School of English

Joint Degrees

If you are passionate about more than one subject and would like the opportunity to study a degree that ranges across disciplines, then you can combine your interests in one of our joint degrees. These courses provide students with an opportunity to spend their time learning about two subjects in an environment which embraces interdisciplinary study.

Our range of joint-honours courses

Explore our courses:

"The approach to English here is interdisciplinary, with a strong theoretical foundation, and encourages creative, daring thinking that challenges the status quo."

Katie Walter
Lecturer in Medieval English Literature

Student Experience

Studying for a joint degree in the School of English allows you the opportunity to concentrate on two subjects throughout your degree. This does not mean you are completing two degrees, but, rather, you are engaging in an interdisciplinary programme of study that is equally divided between the two disciplines culminating in one degree. Please follow the links above to find out more about individual joint degree structures and the modules available for you to study.

As with all of our courses, your joint programme will lay emphasis on both critical and creative approaches to your chosen subject areas. Depending on the specific nature of your course, you will be taught through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials (one-to-one and small group). You will be assessed through a wide range of assessment modes, including essays, presentations, portfolios, dissertations and performances (for Drama students). As a School committed to interdisciplinary teaching and research, our faculty encourage students to make cross-disciplinary links and to challenge conventional subject boundaries. This is an intellectually stimulating environment in which faculty support joint students through their studies at Sussex.

While each subject forming a joint degree is usually taught separately, students often find their understanding of their twinned disciplines is enhanced by studying the subjects together. As well as discipline-specific knowledge, you can expect to develop skills in writing, research, critical analysis and debate – skills which are highly transferable to a wide range of professional contexts. Many employers especially welcome the intellectual range and breadth, as well as the skills gained from studying a joint honours degree. Graduates from joint degrees at Sussex have gone on to secure careers in media, journalism, publishing and in the theatre industry.

Is doing a joint degree like doing two degrees?

No. As a joint honours student your degree and your workload is split equally between your two chosen subjects. All joint degree students take a combination of core and optional modules from both subject areas. At the end of the degree you will be awarded a degree title naming both subjects, e.g. ‘BA (Hons) Drama and English’.

Will I have more lectures and seminars than a single honours student?

The number of scheduled lectures, seminars and workshops does vary between subject areas, as different subjects sometimes require different modes of teaching. For example, many Drama modules involve practical workshops as well as seminars, which might take up more scheduled hours than an English Literature module. Nonetheless, we ensure that as a joint honours student you have a comparable number of teaching sessions to single honours students studying the subjects which make up your degree.

Can I do a study abroad year as part of my joint honours course?

Some of our joint degrees, such as American Studies and English, have an integrated Study Abroad Year as part of a four-year degree. All students on a 3-year undergraduate degree are also eligible to apply to undertake a voluntary study abroad year.

Will I have two academic advisors?

As a joint honours student you will be based in the School which delivers the first named subject of your degree. Your academic advisor will be based in the same School, but they will be familiar with your degree and able to offer academic advice or to direct you to other members of staff if required. All staff have office hours when they are available to meet with students, so you will be encouraged to meet with your individual academic tutors in both subjects, as well as with your academic advisor.

Who can I talk to about my joint degree?

For joint honours degrees there are two convenors, one for each of the subjects, who are jointly responsible for academic oversight of the degree. The joint convenors will schedule termly meetings for all students on the degree, when you will have the opportunity to meet the convenors, as well as other students studying on your course.

What is the difference between doing a single honours degree with ‘electives’ or a ‘pathway’, and studying a joint-honours degree?

Elective modules enable single honours students to study a subject outside of their main discipline within and beyond their home School. These are available to single honours students within their first and second years.

A pathway is an approved, academically-coherent combination of modules, which students study across either the first two years of their degree (60 credits), or across all three years (90 credits). The pathways enable students to study a second subject outside of their main discipline in a structured manner. Unlike electives, which are not reflected in the degree title, pathways are recognised in the degree title. For instance, a BA English student who completes a 90-credit pathway in French would be awarded a degree with the title: BA in English with proficiency in French (advanced). Electives and pathways are not available to students studying for joint degrees.

As a joint honours student you choose to study two subjects in equal depth and detail. Your degree will be split equally between your two chosen subjects, and you will be awarded a degree that reflects this in its title, e.g. ‘BA (Hons) English and History’. Students studying for joint degrees take a combination of core and optional modules from both subject areas. In order to ensure that you cover the core areas of your two chosen subjects in sufficient depth, you will not be able to study the elective modules or pathways that are available to single honours students. However, alongside the core modules for each of your chosen subjects, you will, at certain stages of your degree, be able to choose from a number of options available within each subject area.

What are the benefits of studying for a joint honours degree at Sussex?

If you are passionate about more than one subject, choosing a joint degree allows you to study both subjects alongside each other. The School of English at Sussex is celebrated for challenging conventional disciplinary boundaries, and our modules encourage joint-honours students to make cross-disciplinary links between their chosen subjects. Joint honours degrees are welcomed by employers looking for graduates with a rich knowledge of their subjects, creative minds, and a broad set of written and critical skills.

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