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Advice for StudentsApplying to University

Things to know when picking a joint honours degree at Cardiff University

12 April 2023

There is no doubt that a whole lot of time and effort goes into choosing a degree. Confusion, doubt, nervousness, firmness and hope are all very real and possible feelings that you experience when making your choice. In my case, I wanted to pick not just one but two degrees in one. Literally!

I am doing a joint honours degree in Journalism (and Media) and English Literature. These are my two degrees that get combined into one. Before I picked them, I had a whole load of questions and worries ranging all the way from which of them is my home school to what the distribution of credits will be like to will the workload be too much. Now that I am almost done with my first year, I thought I would answer some of these questions so you can make your choice without losing your mind over the unknown.

The credit system

Of course, the first thing you need to know  is that at Cardiff University, there is a division of total credits for joint honours degrees, and you take equal credits from both of your degree choices. I got 120 credits this year for a semester per module. I had three Journalism modules and three English Literature modules this year which means I took 720 credits split between the two degrees equally. This ensures that I pay the same amount of effort and attention to each of my modules as they are all needed.

The workload

As I mentioned above, the credit system splits the work in half and allows me to give equal attention to both degrees but there is one thing that will probably help you to ease a bit- the workload is not as much as you might think. Both of these degrees are designed in a way that allows you to handle the one extra module that joint honours students take up and single honours students don’t. Moreover, the exams and assignments are always spaced out as well except the final ones which can in some cases be close in their submission dates but you also get a break before them and enough time for you to space them out well.

The downside

Before you pick a joint honours degree, please remember that while this is great for students who equally like both subjects and are confused about what to do in the near future, a student who is confident about one subject might benefit more from just a single degree. I say this because if you have all the modules pertaining to one subject instead of two, you get to explore the module in more depth. However, while this is a downside, I personally do not regret picking a joint honours. This is because I believe that my degrees can help complement each other in the future and I wish to keep that balance. Moreover, if you have a joint honours, you can always switch to a single honours in your second year or select modules that are more tipped in favour of one degree. It is also important to remember that you get to drop one of the degrees within the first two weeks if you feel it is too much or you are not interested in one.