportunity than university level study with a year abroad to help you achieve fluency. I am absolutely guilty of studying German for this reason and I have no regrets.


Year abroad

As a language student, your third year will be spent abroad in a country where your target language is spoken, either studying at a partner university or undertaking a work placement. Depending on what language you study, you may end up as far away as South America!

The year abroad is an unforgettable experience. You meet people from all over the world, find friends for life, and gain resilience, adaptability, and independence from your stay. Most importantly, this is a chance to immerse yourself and practice using the language.



The skills you gain during your degree will be invaluable to future employers in many sectors – graduates have gone on to gain employment in finance, marketing, law, the media, the Civil Service, and many more. You may even consider working for a company with a head office in a country that speaks your native language as sometimes they actively seek speakers of the language where HQ is based, even if you apply to their London office for example.

The combination of history with a language is particularly strong because you gain a hard skill (language proficiency) along with other soft skills during the course of your degree. Your language can give you a leg-up compared to other candidates, and when paired with the analytical thinking, intercultural awareness, presentation skills, and teamwork you will have honed during your studies, you will be in very good stead to find a job.

Overall, History is certainly a strong degree – but you have nothing to lose by studying a language as well. Read more about why you should learn a language at university

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