What are joint degree programmes?

1. Joint Degree

Joint degree programs are academic programs that allow students to earn two or more degrees from different institutions, either in the same country or across borders. They can be at the same level (e.g. two bachelor’s degrees) or at different levels (e.g. a bachelor’s and a master’s degree). They can also be in the same or different disciplines, depending on the objectives and requirements of the program. Joint degree programs usually involve a formal agreement between the participating institutions, which specify the curriculum, admission, assessment, and recognition of the degrees.

2. Why choose a joint degree programme?

Joint degree programs can offer numerous advantages for students who wish to broaden their perspectives and increase their possibilities. Developing interdisciplinary skills and knowledge can assist students in solving complex problems, adapting to varying environments, and innovating in their fields. Additionally, gaining international experience and exposure can help students cultivate intercultural competence, language skills, and global awareness. Furthermore, accessing diverse resources and networks can help students access different facilities, experts, and peers, as well as expand their professional and personal connections. Finally, joint degree programs can enhance employability and competitiveness, allowing students to stand out in the job market, access more opportunities, and increase their earning potential.

3. What are the challenges of joint degree programmes?

Joint degree programs can present students with a number of challenges, such as managing a demanding and complex workload, balancing the costs and benefits of different institutions, and dealing with administrative and logistical issues. Furthermore, students may struggle to cope with the personal and social aspects of the program, which can be particularly stressful if they have to relocate and integrate into different environments. As such, joint degree programs can be difficult to navigate for students who need to adjust to different academic systems, cultures, and expectations.

4. How can joint degree programmes meet diverse needs?

Joint degree programmmes can be tailored to meet the needs of diverse students who may have different preferences, circumstances, and goals. The mode of delivery can vary from face-to-face, online, or blended depending on the availability and quality of the learning platforms and resources. Additionally, the degree of integration, flexibility, and support can range from high to low depending on the common objectives, curriculum, assessment, course selection, institutions chosen, and mobility paths as well as the guidance, mentoring, and assistance provided. In order to build a successful business model, Sofia Metropolitan College will rely on the knowledge and experience of existing similar business ventures. The following subsections will provide detail information concerning some of the joint programmes existing abroad and in Bulgaria.

5. Examples of joint degree programmes abroad

Joint degree programmes can be highly varied in their scope, content, and format, depending on the disciplines, institutions, and regions involved. For instance, the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD) are high-quality, integrated, and international master’s programs funded by the European Union that involve at least two European countries and potentially a third-country partner. Additionally, the Dual Degree Program in Engineering (DDP) is a collaborative program between the National University of Singapore and leading universities in France, Germany, and the UK that allows students to earn two bachelor’s degrees in engineering in four years. There is also the Joint Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in International Affairs (JBA/MAIA), a five-year program that enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), with the option to study at SAIS campuses in Washington DC, Bologna, or Nanjing.

6. Examples of joint degree programmes in Bulgaria

Foreign degrees in Bulgaria can be obtained through 77 joint programmes. Twenty-four Bulgarian universities offer joint programs in 24 professional fields, while almost 5 200 students have studied in joint programs in the spring of 2022. 2 The greatest number of joint programs have been launched by Page 10 of 2 Sofia University (10) and the Technical University of Sofia (10), followed by the Higher School of Management – Varna (8), New Bulgarian University (6), Agricultural University – Plovdiv (5) and South-West University – Blagoevgrad (5). The largest share of students study in joint programs in the American University, where all students obtain two degrees (a Bulgarian and a US one). Seven universities offer doctoral training in joint programs.

More than half of the joint programs involve teaching in English, but numerous programs also offer tuition in Bulgarian, Russian, German, French, etc. A number of the joint programs are with universities from EU member countries such as Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Greece; however, there exist many joint programs with other countries like the United Kingdom, USA, Russia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, etc. A total of 24 different professional fields are covered, with most joint programs focused on the following fields: Economics (17), Administration and Management (11), Tourism (10), Communication and Computer Technology (7), Philology (7), Informatics and Computer Sciences (6), General Engineering (6).

Education is more important than ever before in today’s economic landscape. Competition for jobs is growing and employees are being asked to do more in less time and with fewer resources. Joint degree programmes are a great way how to get ahead in the ever-competing world. Joint degree programs are easily customized and grant students flexibility in determining their areas of study.

Additionally, joint degrees give students greater access to resources, professors, and opportunities than they would have in a single program. Students can take advantage of each school’s strengths (maybe one has a great internship program, while the other has well-equipped research facilities) to jumpstart their careers. Joint programs are also less expensive than taking the two-degree programs separately. As we can see from the presented information there are numerous benefits of joint degree programmes – from flexibility to credibility to unique learning methodologies. Even more importantly, there is growing interest in the Bulgarian educational market for joint degree programs.


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