7 Alternatives To a Double Degree That You Should Know About

Alternatives To a Double Degree: With a double degree, you study two subjects in parallel. That is why this topic is often referred to as multiple or parallel studies. In this article on iamstuden.at, I’ll show you how you can organize such a degree in a clever way and master it with flying colors:

But a double degree is not suitable for every person. The multiple workload, the limited free time and the high pressure to perform push many students to their limits. In addition, a double degree is always a question of the financial situation: only with the necessary reserves and a frugal lifestyle is it possible to study several degree programs at the same time. Why? There is no time to work extensively in addition to a double degree in order to earn your own living (or that of an entire family). For this reason alone, a double degree is not feasible for many prospective students. For these reasons, I am now introducing you to seven interesting alternatives.

7 Alternatives to a Double Degree

If you want to study different subjects at the same time in order to receive a comprehensive education or to bring as much variety as possible into your student life, you do not necessarily have to choose a double degree. There are numerous other options that you should consider. We look at seven of these alternatives to a double degree below.

Alternative 1: Interdisciplinary Courses

If you are interested in two different subjects or even two specific courses of study, you do not always have to choose these subjects individually in order to be able to combine their contents independently. Many universities offer so-called “interdisciplinary courses”, which were designed as a combination of different courses. 

Specifically, this means: the university has taken two (or more) courses and mixed parts of them together to form a new course. Well-known examples of this system are industrial engineering (mixture of engineering and economics), medical technology (mixture of medicine and engineering) or business law (mixture of economics and law).

Alternative 2: Dual Study

In a dual course of study, academic and company training are combined. Components of a dual study are therefore both the classic study at the university (with lectures, seminars and study projects) as well as firmly integrated practical assignments in the training company. 

For this reason, such a degree is characterized on the one hand by a high degree of practical relevance and also enables two degrees (vocational training and university degree) to be obtained in a short time. The sometimes lacking scientific depth of the course is a disadvantage. In addition, the weekly workload is very high because the attendance hours have to be completed in the company. Smart time management is particularly important here. Nevertheless, more and more universities are offering dual courses of study in close cooperation with local companies.

Alternative 3: Distance Learning

Instead of a double course at a face-to-face university, another combination of two courses can be considered: face-to-face + distance learning. With this study variant, you take a course at your local university and at the same time enroll for a distance learning course. 

As part of a distance learning course, you have to teach yourself the course content independently – by self-study, so to speak. Learning materials, scripts and webinars are made available to you – but you have to organize and organize the actual study on your own responsibility. This requires a high degree of self-discipline, but allows you to skillfully coordinate your two courses. Since you only have to concentrate on the face-to-face events of one degree,

Alternative 4: Study Abroad

If you are not afraid of a foreign language and enjoy a new culture, you can consider studying abroad. When studying abroad, you enroll in a course at a university abroad and study there. Of course, you can limit this time to one or two semesters and then return, but as an alternative to double studies, you should consider studying abroad holistically. Because you massively improve your language skills and your intercultural competence during the study period, it is sufficient if you concentrate on a degree program abroad. 

Note, however, that studying abroad can be expensive (tuition fees, travel expenses, moving, etc.) and you have to give up your social environment for a certain period of time.

Alternative 5: Research Semester

If you would like to integrate more scientific work into your training, a so-called “research semester” is a good option. During such a period you can work on current research projects and network with well-known scientists from your department. 

The whole thing also works internationally: A research stay abroad is also possible in many degree programs and can be particularly interesting if you are planning a study project. Similar to study exchange programs, these can be managed centrally or at the faculty level. Occasionally there are also associations of several universities,

Alternative 6: Internships

If you miss more practical content in your studies but do not want to tackle a dual course of study, internships are the perfect alternative for you. As part of an internship, you can gain your first professional experience inside or outside your university and prove yourself in daily project work. Many companies and companies offer internships especially for students. 


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The content of the internship can often be adapted to your individual requirements and wishes. Some internships can also be carried out part-time so that you can complete them parallel to your studies. This means you don’t lose any time studying and you can put together a varied combination of theory and practice.

Alternative 7: Guest Auditor

“Guest auditors” are people who take part in lectures and courses at a university on their own initiative, but without obligations. Presence and examination obligations do not apply to this group of people. If you are unsure whether you should register for a second course, you can first register as a guest auditor and thus take part in regular teaching. In this way, you can safely get a more precise picture of the lecture content, lecturers and other critical parameters of the respective degree program.

When is a Double Degree Worth while?

If you want to bring more variety to your student life, broaden your horizons or complete additional training, a double degree may be just the thing for you. The combination of two courses of study can make your everyday life more interesting and in the end give you a boost for your further career. However, a double degree is not your only option. In this article you have seen which alternatives are also available to you. Here is a brief overview again:

  • Interdisciplinary courses
  • dual study
  • Distance learning
  • Study abroad
  • Research semester
  • Internships
  • Guest auditor

In the end, it is an individual decision in which you have to weigh up which aspects of the individual alternatives suit you and whether the additional effort will pay off – or whether the multiple burden has too strong negative consequences on your life.

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