Dual Degree Programs in China: Are they right for you?

Dual degree programs offer the opportunity to receive two degrees upon graduation, such as two Bachelors or two Masters. The degrees may be from the same university or two different universities. A growing number of schools offer dual degree programs in a variety of subjects. These programs represent an alternative to the typical undergraduate or graduate school experience. While unique, the programs may not be for everyone. This article will discuss dual degree programs in China and how to determine whether this path is right for you. 

What do dual degree programs offer?

In general, dual degree programs allow you to access resources and learning environments at two universities. They may require you to split your time between two universities in two different countries, meaning the international study abroad experience is built into the package. Additionally, a dual degree program can help you connect with mentors, resources, and work opportunities through collaboration with another university. 

The biggest draw of such a program is the two degrees you receive upon graduating. Having two degrees can help you be more recognizable to employers in different countries and may aid you in an international job search. 

when you graduate, do you want to receive one degree or two?

Why graduate with one degree when you can get two? There are positives and negatives. 

Dual degree programs and joint venture universities in China

Many Chinese universities have dual degree programs that award graduates one degree from a Chinese university, and one degree from a non-Chinese school. Alternatively, some joint venture universities award dual degrees to every graduate regardless of program. Each dual degree program offers unique opportunities for students. 

One individual dual degree program is the Architecture Dual Degree program at Tongji University in Shanghai and the University of New South Wales in Australia. Students of this program will study four semesters on each campus, and graduate with a degree from each university. Program graduates are eligible for architect qualification examinations in China, Australia, and other commonwealth countries. 

Here are some other dual degree programs available in China:

Joint Venture Universities

International joint venture universities are also growing in popularity in China. These schools are usually built through collaboration between a Chinese and a non-Chinese university. Students that graduate from their campuses all receive two degrees, regardless of their major or minor. 

The Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou is a collaboration between China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University and the UK’s University of Liverpool. Graduates from XJTLU will receive a Chinese degree and a University of Liverpool degree. They offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD programs. 

xjtlu in suzhou - get a british and chinese degree

xjtlu logo

Shanghai’s Asia Europe Business School offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s business programs. Graduates earn a dual degree from East China Normal University and France’s emlyon business school. Both their Bachelor’s and Master’s programs require students to study internationally in China and France. 

Other international joint venture schools include:

  • NYU Shanghai, which offers diplomas from Chinese-accredited NYU Shanghai and US-accredited New York University.
  • Duke Kunshan, which offers diplomas from Chinese-accredited Duke Kunshan and US-accredited Duke University. 

To learn more and apply to dual degree programs, see a list of programs here and contact China Admissions to begin an application!

james did a dual degree at beijing foreign studies university and concordia in university

James Wakelin earned his Dual Degree with Concordia University and Beijing Foreign Studies University. You can learn more about his story here.

5 Reasons to do a dual degree program:

  • It will give you access to the resources, opportunities, and communities of two different schools. 
  • Don’t require extra years of schooling, yet you will graduate with two recognized degrees. This doubles the impact your education will have.
  • If you want to work internationally, graduating with diplomas recognized in multiple countries may help your job search if employers see your certification from a familiar university. It also may be easier for you to apply for positions and visas in different countries if you have an accredited degree from that country.
  • Through a non-traditional university path, these programs can help you compare cultures and perspectives of different countries, giving you a unique experience of studying in two different environments. 
  • Some, but not all, dual degree programs offer you a chance to study in a different country without having to worry about transferring credits or a separate study abroad application. 

dual degree programs and joint venture university at NYU Shanghai

NYU Shanghai, a joint venture university, awards graduates dual degrees recognized in both China and the US.

4 Reasons not to do a dual degree

  • Many dual degree programs require you to switch between two campuses. If you’d rather stay on one campus and invest there, a dual degree program might not be a good fit. 
  • If your only goal is to study abroad, most universities offer study abroad opportunities outside of a dual degree program. It is not required to enroll in a dual degree program to have a study abroad experience. Likewise, not every dual degree program will give you a chance to study at the partner university.
  • A dual degree program may not be necessary for your personal and professional goals. One university may have all the resources and courses you need to succeed.
  • Tuition prices and fees will differ between universities if your dual degree program requires you to travel. Therefore, make sure you research relevant scholarships and financially prepare to move countries once or twice during your school years.
Savannah Billman has a master's degree in Chinese Law and Society at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She holds a B.A. from NYU Shanghai and has also written for The World of Chinese, TechNode, SupChina, and Sixth Tone.
Savannah Billman
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