Top Tips for Joint Honours Students

University of Leeds
4 min readAug 20, 2021

If you’re feeling a bit daunted about how to manage your workload if you’re doing a joint honours degree, then third year History and Sociology student Lauren has all of the top tips to make things easier.

As a joint honours student myself, I’ve had to learn the tips and tricks for working in both schools and managing the work load for both courses. Although at times it may seem difficult being split between two subjects, you’ll soon see that it can actually give you the best of both worlds. In many ways it is also extremely helpful for giving you skills to thrive after university.

1. Thoroughly Learn Both Referencing Styles

If you’re unlucky enough to have two separate referencing styles from your schools, then learn them both thoroughly and practice them often. There is nothing like writing an essay and editing your references only to get to the end and realise you have no idea how to do them! The University of Leeds have dedicated online pages to tell you exactly how to use different referencing styles from Harvard to MHRA, and examples of how to reference everything from a book review to the Bible!

2. Join Both Online Chats and Groups

It’s likely that you’ll want to join course group chats online but make sure to join both subject groups. They can be really useful for asking questions to your cohort in periods when your lecturers aren’t in office or you a quick piece of advice. In your first and second year you may find that your time doesn’t feel as equally split between the two subjects, use online chats to make friends in the school you’re not as familiar with.

3. Attend Both Subject Socials

It may be the case that you find yourself naturally gravitating towards one subject school more than the other and you might be tempted to ignore the other completely. Don’t shut yourself off from a whole other group of friends and opportunities when you might end up having more seminars the next semester in a subject where you know nobody. If you’re able to, give both subject socials a try and this way you’re not missing out on any opportunities before you’ve even had the chance to settle in.

4. Schedule and Organise Yourself Well

As a joint honours student, organisational skills will become a necessity. That isn’t to say you need to stress yourself out but it is definitely worth setting some time to the side each week or even every fortnight to plan any upcoming assessments, meetings or seminars. Why is this so important to do when you’re managing two subjects? At some point it is very likely that you’ll have two assignments, from separate schools, due on the same week or maybe even same day. Organising your time means that you’re able to dedicate the necessary amount of time to both subjects so that academically you’re able to thrive in both schools.

When it comes to assignments, ask the lecturers or seminar tutors in advance when your assignment weeks are or check the module handbooks for both subjects, and then write these down! You don’t want to find out that you have two essays due in on the same day or in the same week with little time to complete them both.

5. Utilise Both Subjects

As a history and sociology student I learnt to really appreciate the way my course fit together and how I could use sociology in history assignments and historical knowledge in sociology essays. Being a joint honours student allows you to have a unique perspective and to apply these two different sets of knowledge to make your assignments and discussions original. Making use of both subjects in essays usually earned me the best grade!

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