Millie’s Guide to Dual Degree Programs
Is one degree not quite enough for you? Learn more about getting two at the same time!
Three panelists shared their dual degree experiences in our panel “Millie’s Guide to EU-US Dual Degree Programs”.
Our panelists were:
- Aurora Pinelli: European Social and Political Studies (BS) at UCL (‘22) & Russian, Central European, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies (BS) at Sciences Po (‘22)
- Dev Ojha: Business Administration (BS) at SUNY Empire State College and University of New York in Prague ('22)
- Denise Brieva: English Law and Spanish Law (LLB) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and King’s College London ('23)
What does a dual degree entail?
If you decide to take a dual degree, you will get a chance to study one or more majors in parallel at two different universities. Sometimes this works in a way where professors from university A visit university B and gives the students in university B an opportunity to earn two degrees while physically studying in just one. In most cases, however, students travel to another university and study in two universities.
If you are not entirely sure of what a dual degree is, don’t worry. Most high school students, including some of our panelists when they were younger, remained undecided about taking a dual degree up until they began their application process. In the meantime, if you are unsure, just check out the websites of your dream universities to see if they have even formed partnerships with other schools in order to offer dual degrees.
“Most high school students, including some of our panelists when they were younger, remained undecided about taking a dual degree up until they began their application process”
Why should you get a dual degree?
Firstly, you may get a chance to learn more languages. As many dual degree programs are offered at universities in two distinct countries, students will have a chance to immerse themselves in the cultures of both countries, which is an immense benefit that not many undergraduates get. In the case of Aurora, she had a chance to become fluent in both French and English by studying in both France and the UK. She even got to learn German as part of her studies. (Aurora is Italian, by the way.)
Furthermore, you get to set different focuses in different schools. Even if you enroll in the same major at two universities, you can decide to focus on different concentration areas in each university, which will endow you with broader and richer knowledge and expertise.
Lastly, people taking dual degree programs tend to adapt faster to different contexts and develop an international mindset. Especially if you are studying in more than one country, you get to interact with people that come from various backgrounds, which gives you a precious opportunity to acquire knowledge that is applicable to various regions and build global connections. The interesting profile you can build due to your dual degree program will appeal to your future employers. Additionally, you will have double the network compared to those taking a regular degree program as you get access to professors and peers from two universities.
“Taking a dual degree gives you a precious opportunity to build global connections.”
What makes a dual degree program challenging?
The first and foremost challenge that many dual degree takers face is adapting to a new environment. They are often required to learn new languages, fit into a new geographical setting, transition between different teaching and examination styles, and network with people that come from an unfamiliar background. These could be overwhelming, especially when all of these are happening within the span of four years.
There is also the workload. Taking one degree is already a pressuring job, but taking two entails even more classes to take and even more assignments to complete. Although the workload will depend on the school you study in, you will still be required to keep track of more tasks compared to regular undergraduate students.
Despite the heightened stress level you might face due to these challenges, all of our panelists assure you that you will get an interesting life as a dual degree pursuer. The hectic schedule - surprisingly - also gets manageable once you learn to allocate your time more efficiently and prioritize important tasks.
“The hectic schedule gets manageable once you learn to allocate your time more efficiently.”
What should I prepare to apply for a dual degree program?
The admission process of dual degree programs is akin to other regular degree programs. You will submit a motivation letter/personal statement, your grades, reference letters, and in some cases, take English proficiency exams and additional admission assessments such as the TSA. You may also get invited to an interview, led by alumni or admissions officers.
As the panelists recommend, make sure you familiarize yourself with the application platform you will have to use and seek advice from your seniors that have gotten into a dual degree program. This will make your application less stressful (and increase the chances of it being successful!).
Where should I start?
If you are interested in pursuing a dual degree, make sure you watch the full panel, as our panelists went into much more detail about their experiences in France, the Czech Republic, the US, and the UK.