When deciding on your degree you might have scrolled through some of the university’s course options. Just taking a look at the list of undergraduate degrees on the University of Edinburgh website can be overwhelming as there seems to be an infinite amount of possibilities being thrown at you. At first glance, both single and joint honours degrees appear to be quite eclectic as they combine courses from various subject areas. However, on closer inspection, you might find that there are a few gaps in the course options which could make your dream degree impossible.
For example, the university does not currently offer a joint Business and Literature degree. Granted, it seems like an odd choice, but the university does offer Geography and Politics or French and Business which are also subjects that are not obviously linked. Therefore, oddity cannot be a plausible reason for not offering certain combinations. So, what could be the possible reasons?
One could say that it might be the lack of demand. However, this reason does not justify a degree’s non-existence as you could always find students who would be interested in more eclectic options. Even if there would be just a handful of people considering these courses, it should be made possible. As long as there are no timetable clashes there has to be the possibility of choosing the modules you want.
Moreover, there does not seem to be a problem with people studying a variety of subjects as their outside courses during pre-honours years. But what happens if they decide to further study one of their outside choices? Suddenly that appears to be an issue. Don’t get me wrong: outside subjects are already a step in the right direction. Students are free to explore their interests more and being able to take eclectic courses could potentially help them figure out which degree they want to pursue in honours years. However, outside courses do not help students if they are not able to continue studying the subjects they are interested in as a joint degree. Considering that there is no obvious reason against them, more eclectic degree programmes would be a solution.
Furthermore, the introduction of more options would positively impact the student experience at the university. Currently, the lack of suitable programmes might limit the learning experience of students. This could be especially true for those who have eclectic interests and are intrigued by different subject areas. Many young adults do not have a set idea of what they want to study when they leave school or which career they want to pursue after going to university. Some students have broader interests and therefore find it hard to commit to one or two subjects from similar areas for the next couple of years. Thus, the positive impact on the student learning experience should be reason enough to offer more eclectic degree programmes across all subject areas. Everyone should be able to choose a degree they are interested in, no matter how unusual it seems to be.
Image: Andrew Perry