‘the wider your web, the greater the opportunities’: student reflections on joint honours study

By Tom Young

Current student Tom Young discusses the recent joint honours event held in January and the adventure of Joint Honours study.

I recently attended a Joint Honours discussion event, hosted by Dr Adam Stock, alongside a faculty panel consisting of Dr Janine Bradbury, Professor Abi Curtis and Dr Wayne Johnson.

We began by outlining how Joint Honours degrees are distinctive from Single Honours. We identified that academics from different programmes often practice different approaches to learning. Research, referencing, presenting information and completing assignments are, among many other things, all performed to each programme’s own specifications. This means that, for Joint Honours students, it can often feel like you’re juggling two degrees, and there can be anxiety around being perceived expectations work load compared to that experienced by Single Honours student.

However, it was stressed that this is not the case.

The same amount of credits to complete a degree is expected from both Joint Honours and Single Honours students. Though it may seem overwhelming for Joint Honours students to balance two different disciplines at the same time, we identified that in the long run this is an opportunity to learn much more.

For a start, you’ll have the benefit of verifiable flexibility and dexterity. When it comes to employability, the more skills you can demonstrate, the better.  Most contemporary professionals thriving in our current climate are multi-disciplined. Not only does this show you already have a range of versatile skills to offer, but you also have the capacity to take on new ones. These are the kinds of individuals industries such as the civil service are keen to employ.

By practicing two disciplines, your consideration of industry will be multi-faceted and comprehensive. Using English Literature and Creative Writing as an example, performing critical analysis and creative work will result in a more refined product due to a wider understanding of context. Not only will you be able to recognise what kind of material needs to be on our contemporary shelves, but you will know how to put it there. Being able to view the industry from all angles is an invaluable skill to have, and one that provides professional confidence and the insatiable hunger for more invigorating experience.

The friendships you make at university are important; the people you share your undergraduate memories with can also be the networks you rely on in your postgraduate endeavours. Being a Joint Honours student will enable you to make connections with a variety of people from more than one discipline. By accumulating a broad range of professional contacts, not only will your challenges feel less daunting, you will be more desirable to potential employers. The wider your web, the better chance you have of catching opportunities.

The potential achievements that can be taken from Joint Honours degrees are innumerable and attaining them is a thrill that never gets old. Each obstacle you face as an undergraduate is another opportunity to prepare and prove yourself for the professional environment. The industry is a mountain, and equipped with the experience from your degree, scaling it will be the adventure you never want to end.