student in study room at Westmead Campus

Double degrees and double majors: are they worth it?

Make an informed choice about your study options
Double degree versus double major or combined degree – what do they actually mean and why choose them over a single major? Here's our advice to help you decide for yourself.

In any bachelor's degree at university, you're required to complete a major, or an area that you will specialise in. By studying a double major, you are opting to specialise in two areas rather than one. 

The difference between a double degree and a combined degree

A double degree requires you to complete two separate qualifications – one after the other. This means you need to complete the requirements of the first degree before commencing the second. 

A combined degree also means you will graduate with two degrees, but instead, you complete them both concurrently in an integrated structure. 

A double degree and a combined degree are two different ways of completing two specialisations. Ultimately your choice between them will be determined by the course you wish to pursue, what else you want to learn as part of your degree, and what your goals are.

So is a double major for you? Here's the top four reasons why we think it's a valuable choice.

1. Keep your options open

By choosing a liberal degree with the option of a second major versus the typical double degree, you're giving yourself the flexibility to wait until the first year of uni to decide what discipline you want your second major to be in – rather than at the time you lock in your course preferences.

All of our liberal degrees give you the option to take a formalised second major or minor from over 100 across any discipline. A minor requires fewer units to complete and gives you a good understanding of a subject area, but less depth than a major.

As part of our curriculum, you can apply for a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies with a liberal degree. This gives you time to explore options for a second major across any discipline. If you're having trouble deciding what you'd like to study, give yourself the flexibility to decide after you've started uni by choosing a degree with the option of a double major. 

2. You don't have to choose between two interests

Combining your interests with a double degree, double major or combined degree, not only means you're likely to find your studies more enriching and rewarding but, it will give you a broader skillset and unique way of looking at the world.

Do you have an interest in biology and art history? Or maybe you're passionate about health and enjoy design? By investing in a depth of knowledge, especially across disciplines, you broaden your opportunities and ability to solve problems across a range of contexts. 

Our cross-disciplinary liberal degrees and combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies gives you this sort of flexibility, with the option of taking a second major from across nine disciplines.

3. Be twice as ready for the future

Choosing a career path that allows for change in your career is more important now than ever. 

From day one your university experience is up to you to create. If you choose a degree that exposes you to different disciplines and ways of thinking, you will be prepared for an equally dynamic future. 

Your path might change multiple times over your career, but with the broad skillset and academic agility of a double major, you will be better equipped to navigate the careers of the future.

4. Get more out of your time at uni

Taken in combination with a three-year degree, the four-year combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies offers you an unparalleled range of choice, with the opportunity to choose a second major from more than 100 on offer. It gives you space, choice and flexibility to take on units from our Open Learning Environment on topics such as business entrepreneurship, global health challenges, and cultural competence. 

You can also challenge yourself with advanced coursework and tackle real-world industry, community and research challenges with project-based learning so that your studies prepare you to influence the world around you.

Last updated: 23 July 2021

11 September 2017

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