Dual Degree: Everything You Need to Know

This term describes a university program that is open to students who want to concurrently study to obtain two degrees. Thus, a dual degree helps in both academic and career enhancements.

Highly motivated students can opt for a dual-degree program to get two separate credentials, such as a B.Sc. and an MBA, or a bachelor’s degree in economics and another in political science. Typically, graduate schools offer dual degrees. Though some undergraduate schools too could offer dual-degree programs, they often take more time to complete than a double major. For instance, a student could earn two degrees, such as a bachelor of science and a bachelor of arts, but would require more credit hours to do so. Usually, it takes five years for students earning two bachelor’s degrees to graduate.

Some schools let students choose dual-degree programs that merge undergraduate and graduate degrees. When enrolled in such courses, students begin in undergraduate classes, after which they graduate with a master’s degree. The entire program can be typically completed in five to six years. Such programs let students save both time and money as they won’t need to apply to graduate school, and the program instructions are normally condensed. Students can also opt for master’s programs that award dual degrees, including the ones that award a degree and a certification, thus helping them save both time and money.

How to choose a dual degree is often a big battle for many students. The two degrees chosen are typically distinct but may complement each other based on a student’s career objectives. For example, some universities offer dual-degree programs that award a master of science in information systems and an MBA, thus molding graduates for careers as IT executives and managers.

Though degree requirements can vary depending on the dual-degree program, they usually include a few course overlaps. This decreases the total number of credits a student is required to earn. Generally, students must complete 150 credits, at the least, to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree or two bachelor’s degrees, and 60 credits to receive two master’s degrees. Unlike a double major, students can’t usually craft their own dual-degree programs and must select from predefined options.

Those who need financial aid for their dual degrees should know that they might find the going easier if their dual degree program involves a master’s degree, particularly if they’re already employed. This is because several employers will pay at least part of their employees’ tuition who return to school.

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