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I want to study Bachelor of Mathematics at university in Australia. While I was surfing the various courses, I came across something interesting. It was Bachelor of Mathematics and Bachelor of Computer Science at University pf Wollongong (which takes 4.5 years to complete). I was like wow how does this work, Same qualification, and two degrees for 4.5 years. A single degree alone takes 4 years. But then I started to think, wait a minute this seems too good to be true.

(Note that my intention is to study Mathematics and do a PhD in Mathematics, I don't want to get some limited mathematics knowledge if double degree has half of both. At the same time I would love if this is full of both, so in that case I will apply to this.

Please help me on how this works , what are the limitations, will I get the same recognition and knowledge as students studying Math alone?

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The best way to understand how this can work is to look at a degree plan. Most schools publish plans outlining approximately which courses you will need to take each year.

Many degrees are not simply comprised of just the departmental courses within your major. I cannot answer for Australian schools, but in the US at least, many students require students generally take approximately 40 courses to graduate, but quite a number of those courses might fall outside of the students' majors:

  • A significant fraction of courses a student takes might be general education requirements, such as world history and English. Some schools require students to choose electrics that expose them to a wide range of topics outside of their major and help them to develop skills that the planners hope all college educated students can learn.
  • Additionally, within the university, specific schools will require students to take courses that may not fall within a students major.

For some majors, this structure might mean that a student will take ~15 courses in their major, and another 25 courses outside of their major. So, it should not be difficult to see how one might be able to fit in an extra major, as one would have no need to repeat all of these electives.

Some schools permit students with a bachelors to transfer in, waiving a significant portion of the degree requirements, to quickly earn a second degree.

  • Thank you alot....so this means a double degree gets rid of those extra courses and crashes everything within the two majors to make it possible to finish in 4.5 years? – M.S.E Sep 19 '14 at 9:42
  • What you suggest may be the case for the school you are looking at. My meaning is, at least in the US, each degree requires many electives, and those elective credits can be shared by the two degrees without a need to repeat a large portion of the degree. The situation in Australia might be different though. – Village Sep 19 '14 at 9:49
  • Looking at the course requirements for the program, it seems they have something called a "General Schedule". Some sample general schedule courses are listed here. – Village Sep 19 '14 at 9:52
  • I really appreciate your help – M.S.E Sep 19 '14 at 10:21
  • do you think I will be able to pursue a phD in mathematics or computer science after doing this? – M.S.E Sep 19 '14 at 13:49
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I took a double degree in Electronic Engineering and IT (Computer Science) from QUT. It required more time than either of the single degrees, and the course load was considerably higher per semester. At graduation, I received two separate degree certificates from QUT — I have two Bachelor degrees. There were some restrictions in the number of elective subjects we could take, since the core course load was higher.

Of course you need to check the course content and course load (and duration — a Bachelors degree without honours in Australia is usually three years, not four), to be certain it's right for you.

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