The Future is Multidisciplinary: What to Consider When Choosing Your Degree

By the SMU Social Media Team

Think of it as entering an ever-changing working world equipped with the most number of tools possible.

Today, multidisciplinary learning—whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur—is not optional when it comes to tackling the fast-paced corporate and business landscape. Thankfully, innovative institutions of higher education like SMU now allow students to design their own studies programme, tailored to help them achieve their career goals.

At SMU, a broadbased curriculum of with 15 combinations of double degrees and over 300 possible combinations are made available to students to create a unique combination of courses. In other words, there is complete flexibility and no limitation to the combination of double degrees or second majors. Students have the ability to pick whichever combination that they want, something which is not possible at many other universities. For example, one could consider a contrasting combination like Accountancy with Social Sciences, or Law with Business Management.

“SMU’s broadbased curriculum not only emphasises breadth across different disciplines, it also strengthens the depth of the specialisation that you choose,” explains Linette Lim, Director of Admissions Strategy and Outreach.


Linette speaking to visitors at SMU Open House 2017


“A broadbased curriculum is very critical to help you adapt to the economy of the future. Many employers are attracted to graduates with a broadbased education because they will have knowledge and skills in multiple fields that can be applied to the workplace.”

And this holistic programme begins with a core curriculum in SMU, which is a set of common courses for all undergraduates, so that everyone has a common knowledge base. The ability to think broadly through an interdisciplinary core curriculum, as well as the ability to advance with the speed of global change through its myriad global programmes, is crucial to fully nurture the modern student.

The need to educate students holistically through hard, soft and heart skills, adds Linette, is imperative so that students can be ready for the future, and will be versatile, articulate, culturally sensitive and highly adaptable. It is also important for students from different disciplines to learn and work well together. Hence, the school’s innovative SMU-X programme allows students to work with groups of students from other disciplines on real-life consultancy projects—both within Singapore and overseas—and be mentored by industry leaders and professors, to better understand issues in the real world.

Colin Ng

“Through the countless project work experiences, I have learnt a multitude of social skills that would make me adept at being effective in what I do,” says Colin Ng, a Lee Kong Chian Scholar who is pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Business Management and Social Sciences, Human Resources Management and Services & Sociology.

“Wanting to be a community builder, I studied Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources (OBHR) and Sociology as I thought that would be the best education that would make me best prepared in pursuing my ambition.

Both fields of study intertwine quite nicely to give me a stable foundation that would help me to develop and improve communities effectively and sustainably in the future.”

Ong Wanting

For alumna Ong Wanting, who graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science (Information Systems) degree, taking on a second major in Operations Management was a win-win situation. “I chose Operations Management as it will enable me with a different set of skills and strategies to better enhance business efficiency. Not to mention the exciting career opportunities it offers in various firms and fields.”

For students taking on a double degree programme, it can mean more work. But when double degrees that are contrasting in nature are combined to allow for versatility, it will certainly deliver a greater reward, advises Linette.

“In SMU, it is entirely possible to complete a double degree in 4 years because of our core curriculum,” says Linette, who also suggests a checklist of considerations when deciding on whether to choose a double degree:

  1. Do you feel the need to opt for a more versatile degree programme? If you are not quite sure what you want to study, or what your career path should be, combining two degrees can help you become more adaptable and versatile.
  2. Do you have two different passions and cannot decide between these two fields? If so, you can try a contrasting double degree, for example, Information Systems and Law. Or you can also opt for a much more in-depth and specialised double degree to help you reach your career goals. 
  3. Have you considered other alternatives to the double degree programme? Instead of completing a double degree, you can simply complete two specialisations through a double major programme. Both your majors will then be featured within the same degree scroll when you graduate, for example, Bachelor of Business Management with majors in Finance and Legal Studies.   

“In a world where change happens at the speed of light, where the world is getting flatter and smaller, it is essential for undergraduates to consider multidisciplinary degrees or majors, so that they can be highly adaptable,” says Linette.

“At the end of your journey with SMU, you will learn to be a leader or change-maker with the ability to think across different issues, connecting the dots between different disciplines, and you are also able to delve deep into issues to create solutions for pressing problems.”


To widen your scope of opportunities and better equip you for your promising future, take a look at SMU’s undergraduate admissions for an invaluable headstart!


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