The Joint Degree Program: What on Earth is that?

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What is the Joint Degree Program?

This international program allows students to spend two years in the US, and two years in the UK, where students, in their first two years, have to alternate between different institutions. After graduation, the student will be awarded a BA International Honors degree from both St. Andrews and William and Mary.


One important aspect is that you need to have their majors decided coming in. These majors offered are Classical Studies, Economics, English, Film Studies, History, and International Relations.


Why JDP?


Breadth meets depth. Students of the program get to experience the depth of St Andrews, where they take 2-3 classes per semester and focus intensely on their degree. On the other hand, at W&M, students take about 5-6 classes and explore courses from different fields while fulfilling the breadth requirements. These might include options such as the sciences and arts.


Social Life:

Experience the vibrant atmospheres at both institutions: while medieval St Andrews is located among the castles, oceans, and golf courses, William and Mary is situated right next to Colonial Williamsburg, a living historical site. Whether you participate in the foam fight during Raisin Weekend at St. Andrews or get hundreds of high-fives from the upperclassmen as you walk down the aisle of the Wren at convocation, life is never dull at either institutions.


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How to Prepare for the Program

An applicant is allowed to apply through one institution. When the applicant gets accepted, the institution that they applied to will be considered their home institution as they spend their first year there and their second year at the other institution (the ‘host’ school). These are just technical terms as many people call both places their home!



St Andrews: one can apply either through the St Andrews Direct Application Form, or the Common App. Please note that an applicant cannot send their Joint Degree Program application through UCAS. William and Mary: apply on the Common App.


For more requirements regarding the application process, please click here:


Test Scores

If you are taking the IB or AP, great! Do well on the tests as they might fulfill some of your breadth requirements at William and Mary, but the program does not accept any of the credit, unfortunately, the scores can fulfil requirements such as math or philosophy.


What to Expect:

Moving around: although you have to make friends as you enter each institution, this comes with the opportunity of having a broad network of connections and wonderful friends from all across the world as both schools are widely international.


The academics: while it is not easy adjusting from one environment to another, you certainly learn a wider range of skills. It’s also important to keep in mind that there is no option for double major, though you can pursue a separate William and Mary minor (as St. Andrews does not recognize minors). Last but not least, the quality of academics at both institutions is beyond exceptional and opportunities the schools offer for research and careers are unmatched.


How to Survive:

It’s inevitable that there are times when you question your place in the program as you adjust to different institutions. This program, at its core, is not meant to be easy, it’s meant to challenge you in the best way possible. At the end of the day, it is what you make of it. Hence, while certain challenges pose difficulty and frustration, keep in mind that this also paves the way for international friendships, diverse academic environments, and splendid opportunities to get involved with global projects and career moves.



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