A double degree program, sometimes called a dual degree, combined degree, conjoint degree, joint degree or double graduation program, involves a student's working for two university degrees in parallel—either at the same institution or at different institutions (sometimes in different countries)—and completing them in less time than it would have taken to earn them separately. The two degrees might be in the same subject area (especially when the course is split between countries), or in two different subjects.
Undergraduate double degree programs are more common in some countries than others, and are generally found in countries whose higher education systems follow the British model. Master's double degree programs are more widespread. Interest in double degree programs between member nations has spread in the European Union, as the gaining of qualifications from more than one country is seen as an advantage in the European labour market.
Typically—in a double degree program, both of the participating institutions reduce the amount of time required to be spent at each. Common undergraduate double degrees include Engineering and Economics programs, Engineering and Business programs, such as Business and Computing. They often take 4–5 years to complete instead of 7–8 years to complete separate degrees. Common postgraduate double degrees are JD–MBA degrees, as well as MBA and JD degrees combined with MA fields, such as politics, economics, urban planning, and international relations. Many medical schools also offer joint M.D. or DO degrees with JD and MBA programs, as well as with a range of MA programs. Some universities even offer dual PhD/MBA degrees, where the PhD portion is generally in science and/or engineering, to target entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
Double degrees should not be confused with double major, or with the occasional practice of awarding a further qualification with a worked-for (especially research) degree, nor with the awarding of a single degree by multiple institutions. Double majors or dual majors consist of two majors attached to a single degree, as opposed to two separate degrees, each with its own field of study. In some schools, students will earn a double major when the two majors lead to the same degree name (such as: BA, BS, BFA) and they will earn a double degree when the two majors lead to differently-named degrees (such as: BA and BM, BS and BFA). In general, the number of hours and required courses are more in a dual-degree program than a double major.
In the United States, a dual degree program is based on a formal agreement within one college/university or between separate colleges/universities. Students spend 2–3 years in each degree program. After completing all requirements for both programs (usually in four to five years) the student is awarded two degrees in one of the following combinations: (1) Associate's and Bachelor's programs – an associate degree from a community college and a bachelor's degree from a partner university; (2) Dual bachelor's degree programs – two bachelor's degrees; (3) Dual Bachelor's master's degree programs – a bachelor's degree and a master's degree; (4) Dual Graduate Degree programs – a combination of DDS, PharmD, DO, MA, MD, MPP, MS, JD, MBA, MPH, or PhD.
One specific example of a dual bachelor's program is the 3-2 engineering program, which most often takes the form of a student completing three years of study at his or her original institution, often a liberal arts college, and then going to a partnered research university for two years to complete an engineering degree. The student ultimately receives a bachelor's degree from both institutions.
In India, integrated dual degree programs – bachelor's degree and master's degree in 5 years – are commonly floated by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Dual degrees can be from the same school, or from two colleges/universities that entered a dual degree agreement; and in the same major, or in different majors. Students enter a dual degree program to accelerate their education or to enrich their professional portfolio by adding a new major.
Offer two double degree programs spanning both schools (located just minutes from each other). Students are able to obtain a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and either a Bachelor of Mathematics or a Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. This undergraduate program typically takes five years to complete and allows students to take part in a wide range of activities offered at both schools.
For the first two years of their undergraduate studies students attend one of Sciences Po's three regional campuses. Their final two years of study can be matriculated at the Faculty of Arts (Bachelor of Arts option) or the Sauder School of Business (Bachelor of Commerce option). Double degree leading to a Bachelor of Arts from Sciences Po and either a second Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia.
Undergraduate alumni of Mexican Institution enrolled in Civil Engineering are abled to obtain their respective Japanese degree attending the final two years of study to the respective Japanese university.
- Netherlands – University of Amsterdam
Provide double bachelor programs (DuBa) for certain Bachelor of Sciences (Bsc.), leading up to two separate bachelor's degrees. These include a double bachelor for Mathematics and either Physics or Computer Science, and a double bachelor for Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
A limited number of double degrees exist in Denmark and Italy as they require skilled and highly motivated students to keep up with the rigorous curriculum of studying two Master level degrees simultaneously. Each year three highly competitive spots are offered for students to apply for a Double Degree in the Management of Innovation and Technology between CBS and Bocconi. The three candidates from each university will then spend a year at each institution followed by a mandatory internship at one of the corporate partners affiliated with the programme.
- France – ParisTech
Many double degree programs exist in France especially with the collegiate universities such as ParisTech. One of its most famous program is the double degree in engineering and management delivered by the École Polytechnique and HEC Paris.
Students have the opportunity to study at Newcastle University and the University of Groningen. On successful completion of the course, students receive two MSc degrees with the following awards:
Operations and Supply Chain Management MSc from Newcastle University
Technology Operations Management MSc from the University of Groningen
- United States – University of Houston
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