3 min read

Can you study multiple subjects at university?

Can you study multiple subjects at university?

by Newcastle University

In this blog, find out everything you need to know about the unique and flexible courses that allow you to take ultimate control of what you study... with some institutions allowing for the study of up to three subjects to make one single qualification.

Traditionally, universities in the UK offer degrees in a ‘single honours’ format where you devote your studies to one area such as ‘BA History’ or ‘BSc Biology’.

However, there are a number of degrees pathways that allow you to study more than one subject.

Some of these allow you to split your time equally between multiple subjects, like a 50/50 ‘joint honours’. Others are more flexible, with the option to study a major and minor split. How your time is split across these subjects can vary – from a 50/50 joint honours split, and flexible combined honours to major/minor combinations.

Read on to find out more... 

What are Joint Honours?

With a Joint Honours degree, you’ll study two subjects simultaneously within the timeframe of one honours degree (typically 3 years, 4 if you take a placement or year abroad).

What is Combined Honours?

A Combined Honours degree allows to combine up to three subjects to make one single qualification. It gives you the opportunity to develop your existing knowledge of a subject/s or explore something new without any prior experience.

The difference between combined and single honours, is that with single honours someone studies one subject at undergraduate level, and it is equal to one degree.

Combined Honours also awards you with one degree at the end of your studies, but you undertake more than one subject (usually two or three) during your studies.

What will appear on my degree transcript for combined honours or joint honours?

In joint honours, two subjects are listed in the degree title (for example ‘BA Hons English and History’) on your transcript when you graduate.

For Combined Honours, your degree title will be written as ‘BA Combined Honours in ____ and/with _____’ listing your stage 2 and 3 subjects.

For example, ‘BA Combined Honours in French and History’ (if you opted for a 50% split) or ‘BA Combined Honours in French with History' (if you chose a major & minor split).

Your degree certificate will reference all the subjects you studied in Stages 2 and 3 (after the first year); to highlight your areas of expertise.

Are combined or joint honours degrees harder?

It’s a myth that Combined or Joint Honours are harder than single honours degrees – when in fact, you’ll be taking the same number of credits and modules as a single honours student. Therefore, the workload will be the same, right down to assessments and even required reading.

The type of assessments you have, much like single honours, depends on the optional modules you choose and the degree programme itself (some are more exam-heavy, and others are 100% coursework).

In fact, studying two or three subjects in a combined degree format will be a smooth transition coming from A levels where you’re used to studying three or four subjects at one time.

Does joint honours mean there is a bigger workload than if I study one subject?

No, joint honours or dual degrees do not mean more work.

You will take the same number of modules and credits as a single honours student.

This also means you will not have a greater number of assessments, or more exams – the workload is the same, but the opportunity to explore and develop skills in a wide range of areas will be greater.

How do I split my time across multiple subjects in combined honours?

At Newcastle University, there are two pathways you can choose throughout your Combined Honours degree.

In your first year, you can study two or three subjects, and will divide your time equally across them.

The second year of your degree, you can choose to:

  • keep the three subjects at an equal split or
  • drop one - and study the remaining two either as more of a joint honours approach or a major/minor split where you devote more credits to one of your two subjects.

Flexibility and choice are at the heart of this degree, and you can choose a pathway that best suits your interests and preferences.

There are more than 20 subjects you can choose from, many of which you don’t need to have studied before.

We hope this blog has explained how you can study two or more subjects at Newcastle University - allowing you to master your variety of academic interests at university, while expanding your horizons and future careers. 

You might also be interested in: