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Single vs. Double Degrees

Numbers: 1,2,3,4

Should you do a straight law degree or a double degree combining law with another discipline? Just like a Constitutional Law exam, there are no easy answers. Should you pick up a sideline in economics, journalism or international studies? Or should you ditch that pesky double?

Here's some points to consider to help you make the right decision for you, based on the experiences of the Survive Law team.

Single Law Degrees

A plain vanilla law degree can help you learn the skills required to succeed in law without the distraction of another discipline. To quote a fellow Survivor, “I found it difficult to make sculptures out of string then go to a Contracts class straight after, I gained so much momentum and focus by doing straight law.”

A straight law degree is usually 1-1.5 years shorter than a double degree. If you're highly motivated towards a legal career path or just don't want 5-6 years at university, then a straight law degree is a good option. If you need to do something different, most universities allow you to choose non-law elective courses in a straight law degree.

A straight law degree is not necessarily a disadvantage in the job market as some might suggest. Although a dual degree in a relevant discipline can set you apart from other candidates, completing a straight law degree with good grades can show the determination required to become a lawyer. However, make sure that you have good extra-curricular activities, as employers tend to favour well-rounded candidates with life experience.

Double Degrees

There's no denying that doing a double degree can be advantageous if you're certain you want a specific career (think a commerce degree for a future corporate finance lawyer), but if your aspirations have changed, consider whether you should continue the second degree or whether it would be better to change to straight law or switch to another major.

There are many potential benefits to double degrees, from the variety of learning an entirely different discipline and the additional skills you can gain, to having a semester where you're not studying Constitutional, Corporations, Criminal and Advanced Contracts Law!

A double degree can be more time intensive for the same number of overall units as you have to learn the requirements and ways of thinking of another discipline. Some degrees require a large time commitment in addition to your law studies and as it's a longer total course of study, it takes a serious commitment to keep up with both degrees.

If you're considering starting a double degree because of your interest in a specific area, consider whether there are other options for study, like non-award. Usually an undergraduate degree covers a broad range of topics and you might be able to just do the subjects that interest you.

The bottom line?

Consider which option suits you best. If you're still unsure, ask a student adviser or your friends, family or mentors for advice. If you think you've made the wrong decision, talk to a student adviser as soon as possible, because there are always options to change degrees.

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