Switching or even doing two degrees simultaneously?
My interests evolved…
It can happen, that during your studies you realise that you are actually quite interested in another degree programme at the university than the one that you are currently studying. This is usually more common during your first/beginning of your second year of your initial degree choice.
If you want, you do have the option to either switch to the different degree, or to do both your current degree, as well as the different degree of choice simultaneously. However, careful planning is necessary for this!
What can I do if I want to switch or maybe even do two degrees?
It would be advised to first talk to your study advisor of your current/first degree programme. As s/he can help you evaluating your options, also directing you to whom you can talk to about the the other degree programme of choice. It is quite important that you get as much information about the new degree as possible before you decide. This way you can be confident about your choice about switching or doing a second degree.
For example, talking to a study advisor of the other degree programme can give you valuable insights on what to expect (and can help you a long the road of switching/ doing a double degree). You can also chat with students who are doing the different degree and even ask if you may join some lectures of the ‘new’ degree. It’s worthwhile as well to look at each subject description in the study handbook of the ‘new’ programme you are considering.
‘I’m doing two master’s simultaneously,’ says Rianne van Zandbrink. ‘First I studied ‘Communication and Life Sciences, and during my studies I became increasingly interested in Nutrition and Health. So now I’m doing two master’s simultaneously.’ (essay introduction start).
Once you have decided that you want to do two degrees simultaneously, or switch to a different programme, you can start the process of applying for the second degree programme. The detailed guide on how you can apply for this for bachelors students can be found https://weblog.wur.eu/reflective-essay-examples-for-high-school/, and for master students here.
When switching, the new degree will follow the normal schedule (with or without the exemption of a BSA for bachelor students).
How does it work for simultaneous degrees?
Usually each bachelor’s programme consists of 180 ECTS and a masters degree of 120 ECTS, but don’t worry this doesn’t mean you will have to obtain double the credits when doing two degrees simultaneously!
You will still have to reach the same amount of credits for both bachelor’s and master’s programmes, meaning that you will have to reach half of the required credits for one degree, and half of the credits for the second degree programme. Which mandatory courses you should take to make up these credits for both your degrees will depend per degree – and will your course schedule be quite rigid in your first and sometimes second year.
For both degrees you will also have to write a thesis, to show that you have the required basic knowledge of both degrees.
Some extra things to consider:
- If you are a bachelor’s student it is important to consider the binding study advice (BSA) when starting a different degree – it could happen that you will have to obtain a new positive binding study advice for the new programme. If you are doing two pragrammes at the same time, this may not be necessary. However, again, this is an important factor to discuss with your study advisor!
- Doing two degrees simultaneously could also mean that you will take a year longer than usual to complete both degrees – for example, doing two master’s that typically takes two years to complete, may take you three years. However, you will have a double title when graduating.
- As mentioned before, your course schedule could be quite rigid in terms of what subjects you take, and you will have to make sure you follow a careful planning to successfully complete both degrees. This means that you will definitely have to work hard, but then again, if you enjoy both programmes this probably won’t feel as too much of a burden 🙂
If you are a student reading this blog, who either switched or are doing two degrees simultaneously, please feel free to add any tips or extra information on this topic in the comments!