Double or nothing! Clever thinking, double-degree frustration, and returns to Science


  • Sandra J. Welsman


Undergraduate double-degrees are ‘a necessary disaster for science’, in the experience of one Science Dean at a major university. Double-degrees bring timetabling and logistics problems, but ‘more so students who have to study for so long then want to leave and work’. This is especially so for degrees with Law. The Dean reported difficulties attracting top students to pursue Honours and Doctorate research. His frustrations were reinforced by heads of science schools across institutions. These interviews were conducted as part of a research series over 2005-2006 exploring issues in academic ways, course structures, teaching and learning at disciplinary interfaces, with a focus on Law:Science double-degrees. Among other findings, academic irritation was matched by frustration among some students with limited opportunity for integration during their double-degree study.