Multiple Degrees: How to Study Several Degree Programs in Parallel – Tips, Basics, Advantages & Disadvantages

Multiple Degrees

How to Study Several Degree Programs: Have you ever thought about studying a second subject in addition to your current degree? Many students grapple with this consideration. Either because the first subject is too boring, curiosity about another subject is growing, or a second degree increases career prospects. The reasons for so-called multiple studies can be diverse – and so can the challenges that such a decision brings with it. Multiple studies are not the same as multiple studies. There are countless different constellations and design options. That is what makes this form of study so attractive and demanding. But one after another.

What is a Multiple Degree? How to Study Several Degree Programs in Parallel

Before we get down to business, we need to clear a few basics. So: what actually is a multiple degree? This term refers to the simultaneous study of different courses at one or two different universities. Whether a college or university does not matter. The combination of subjects is also irrelevant for the definition. Regardless of whether you are pairing business studies with psychology, law with engineering or medicine with social sciences: all of this is possible with multiple degrees. A multiple courses in which at least two courses are taken at one and the same university is called a double course; if the subjects are taken at different universities, one speaks of a parallel course.

Requirements for Multiple Studies?

Basically, enrollment for multiple courses works the same way as for a “normal” course: you choose a course, apply for a place and are accepted (or not). However, depending on the country, state, university and degree program, there are differences in the handling of multiple courses – and that is exactly what makes things complicated. Some universities close certain courses to double study off or block the option completely. Other universities only allow parallel studies under special conditions. 

For example, you have to have a certain grade point average or have already studied a few semesters. My advice: Find out more about each course of study that you would like to take as part of a multiple degree. Get in touch with the relevant universities, read the enrollment regulations and study the paragraphs of the respective examination regulations. Yes, it is a bit of a hassle, but the organization will be worth it for you. I’m sorry – but there is no easier way (which gives you security).

Advantages of Multiple Studies:

In addition to the bureaucratic entry barriers to multiple studies, the combination of several subjects offers many advantages. For this reason, year after year more and more students in Europe are choosing this type of study or trying out parallel studies from time to time. Why? Because this form of study can be worthwhile. These are the seven biggest advantages of multiple studies:

  1. More knowledge: Taking several courses of study logically ensures that you acquire more knowledge. This increases your competence in various specialist areas.
  2. Broader knowledge: Due to the combination of very different subjects, your knowledge is distributed much more widely compared to a “normal” degree. So you prevent. to be perceived as a “professional idiot”.
  3. Interdisciplinary training: A multiple degree usually ensures that you are confronted with various scientific methods. The knowledge and application of these different disciplines can have a very positive effect on the way you work.
  4. Lots of variety: By studying several degree programs in parallel, you can take many different courses and deal with very different topics. Boredom and monotony when studying are almost impossible.
  5. Large network: A course of study not only provides you with lectures and exams, but also a large network of professors, scientists and fellow students – in short: interesting personalities that you would otherwise not meet. Multiple studies duplicate this network in one fell swoop.
  6. Competitive advantage: Only a small proportion of all students dare to study multiple times. The trend is increasing, but it is estimated that less than two percent of all university graduates successfully complete several courses at the same time. If you master this challenge, you will clearly stand out from the crowd and realize a strong competitive advantage.
  7. Increasing career opportunities: This advantage will become apparent in your professional life at the latest. The fact that you have successfully studied several courses of study increases your career opportunities considerably. First, because you have a high quality education in several courses; and secondly, because you have a broader professional base than your competitors.

As you can see, multiple degrees offer many opportunities. However, the parallel study of different courses is associated with a lot of additional effort. But not only this aspect is a significant disadvantage.

Disadvantages of Multiple Studies:

The advantages of multiple studies are not given for free. Like everything in life, these benefits come at a price – and you have to pay for them with time, energy and money. These are the seven biggest disadvantages of multiple studies:

  1. Difficult access: As mentioned at the beginning, access to a second or third degree can be associated with a lot of effort. Just collecting information from different study combinations will cost you several hours or even days.
  2. Complex organization: After you have received an additional study place, the actual organization only begins: The lectures, seminars and other courses in your degree programs must be coordinated and integrated into a functioning timetable. There are seldom ready-made solutions for multiple studies – initiative and self-organization are required here.
  3. Heavy workload: While there are 20 to 30 semester hours per week in the curriculum in a single course, this number doubles in two courses. This results in a significantly higher workload that ends with a busy schedule or an extended study period.
  4. Lots of learning content: The variety of content during multiple studies cannot be dismissed out of hand – but the learning content is only so varied because it is so numerous. So be prepared for a large amount of additional study material.
  5. Expensive learning materials: The volume of the learning content is just one aspect that you have to consider when considering the density of content in a multiple study program. There are also costs for textbooks, study materials and excursions. This can quickly double your ongoing study costs. There are also any tuition fees (if you are enrolled at several universities).
  6. Demanding examination phase: In addition to a large number of courses with the associated follow-up units, the examination phase is a major challenge. In multiple courses, you will have little time to prepare for exams. It is also possible that exam dates overlap or take place in close succession.
  7. Financing your studies: The great burden of parallel studies means that you have little time for other things besides your studies. Part-time jobs or other financing measures hardly find a place in your calendar. You have to secure your study financing through saved funds, scholarships or other grants.

In addition to these study-related disadvantages, the stress of multiple studies can also have an impact on your private environment and your health: Little sleep, little free time and neglected relationships can result. With the right strategy and smart time management, however, these negative consequences can be mitigated or avoided in advance.

The Most Important Rule For Successful Multiple Studies

Many students start multiple studies without a precise idea. You apply, register and then first see what to expect. But this approach is a big mistake and leads to most of the disadvantages described above. Multiple studies can only work if you observe an important basic rule. This is:

Do not leave anything to chance when studying multiple subjects: Plan and organize your studies!

The challenges that multiple studies bring with them are too diverse to react to them spontaneously. You need a strategy right from the start on how you can deal with the additional workload of the lectures, the workload and the large number of exams. “Let everything come your way” does not work at this point. Only if you plan your multi-study and you day after day organize itself , you will be successful in the end


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