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I'm moving to Malmö, Sweden in three months and I just got admitted to a Master's programme in Lund university. I also applied to University of Copenhagen for a different set of master's programmes, that I have a preference for over Lund's.

I originally had the idea of taking two masters at the same time because I will know if I'm admitted to my preferred programmes in Copenhagen only after the deadline to reject the offer of admission in Lund, and I can't risk that, in case I don't get admitted to Copenhagen. So I thought, I'll just do a couple months of lessons and withdraw from the programme I like the least.

But now I kinda really like the idea of doing two master's a true same time. But is that allowed? If you've done the same, do you have any advice? I would prefer not to start the second master after one year of the first as another thread suggested.

Some relevant info: I have a bachelor's in bioinformatics with top marks and some research experience, and the degree programme I got admitted to in Lund, although not in bioinformatics, largely overlaps with what I've already done, so it would be a fairly easy ride. Of the three I've applied to in Copenhagen, one is in Bioinformatics, so even more redundant with my Bachelor's, while the other two involve neuroscience and AI - I already have taken several good quality online courses and specialisations on these topics and I'm taking another 2-3 (equivalent to 6-12 ECTS each in terms of content) before courses start, so while the other two master's programmes wouldn't be nearly as redundant as another bioinformatics course would be, it still would be a fairly easy ride. Only, the course I gave highest priority to is an advanced programme. Has someone ever taken an advanced master's programme in Denmark and how much harder/time consuming is it compared to a regular master's programme?

Lastly, do Copenhagen and Lund universities have mandatory attendance to lectures? aside from the fact that I have ADHD which makes consistently following lessons almost impossible for me and frankly useless when I could just use books and recordings, obviously I'll have a lot of overlap between lessons.

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    I'm really trying to come up with a reason, any reason, why this would be a good idea?
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:51
  • @JonCuster Two degrees, presumably? I'm not saying it's a good idea, but it's certainly an idea that other people have also had.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:04
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    @xLeitix - sure, but two degrees from two different universities in two different countries with limited intent to actually attend lectures? All to get 2 masters degrees which has insignificant value over 1 masters degree... I predict a question in ~7 months time about how to drop one (or both) programs without burning any bridges.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:13

2 Answers 2

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I don't teach at either Lund or Copenhagen, but at a different Swedish university.

But is that allowed?

I don't see why it wouldn't be allowed. In general universities in Scandinavia do not try to limit what their students do in addition to studying. For example, some students work full-time next to their studies - universities may not love that, but they also cannot stop it. Doing two full-time studies at the same time would presumably fall under the same umbrella.

That said, expect little lenience from either of the universities to support your plan. "Sorry, I can't come to this mandatory class because that day I am in Copenhagen for my other program" is unlikely to be met with much understanding, on either side.

do Copenhagen and Lund universities have mandatory attendance to lectures?

I don't know about Copenhagen, but Swedish universities tend to have a mixture of optional and mandatory course elements. I believe this is fairly universal across Europe these days. Lectures you can normally skip if you want to, but most courses have some presence elements that you do in fact need to be present for. I would definitely not rely on courses being exclusively optional or online, unless a program is explicitly marketed as remote-friendly. My expectation would be that you need to be present multiple times a week at either or both university.

If you've done the same, do you have any advice?

I have not done exactly the same, but I have (for some time) been enrolled in two full-time programs in the same university.

I would not underestimate the amount of stress that doing two programs in parallel will put on you. You are nominally looking at an 80-hour week, without even considering the time you'll spend travelling back and forth. It is true that the "minimal passing effort" for a full-time program is probably significantly below 40 hours of effort a week, but overall I would still expect to work considerably more than a full week. And at that point, wouldn't it be better to pick the program you like better, focus, and do really well there?

Another note is that if you plan to get a stipend, they will expect you to do a certain minimum number of credits in one program. This, again, may be hard to achieve if you work on two programs in parallel.

As you can tell, I would really not recommend it. The benefit of having two degrees is very, very limited except for a bragging factor. Any benefits you have in terms of learning will likely be dwarfed by the times you need to skimp on studying for courses because you have too much other stuff going on. I dropped one of my programs, and I am very happy about it even a decade and a half later. And that was without having to travel back and forth.

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I am not sure of the maximum number of master's courses you can take here in Sweden, but I know universities are independent, and you can take whatever courses you like from different universities with some limitations. I sort of agree with @xLeitix if the course is really heavy. For me, the course here is more like a high school one or less. I am studying simultaneously two master's courses (medicine) at Stockholm University and informatics at another University, and I still have time to go around and do my own things. It sometimes takes 3 hours one way to reach the second university for the mandatory courses/lectures, and it is a nice time for me to read the content of previous or future things if needed. No doubt sometimes it is really difficult to manage both universities, and I got dead tired, but for me, the most challenging part was the financial problem of commuting (so expensive trains, up to 700 SEK/travel day). Until now, I passed all of the exams without even reading the books/content, and mostly I got VGs. So, I think you should try it, and yourself assess if it is stressful or just challenging. I am in the last semester, and so far I had no problem with mandatory courses needing to be present. I was able to be there right when it needed. I also have to mention that the most course I spend my personal time studying, was the Swedish course. Having said that last semester, I had 30 credits at SU, and 40.5 at XS, which I passed by VG, except for the one I have an exam on 2nd June.

Based on the content of the course, which in the case of informatics I expected to be super heavy for a master's degree but it wasn't, you can take even more than 2 if you will. It is unfair not to say, that I got my Ph.D. in another country and I could not find a job in Sweden so I was advised to get a degree in Sweden to increase chance of recruitment. For the SU study, I can say my background is somewhat related to the master course making it much easier to handle everything, but computer science is something 100% new for me in the case of programming, and yet, XU is the most easiest course I had!

I really wish I could help to solve your questions, not adding more to what you already had in mind! Best of luck for you.

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