What are joint degrees and why might you want to consider them?

When most people think of university, they often think about having to study one subject for three years. Whilst this is a very popular thing to do, a lot of people forget that you can study something called a joint degree, but what does this mean exactly?

Today I am going to explain what joint degrees are, common subject combinations for joint degrees, and why you should consider a joint degree if you’re interested in university.

What is a joint degree?

A joint degree, as its name suggests, allows you to join two or more subjects together and study them both at degree level. This way, you can avoid having to choose between two subjects that you are really passionate about, or perhaps enables you to study two subjects that complement each other nicely, such as Geography and Environmental Science.

Joint degrees are really nice because you can combine most subjects together to form a joint degree. Whilst most universities already offer a specific set of joint degrees such as History and Politics, you can often create your own once you get to university (I will come onto this later).

Below you can find a list of common subject combinations you may be interested in:

There are so many other options for joint degrees out there so do have a look on different university websites to see what’s on offer at that given place. Attending open days is also a brilliant way to find out more about joint degrees and the possibilities of adding subjects to your degree once you get there.

Once you get to university:

Most universities have a major/minor system in place. Your major is, as you may suspect, the main subject that you are studying (this is the subject(s) that you applied for when you submit your UCAS application).

Your minor is the subject that you chose to try out during your first year. Perhaps you’ve come across a subject that you’ve not had the change to study before, but it should really interesting.

The great thing about this major/minor system is that a lot of universities give you the option at the end of first year to either drop the minor or continue it into second year and add it onto your degree, in other words, allowing you to create a joint degree.

When I initially applied to university back in 2017/18, I had applied to study German, and Spanish (a joint degree in two subjects). Once I got to Lancaster University, I had to choose a 3rd subject to study which would become my minor. I chose Italian and studied it all of my first year. When it came to choosing to drop or keep my minor, however, I decided to continue my Italian studies in my second year and simply attached it onto my German and Spanish degree. This essentially meant that I had applied to university to study a degree in German & Spanish studies, but I changed it and graduated with a slightly different degree (a degree in Modern Languages: German, Spanish, and Italian).

Why would you bother studying a joint degree?

Besides being able to study multiple things that you are interested in, joint degrees are a fantastic way to develop and broaden your skills. You can gain skills in multiple areas of discipline, which will help your CV to stand out and increase your employability.

Let’s take the example of Geography & Environmental Science: you’d gain a wide range of skills from your geography studies, but you will also gain a (potentially) different set of skills from your environmental science studies, for example, data analysis skills. As a result, your CV is going to end up being full of transferrable skills that will make you eligible for more jobs as well as give you better chances of securing employment after graduation.

If you have any more questions about joint degrees or university in general, then feel free to have a look at the e-courses we have on our website. You can also get in touch with us by emailing