Can't decide on a degree? Here's how to get the best of both worlds

Choosing your degree is tough. How are you meant to decide on that one course you'll dedicate the next three or more years of your life to? 

Unless you have a really clear idea of exactly where you want your degree to take you, or there's one standout subject that absolutely sets your soul on fire, there are lots of different factors to consider when deciding on your degree. 

Perhaps you're torn between two subjects that you're equally passionate about, or you're not quite sure which career direction you want to take yet. If that's the case, considering a combination degree could give you the best of both worlds by allowing you to study two courses for the price of one.

That's exactly what third year student George Pennington-Reader opted to do. He's studying Sport and PE combined with Education at Liverpool Hope University, with a view to pursuing a career in some form of sports education. "When I was applying for courses, I knew I wanted to go into education, but I wasn't really sure I wanted to be a teacher," he explains.

"I enjoyed sports, so I thought if I did sports combined with education, it would give me the chance to explore more educational professions rather than just solely teaching. Doing a combination course meant I could explore both sports professions and educational professions, so it opened more doors for me really," George adds.

Indeed, through Liverpool Hope's careers hub, George has had access to work experience opportunities in a range of different organisations. "I've done some teaching in schools, but also done some volunteering in the prison system, where you can go in and work with young offenders," he says.

Charlotte Harrington had similar reasons for opting to study Education combined with Special Educational Needs. Now in her second year, Charlotte says: "I had an interest in both because of my own educational experience, and didn't want to limit myself. I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do after uni, so I had to make sure I kept my options open and wasn't limited."

For her, the two courses complement each other really well, and are giving her a solid grounding for her future career. "They give me a broader but also more in-depth approach to the elements of education. How can you study education without an appreciation for the disabled community? I felt that with a combination course I'd be able to question more and use the two courses as bricks to create a sound infrastructure of knowledge," she says.

"I chose Liverpool Hope because it offered that unique combination of education and SEN. On top of that, it's a small, close-knit community, so I feel really well supported in my combination degree," she explains. "I know I can go to tutors if I'm struggling and they'll genuinely listen, not just brush me off."

One concern you might have about combination degrees is that you'll end up doing double the work – but both George and Charlotte insist that's absolutely not the case. "You're putting in the same amount of hours that you would have been for a single honours course," says Charlotte. "It's split 50:50," George adds, "so for me it's 50% Sport and PE, 50% Education, and really I think you're getting two lots of knowledge for the price of one really."

Studying a combination course wasn't originally part of the plan for second year Combined Criminology and Psychology student Niamh O'Conchubair – but she says her plan B couldn't have worked out better.

"I originally wanted to do straight psychology, but I didn't do well enough to get onto the course I wanted. I ended up doing a foundation entry-level course in criminology and sociology at another university, because the psychology course was already full," she explains.

"I fell in love with the criminology course and was looking for a combined psychology and criminology course to do back home in Ireland after my entry-level course, but there weren't any. When I saw the course in Liverpool though, I thought it would be a home from home!" Niamh adds.

"I'd already fallen in love with both subjects, and I aspire to be a forensic psychologist, so I thought the best thing to do would be combine the two," she explains. "Despite its challenges – particularly after I broke my leg during the first year – the course has helped me grow as a student and gain so much confidence in myself. It's made me realise I'm a lot smarter than I've ever given myself credit for. Every day is a new challenge, but it's great fun!"

Plus, while George, Charlotte and Niamh have all chosen combinations of subjects that complement each other, it's also worth noting that Liverpool Hope offers combined degrees in totally different subjects as well – so you could satisfy a more varied range of interests by opting for something like Business Management and Creative Writing, Accounting & Finance and Early Childhood, or Music and Politics.

To find out more about the full range of combination courses on offer at Liverpool Hope University, why not book in for an Open Day? You’ll have the the opportunity to chat to lecturers and find out if a single or combined course is the right choice, plus will have a chance to explore their course offering further. Book your Open Day spot here.

About our sponsor

Liverpool Hope University

Liverpool Hope University prides itself on the academic excellence of its students and we are constantly working to ensure that they receive the best learning and teaching experience. Over the last decade, the University has funded major developments across the campus to benefit students, and is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to help support their studies. As a student at Hope, you will have an excellent range of resources available to help you achieve your goals and get the most from your time at University. 

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