What is a Single Honours Degree? Meaning, Pros and Cons, Courses

single honours degree
single honours degree

Becoming an expert in your field of study requires focus which can only be achieved by pursuing a Single Honours Degree in your career. In simple terms, a single honours degree is a university program where you focus in-depth on one main subject you really love.

In otherwords, a Single Honours Degree allows you to narrow down your study interest to a specific area, thereby becomng an expert in your chosen field. This focused approach can be a great choice if you have a clear idea of what interests you and the career path you wish to follow.

In this writing, we will explore What a Single Honours Degree is; its pros and cons, and courses.

What is a Single Honours Degree?

A Single Honours Degree is a specialized undergraduate program that allows you to focus exclusively on one subject or field of study throughout your entire course of study.

Unlike Joint Honours degrees, where you combine two subjects, a Single Honours Degree delves deep into a single discipline, making you an expert in that area.

This degree offers in-depth knowledge and expertise in your chosen subject, giving you a strong foundation for future career opportunities or further academic pursuits. It’s a pathway to becoming a specialist in fields like English, History, Psychology, or any other area you’re passionate about.

By dedicating your studies to a single subject, you can explore it comprehensively and excel in your chosen field.

What Can a Single Honours Degree Be Used For?

A Single Honours Degree opens doors to a wide range of opportunities. Firstly, it serves as a stepping stone to specialized careers within your chosen field. For example, a Single Honours Degree in Psychology can lead to roles in counseling, research, or clinical practice.

Secondly, it’s a valuable foundation for pursuing postgraduate studies, such as master’s or doctoral degrees, which can unlock advanced career options and research opportunities.

Additionally, this degree demonstrates your commitment, discipline, and expertise to potential employers across various industries, making you a competitive candidate for a wide range of job positions.

Ultimately, a Single Honours Degree equips you with knowledge and skills that are transferable and adaptable, empowering you to thrive in a dynamic job market.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Single Honours Degree?

A Single Honours Degree typically takes three to four years to complete, depending on the country and university. In many countries like the United States, Canada, and some European countries, undergraduate programs typically span four years.

However, in some countries like the United Kingdom, undergraduate degrees are often completed in three years. The duration also depends on the specific requirements of the degree program, including the number of credits or courses required.

Additionally, some programs offer accelerated options or opportunities for students to take extra courses during the summer to graduate more quickly. Ultimately, the exact duration can vary based on the institution, the degree program, and individual circumstances.

Requirements to Get a Single Honours Degree

The specific requirements to earn a Single Honours Degree can vary depending on the university, country, and the particular field of study. However, there are some general steps and criteria commonly associated with earning a Single Honours Degree:

  • Admission: Typically, you must first gain admission to a university or college and enroll in a Bachelor’s degree program in your chosen field of study.
  • Coursework: You will need to complete a set number of courses in your chosen major or field. These courses will provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills required for your degree.
  • Credit Requirements: Most degree programs have a specific credit requirement that you must meet to graduate. This involves earning a certain number of credit hours by successfully completing courses.
  • Major Requirements: You must fulfill the major-specific requirements, which can include core courses, electives, and sometimes a senior project or thesis.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA): You may need to maintain a minimum GPA throughout your studies to be eligible for the degree.
  • Examinations and Assessments: Depending on the program, you may be required to pass exams or assessments to demonstrate your mastery of the subject matter.
  • Internships or Practical Experience: Some programs may require or offer opportunities for practical experience, such as internships or clinical placements.
  • Capstone Project: In some cases, you may need to complete a capstone project or thesis that demonstrates your ability to apply your knowledge to a real-world problem or research question.
  • Completion of Degree Credits: Once you have met all the program requirements and earned the required number of credits, you will be eligible for graduation.
  • Graduation Requirements: Finally, you must apply for graduation and meet any additional university-specific requirements to officially receive your Single Honours Degree.

Also, read: What Does Hons Mean? Honours Degree Meaning And Benefits

What is a Joint Honours Degree?

A Joint Honours Degree is an undergraduate program that offers the unique opportunity to study two distinct subjects or disciplines simultaneously.

Unlike a Single Honours Degree, which focuses exclusively on one area of study, a Joint Honours Degree allows you to explore and gain expertise in two different fields.

This degree offers a balanced education and can be a great choice if you have diverse academic interests or if you wish to combine subjects that complement each other, such as pairing History with Politics or Mathematics with Computer Science.

Joint Honours graduates possess a versatile skill set and a broader knowledge base, which can be advantageous in various career paths. It’s an ideal choice for those who enjoy interdisciplinary learning and want to customize their education to suit their interests and future aspirations.

Is a Single Honours Degree Better Than a Joint?

The choice between a Single Honours Degree and a Joint Honours Degree is not a matter of one being inherently better than the other; it largely depends on your individual interests, career goals, and learning style.

A Single Honours Degree offers in-depth specialization in one subject, making it an excellent choice if you have a strong passion for a specific field or aspire to become an expert in that area. It can lead to career opportunities that demand specialized knowledge.

On the other hand, a Joint Honours Degree allows you to explore two different subjects, providing a more holistic education. This can be advantageous if you have diverse interests or if the combination of subjects aligns with your career goals. It offers flexibility and the ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated disciplines.

In essence, the “better” choice depends on your personal preferences and objectives. It’s essential to consider your interests, long-term career plans, and the skills you wish to acquire when deciding between a Single and Joint Honours Degree.

Also, read: How to Easily Write a First-Class Honours Degree on Your CV

Pros & Cons of Joint Honours Degree


The pros of a Joint Honours Degree:

  • Diverse Skill Set: You gain expertise in two distinct fields, allowing you to develop a broader skill set and knowledge base.
  • Interdisciplinary Thinking: Studying two subjects can foster creative and critical thinking, as you explore connections and overlaps between them.
  • Career Versatility: A Joint Honours Degree can open doors to a wider range of career opportunities, as you may qualify for jobs in either of your chosen fields or in positions that require interdisciplinary skills.
  • Personalized Education: You have the flexibility to tailor your degree to match your interests and career goals, offering a more customized educational experience.
  • Adaptability: In a rapidly changing job market, the diverse skills gained in a Joint Honours program can make you adaptable to various industries and roles.


Cons of a Joint Honours Degree:

  • Workload: Juggling two subjects can be demanding and require effective time management to excel in both areas.
  • Complexity: Some combinations of subjects may be more challenging to integrate, leading to potential academic or scheduling difficulties.
  • Less Specialization: Compared to a Single Honours Degree, you may have less in-depth knowledge in each subject.
  • Limited Depth: In highly specialized career fields, a Joint Honours Degree might not provide the depth of expertise required.
  • Transition Challenges: Transitioning from one subject to another can sometimes be challenging, especially if the subjects have different learning styles or methodologies.

Is a Single Honours Degree Equal to Masters?

No, a Single Honours Degree is not equivalent to a Master’s degree. They are distinct levels of academic achievement with different purposes and requirements.

A Single Honours Degree is typically an undergraduate degree earned after completing a bachelor’s program, usually taking three to four years of study. It signifies a strong foundation in a specific field of study but does not carry the same level of specialization or depth as a Master’s degree.

A Master’s degree, on the other hand, is a graduate-level qualification that requires additional years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. It offers advanced knowledge, and specialization, and often involves research or practical experience in a specific field. Master’s degrees are considered higher qualifications than bachelor’s degrees.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Joint Honours Degree?

The duration to earn a Joint Honours Degree is generally the same as that of a Single Honours Degree, which typically takes three to four years to complete. The specific duration may depend on the country, university, and program.

In many countries, such as the United States and Canada, undergraduate programs typically span four years, while in some European countries like the United Kingdom, they are often completed in three years.

The length can also vary based on factors like the number of credits required, whether you take summer courses, and any potential academic breaks or delays. Ultimately, the duration may vary, but it is generally in line with that of a Single Honours Degree.

Read Also: What is a Diploma in the UK?

Requirements to Get a Joint Honours Degree

Joint Honours Degree requirements share similarities with Single Honours Degrees in that they both involve completing coursework, earning credits, maintaining a GPA, and potentially fulfilling major-specific requirements. However, the key difference lies in the dual focus of Joint Honours Degrees.

Students pursuing Joint Honours Degrees must balance requirements, coursework, and assessments in two distinct fields of study. This duality can be both a challenge and an advantage, as it offers a broader knowledge base, interdisciplinary skills, and diverse career prospects.

In contrast, Single Honours Degrees concentrate solely on one subject, allowing for deeper specialization but with a narrower scope. Ultimately, both types of degrees offer unique educational experiences, catering to different academic interests and career goals.


Is joint honors harder than single?

Joint Honours can be more challenging as it requires balancing coursework in two fields. Single Honours allows for deeper specialization. Difficulty varies based on individual preferences and strengths.

Is it better to have honors or a Masters?

It depends on your career goals and field of interest. A Master’s degree offers advanced expertise, while an Honours degree is an undergraduate qualification. Choose based on your desired career path.

Are joint honours respected?

Yes, Joint Honours degrees are respected, as they provide students with a diverse skill set and the ability to make connections between different fields of study, which can be valuable in various careers.


With a strong foundation in one subject, you’ll be well-prepared for further studies or to launch your dream job. That’s why getting a Single Honours Degree is worthy of consideration if you desire to become a expert in a field.

This, however, depends on your unique interest, previous educational experiences, and career aspirations. The decision to go for a single honours degree should align with your goals, allowing you to have a fulfilling academic journey that suits your strengths.



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