Pros and Cons of a Dual Degree Program

Flickr user Jennifer Longaway

Also known as a Combined Degree Program, this college path allows you to study for two different degrees simultaneously. That’s right, if you want to earn your associate’s and bachelor’s, or bachelor’s and master’s, or two master’s degrees at the same time, there’s likely a program out there for you.

While it may sound enticing, there are a few things to keep in mind before you commit yourself to the task. Here are some pros and cons to dual degree programs.

Con: Competition is Fierce

Not just anyone can undergo a dual degree program. Like with any college, you have to apply, and the requirements are usually pretty impressive. Most students apply during their freshman or sophomore year of (regular) college, so they can meet the program’s minimum college GPA mandate. Some suggest having AP or honors courses in the repertoire too. Study hard if you’re interested in making it into one of these.

Pro: Two Degrees

Well, let’s start off with the obvious one—you earn two degrees! You could pursue two different areas of study—say, English Literature and Business—or studies that compliment each other—like Mathematics and Engineering.  Either way, having two degrees can give you a solid advantage in the ever-competitive job market.

Con: Much Bigger Course-load

It makes sense that earning two degrees simultaneously would equate to more work. In such a concentrated amount of time, the courses can feel overwhelming. Only students who believe they can handle the stress with their organization, preparation, and dedication should consider undertaking a dual degree program.

Pro: Saves Time in the Long Run

And as an added bonus, you earn said degrees in a much shorter amount of time than you would have traditionally done. For some, this means jumping into the workforce earlier and getting a head-start on their career.

Con: School Leaves Little Time for Other Things

Since dual degree programs have an intense workload, it leaves little time for other activities. Students might find it difficult, for example, to maintain a part-time job while studying in a dual degree program, which can make finance an issue. And while there are certainly financial aid programs to help with that, some aid might disappear after earning your first degree.

For every pro there is a con, and vice versa. It is important to weigh each during your decision making process. Make sure you do plenty of research and planning before jumping headfirst into this challenging (but rewarding!) endeavor.

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