Interview with a Combined Honours Student

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Many students at the university choose to take a Combined Honours degree encompassing two or three courses. In this way, students have the option of studying multiple disciplines they enjoy. Is this option manageable? Jess Wiemer interviewed Jack Powys Maurice, a second year BA Archaeology and Anthropology student, to uncover his opinions on his Combined Honours degree.

Do you find balancing two courses difficult?
Yes. The writing style for both subjects is different. Though the referencing style is the same, there is a philosophical methodology in anthropological writing that’s not in archaeology. It’s difficult to switch from one to another, especially when writing two essays in either subject at the same time. It’s hard to switch between two different mindsets.

Do you find one course easier than another?
I find anthropology easier than archaeology. I feel like I’m more attuned to anthropology and the philosophical mindset.

Why did you decide on Combined Honours?
I was interested in both subjects and liked the opportunity to study both equally. I also didn’t want my degree to be narrowed down. I liked the idea that my degree would be broader and be relevant to more career prospects.

Are you happy with your decision?
Yes, I couldn’t be happier.

What advice would you give to new students thinking of doing Anthropology and Archaeology?
Anthropology has a reading list on each module and archaeology doesn’t. I’ve found that I put a lot less effort into outside reading in archaeology because of this, which is potentially why I’m better at anthropology. I’d suggest putting more effort into outside reading in archaeology despite its lack of reading lists. I don’t put equal value on the courses but suggest to new students that they should. It doesn’t matter if your interest in the courses is unbalanced because they are each worth 50% of your degree. I also suggest to consider your whole degree when picking modules. For example, you can pick anthropology modules that relate to archaeology. This can integrate your degree more effectively.

At least for Jack, Combined Honours at the University of Exeter has been a rewarding investment overall. Despite difficulties in managing varied academic writing expectations, it seems to be a great option for the multi-disciplinary mind.

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