The growing offer by universities of double degree programs is a reality throughout the world. The possibilities of choosing a double degree are increasing. By way of example, in Catalonia, approximately 25% of the offer of degrees offers this possibility.
In Spain, double degrees are protected by the new laws on the university system and the quality of university education . The universities, in the exercise of their autonomy, can develop simultaneous academic programs of double degrees with a specific itinerary, that is, official university education with two degrees or degrees with a specific itinerary.
Therefore, the double university degrees consist of a curricular itinerary designed by the university that guarantees that the student acquires the learning results of each of the degrees included, defined from their basic and compulsory training subjects, avoiding the duplication of content and applying a table of recognition of subjects and subjects in accordance with the equivalence of content and skills.
Related fields, broad perspective
The two degrees can be from the same center or between different centers, both nationally and internationally, and complementary (from the same field of knowledge or related fields, in most cases). This allows the student body to explore and delve into two different fields of study, giving them a broader perspective and allowing them to develop skills and knowledge in multiple disciplines.
However, it must be taken into account that the further apart the degrees are in disciplinary terms, the fewer credits can be recognized, and therefore the number of credits to be taken will be greater.
This simultaneous curricular itinerary consists, then, in a temporary organization that allows the student to combine the formative activities of two degrees and meet the requirements established to obtain both titles, in accordance with what is established in the respective study plans, through passing of a minimum number of credits, but in a shorter period of time than it would take to take them separately.
Normally for a degree it takes 4 years and for a double degree between 5-6 years. The student finishes his studies with the elaboration of two Final Degree Projects (TFG), as a general rule, although in some itineraries it is also possible only one TFG that covers the two areas of knowledge.
The benefits of taking a double degree
- The possibility of combining interests. These academic programs can be a great opportunity for students who are undecided between two degrees for which they show interest and motivation. If, in addition, the double degree is with an international university, it will allow them to perfect a second or third language, develop intercultural skills and specific knowledge of another country.
- The labor market increased. In a world where work is increasingly intertwined and multidisciplinary, academic diversity can be especially beneficial. Employers value flexibility, effort capacity, as well as the ability to adapt and address problems from different perspectives in students who are studying a double degree, derived from having knowledge and skills in two different fields of knowledge. They are also considered capable of handling multidisciplinary problems and providing innovative solutions.
- Expanded career opportunities. Combining knowledge from two domains results in a broader career path , allowing graduates to pursue jobs that involve one degree course, both domains, or even find unique career prospects at the intersection of both.
The challenges of taking a double degree
Despite the advantages of double university degrees, it is important to note that they can also present additional challenges for the student body.
- Greater dedication and effort. Students who take a double degree have a greater workload since students have to meet the academic requirements of two study programs simultaneously. This academic itinerary entails a greater investment of time, organization and effort that can generate stress and difficulties in managing time effectively. It can also be challenging to maintain a healthy balance between academic work and other aspects of life, such as extracurricular activities or part-time work.
- Higher economic cost. Taking a double degree involves a higher economic cost than a single degree because it includes a greater number of credits to enroll, textbooks, study materials and other related expenses. It is important that students consider these aspects and determine if they are capable of assuming these additional expenses.
- Longer program duration: Unlike a conventional degree program, dual degree studies typically take longer to complete. The reason for this is that the student body must meet the requirements of two different programs. Students must be willing to devote more time and energy to their studies.
In short, dual degrees provide students with an excellent educational experience and a competitive advantage in the job market. However, it is important to carefully consider the challenges it presents taking into account the characteristics of the student body, as well as the reputation of the university, the educational program and the quality of the teaching staff.
Author Bio: M. Pilar Delgado Milestone is Vice-Rector for Academic Policy and Quality at the University of Barcelona