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What Are the Different Types of Dual-Degree Programs?

By B. Miller
Updated May 17, 2024
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Students attending college or graduate school might decide to pursue dual-degree programs to broaden their education, shorten the amount of time it would take to actually earn two separate degrees, and specialize in a certain area related to their chosen career path. By far, the most common types of dual-degree programs are designed for students earning bachelor's degrees or graduate degrees, sometimes even on a doctoral level. Though it may be possible to earn dual certificates or associate's degrees from a vocational school or community college, this is not usually done. Students may earn dual degrees either in traditional schools or online schools.

Many students will pursue dual-degree programs while they are earning their bachelor's degrees. This might also be referred to as double majoring, or earning a joint degree. The student may choose to major in two separate yet related fields; for instance, a student might double major in history and secondary education if he or she wants to become a high school history teacher. Other students might double major in business and economics if they want to own their own business, or in political science and history if they want to go to law school. These are just a few of the many different options for dual-degree programs on an undergraduate level.

There are a number of different dual-degree programs available to students on a graduate level as well. They may obtain two different degrees in their own school, or they may earn degrees simultaneously across two different schools, sometimes even internationally. This is a challenge, and always requires the approval of the different programs and the different schools, but it does allow the students to complete the degrees in a slightly shorter time than it would take to earn one degree, and then go to another school and earn another.

Some of the most common options for these types of graduate-level dual-degree programs are combined business and law degrees, or medical degrees with healthcare administration. For instance, a student may earn a JD simultaneously with an MBA, or an MD with an MS in public health or administration. Many law schools will also allow JD candidates to specialize in a certain type of law by earning a master's degree simultaneously. Again, these are just a few examples of the many different types of dual-degree programs. Many schools are now even offering the option to earn part, or all, of these degrees online.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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