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5 Top Combined Degree Programs at Colleges

College graduation

As summer zooms ahead at full speed, I think we all know what lies ahead - college applications! As they draw nearer, many students might be wondering if there's the perfect college or degree program out there for them. Thankfully, with the wealth of diverse institutions, majors, minors, and concentrations available to you - including those you may never have heard of before today - you're almost guaranteed to find your perfect match with our help. These programs can eliminate the need to take standardized tests for graduate school admissions, streamline the time (and money) needed to get through six to eight years of study, and offer opportunities for passionate students to deepen and broaden their knowledge in multiple areas. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are five incredible combined degree programs for students who can't be put in a box.

1. Columbia-Juilliard Bachelor of Arts/Master's of Music

Columbia University and The Juilliard School team up in this singular program to offer select students who show a talent fir both academics and music the chance to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College (Columbia's school of arts and sciences) and a Master's of Music from Juilliard in five years. To join, students must first be accepted to both Columbia and Juilliard on the basis of their applications and auditions. Then, they must be accepted to the extremely selective Columbia-Juilliard Program, where they pursue a BA at Columbia while having access to practice facilities, coaching, and competitions at Juilliard. Finally, students in their junior year of the program have the opportunity to apply (yes, another application!) to spend their fourth and fifth years pursuing graduate study at Juilliard, after which they emerge with their Master's. For the student who doesn't want to choose between music and book smarts, this program is an extremely rewarding and prestigious choice.

2. University of Pennsylvania Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology

While the first dual degree program on this list is the result of a partnership between two highly-regarded institutions, the Management & Technology program is one of several ways an enterprising student can receive a dual degree from UPenn. Participating students earn a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Penn's famous Wharton School and either a Bachelor of Science in Engineering or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Penn Engineering, making it an ideal choice for students who want to pursue both engineering and business. The program also offers exclusive interdisciplinary M&T-only classes that students can take, setting them apart from all their other UPenn classmates. To prepare for this rigorous course of study in high school, interested high school juniors and seniors can apply for UPenn's Management & Technology Summer Institute, where they gain an introduction to the rigor and excitement of the world of technology and business.

3. Brown-RISD Dual Degree

Continuing on the theme of combining academics and the arts from the first item on our list, the Brown-RISD Dual Degree offers a counterpart in the visual arts to the Columbia-Juilliard Program's focus on performance. Student artists have the opportunity to apply to both Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, where they can pursue a Bachelor of Arts from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from RISD. If an accepted student can then complete the degree requirements from both schools, they'll graduate with degrees from two highly-lauded institutions. Students at one institution who don't want to make that commitment also have the opportunity to enroll in just a single class from the other, since both schools are located right next to each other in Providence.

4. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Guaranteed Admissions Program

For my pre-med students (I know you guys are out there), the University of Pittsburgh offers the incredible opportunity to lock down your admission to medical school before you even start your undergraduate years. Outstanding high school seniors who have been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh have the opportunity to interview and submit additional application materials in order to be considered for their Guaranteed Admissions Program to the university's School of Medicine. Students must have indicated an interest in Pre-Med or Bioengineering on their college applications, have as high a GPA as possible with a rigorous courseload, and achieved a score of 1490+ on the SAT or 34+ on the ACT. Students who have medically-related experiences and, especially, who have conducted scientific research in high school are prioritized, though additional factors are also taken into account, such as community service, two letters of recommendation, and an additional essay. But guess what isn't required? That's right: Guaranteed Admissions students are exempt from the dreaded MCAT, or Medical College Admissions Test.

5. University of Chicago Joint BA/MPP in Public Policy Studies

Finally, let's finish off this list with one of UChicago's several joint Bachelor's/Master's programs. Their Public Policy program is of particular interest, as it allows undergrads at the University of Chicago to start their professional policy training while still in the undergraduate College before receiving two degrees in five years. The core curriculum includes economics, statistics, sociology, political science, organizational theory, program evaluation, critical analysis, and overall mastery of quantitative and analytical skills. Unlike most of the others on this list, students apply for this program once they've already become students at UChicago, and are expected to have a GPA of 3.25 or above and have already taken microeconomics, statistics, and/or calculus, though they can come from any major.

So there you have it! While there are countless dual degrees out there, hopefully this list offers a sampling of the diversity that exists out there, and introduces you to options you may never have otherwise known existed. However, reading and learning about the opportunities open to you is the easy part - it's applying to them that's the challenge. You can get in touch with us at any time or email us at to schedule your free 15-minute consultation to make sure that you have the best possible chance of getting into your dream school, whether it's one of these programs or somewhere else entirely. We've got your back, so you can move forward.

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