Combined degrees

27 September 2011 - 8:45pm
Pomponian

The forum is titled business, finance and management and that seems to be a good reflection of the degrees that are on offer today. In the UK we seem to be following the American route where we there is no longer one subject but such degrees as Management and Finance or indeed Accountancy and Marketing. Now the latter as a combination at say an MBA level is easy to understand, but at bachelor's level I am struggling to see how this is beneficial. Is the education system spreading itself too thinly and trying to cover too many subjects at once. Will it detract from the quality of the degree?
My concern is that if a person studies both accountancy and marketing how do they know where their future lies? Will this type of degree cause them problems when they look for a training contract as those with a pure accounting degree may have a bigger appeal to the profession as a whole?
Masters degrees now have a very modular approach and that will have a benefit in that if you return to that degree after a few years of work experience you will know what module you need to further your career.
Is it just that universities are looking to offer more choice and if so are they ruining it for the students?

Latest comments

  • 9 October 2011 - 8:11am
    • Pomponian

    This whole area of combined degrees is certainly rearing its head again. I was present recently at a degree fair in my capacity in academia and I almost felt that we were being overrun by the plethora of combined degrees some of which I just cannot get my old head around. The idea of taking a degree that combines dance with art just beggars belief. What are they being taught - how to tango their way through a set of accounts? How to get clients to limbo under the bar set by HMRC? I think the best I saw was law and needlework. What a stitch up!
    The academic world needs to rethink where it is going in terms of these combined degrees. Yes they have a great value if they are sensibly put together and I think all those students who look at, lets say, accountancy and business law have a very firm base.
    I think it is wise to advise caution on the combinations as universities need to all they can in order to attract students, but also need to do this with down valuing the student, the degree and academia.
    Sorry for the rant if that is what it is, but I feel that students in some cases are being offered a degree on a plate and that will to the accountancy profession no good, as we need students who have a good educational base.


  • 3 October 2011 - 10:21pm
    • StellaM

    Completely agree. In my experience even those degrees that profess to be single degrees there are a wide range of units that can be studied and these ultimately behave very similarly to combined degrees even if they are not listed as such. Realistically business is such that individuals are now required to be much more versatile and able to at least understand areas of commerce outside of their main area of expertise. Having a combined degree offers these individuals the opportunity to show case what they do know and their own versatility. Of course the combined degree needs ot be put together well and needs to take into account the needs of the business and the ability of individuals to study effectively.


  • 1 October 2011 - 6:29pm
    • Wise old head - sometimes

    If I can throw in two penneth.

    The idea of combined degrees is nothing particularly new. I am sure we are all familiar with the student on University Challenge who says he is reading for a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). That seems to be to be a combined degree of many years standing.
    When I sat my BD I took a combination of Divinity and Philosophy of Religion - a combined degree.
    What I suggest we are talking about is that these are business degrees that have two facets that should be complimentary. If they work in tandem then I feel that there is a strong future for these. Business these days requires versatility and flexibility and will allow for a full contribution to any business discussion.
    As I say it is nothing new, just that they are becoming visible in the business world and thus are being discussed.


  • 29 September 2011 - 7:42am
    • StellaM

    Hi both

    I am taking the point of view that setting yourself apart from the competition is one of the important factors when it comes to selecting courses both undergraduate and postgraduate. With so many very good quality courses and students entering the market my feeling is that having something extra to offer i.e. through specialist units or combined degrees can only be a good thing. Of course if studying a combined degree results in too much pressure and a likelihood of weaker grades then this may need to be re-thought. As Nia says, the combined degrees will often have more compulsory units and therefore may be harder for a student to pick units that they know they will do well in. Just something to take into account, however on the whole I would say a combined degree is an excellent way to go.
    S


  • 27 September 2011 - 10:55pm
    • NiaG

    This is an area that I am also quite interested in as I think it’s an inevitable way in which the higher education courses are likely to go. By way of background I studied a BSc Economics, Accounting with Law so I can speak from a position of personal knowledge as well as someone who is now involved in training for students.
    On the whole I think combined degrees allow students to study courses that are much more tailored towards their own situation and allows for more specialist study. However, my own personal situation, which was ultimately very successful has shown that combined degrees are quite a bit harder for those completing them. Whilst with single degrees the students may get their choices of units at an early stage, with a combined degree this is not the case and therefore students are not able to pick the units they will find easy until the last minute and even then they have little freedom. This is worth bearing in mind particularly where students may be weak in a specific part of the course.
    Just another dimension to consider!
    N