Forget BScs vs. BAs – Combined Honours is the hardest degree

If you think one is difficult, try two

arts BA biology BSC combined honours degrees hons liverpool music science

Doing a combined honours in Music and Biology definitely silences the age old argument of which degree classification is harder. It puts myself and our small population of similar BA/BSc combo students in the awkward middle bracket of belonging to the two families. It makes us exempt from the endless comparison, but also open to questions like “What on earth are you going to do with that degree?” and “Couldn’t you just choose one?” and also “Jack-of-all-trades” comments. This  can be tedious at times, but if we wanted to just do one subject we would, and after all, variety is the spice of life.

Science isn’t sexy without music

But let’s ketone trying straight: it is hard. You have to have the mind of a BA and a BSc student at the same time. If you asked a single honours BA student to write a lab report, or a BSc student to analyse and interpret a classical symphony, they’d probably give you a resounding “no”, or just get confused and process things as they would in their own subject, but combining both schools means our brains have to do both.

No more can you argue “lab reports and hard facts are the most useful and challenging” or “interpreting arguments and understanding historic theories is harder” – blahblahblah. Switching and combining both is a real brain workout and ultimately makes a combined honours degree the hardest to study. From hours of lab work, to hours of practicing your instrument, as well as the obvious additional study/work times, finding balance and fluidity is one of the biggest challenges. Our degree titles are confusing as heck, too, but at least it looks fancy on a CV.

Forget the arguments, the petty name calling, the presumptions both sides have for each other, and behaving as if BScs were the Montagues and BAs were the Capulets. When studying both you realise that difficulty levels are the same, workloads are the same, and the kind of people you meet are indeed, the same. The only differences are the contact hours, the lecture styles, and of course the subjects. Can’t we all just get along? Because combined honours students have to.

Equipment is also an issue. No single honours degree would ever make you require a lab coat, scientific calculator, manuscript book, and a viola to be carried with you in the same day. You also have to balance the societies you’re in, as orchestral rehearsals for 3 hours and all the bio soc meet ups do drain your free time massively.

Should have done geography

Also, it takes a lot of time to get from biology in the north campus, down to music at the edge of the south campus, and having to use both libraries too. Trekking to these for 9ams daily does get tiring, and having to bring your instrument to a biology lecture is also annoying, for everybody. Where are you meant to put your instrument whilst in a lab or lecture theatre? Woe is me.

You just need to respect other subjects and get down from your high horse. Follow the wisdom and double experience of a combined student, and maybe, just maybe you’ll actually learn something new. Slagging off the opposing degree classification is utter nonsense and everyone just needs to chill. It’s obvious that combined honours are the hardest: there’s just no debate.