Not sure what you want to study at University? Want to keep your school subjects or expand into new areas? Can you see links between subjects you studied at school and find you want to explore these more?
There are lots of reasons to pursue a Combined Honours degree. The programmes offer more flexibility, a wide range of choice in subjects and modules and will allow you to create a bespoke programme of study, pursuing your interests and augmenting your skills.
A wider university academic background is also the model followed by most institutions around the world, so the range of subjects will be familiar to companies and institutions that work internationally.
Employers welcome a range of skills and a combined degree offers evidence of critical thinking, flexibility, organisation and a wide range of abilities and experiences. You will be able to demonstrate your independence, self-motivation and problem-solving-skills – key attributes in today’s challenging employment market. Employers aren’t always looking for particular degree graduates, they are looking for practical and committed individuals who care about what they do.
A recent employer’s survey* found that the most important things that employers are looking for are:
- Communication Skills
- Positive Attitude – ‘can do’ approach
A Combined Honours graduate can demonstrate most or all of these!
*Higher Education Careers Services Unit, 2012
Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF)
There is still no clear guidance on how subject-level assessments for the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework will work for multi-subject and combined honours degrees.
It may be the case that you will have to look up the assessment for each of the subjects/disciplines that you are interested in, although this will not answer questions about the structure of your programme. Some programmes are more integrated than others,. Some programmes simply put your two, or three, chosen subjects together.
When you are thinking about the differences, ask the programme team how the courses are structured and who has responsibility for managing your student experience. This will vary by university.
For more information about the TEF, please visit the website:
What Academic Research Says About Combined Honours
A report from Dr. John Hodgson published in 2011 examined the experiences of 24 combined honours (or joint honours) students from five different universities. All of the students questioned studied English along with another subject but their answers, and the conclusions drawn from them, are highly relevant to all combined honours students. Key findings and quotes from the report can be seen below:
“Several students said that they relished the variety and challenge of taking a joint honours course”
“Nearly all the students felt positively about their joint honours studies, and would recommend these as more interesting and engaging than single honours work”
“Apart from its intrinsic value, joint honours study would, many students felt, make them more employable. Several of them had combined an more adventurous choice of subject (in employment terms) with a “safer” choice: they could offer a range of competencies while feeling reasonably confident that they would, if necessary, find employment related to their safer subject.”
“Many joint honours students relish the variety and challenge of their university experience, and regard themselves as potentially more employable than single honours graduates. They especially enjoy and benefit from the conceptual range and understanding and multiple skill-sets that they gain from their joint studies”
““You enjoy each subject a lot more. It gives you a new appreciation of the subjects because you’re comparing them – it’s just a lot more interesting.” “There’s just a lot more scope,” said Yvonne (Netherfield), “and you learn a lot more.” Jasmine (Kympton) said that several of her friends who were taking single honours English were jealous of her.”
“Molly (Lambton) felt that joint honours study had “opened different paths to me that I wouldn’t have had as a single honours student.” She thought it had done “amazing things” for her personal development: “thinking critically, developing my thinking style into a more adult pattern.”
Pseudonyms were used in the report to preserve confidentiality.