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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Studies | Counselling Services | Leaflets and FAQ | Studying for two degrees simultaneously?

Studying for two degrees simultaneously?

Studying for two different degrees in parallel1 may seem desirable for some careers which require a dual academic qualification.  Thus, school psychologists working in Berlin are expected to have academic qualifications in teacher training plus a degree in psychology. A student of economics may ask himself whether a degree in a technological subject or informatics as a further qualification would be beneficial for his or her later career.

Some students find it difficult to decide between two degree programmes, and for this reason they postpone the decision in favour of one of them and want to embark on both at the same time.

Studying for two different degrees in parallel is practically impossible:

For one, under the Berlin Higher Education Act enrolling on two degree programmes to be studied in parallel is possible only if other applicants for one of the programmes are not prevented from entering.2  Thus, if the two degree programmes in question carry restrictions on entry (numerus clausus), applicants for two degree programmes in parallel can only hope to be given a vacant place in a lottery procedure after the end of the ordinary selection process.3 

On the other hand, working for two different degrees in parallel does not actually seem reasonable, considering the organisation of studies and the amount of work required, which for studying on a single degree programme is expected to fill a student's full working week. That would be doubled if two degree programmes are pursued in parallel, which would lead to a markedly increased burden on the student and, as a result, the standard time for completing studies would have to be extended.

What are the alternatives?

First, it would be reasonable to gather information on the paths leading to the career the individual wants to take, e.g. by contacting the Berufsberatung für Abiturienten und Hochschüler (Counselling Services for high school leavers and students), potential employers, or professional organisations, etc.

There are quite a few degree programmes which combine the study of two or even more subjects, among them not only the combined Bachelor’s degree programme but also programmes in biophysics, information economics, etc. For more information, visit www.hochschulkompass.de/en/home.html

If indeed two different degrees are required for a career, students may start working for one degree programme, and on completion try to apply for a Master’s degree programme (weiterbildendes Masterstudium) which fits their needs.

Besides, after graduating from a course there is the possibility to enrol on another Bachelor’s degree programme, in other words a second degree programme4.

If making a decision on which study programme to take causes difficulty, advice should be sought. It is available from the Studienberatung und die psychologische Beratung (General and Psychological Counselling Services) at Humboldt-Universität. In addition, a seminar called "Entscheidungstraining für die Studienwahl" (Decision-Making Training) is offered every year at Humboldt.

Studying for two different degrees simultaneously is exceptional. Still, here finally are some answers to frequently asked questions:

How can I apply for pursuing two degree programmes in parallel?

Admission to two degree courses to be pursued in parallel will be granted only within the formal process of matriculation. Students are required to apply. It should be emphasized once again that students can be enrolled simultaneously on two degree programmes with restricted entry (Numerous clausus) only if this is in the interest of the student's career prospects and if other applicants are not, in this way, excluded from one of the programmes.2  Applications for taking part in the lottery for possibly unfilled places as well as further questions concerning applications and the procedure should be sent to the Zulassungsbüro (Admissions Office).

Can I enrol on an additional degree programme while I am already on a degree course?

Yes, you would even have the advantage of being able to assess for yourself the burden of work and the problems of organisation involved.

Is it possible to enrol on two different degree programmes at two different universities?

Yes, but only at higher education institutions in Berlin and the State of Brandenburg, or on the basis of correspondence studies.

Would I have to pay double fees?

No, tuition fees and other contributions are to be paid for a second study programme at Humboldt if proof is provided that they have already been paid at another institution of higher learning in Berlin. If other institutions in Germany are involved, information on their regulations should be obtained.

What about part-time studies?

No, this is not possible.

Can I take a semester or two off from one of the programmes?

No, this is not possible at Humboldt-Universität.

Important addresses:

For high school leavers and students who need career counselling,  phone +49 1801 5555 111, or visit the following website:  www.arbeitsangentur.de/nn_26018/Navigation/zentral/Buerger/ausbildung/BIZ/BIZ-Nav.html

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1 Please, do not confuse studying on two different degree programmes in parallel with studying on a course that combines two subjects or a Zweitstudium (second degree programme) started on completion of a fully-fledged degree course. Regulations based on "Allgemeine Satzung für Studien- und Prüfungsangelegenheiten" of Humboldt-Universität, see www.hu-berlin.de/studies/beratung/merk/.

2 Cf. Berliner Hochschulgesetz § 14.

3 Applications for taking part in the lottery process should be submitted to the Zulassungsbüro of  Humboldt-Universität.

4 See Information leaflet Zweitstudium.

January 2011