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Joint Honours Degree

A joint honours degree allows you to study two subjects in a 50:50 ratio at university.

Why do it? Well, here are a few jolly good reasons:

  • You’ve got big love for more than one subject and you just can’t bear to let one of them go after your A-levels, Highers or IB.
  • You want to keep your options open.
  • You’d like to widen your expertise in your university studies in more than just one area.
  • You’re one for a challenge, and think you’d like to try picking up a new subject at university.

If any of these options sound like something that’s been running through your head recently then a joint honours degree could be a decent choice for you!

A word of warning: a joint honours is by no means a diluted version of a single honours course. You won’t study as many modules in each subject as your fellow single honours students (the module credits from both subjects add up to exactly the same credits as a single honours), however you’ll still be expected to study just as hard, and to exactly the same depth in each selected module as the other students.                                          

In fact, it could even be tougher than a single honours degree, as you’ll have to juggle between two subjects at the same intensity and prioritise more. Deadlines and revision time can be…interesting. But because of all these, if you graduate with a joint honours degree it can be impressive on the old CV!

What will I study on a joint honours degree?

Now, owing to the flexibility of options for a joint honours degree depending on the university, the list here is potentially endless. Assuming that you’d like to have at least one finance related subject in your joint honours mix, here are a few possible combinations:

Possible combinations

  • Business and a modern foreign language
  • Business and politics
  • Business and management
  • Economics and finance
  • Economics and mathematics
  • Accounting and management
  • Accounting and mathematics.

Of course, you won’t just be restricted to a choice of finance related topics. Shop around for what universities have to offer, and you could also combine with other social sciences subjects, sciences, or even arts. Subjects like English, law, marketing and information technology aren’t off the cards.

Two non-finance related subjects are obviously an option as well, though bear in mind that if you’re sure a finance career is what you want, at least one finance subject will be more advantageous (investment banks in particular usually require a degree in a finance related subject such as economics).

Entry requirements

These are going to vary depending on which university and programme you apply for, so take a close look at all eligibility requirements for your shortlisted universities and courses. A minimum of A-level C grades (or the equivalent) is quite common.

Some courses require you to have A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) in both subjects, whereas others may give a shortlist of accepted subjects; particularly if it’s a course that’s going to allow you to pick up a brand new topic.

Where could a joint honours degree take me?

A joint honours degree will show employers you’re flexible and comfortable with more than one area of study, which could set you up well for the many shifting challenges you’ll face in a finance career. It could add a real boost to your employer pulling power.

Your finance career options could vary considerably depending on your subject combination. If at least one of the subjects in your joint honours degree is a finance related topic, then the finance world is potentially your oyster (as long as you get a minimum of a 2:1). A language can be a big advantage for many roles too; particularly research based and client facing careers.

Typical industries for joint honours graduates

Joint honours graduates can explore opportunities in:

By Jos Weale, Editor, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com