US Universities that offer a second bachelor's degree?

From the cursory search that I did, official exchange program for Cambridge students are very rare except in certain specific programs. But people do report taking a “gap year” and arranging their own, which was my thought.

I get the idea of wanting to get the Cambridge degree over with; I was just thinking that if the desired experience could be done between 2nd and 3rd years, then OP could be all set to apply to grad programs during their final year.

If OP likes kids, an au pair gig might be a way to spend a year or two in the US and take classes, without the visa having to be based on a degree program.


Your written English is just fine, so I assume that your spoken English is good, too.

What do you want to do, ultimately? Do you need to work to support yourself? Do you need to get funding to pay for an MFA program? Or are you independently wealthy, and money is not the issue?

I’d say, plan on completing the BA in Linguistics at Cambridge if you’re not utterly miserable with it. Try to take one creative writing class every semester, from now on. Then apply for MFA programs in the US and wherever else you want, submitting your best work from those creative writing classes as your portfolio.

And yes, read, read, read. Google “hundred best books/classics” and start reading. Most people who wind up as successful authors were voracious readers from the time that they were in early elementary school. Read memoirs, too - that is a very popular current genre, and I bet that you have an interesting story.

Don’t bother with a second BA done anew in the US. Total waste of your time.


That’s not how it works. You have an incredibly busy compressed 8 week term with little time to do anything beyond your required work and no ability to take courses outside your subject (you can go to lectures but that’s a bit pointless in something like creative writing with no one to evaluate your work and give feedback).

You then spend the Christmas and Easter vacations recovering from exhaustion and catching up on your work. Maybe you have a week or so to do other things, but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to work on a whole new subject.

Super-talented people can get away with doing less work on their core subjects, some might not care about getting a good degree. Those are the famous people you hear about who were stars in Footlights etc (eg no one cares that Hugh Laurie got a third when he was both Footlights President and a Rowing Blue).

OP is in Linguistics, part of MMLL, which has a formal year abroad process for language learners (MML: The Year Abroad | Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics) so I think they’d potentially be less opposed to doing this, especially if you said you were going somewhere with linguistics classes.

There are a few college exchanges, though not huge numbers, this is one list: International Exchange Programmes - Trinity College Cambridge


You don’t need a degree in English literature to enroll in an MFA program. What you need is a body of written work that you can submit with your application.

Crank out your Cambridge degree. Then, get a job to support yourself, and start writing whatever it is that you want to write. Publish it on Wattpad or Scribd or ArchiveofOurOwn or as a blog or wherever else appeals to you. If you want a creative writing class because you want to have people who can help you polish your writing, then check out whatever is available on Coursera or FutureLearn or edX. In your off time from working and writing, start researching the MFA programs. Find out what they expect of their applicants. Then think long and hard about whether or not an MFA will get you any further than you can get without it.

Wishing you all the best!


I do not understand the comment about Canada, as there are excellent universities in Canada and they may actually be better aligned to accommodate what you are looking for.

Universities in the US will typically be looking for a minimum of 60 hours that need to be completed when someone transfers. A second degree is different to transferring, but usually for a specific career.

A lot of the programs you will see are alternative pathways. Has a degree in history, wants to be a nurse. Has a degree in English, wants to be an accountant.


Thank you. but seems you have some misunderstanding of the UK/Cambridge system. See @Twoin18 's comment if you don’t mind please. and seriously, I’m asking, do you still think a second BA in English literature is such a bad idea?

Thank you. That’s what my mom wants me to do, but I want to learn more and follow my dreams before I have to worry about making a living. I guess I can’t see past the point of spending decades building a life back in my home country, having a career, kids, when I’ve been in the English-speaking system since I was 15.

Call me a dreamer - my parents are willing to pay but I’m not proud of that @parentologist

Agree with @parentologist. What’s the ultimate goal?


Apologies for the messy comments and thank you so much. Yes I should’ve thought about what I want to do two years ago, but still haven’t quite figured that out. I guess, in terms of making a living, I want to be a teacher. In terms of my dreams, I want to write novels. And obviously the latter interests me more - if I had thought that through two years ago, I would’ve studied English or at least linguistics at a US university where I can take classes as you suggested. But here at Cambridge, I am being forced to complete the US equivalent of a linguistics BA+MA in three years, how am I supposed to add an English MA or MFA straight on top of that - I think hardly anyone goes straight from the Cambridge level of commitment to an MA in a different field?

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Thank you. I can’t say how much I appreciate the understanding - if this comes across as emotional and biased, it’s probably because it’s week 7 and I’m barely holding on :’( by the way, only MML has a year abroad I think, not linguistics. and I’d avoid prolonging the pain at all costs so a gap year won’t be an option.

You have asked a question, but apparently aren’t liking the answers - which are all saying pretty much the same thing: a second BA is not a good plan. There are a couple of very good options noted above, and I will throw another in one more: apply in the spring to transfer to a US college in autumn 2022.

Of course, we don’t know your circumstances. Some parents might not be delighted with your plans. Do you/they have the funds to pay for university in US university- and will they see the point of it ?

More importantly, we don’t know what you really want from your degree(s)- what your aspirations are, even your understanding of MFAs.


Thank you. I’m almost halfway through my degree here and I’m not proud of quitting - it’s supposed to be a green slip for my future, but I don’t want to work yet. Then obviously the responsible thing to do is a second BA at Cambridge or straight to MA (if I can get in, which is near impossible). But I agree holding off an MFA for a few more years might be a good idea.

I think you might actually come back refreshed after having a less stressful gap year in the US. I would talk to your college tutor (not DoS) in the first instance about options before the Christmas vacation. My (now) wife did and found it made it easier to work for finals (she got a first when under 10% of the class did), even though living and teaching schoolkids in a foreign country had challenges of its own.

And the handful of people I knew who went on exchanges tended to do something different during that year, not just continue with what they’d been doing at Cambridge. Someone I work with even spent time in Afghanistan as a journalist in the middle of their degree (this was over a decade ago when it was at least marginally safer)!


Thank you. Unfortunately my college’s exchange programs are natsci and engineering only. and I think the only other option to spend a year away is medical leave for absence? I want to be over with this degree asap anyways :’( but thank you for the inspiration - alternatively I could take out a year after graduation and work/volunteer back home while taking online courses, might be less expensive than a second BA

Sometimes a second bachelor’s degree is a good idea.

The University of Southern California (USC) may have an undergraduate program that will be of interest to you. It has a very low rate of admission. In the past, all admitted to the program must start at the first year level even if holding other degrees. Not sure if still true, however. All graduates are highly sought by employers of writers.

The USC MFA program:

Additionally, you may want to consider a masters degree in journalism at Columbia University.

Hard to make precise recommendations because you have not shared definite reasons for desiring to pursue a creative writing MFA.

From the list below, you might want to consider Northwestern University, USC (University of Southern California), or the University of Texas at Austin.

14 Best Masters Degrees in Journalism in the US:

Transferring isn’t quitting- it’s changing. What about applying to (say) Princeton / Brown / Yale as a transfer student? True, odds are very small- but not 0, and the name might wash with your parents. If you don’t get an offer, all you have lost is the app fees and the time writing the essays. It would add one year onto finishing UG (4 instead of 3)- but not the 5-6 years that a 2nd BA would mean, and would let you get some Lit classes in as an undergrad.

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Here’s one example of a certificate program that might be a good fit, and can be pursued remotely: Certificate Program in Writing | UC Berkeley Extension I expect there must be others in the same vein.

There are also in-person post-baccalaureate programs like this one, Creative Writing Certificate Program | Northwestern SPS: School of Professional Studies | Northwestern University but these would not qualify you for a student visa, so you’d have to do something else (see au pair suggestion above) to cover the immigration piece.

US bachelor’s degrees have more general education & distribution requirements than in the UK (hence the four years vs. three), and that seems like a rather onerous and expensive thing for a person who’s already graduated from Cambridge to put herself through. That’s not to say you can’t, though. The option exists - proof of concept here: International Postbaccalaureate Students | Admissions

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We know more than several professional writers who have contracts with major book companies, and are making a decent living writing books.

NONE of them have degrees in English Literature…at all. All are very avid writers and readers. A couple started out writing short stories. Some went straight to full books.

They had ideas, and they spend time writing and expanding and editing. This is what writers do.


Thank you. I understand. I meant that as someone who doesn’t have English as a first language or an English cultural background, an English degree would be a helpful shortcut over years of reading and life/journalism experience without the degree.