This question came up after reading some answers to this one.

Is it useful either for applying for a job or for applying for a PhD position to have two degrees in the same area on two different universities without needing more time than usual for the degree (in case of master: two years, or maybe two and a half year)? Are there advantages, are there disadvantages?

  • 1
    I presume you mean two degrees _of the same rank_—two bachelor's degrees or two master's degrees. Is this correct?
    – aeismail
    Oct 5 '14 at 18:01
  • Do you mean doing two master degrees at the same department at the same time? I'm not even sure you can do it.
    – Gimelist
    Oct 5 '14 at 18:53
  • @Michael: In this case I am talking about two master degrees in different departments, but in the same field
    – arc_lupus
    Oct 5 '14 at 20:25
  • @arc_lupus I still don't see why is that good. When applying for the position what really matters is your research output. If you can get a publication about each topic, while still doing only a single degree that would be best.
    – Gimelist
    Oct 6 '14 at 6:37
  • I still can't understand the question: do you mean different but fairly related depts, such as CS+Linguistics? Psychology? Economics? Physics + Materials science/Maths Physics? Chemistry+Biochemistry? 'Useful' depends on that context, and to what purpose. Without specifics, this is an academic "How long is a piece of rope?" question.
    – smci
    Apr 15 '17 at 0:38

I would be very confused about why somebody needed two degrees in the same field. If the fields were overlapping but distinct—mathematics and computational science, for instance—that would not be such a big deal. But somebody with two biology degrees or two mathematics degrees from different universities would be such an exceptional case that I would want to have some explanation for this in the statement of purpose. (Why did the applicant feel it necessary to have a second bachelor's or master's degree on the same topic?)


No, it is not useful and will only cause employers to ask “why?” and scrutinize your application. -from an 18 year career professor and director of grad program.


At its core, no. Why did you think it might? Having two degrees implies increased experience academically, certainly, compared to someone with only one degree. But it also implies other things that are not as good, to me, personally. I explain why in the next paragraph, but as mentioned this is a very rare thing and will definitely bring increased scrutiny on why it happened.

My only experience with people having multiple same-rank degrees in the same field has been with failed PhD candidates who immigrated already holding ME degrees and then failed their defenses at the end of their PhDs.

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