My Joint Honours Experience
Joint honours is a fascinating, but at times, a confusing choice when it comes to a bachelor’s degree. It is a degree which allows you to study elements from two different subjects as a single qualification. Psychology & Criminology, Mathematics & Computer Science, or (my own) Marketing & Media are just to name a few. Joint honours is a great option if you feel you have strengths or interests in two different subjects which you would want to study further for your career progression. Many universities allow you to study for a semester at which point you can choose whether you’d like to continue the course or try something else. I chose joint honours because I knew I wanted to do something creative and interesting in the Media industry, whilst also gaining more direct job-related transferable skills with a Marketing specialism. This has allowed me to become highly knowledgeable in two separate subjects without one detracting from the other. Commonly I find overlapping and linked teachings in both disciplines which allow me to develop my own understanding of how Marketing and Media work together, something that neither solely Media or Marketing students would be able to possess.
At the end of the first year you also have to decide whether you’d like to stay on a Dual Honours (Subject A AND Subject B) course or change to a Major Minor degree (Subject A WITH Subject B) in which one subject becomes the dominant element of your degree. There are many opinions on the nature of a joint honours degree, some people think it isn’t worth it as it doesn’t allow you to have a full range of knowledge about either subject. Others believe the very different methods of studying such as essay writing, reports, analyses, and exams make it harder for students to achieve high grades in both subjects, and so they end up worse off. Personally, I believe it depends on the subject. In my own degree, I have found that Marketing requires a practical, mathematical, and analytical way of writing when it comes to essays and reports, whilst Media has a more theoretical and creative writing style. However they do overlap by a considerable margin and the difficulty or complexity of either subject never feels reduced.
Studying two courses will mean you will see students and teachers from both respective subjects, this opens you up to more optional seminars, societies, and trips. However, because you are doing only part of both courses you see all of them way less than those that choose to study one subject. Specific subject oriented societies can be invaluable in finding additional support; and communicating any issues to your personal or lead tutor can help in finding you a place that suits you best, they are only an email away. Everyone goes through those awkward initial greetings and hello’s but the sooner you make first impressions, the better it will be in settling in and finding a group for those pesky graded presentations. Even though the university module system allows for joint honours students to study select modules without requiring knowledge from other non-selected modules, for a degree mix like Mathematics & Chemistry, or Music & Astrophysics, it is of value to have gone to those extra modules that you may have missed out on, so occasionally it may feel like you are lagging behind. However this would also mean you can avoid modules you aren’t particularly interested in.
You rarely get bored of the subjects because you are always learning new and interesting things. When do interviews for internships they are always interested about how I’m studying two degrees in one, and best of all it shows confidence in yourself to retain and develop your own ideas in two differing subjects, it shows diversity in your ability and it shows motivation and forethought. I myself have learnt how to organise and manage various essays and teamwork projects simultaneously and independently. Thankfully, I never felt like I was too far away from my tutors to ask for help but they would never simply lead me to the answers. There was always enough discussion for me to feel like I was personally coming to my own summaries and conclusions. One of the most useful angles when approaching a joint honours degree is the practicality of what you want to do. If you want to train to become an actor that’s great, however it is a very competitive industry and so choosing a complimentary subject which may improve your employability skills such as English or Media may give you that edge if finding a job in your chosen field is becoming increasingly difficult.
At times it can be difficult to manage and organise my studies but with the constant yet precise support and teaching, along with the wide number of field-trips and offerings my tutors have given me, this has allowed me to feel both confident in myself and my abilities. Time clashes can be sorted in one meet-up, overworking can be solved through asking for assistance and extensions always ease the burden on those particularly tricky pieces of coursework. It’s always a big and scary decision to choose to go to university, and these other options may make it feel even scarier, but the value you can get if you choose wisely on what you want to study for the next three or four years will affect you for the rest of your life, and it’s important you know all the options to be able to make the best decision.