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Last Updated: July 09, 2022

What is a Dual Degree?

Dual degree programs are programs that offer degrees in two different academic fields at the same time. Candidates will be able to pursue their academic interests irrespective of their being in different fields of study. These degrees will have to be taken from different schools within the same university most of the time while other institutions will also offer candidates the possibility of taking a bachelor’s and master's within the same field of study as one complete program.

The number of credits one will have to take for course completion will be higher in dual degrees when compared to single degree programs. This implies that one will have to spend additional years in college depending on the combination of programs they have taken. The general duration for dual degrees ranges from 5 to 6 years depending on the institution. The credit requirements are also based on both the institution and the program combination the student has chosen. Dual degrees are often taken by students who are willing to invest both the time and finances required to complete the same. Unlike single-degree programs, these programs can be hectic and it can be highly impossible for students to take up part-time jobs while doing this program.

Benefits of Taking a Dual Degree

While taking a dual degree is a hectic affair that requires substantial financial investment, the prospect of taking a dual degree can be appealing to a lot of students. Another added factor that most students consider while applying for such programs is the additional number of years one will have to invest for the same. But for those who have both these factors sorted, dual degrees can seem to be the best option especially if they have multiple fields of interest. A few of the benefits one can have from taking a dual degree include-

Types of Dual Degree Programs

There are different types of dual degree programs based on the levels of education involved and the kinds of degrees one is combining for the program. Candidates will be able to choose an institution that provides the kind of combination they are looking for since not every institution provides all the different combinations one might want. The most common combinations for dual degrees include BA/BS, BS/BFA, BS/BBA, etc. which in other words imply that one can take an arts degree with a sciences degree, a sciences degree with a fine arts degree, and even a sciences degree with a professional program depending on their interest.

Applying for a Dual Degree

Candidates who wish to enroll in a dual degree program will need to choose their field of study decided before providing the application. This is mainly because universities have set combinations that are offered as dual degrees which students cannot alter once they have been admitted. Since the programs that are opted for will be from different schools on the same campus or sometimes even from different institutions, they will have to apply to both programs separately. This is mainly the case for programs at a bachelor’s level. They will also have to be admitted to both the programs after proving their eligibility if they wish to pursue the same.

At a master’s level, there will be separate options available for some universities which will allow candidates to apply specifically for a dual degree program. In such cases, candidates will be able to apply once for the program.

Getting Two Bachelor’s Degrees

This is the most commonly opted dual degree in the country which also implies that it is available at a few many universities here. Candidates will be taking two degrees from different disciplines and most often from different schools within the same institution. Dual degrees at a bachelor’s level are mostly structured by the institution and students will not be able to customize their own program like they are free to in a double major. They will also not have the option of changing their choice of degrees once they have enrolled in the program.

The degrees at a bachelor’s level that are offered in different combinations by universities include BA, BS, BSN, BFA, BM, BAS, BBA, etc.

Popular Universities Offering Dual Bachelor’s Degrees

A few of the popular universities offering dual degree programs at a bachelor’s level include-
Columbia UniversityBA + BS in Engineering
Cornell UniversityBA + BFA
Northwestern UniversityBA + BM in Music
Brown UniversityBA + BA in Liberal Arts
University of DenverBFA + BM in Music

Common Dual Bachelor Degree Programs

The most popular combinations of programs that are generally offered include-

Getting a Bachelor’s + Master’s Degree

Dual degrees that combine bachelor’s and master’s level programs into one program are mostly offered by Ivy League Schools. These programs are also referred to as five-year master’s programs since candidates will be able to complete both levels of education by enrolling in only one program at the beginning of their course. In such programs, students will typically complete their bachelor’s part of the program within the first 3 to 4 years after which they will start with the master’s program which can take another 1 to 2 years depending on the field of study.

Popular Universities Offering Bachelor + Master Degree

Yale UniversityBachelor’s + Master’s in Music
John Hopkins UniversityBS + MS in Engineering
New York UniversityBachelor’s + Master’s in Public Administration
University of GeorgiaBS + MS in Engineering
Rochester Institute of Technology Customizable BA + MS

Common Dual Degree Bachelor + Master Combinations

A few of the common dual degree programs offered under this combination include-

Getting a Graduate and Professional Dual Degree

Students who are career oriented and wish to surpass their peers will often opt for a dual degree program which can provide them with a graduate degree in a subject of their choice along with a professional degree. The most commonly opted for professional degree in this case is an MBA. Other degrees include a JD and an MD.

Universities Offering Graduate and Professional Degree Combinations

A few of the universities that provide different combinations of graduate and professional degree programs include-

Common Graduate + Professional Degree Combinations

A few of the popular combinations under this dual degree category include-

Difference Between Dual Degree and Double Major

Since a dual degree is also known as a double degree, it is easily confused with what is called a double major. These two degrees are completely different with the basic fact that a dual degree will be providing the candidate with 2 different degrees upon completion while a double major will only be providing one degree to the candidate. While the fields of study one can choose within these programs can be extremely different from one another, at the end of the day, a person taking a double major will only have one degree.

The general pattern among those taking a double major lies in the fact that the two majors they choose will be closely associated with each other. This is mainly done as a precursor for specializing in different fields of study, especially in their academic future. For candidates taking up a double major, learning about 2 different fields within the same school will increase their chances of excelling in both fields through the extra knowledge they receive.

Another major difference between the two degrees lies in the time taken to complete both these programs. The duration of a dual degree program is generally anywhere between 5 to 6 years whereas the duration for a double major is generally only 4 years which is the normal time taken for completing degree programs.

In other words, taking a dual degree is different from a double major based on the number of degrees one receives upon course completion, the duration of both these programs, and even the type of fields, one will be focusing on as part of the program.

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