Dual Degree: Twice the Options, Twice the Doubts

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Dual degree programmes have been around for quite some time but it is only in the last decade that they have made their foray into the Indian landscape. Their rising popularity can be best summed up in what the student gains out of them. For students, completing two degrees in a span of five years always makes for a good choice as they end up saving a year – for example, doing a BE and an MSc normally takes six years (four plus two years respectively) but under a dual degree programme, it can be wrapped up in five years. Students familiar with the programme will tell you that pursuing it isn’t exactly a common scenario in India. Also, once you get into it, you can expect a considerably hectic schedule to follow. And unless you see the absolute need for it, it won’t work for you. This leads us to our question: is a dual degree programme a viable option for you?

Industry

Strictly speaking, the industry doesn’t differentiate much between a student who has pursued, say, only a BTech and someone who has done a dual degree course. However, this extends only as far as non-core companies in IT, finance, consulting, etc are concerned. Companies may give preference to dual degree holders as their requirements are better filled. “The possibility of campus placements for dual degree students is higher than those who have done a pure master’s course,” says S. Sadagopan, director at International Institute of  Information Technology (IIIT) Bangalore. Also, there are organisations that prefer individuals having multiple specialities as it enables them to make the most out of their skills. Thus, chances of hiring such candidates are higher than those with a single degree, which means dual-degree holders might advance faster in their careers.

Research

The IITs are the pioneers of the dual degree programmes in India. They felt a need for having a greater research culture among students. These programmes are a great option for those planning to enter the pure sciences as it saves them a year which would have otherwise been spent in completing their master’s degree. It also works for those planning to pursue their doctorate after the completion of the five-year course.

Certainty

There’s no doubt that the dual degree programme is brilliant and works amazingly well. At the same time, it would do well to reflect on its pros and cons in equal measure. You can make the most of its benefits, only if you need them in the first place. Along with its merits also come a few drawbacks which make it a programme of choice and not an absolute necessity for all. Let’s assume you’re a BE student and don’t exactly have the research bent of mind. Your priority is to find work quickly. Pursuing a master’s in the dual degree programme may actually be counter-productive for you as you end up doing a course that has no material value for you.
There’s also a school of thought that perceives doing master’s from a foreign university as a better option than doing it in India. Again, in their case, a dual degree programme doesn’t make for a viable option. That said and done, there’s a great opportunity the dual degree programmes has brought in recent years. Considering the growing tendency of pursuing an MBA right after graduation by many students, many colleges have started a dual degree programme wherein a student can complete his BTech and MBA in five years. Inter-disciplinary programmes are a great way to set up one’s career and save a year in the process too. Much like any other career choice, it comes down to whether it works for you or not. A dual degree programme isn’t meant for everyone, but if it clicks for you, go for it.

How Useful is a dual Degree?

EXPERTS SPEAK

Rohit Bhat, Bits Pilani Graduate

“A dual degree in BITS Pilani consists of an MSc degree along with a BE degree, completed in five years overall. Often, the right combination of the two can be worth more than what a single degree can achieve. Maths and computer science complement each other, while any engineering degree in economics might be fruitful for people looking for an MBA or startup. Also, a dual degree is an added advantage to people who might not have scored that well during the entrance exam, as it gives them equal opportunity during placements and higher education as the single degree students. Dual degree students in BITS Pilani have the option of doing a thesis or internship for a whole year, which adds great industrial and research exposure to the academic education they would have received in the previous four years.”

Kavita Singh, CEO, Futurework’s Consulting

“I speak to several potential applicants who believe that a dual degree programme is always better than pursuing an MBA alone. It’s actually really important to assess if it is the right programme for you. Assess your background to determine what skills you already possess and what skills you need to gain. Then assess whether the MBA alone could help you to gain through requisite skills. For example, during your MBA you could choose to cross-register at another school for a couple of classes to help you build specific knowledge and skills – if that is sufficient given your background and goals then the dual degree may not be right for you.”

Pranav Kamat, Student, University of Toledo

“When you’re pursuing engineering in India or for that matter, anywhere else, you only have the slightest idea of what lies ahead. For example, many of my friends in CSE [computer science] now think that ECE [electronics and communications engineering] would have been a better choice. Moreover, master’s [degrees] are traditionally done in a field you find interesting during your bachelor’s [degree]. If by chance, the discipline you chose turns out to be the one you love, it’s kickass. But personally, I don’t find it worth the risk.”

Institutes that offer dual degrees

Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT):
• Guwahati
• Kanpur
• Kharagpur
• Indore

• JNTU Hyderabad
• BITS Goa
• BITS Pilani
• National Institute of Technology (NIT) Calicut

Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT):
• Hyderabad
• Allahabad

 

Volume 2 Issue 10

9 COMMENTS

  1. i am doing dual degree from jaypee institute of information technology ,noida so is it good please answer.
    Shriya

    • Seriously! if you are doing something just so that people around you approve of you, then nothing will ever be good enough..
      On the other hand if you are doing so because you want to become good at something in life, then i dont think you need someone’s answer to this question

  2. IITs are NOT the pioneers of Dual Degree programs in India. BITS is. Please do your research well. BITS has been offering those programs for decades. IITs hardly for a decade.

    • Hi Jatin. Thanks for your comment. From the information we have gathered through extensive research and first-hand accounts of people we have contacted, we have found that IITs were the first to introduce dual degree programmes in India. However, BITS may be the first group of institutes to offer interdisciplinary dual degree programmes in India.

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