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Get the Most for Your Money: Earning a Dual Degree

A dual degree program involves a student studying for two degrees in parallel, to complete both in significantly less time than it would take to earn the degrees separately. The dual degree track is becoming more and more popular and is known by many names including:
  • Double degree
  • Double/dual graduation program
  • Combined degree
  • Joint degree
  • 3+2 program (or a 4+1)
  • Concurrent degree

What’s the Difference Between a Dual Degree and a Dual Major?

A dual degree is not a dual or double major. A double major degree has two areas of academic specialization that earns just one degree. A dual degree results in 2 separate degrees; the two degrees might be in the same subject area, related fields, or in two different areas of study.

Dual degrees can be found across all fields of study and at many academic levels, but they’re most common when combined with at least one graduate degree. A combination of a Bachelor’s degree with a Master’s degree is immensely popular. Also popular are dual degree programs that combine two graduate level degrees, such as a Juris Doctor (JD) and a Master’s or a Master’s with a PhD. There are also dual degree programs that confer two bachelor’s degrees, although this type of dual degree program is less common.

Dual degrees will often share courses and credits. Although a dual degree program will take significantly less time than earning 2 degrees separately, students will typically be enrolled in school at least an extra year or two depending on the program and degree type(s). This is why some programs are referred to as a 3+2 or a 4+1 (in reference to how many years each portion of the program is expected to be completed in).

Why choose a dual degree?

A dual degree is incredibly advantageous for students that have clear career goals. Students that have specific fields that interest them, both academically or as potential careers, will also benefit greatly from a dual degree program. In most career fields, a graduate degree equates to a larger paycheck and the opportunity to skip the entry-level jobs. Some jobs require a graduate degree to even be considered for employment.

Students that have a long-term goal of seeking a Master’s degree, whether for educational or career enhancement, will also benefit greatly from a dual degree program. Many career fields that offer pay incentives for advanced education do not stipulate what specific field a degree must be in.

The opportunities to earn a dual degree are plentiful and growing, with some colleges and universities even offering custom curated dual degree opportunities for students to follow their academic and/or career desires!

Earning a dual degree is a smart and savvy educational, career, and financial investment. Whether a student has a clear career goal, a firm educational goal, or if trying to make the most out of one’s financial entitlements dual degree programs are a great option to get the most for your money!

How much money will a dual degree program save me?

The short answer is, a lot. The exact amount of money a student will save by enrolling in a dual degree program will vary widely depending on the program including tuition, supplies, and other school and program fees.

The biggest financial benefit of a dual degree program will come when students utilize large (and/or multiple) entitlements such as the GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, and the Yellow Ribbon program.

Click here for more information on the GI BillYellow Ribbon Schools, and more.

These larger educational benefits are designed to mitigate as much financial responsibility as possible for eligible students. Enrolling in a dual degree program will further maximize student savings and schooling benefits.

Dual Degree Opportunities at GI Bill®-approved Schools

The following are VA-approved schools with dual degree programs.  CollegeRecon partner schools may have been included for promotional consideration.

American University

Offers an abundance of combined Bachelor’s &; Master’s programs. Combined Degrees include options in the following areas:
  • College of Arts and Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Art History
    • Audio Technology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Data Science
    • Economics
    • Environmental Science
    • Health Promotion
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Statistics
    • TESOL
  • School of Public Affairs offers a Combined Program for all undergraduate programs in conjunction with 7 SPA graduate degrees:
    • MA Political Communication
    • MA Political Science
    • Master of Public Administration
    • Master of Public Policy
    • Master of Public Policy
    • MS Terrorism & Homeland Security Policy
    • MS Data Science
  • School of International Service
  • School of Communication
  • Kogod School of Business
Find more info on American University.

Fayetteville State University

Offers two 3+2 programs for students to earn two bachelor degrees in 5 years:
  • a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Fayetteville State University and a Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University
  • a BS in Chemistry, Computer Science or Mathematics at FSU and a BS in Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Civil Engineering from NCSU.
Find more info on Fayetteville State University.

George Mason University

Offers several dual degree options including:
  • Foreign Languages
  • Global Affairs
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Operations Research
  • Philosophy
  • Social Work
  • Mathematics
  • Statistical Science
Find more info on George Mason University.

Georgetown University

Georgetown offers dual degree opportunities in a wide variety of programs including:Find more info on Georgetown University.

Pomona College

Offers two combined Pre-Engineering programs with other universities.Find more info on Pomona College.

University of Chicago

A heavy hitter when it comes to dual degree programs, Chicago offers a vast array of joint/dual degree programs!

Biological Sciences DivisionChicago Booth School of BusinessCrown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and PracticeThe Divinity SchoolHarris School of Public PolicyHumanities DivisionThe Law SchoolPritzker School of MedicineSocial Sciences DivisionFind more info on University of Chicago.

Online Dual Degree Programs

Cairn University Online

Offers a wide variety of online dual degree programs:Find more info on Cairn University Online.