Single Law Degree vs. Combined Law Degrees

Tiffany

Getting yourself into law school is tough. What is just as tough is making sure you’re making the right decision. Should you be doing a single law degree or a combined degree with another discipline? A great number of law students in Australia are encouraged to undertake double degrees. Not only does it provides students with an advantage in the job market, but it also allows them to learn an entirely different discipline. However, if you’re currently studying a single law degree or thinking of switching to a single law degree from double degrees, this article provides insights into both degrees to help you make the right decision. 

Single Law Degrees

1. No distraction

Doing a single law degree allows you to focus on your legal career without getting distracted by other disciplines. Only when you know for sure which areas of law you want to practice in the future or that you’re particularly interested in the second discipline should you pursue a double degree. 

A majority of Australian law universities allow you to pick from a variety of non-law electives when you’re doing a straight law. Take advantage of this and select worthwhile electives. 

2. Shorter in length 

A single law degree is generally one year shorter than a double degree. It mostly consists of heavy and compulsory courses within those four years. It is not easy trying to juggle four law courses within a semester, so it is better to do a maximum of 3 law courses at once (at least for the first two years of your law degree). 

It is not impossible to do four law courses, but the nature of law courses usually require plenty of time and dedication. It may negatively affect your overall academic performance as well as your mental health. 

Not many Australian law universities offer single law degrees as a study option. It is helpful to conduct research on the universities you’re looking to apply in order to avoid facing limited study possibilities.

3. Tuition fees 

The shorter the degree, the lesser the tuition fees you have to pay. 

Choosing the right degree requires consideration into the financial aspect of it all. According to Lawyers Weekly, a Bachelor of Laws costs about $34,826 per year. A combined degree would add up the fees significantly. 
Therefore, when choosing your degree, make sure to take into account the tuition fees and discuss it further with your family members. 

Double Law Degrees

1. Expanding your skills and knowledge

Although you might not use your second non-law degree as a career option, you would still gain valuable skills and knowledge applicable to any profession. You have the opportunity to explore a completely different discipline that sparks your interest.

Some students chose to study double degrees because they are certain about their career paths. For instance, a combined degree of commerce and laws may lead to a profession as a corporate lawyer. A combined degree of human rights with laws may result in a career relating to social justice or international law.  

Plus, studying laws with another degree can help you understand how the law relates to the outside world. 

2. ‘Two is better than one’

In the long run, you will receive two degrees in five years, in comparison to having one degree in four years. Although a double degree is a longer course of study, that extra one year is valuable in terms of quality and quantity. 

Five years is a really long time so use those years to do extra-curricular activities as well as applying for law internships because future employers are most likely looking for a well-rounded candidate. 

3. Lessen your workload 

If you ask fellow law students, they would tell you that law courses require plenty of contact hours, piles of cases to read, and constant pressures to finish assignments before the due date. 

This is when double degrees come in handy. Some disciplines do not require as much commitment compare to law courses and that helps reduce your overall workload. This does not mean that you should not put a lot of efforts to your non-law subjects but rather to help you thrive to your highest potential.  

Key Takeaways

I hope the type of degrees you choose will complement your interest. 

If you’re still unsure, you can always talk to a law adviser at your university or experienced later year law students. Even if you have made the wrong decision, you will still have the options to consider alternative degree pathways. 

Best of luck! 

Tiffany is a law student at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. She loves writing and hopes to practice Media Law or Intellectual Property Law. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.