My Experience Studying a Joint Honours Degree
I chose to study the History and Sociology joint honours degree at the University of Manchester because not only did I find these subjects the most engaging and enjoyable during my A-Levels, but my fascination for social history and ‘history from below’ could be fulfilled by studying the two disciplines simultaneously. At university I was given the freedom of choice to select modules which satisfied my interests in both subjects because of the broad range of modules across the courses. Accordingly, this benefitted me academically as I could choose a variety of topics I enjoyed, in addition to new and unfamiliar periods and social issues which I had never previously researched, to educate myself and fully benefit from my university experience.
I also found that the two different subjects balanced one another well because the disciplines were interconnected and complemented each other, producing a breadth of knowledge. For instance, learning about historical periods with a sociological outlook gave me a deeper insight into past affairs and how they have impacted individuals in contemporary society. Conversely, being educated on sociological theories and methodologies allowed me to develop my understanding on current events and apply this to historical eras to recognise their importance.
Furthermore, my favourite modules I chose throughout my first year of university included the history modules Modern China: from the Opium Wars to the Olympic Games and the Manchester History Workshop, and the sociology module Inequalities in Contemporary British Society. These modules enriched my historical and sociological perspectives due to their intersection producing a more thorough, clearer comprehension of individuals’ lives during certain epochs, and how their lived experiences and hardship is comparable to modern society. For example, from learning about ethnic inequalities in Britain in my sociology module, I could understand the difficulty of assimilation of African diaspora in Britain in the Manchester History Workshop module. This defies the notion that joint honours degrees do not explore topics in-depth, as the wider variety of content taught provides an enhanced and detailed understanding of the issues you are learning about.
Another reason I recommend studying a joint honours degree is that you have the opportunity to meet students from both degree programmes. For example, you are able to join the History Society and the Sociology Society, as well as get to know fellow peers taking the same joint honours degree as you more closely, since there will be less students studying your course. This will create a more sociable environment as soon as you begin university which will make your studies more enjoyable and valuable in later life.
Therefore, studying a joint honours degree has been extremely beneficial for me academically and socially, as focusing on two disciplines allowed me to realise my passions in particular subjects and develop a deeper awareness of significant themes in History and Sociology. This ultimately made my time at the University of Manchester a more profound and captivating experience.