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How Joint Degree Programs Admissions Work

Types of Joint Degree Programs

Joint degree programs arise out of formalized agreements within universities, between universities and even across oceans. You can find them in most major universities and within dozens of fields. No matter what goals you may be trying to achieve through your education, there may be a joint degree program out there for you that could help you meet them.

The most prevalent joint degree programs out there tend to involve professional degrees. For example, plenty of law schools allow for the joint pursuit of an M.B.A., while students of public health can pretty easily find a program that will also let them get their M.D. However, many universities also allow undergraduate students to pursue joint degrees.

Generally, a joint degree program should give you a hyper-focused, interdisciplinary approach to your favorite fields of study. For instance, M.B.A. students at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business can also get a master's in environmental law and protection from Vermont Law School's environmental law program -- a perfect combination for green entrepreneur hopefuls. At the University of Minnesota, law students can also jointly pursue a master's in bioethics.

If you're interested in seeing the world, many schools partner with institutions overseas to offer such programs. Columbia University's international policy school, for instance, has a partnership with the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) that allows a select number of students to obtain a master's degree from each school. Both Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have established similar joint degree programs with local universities in Singapore.

Can't find anything that meets your needs? Universities sometimes allow students to design their own joint degree programs. For instance, at the University of Michigan, some students have pursued a unique combination of a master's in statistics and a master's in public policy. Of course, getting a school to sign off on such an individualized track of study isn't easy. Read on to learn about the most common admissions processes for joint degree programs.