1) You can study two subjects you enjoy in depth
If there are two subjects you are interested in, why not study both? Doing a joint honours degree allows you to participate in a range of modules throughout both subjects. You usually complete the same number of credits in both, meaning that you may undertake more modules in one because they are worth less credits. As I enjoyed both English and Philosophy and knew I wanted to pursue them further academically, this course was the right one for me. Even if you prefer one, this is not an issue. During my studies, I have realised that I have a stronger interest in English, but I really enjoy studying both. This also means that you have more variety in your degree (especially when studying very different subjects, such as Music and Philosophy) in terms of content and assessment styles.
2) You can avoid modules you don’t like
As you study fewer modules in each subject for a joint honours degree as opposed to a single honours degree, you can tailor the course around your interests. This means that you can often choose modules you like and avoid the ones you don’t, although this does depend on the course. Some degrees have compulsory modules for joint honour students (particularly in first year), but many courses give you a choice, especially with arts subjects. In my case, I really enjoyed English Language and Modern Literature, as well as modules concerned with ethics. This meant that I did not choose Old English modules, or Metaphysical Philosophy modules which focus on abstract ideas.
3) You meet more people
Studying two subjects gives you the opportunity to meet students from different departments in both lectures and seminars. As there will be a lot of people doing a single honours course, it is hard to get to know them all. It may be the case that you really get to know your peers doing the same joint honours course as you, as it’s likely that there will be a smaller number of you.
4) You’ll have more choice for your dissertation
Although a dissertation in your final year probably seems like a long while away, time will fly by so it’s worth thinking about! If you do two subjects, it is often the case that you can decide which one you want to do your dissertation in. This gives you more choice, and you have access to resources and tutors within both departments to discuss such matters. Some departments have a compulsory dissertation, but you can usually decide. For me, a dissertation is optional, and I can write one for either subject (I plan to focus on English Linguistics). I enjoy Philosophy, but I wouldn’t want to write such an extended piece within the topics I have come across.
To summarise, these are some of the many benefits of doing a joint honours degree. If you are still unsure about whether you want to commit to a whole three years (or more) of doing two subjects, keep in mind that most universities will allow you to drop one after the first year if you wish to.
Hopefully by reading this you will have a better understanding of joint honours courses, and you can make a more informed choice as to whether it is right for you. The next step is to look for universities that offer the joint honours course you want to do, as not all of them will. When considering the desired location as well as the entry requirements, it will be easier for you to make the right choice of where to apply!