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Notes from Books and Articles on Joint Degrees, Dual Degrees, and International Research Collaborations

Notes from Books and Articles on Joint Degrees, Dual Degrees, and International Research Collaborations[1]

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The five best resources of joint and double degree programs:

  1. Knight, J. (2008). Joint and double degree programmes: Vexing questions and issues. Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.
  2. Knight, J. (2011). Doubts and dilemmas with double degree programs. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 8(2), 297-312.
  3. Kuder, M., & Obst, D. (2009). Joint and double degree programs in the transatlantic context: A survey report. Institute of International Education and Freie Universität.
  4. Obst, D., & Kuder, M. (Eds.). (2009). Joint and double degree programs: An emerging model for transatlantic exchange. Institute of International Education. [This book   is not available in Biola library].
  5. Nickel, S., Zdebel, T., & Westerheijden, D. F. (2009). Joint Degrees in European Higher Obstacles and opportunities for transnational programme partnerships based on the example of the German-Dutch EUREGIO. Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS).


Council of Graduate Schools. (2010). Joint degrees, dual degrees, & international research collaborations: A report on the CGS graduate International collaborations project.  Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools.

The book provides helpful information about international collaboration in higher education. In this book the editor describes the benefits of participating in international collaboration for students, institutions and faculty. This book provides definitions of joint, dual (double) degree programs from the perspectives of the U.S. and describes the roles of the institution leaders in developing the programs. It helps also administrative leaders of academic institutions preparing and considering some important aspects before starting the programs.

Council of Graduate Schools. (2010). Global perspectives on graduate International collaborations: Proceedings of the 2009 strategic leaders global summit on graduate education. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools.

This book constitutes a helpful contribution for understanding the global networks that support international collaborations. In this book, many important aspects of how to establish effective international collaborations, the challenges and the benefits are discussed with different contexts of the participant countries. This book can be a good start for considering of establishing the international collaboration in higher education. In this book, the participant authors describe principles, values, challenges of the international collaborations processes and the needs of graduate international collaborations.

Kuder, M., & Lemmens, N. (Eds.) (2014). Global perspectives on international joint and double    degree programs. New York, NY: German Academic Exchange Service and Institute for International Education. [This book is not available in Biola library].

Obst, D., & Kuder, M. (Eds.). (2009). Joint and double degree programs: An emerging model for transatlantic exchange. Institute of International Education. [This book is not available in Biola library].

This book provides a helpful resource for the colleges and universities around the world who seek to provide meaningful international experiences to the students. The authors of this book propose the practical recommendations on main issues such as the challenges, curriculum design, student recruitment and sustainability of the joint and double degree programs. In this book, the authors discuss six themes: (1) theorizing joint and dual degrees; (2) laying the foundation; (3) putting programs into practice; (4) sustainability; (5) program profiles; (6) the European experiences.

Journal articles and reports

Altbach, P. G., & Knight, J. (2007). The internationalization of higher education: Motivations and realities. Journal of studies in international education, 11(3-4), 290-305.

In this article, the authors point out the definitions of globalization and internationalization and explain the differences of both motivations and realities. The article discusses the landscape of programs and institutions of countries that are participating in internationalization such as Latin America, Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. It also explores the issues of quality assurance and recognition which are significant to be understood. The article provides a helpful orientation for understanding the internationalization in higher education globally.

Motivations of having internationalization projects:

  • Receiving many profits of earning money, entering the international market, establishing new private universities with foreign curriculum, enhancing research and knowledge capacity and increasing cultural understanding.
  • Provide students an access that could not be fulfilled by the local universities.
  • For developing countries, it is a good opportunity to attract foreign students to come as well as to enhance the quality and cultural aspects.

Asgary, N., & Robbert, M. A. (2010). A cost-benefit analysis of an international dual degree programme. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(3), 317-325.

The journal article seeks to explore and compare which one of international dual degree models that benefits students and academic institutions when the model is implemented. There are three dual degree models discussed—short term, education abroad, and collaborative international degree or dual degree program and the authors consider the third model as significantly superior for students and academic staffs implement in the academic learning. While the dual degree model is simple in the implementation, there are several important characteristics required; for example, students need to be positive risk takers, and academic institutions need to be creative, flexible and forward thinking.

Some benefits of dual degree model that students will gain:

  1. More opportunities of getting a job in the global job market.
  2. Training and education cross-culturally.
  3. Ways of dealing with financial and timing constraints.
  4. Knowledge and skills academically, culturally and linguistically.
  5. Substantial achievements of academic and international experiences.
  6. More depth and breadth in terms of time spent, cultural influence, lifestyle and academics.

The benefits that academic institution and staff receive from the dual degree model:

  1. Sharing resources between institutions
  2. Campus, academic staff, research endeavors go internationally.
  3. Enhancing the institution’s prestige

The drawbacks of the dual degree program:

  1. The development of intercultural and linguistic skills is limited, and the literature research of this topic is limited as well.
  2. Difficulty in maintaining communication due to distance and different time zones between schools.
  3. The complexity of political policy of the governments.
  4. Conflicting schedules of both schools
  5. Misunderstanding and challenges happen in the areas of admission requirements and procedures, visa requirement, time of curriculum planning, and administrative time.
  6. Formulating the Memorandum of Understanding

Bamford, J. K. (2014). Joint degrees and engaging with a Europe of Knowledge: lessons from a UK perspective of a challenging collaborative endeavor. Research in Hospitality Management, 4(1 & 2), 77-83.

The journal article explores the challenges and lessons that institutions can consider when they wish to offer joint and double degree programs. The study is drawn from the practitioner perspectives and experiences of collaboration on international joint degrees and conducted in London and France on master’s business programs.


Joint degree: “a single diploma issued by two or more institutions offering an integrated study program. Joint degree is a course where two degree titles are achieved for a course that is jointly delivered by two partners.

Dual or double degree: two nationally recognized diplomas issued separately by the universities involved in the study program.

The challenges of offering this international curriculum program are:

  1. The context of government’s policy
  2. The quality assurance
  3. The relationship between staff and international branding, and how to engage in such collaborative programs.
  4. The competition of higher education globally.

Other challenges and concerns of this joint degree program are:

  1. The difficulty of measuring and equating credits for differing workloads in institutions.
  2. Difficulty in the translation of grades from one system to another.

Lessons to be learned:

  1. Renegotiate grade equivalences and be more flexible in translation and standards decision making of the two institutions.
  2. It is important to have globalizing influence through collaboration in seeing business and management practice.
  3. In France, the institutions think that students need to have an independent learning and the opportunity for engagement with others from other countries.
  4. The institutions need to consider transparency and an ethical context to international higher education particularly in relate to policy making.

Chan, S. J. (2012). Going international: Double/joint degree programs in a Taiwanese University. Asia Pacific Journal of Educational Development (APJED), 1(2), 17-27.

In this article, the author seeks to examine how the process of internationalization is to be carried out and what important aspects that should be considered. The article will discuss the challenges, quality assurance, program design and other important issues of joint degree programs that may be helpful for readers to deepen the knowledge about a dual/joint degree program. The author finds the gap that many literatures lack discussing about the program mobility which is important for internationalization of higher education. Thus, the author seeks to address the literature gap by examining the dual/joint degree programs at a private university in Taiwan.

The challenges of dual/joint degree programs:

  • Many differences of higher educational systems/regulations that cause different requirements of accreditation
  • Both participating universities have different tuition and cost
  • Universities that participate have different process of review, acceptance, and administration
  • Heavy workload for students.

Findings that are helpful for consideration of running internationalization programs:

  • Consider the integration of the dual/joint degree programs in course design such as mutual credit recognition, quality assurance, as these are essential in helping students continue through the difficulties of accreditation.
  • In regard to different systems, the universities need to be flexible and supportive.
  • Employing strategically English as a primary language for teaching.


Culver, S. M., Puri, I. K., Spinelli, G., K., K. P., & Dooley, J. E. (2012). Collaborative Dual-Degree Programs and Value Added for Students: Lessons Learned Through the Evaluate-E Project. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(1), 40–61.             https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315311403934

In this article, the authors seek to examine the strengths and weakness of dual-degree programs upon graduate students of engineering through surveys and focus groups and inform to practitioners and policy makers of the programs. They also seek to explore whether the joint and dual degree programs would add value above the typical single-institution degree. They report how the students, stakeholders and employer perceive these programs through the Evaluate-E project.

Objectives and benefits of the joint and dual degree programs:

  • Better preparing graduate students to work in a global job market.
  • Providing profound international awareness
  • Increasing the global competence, language skills, life and working experience.
  • Personally, students increasingly experience self-confidence and independence
  • The alumni reported that they have an increased ability to be flexible and effective in many different contexts and could solve diverse problems more effectively.
  • The dual degrees help students to get the job.
  • Most students feel positive about these programs as truly add value particularly in terms of professional skills and life experiences.

Weaknesses of the programs:

  • Take longer time and may also cost more
  • There are not many employers might fully understand the particular strengths of joint degree program.
  • The differences of two degrees force students to think and adjust from thinking one way to another of two different subjects.

Huang, F. (2007). Internationalization of higher education in the developing and emerging countries: A focus on transnational higher education in Asia. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(3-4), 421-432.

In this article, the author provides a general description of the transnational higher education situation in countries of Asia specifically in East and Southeast Asia. The points out the challenges and opportunities for the opportunities of transnational higher education development in Asia. The author examines the contexts and perspectives of Asian countries in implementing the internationalization. China becomes a model of his deep elaboration of this program. This article is a helpful resource for those who are interested in understanding internationalization of countries in Asia. A

The author identifies three distinguishing types of transnational higher education:

  • An Import-Oriented Type;
  • An Import & Export Type;
  • A Transitional Type.

The findings of this study:

  • In many Asian countries, the control and regulation of transnational in higher education is significant and strong.
  • The Asian countries seem take the Import type of the programs from the U.S. and Europe.
  • There is no Asian country who could establish an excellent academic by their own system in which they could get an academic recognition universally.

Juknytė-Petreikienė, I. & Žydžiūnaitė, V. (2017). Quality Considerations in the Internationalization of Higher Education: The International Students’ Experiences Within Joint Degree Studies. Pedagogy Studies / Pedagogika, 127(3), 205–218.

This journal article discusses the quality of the teaching and learning in joint degree studies of seven European universities and it also examines the students’ experiences and challenges that they face.


  • Internationalization of higher education through joint degree studies stimulates the development of students’ intercultural competence and their competencies in professional situations within an international environment.
  • The benefits of a dual degree perceived by all stakeholder groups—students, alumni, faculty, and employers. The students have the cross-cultural skills and opportunities in the job market.

Knight, J. (2008). Joint and double degree programmes: Vexing questions and issues.        Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.

This journal article discusses three major components of international joint and dual degree programmes:

  • examining the different meanings of double and joint degree programmes,
  • identifying core concepts and elements,
  • proposing a working definition that help to answer some troubling questions regarding international joint, double degree programmes.
  1. In this article, the author describes comprehensively the various issues of international joint, double, combined degree programmes so that the students or institutions who consider taking this kind of programme are not confused with the terminology, core concepts, and system.
  2. The academic alignment issues such as quality assurance, accreditation, national and university regulations are discussed deeply.

Knight, J. (2009). Double-and joint-degree programs: Double benefits or double counting.  International Higher Education, 55(Spring), 12-13.

The journal article addresses the issues of international joint, double, and combined degree programs that while these programs brings important benefits to individuals, institutions, and national and regional education systems, but they also bring confusion and troublesome issues that some perceive them as lead people to double counting of academic work and the thin edge of academic fraud.

  • People concern that these programmes give the double counting of the same course credits and workload for two or more qualifications; it is led to the “two for the cost of one” label for double degrees.
  • The approach of model assessment is problematic, there is no clarity on whether requirements are based on 1) the number of completed courses and credits, 2) the students’ workload, or 3) the outcome and competency.

Knight, J. (2011). Doubts and dilemmas with double degree programs. International Journal of  Educational Technology in Higher Education, 8(2), 297-312.

In this article, the author seeks to clarify the confusion about the terms of a joint, a double and a consecutive degree program and provides a conceptual framework of definitions. This article also examines what are the issues that raise doubts and dilemmas that require a deeper analysis.

The author proposes three types of international collaborative programs and try to provide common understanding for those who want to begin these programs:

  1. Joint degree program: “A joint degree program awards one joint qualification upon completion of the collaborative program requirements established by the partner institutions”.

Thus, it is only one qualification awarded jointly. It involves the mobility of students, professors, and course content.

  1. Double degree program/multiple degree program: “A double degree program awards two individual qualifications at equivalent levels upon completion of the collaborative program requirements established by the two partner institutions.”

The idea of taking two degrees from two different countries is attractive to students. But there are many important issues need a careful attention such as the value and recognition of the qualifications of each institution.

  1. Consecutive degree program: “A consecutive degree program awards two different qualifications at consecutive levels upon completion of the collaborative program requirements established by the partner institutions.”

The two consecutive qualifications are usually related to bachelor’s/ master’s degrees, or master’s degree/doctorate.

The author identifies new trends:

  1. Due to many legal barriers and administrative challenges, students are more interested in dual degree programs rather than joint degree programs.
  2. Joint degree programs are only involved two institutions and intra-regional
  3. Joint and dual degree programs are mostly at master-degree level.
  4. The disciplines who employ these programs are in business or engineering majors.

Benefits of taking these programs:

  • Enhance students’ employability prospects and career path
  • Academic institutions get curriculum innovation, exchanges of professors and researchers, and international network.
  • As a way to attract talented students who want to experience and stay permanently.

Krase, K. S. (2014). Examining the Student’s Decision to Pursue a Joint Graduate Degree Program in Social Work and the Law. Social Work Education, 33(7), 906–916.

This article discusses a joint degree programmes from the students’ perspectives and reasons why they decide to choose the joint, and double degree programmes in the social work and the law.

The empirical research finding:

  • Having social work degree alone would not provide students with the same level of professional opportunity that the law degree or the joint degree would provide toward this goal.
  • While a joint degree program gives an opportunity of expanding the knowledge, but many students struggle with to be fit in the law classroom discussion as the joint degree students are pursuing work in the public interest.
  • Thus, joint degree students expressed conflict between their identities within each program.
  • The benefits that the joint degree students have are having increased career opportunities, pride of accomplishment to be unique, having higher capacity of working and the potential employers will value their joint degree attainment.

Kuder, M., & Obst, D. (2009). Joint and double degree programs in the transatlantic context:       A survey report. Institute of International Education and Freie Universität.

In this report, the authors assess the challenges and opportunities of expanding existing or developing new programs when the academic institutions offer joint degree programs for transatlantic collaboration in higher education.

The findings of this study:

  1. To initiate this joint and double degree programs require all levels of institution to be actively involved.
  2. Both of EU respondents and U.S. respondents had to deal with the challenges of securing adequate funding and ensuring sustainability of the program.
  3. Other challenges are recruiting students who want to go abroad and have linguistic competences.
  4. Challenges with securing institutional support on all levels
  5. Challenges with accreditation cultures cause different approaches and perspectives and affect the joint or double degrees.
  6. Funding students in the form of scholarship is challenging so the issue of tuition fees increased.
  7. To overcome the challenges, institutions should have “good advance planning and good ongoing communication between the partners. In addition, they have to maintain flexibility and trust in the institutional relationship.
  8. Identify what are the priorities of our academic institution and of the partners’ academic priorities then seek to find best possible solution.

McClelland, R. (1985). Do They Strengthen or Weaken the Profession? Journal of Social Work Education, 21(1), 20-26.

This journal article explores the structural and philosophical aspects of collaborative education, with particular attention to the joint degree program between Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health; also, it discusses the issues that are worthy to be considered by the institutions before starting a joint degree program.


  • The joint degree programs increase student applications to schools of social work as many attractions and benefits of taking the program.
  • Students expect high salaries and certainty of job opportunity upon completion of the school.

Awareness of the risks of a joint degree program:

  • The joint degree students might be employed only with those institutions who need multidisciplinary abilities, so it is important to consider where the students want to work after graduation.
  • They need to value the professional associations, journals, continuing education, and support groups because these contacts help one retain one’s professional identity.
  • Before implanting this kind of a joint degree program, educators should determine whether the companion field is compatible with the aims and ethics of social work.
  • Students might not have adequate understanding of each major as they only study and concentrate on certain subjects and it might affect how they will serve the people in the field.

Michael, S. O., & Balraj, L. (2003). Higher education institutional collaborations: An analysis of models of joint degree programs. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 25(2), 131-145.

In this article, the authors provide the analysis of collaboration and joint degree programs that include the discussions of their advantages and disadvantages, the definition, the reasons of their popularity. The authors also provide some recommendations for educational leaders, faculty and managers who are interested in creative academic programming.

The clarity of the definition:

  • A joint degree program refers to a degree that is delivered by two institutions which both can be autonomously granting the award.
  • It is not a collaborative degree given by two institutions which the collaborative work come between an institution that has an autonomous degree-granting and other institution such as a community college, a business firm or partners that has no autonomous degree-granting status.

Purpose of Joint degrees

  1. Meet the need of a changing profession—many Americans tend to change careers two or four times before retirement.
  2. Restructure degree programs to become more interdisciplinary
  3. Respond to enrollment needs
  4. Enhance the specialization nature of some degree programs, for example those who take nursing degree want to have knowledge of business.

Some advantages of joint degrees:

  • Broader experience of students
  • Pride in two institutions
  • Access to the resources of two institutions
  • Enable institutions to utilize in a more effective manner the emerging technologies such as video conferencing
  • Foreign institutions will get benefits from a well-endowed and highly reputable American institutions.
  • Give more opportunities to expand the academic programs such as providing joint research.

The disadvantages of joint degree programs:

  • Students may feel frustration and anxiety in dealing with two bureaucracies that have two different advising system.
  • The joint degree program has a potential of creating a shallow curriculum experience for students.
  • Students need to be familiar with the nature of joint degree program in order to finish well

To have a successful joint degree program, the institutions should able to overcome these constraints:

  1. Institutional governance—limiting the involvement of outside faculty members
  2. The rigid state bureaucracy
  3. There are some faculty who are resistant with the program, so it becomes ineffective.
  4. Institutional ownership
  5. The load sharing becomes a problem such as who teaches what and why.
  6. Communication infrastructure
  7. Accreditation

Some recommendations for institutions:

  • Give some rewards to faculty to initiate this kind of program and encourage them to actively engage in interdisciplinary collaborations that will result in joint degree programs.
  • Institutional leaders should provide simple procedures (no a bureaucratic headache)
  • Planning and evaluation should be done periodically to ensure a good administration and good educational experience for students.
  • Evaluate the joint degree programs base on the needs and goal achievement.
  • State higher education leaders should be careful not to send conflicting messages to institutional leaders.
  • Conduct a periodic survey

Nhan. T. T. & 1, & Nguyen, H. C. (2018). Quality challenges in transnational higher education under profit-driven motives: The Vietnamese experience. Issues in Educational Research, 28(1), 138–152.

This article explores the challenges and descriptions of joint programs in Vietnam academic institutions. Then authors investigate the operation and regulation of joint programs in Vietnam and offer both theoretical and practical views of transnational joint programs to academic key stakeholders for the enhancement of international collaboration in higher education.


  • The partnership programs are characterized with an import-oriented approach in adopting ‘whole-package’ Western programs, standards, etc.
  • Offering this program help students to prevent brain drain and contribute a quality human resource for the nation.
  • The big challenge to conduct this program comes from the limited government approval and accreditation requires many stages complex implementations.
  • Partnering with reputable universities requires high costs and all demands that need to be met discouraging to Vietnam’s infrastructure and human resources.
  • While joint programs provide good practice in teaching and learning, they are insufficient course advisors.
  • The institutions who want to begin joint programs need to consider that quality assurance and decision making need to be formed for the governing and operation of joint programs so the academic institutions may produce quality and sustainable outcomes.

Nickel, S., Zdebel, T., & Westerheijden, D. F. (2009). Joint Degrees in European Higher Education. Obstacles and opportunities for transnational programme partnerships based on the example of the German-Dutch EUREGIO. Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS).

In this study, the authors propose the recommendations to decision-makers in higher education institutions and those who provide funding for the development of transnational study programs. They explain that there are several obstacles of partnerships in Europe still exist. In this study, the authors propose some suggesting solutions for overcoming the challenges in joint degrees implementation and how to deal with the problems of legal and culture.

Recommendations on the development and implementation of joint degrees:

  • Transnational programs require support at political level.
  • Provider network is willing to negotiate on the economic scope of higher education institutions.
  • Provide a feasibility study on the international plans and the development of the study.
  • Consistently to make an observation for a curriculum development that national quality assurance system has done.
  • Develope a mutual trust and ensure the teachers of international program as equal partners.
  • The assessment of program development should involve the pros and cons of different types of degree: simple national degree, certificate/multiple degree, joint degree

O’Brien, C. & Proctor, D. (2005). Challenging innovation: a consideration of international joint degree programs for Australia. Retrieved from http://aiec.idp.com/uploads/pdf/OBrien%20&%20Proctor.pdf

The article seeks to analyze the opportunities of international joint degree programs in the Australian academic institutions. It examines the definitions, qualities, challenges of a joint degree program of European Higher Education before Australian institutions making decision to offer an international joint degree program. The paper study evaluates the European framework of a joint degree program that refer to the Bologna Process.

There are two important considerations before developing international joint degree programs:

  • International competitiveness in higher education
  • European harmonization—a regional political agenda

This paper is helpful for the international academic institutions to consider international joint programs with Europe and Australia as it presents the policy and framework of the country.

Rauhvargers, A., Bergan, S., & Divis, J. (2003). United We Stand: The Recognition of Joint Degrees. Journal of Studies in International Education, 7(4), 342–353. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315303257119

This journal article seeks to explore the problems that relate to the recognition of joint degree programs of European Higher Education and to suggest solutions of those problems.

Finding result shows that there are difficulties in recognition of joint degrees in the context of both national and international due to the fact that joint degree programs do not belong to any single national education system.

The recognition of joint degrees concerns on four different situations:

  • Recognition of the joint degree comes from the institution that has a part of the study program giving rise to the qualification.
  • Recognition from an institution who participates in the consortium and issues the degree but the institution has not been any part of the degree process of giving the degree.
  • Recognition from an institution who has not been involved in the study program and granting the qualification
  • Recognition of a degree, in any country, all or part of the institutions have not been subject to transparent quality assurance.

The authors believe that it is urgent that countries participating in the Bologna Process need to do these tasks:

  • Review their national legislation with a view to facilitating the setting up of study programs leading to joint degrees,
  • Establish proper arrangements for relevant quality assurance and recognition of such degrees

Obst, D., Kuder, M., & Banks, C. (2011). Joint and Double Degree Programs in the Global Context: Report on an International Survey. Report of the Institute of International Education.

In this survey report, the authors seek to explore the knowledge of international joint degree and to explain the opportunities, motivations, challenges and impact of joint degree programs. Using a survey of the Institute of International Education, the authors seek to expand the scope of the research and assess the collaboration of joint degree programs globally.

Findings of the survey:

  • In many countries, double degree programs seem more prevalent than joint degrees and the U.S. is the most country that interested in double degree programs.
  • Majority of joint/ double degree programs are at the master’s level.
  • France, China, Germany, Spain and US are considered as countries that most participate in joint or double degree programs.
  • These five countries—China, the U.S., France, India, and Germany constitute countries that desire to be partners for joint/double degree programs.
  • The most challenges of joint/ double degree programs are proper funding and ensuring sustainability.
  • Joint or double degree programs mostly exist in academic disciplines of social sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, physical and life sciences, and engineering.

Motivations of implementing a joint or double degree program:

  • Broadening educational offerings
  • Raising international visibility/ prestige
  • Advancing internationalization
  • Strengthening research collaboration

Three impacts of joint or double degree programs:

  • Greater collaboration between faculty at the home institution and partner institution
  • Increased international visibility of the institution
  • Increased internationalization of the campus

Russell, A., Dolnicar, S., & Ayoub, M. (2008). Double Degrees: Double the Trouble or Twice the Return? Higher Education, 55(5), 575-591. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/29735205

In this article, the authors indicate that double degrees would give many benefits to students in terms of increasing educational skills and options. They also identify the weakness of the double degrees such as administrative difficulties, lack of support and absence of learning communities. The research study focuses on the potential double degrees providing transdisciplinary education. They believe with the transdisciplinarity, students would have skills of integration, communication and teamwork.

The benefits of double degrees:

  • Increase students’ employment opportunities
  • Acquire more skills
  • Explore different areas of study
  • Enjoyment
  • Having better value than two separate degrees
  • Challenge
  • Providing a good foundation for further study
  • Can transfer knowledge and skills between disciplines.

The problems of double degrees:

  • Difficulties of timetable or course structure
  • Different faculties have different expectations
  • Long duration
  • Heavy workload
  • Lack of administrative and educational support
  • Lack of recognition of students’ achievements as a double degree student
  • Lack of integration or linking between students’ disciplines
  • Lack of a social peer group and feel not belong

Ways of improvement of double degrees:

  • Providing resources and support in the forms of information, guidance and communal support.
  • Provide job skills and career information

Recommendations for universities to support and improve the experiences, performance, and persistence of double degree students.

  • A dedicated handbook and website
  • A coordinator/ professional officer
  • Meetings, events, and communication that are organized via the website
  • Scholarships and awards for double degree students and reviews

Sandra Aguirre, & Juan Quemada. (2012). E-learning Systems Support of Collaborative Agreements: A Theoretical Model. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(4), 279-295. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.15.4.279

This article seeks to describe what considerations, risks, benefits of taking a joint or double degree programs through E-learning. The authors identify significant benefits of a joint degree for universities, teachers and students. They consider various aspects of designing E-learning joint degree that contribute significant supports and suggest how to implement the model.

Key issues and limitations of the E-learning joint degree model in the levels of:

  • Academic—need specific curricula that fit in the e-learning system model and need the access to the e-learning system.
  • Administrative—need support through user registration.
  • Context and security—need high support of safety

Benefits of the e-learning model:

  • For university: offer new opportunities, gain prestige, improve diversity of knowledge, reach new students, increase usage of networks and services
  • For teacher: enhance intellectual experience, enhance competitiveness, establish new courses with an international focus and promote cooperation and exchange of ideas
  • For students: improve opportunities and skills for employment, provide broader experiences and interculturally, improve foreign language skills, provide flexibility with 24/7 access to learning resources.

Tauch, C., & Rauhvargers, A. (2002). Survey on master degrees and joint degrees in Europe. European University Association.

In this survey article, the authors seek to describe the aspects and issues of joint degree study such as quality assurance, funding, national and international recognition, support for student and staff mobility.  The joint degree study requires a careful attention to those aspects and issues before academic institutions want to run it. While this joint degree study is in the European context, the principles and suggestions of a joint degree program are helpful for establishing a joint degree in the other country.

The characteristics of joint degrees in Europe:

  • The joint degree study exists in most fields of study such as business, engineering, law and management.
  • It is more common at Master and Doctoral levels.
  • The usage of language with partner countries is English Recommendations for a joint degree study:
  • Be precise on the definition of a “joint degree”, and be specific on these following:
  • The number of participating institutions
  • The joint nature of the curriculum
  • The minimal requirements of student and staff mobiliy
  • The procedures for award of the degree
  • National governments should ensure the development of joint programs with foreign countries and remove indirect obstacles for establishing the joint degree program.

Wang, Z. (2017). A double degree program in international communication: An exemplary case of global citizenship. Thesis.

The author of this thesis paper explores how students’ experiential learning through double degree program shaped and reinforced students’ perception and understanding of global citizenship. The author suggests that the double degree program should include the discussion of global citizenship and students’ experiences.

Finding of research:

  • Students who engaged in the double degree program perceived themselves as global citizens.
  • It is beneficial for students when there is an integrated discussion in the class, that is, to bring both nationalism and global citizenship education together in a class discussion.
  • Employ a transformation approach of internationalizing curriculum as it has a potential to change people.
  • Students become excellent in interpersonal skills as they explore global issues through both local and global lenses and with multiple perspectives.

Wimshurst, K., & Manning, M. (2017). Making sense of the combined degree experience:  the example of criminology double degrees. Studies in Higher Education, 42(4), 669–684.

In this journal article, the authors explore how the participants made sense of the experience of doing a double degree. They do a semi-structured interview to find out how the graduates understand the connections between degrees and disciplinary fields. This study is important as graduates will gain a confidence of self-identity when they make sense their experiences of pursuing a dual degree program.

The outcomes of the study in regard to students’ experiences are:

  1. They experience isolation—feeling excluded from the institution norm
  2. They feel not belong and it affects the student engagement and comfort.
  3. Feeling excluded from “a learning community” gives them some detriment effects of performance and persistence.

In this regard, the roles of the academic institutions that they need to provide:

  1. Understanding of the fit, connection and integration between two different disciplines before the students take the dual degree program.
  2. Supportive group so that students can help each other and work together to overcome the challenging experiences.
  3. Specific academic guidance or assistance for students who experience confusion or isolation of experiences.

Yung-Chi Hou, A., Morse, R., & Wang, W. (2017). Recognition of academic qualifications in transnational higher education and challenges for recognizing a joint degree in Europe and Asia. Studies in Higher Education, 42(7), 1211–1228. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1085010

In this article, the authors seek to describe the current situation for the recognition of foreign academic qualifications in higher education institutions in Europe and Asia. They will analyze some important aspects of schemes, procedures, and challenges for recognizing a joint degree. In addition, they will discuss quality assurance agencies in qualification assessment.

Guidelines, elements and procedures for a fair recognition of joint degrees

  • Joint qualifications in Europe and Asia are mainly recognized by governmental bodies, nongovernmental bodies and quality assurance agencies.
  • Two key documents which give guidelines for the fair recognition of a joint degree in Europe:
  1. European Area of Recognition Manual
  2. Guidelines for Good Practice for Awarding Joint Degrees, by the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA).
  • Seven steps for recognizing a joint qualification of EAR:
  1. information and its receipt
  2. verification of completeness of the file
  3. verification of the institution and/or program
  4. verification of documents
  5. assessment of the qualifications,
  6. outcomes of assessment
  7. communication of the result.
  • In China, a government body uses a three-stage review process:
  1. examining the legal status of all awarding institutions;
  2. validating the authenticity of the documents;
  3. assessing the equivalency of stated credentials.
  • The quality assurance plays a vital role in graduate mobility and credential recognition.
  • Quality assurance and accreditation do indeed influence the outcomes of the assessment of the awarded qualification.

[1] This set of notes was developed by Santa Rusliana, a student in our Ph.D. program in Educational Studies, research assistant to Dr. Kevin Lawson, at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, California, USA.