You may have heard the term “double major” while researching different college majors. This essentially means pursuing two degrees simultaneously. Unlike pursuing a minor (which requires completing approximately 18 credit hours), pursuing a double major requires all the courses and credits you would need to earn the full degree. Let’s explore this further.
What is a double major?
In order to earn a bachelor’s degree, students pursuing a double major must complete two sets of degree requirements. In other words, students can study two different fields at the same time. It is not uncommon for students to double major in related fields that complement each other, such as Business and Finance. Some students wish to pursue two different fields of interest, such as psychology and literature.
Why double major?
When you enter the workforce, most will agree that you are more competitive if you have a double major. It could set you up for higher earnings right after college if you have experience in two majors. Students can study two disciplines simultaneously, whether they are related or unrelated. The number of undergraduate students who double major in their bachelor’s degree is about 25%.
Which two majors?
Choosing a major can be a long process, and choosing a double-major means twice the effort. Although both majors will require equal attention, it is important to choose your primary major first, as a guide for your second major. Complement each other by thinking about how they will work together.
As a Media Production major, I would also major in Marketing since the two fields overlap naturally, but marketing is also where I would like to apply my creative skills. Sports Management may be someone else’s second major because they want to apply their media production skills in that field.
Choose two majors you are interested in and will want to invest your energy into, but also two with some overlap in course requirements.
Selecting the right majors depends on what you want your career to look like and what you want your ultimate goals to be. Your professional journey can be shaped and refined with a second major.
How will I manage stress?
It may negatively affect your grades in the long run if you are maintaining two majors. Make sure you plan out your classes and extracurricular activities realistically before you decide to double major. How many hours will you take each semester? Are you planning to enroll in summer courses? Would it be practical to stay within the four-year graduation plan?
Keep in touch with your advisors for both majors. It is crucial that you build those relationships in order to succeed. To save yourself some strife, start early if you decide to go for it.
What do I get from this?
While you will certainly gain self-gratitude and praise from friends and family once you complete your degree, you also want to have a tangible goal within your ambitions. Some people pursue double majors to increase the chances of attaining their dream job by narrowing their education to a specific position.
Others do so as a back-up, for fear their first major won’t work out. Another reason may be simply because you are genuinely passionate about two completely different disciplines and want to explore them.
Pros and Cons of a Double Major
Is pursuing a double major right for your educational career? It depends. Here are a few different pros and cons of choosing this route.
Pro: Prepares You for a Niche
If you’re aiming to have a career in something extremely specific, a double major can be a good idea. It’s important to do your research however to ensure you’re studying the correct subjects and material so you’re prepared for your future, potential career. A double major will, however, set you apart from the rest of the pool of candidates at almost any position.
Con: You May Not Graduate in Four Years
More classes and workload can mean you have to push back your graduation date. If you’re looking to only spend four years in college, whether for personal or financial reasons, this may not be the correct choice for you.
It can be done, but requires very specific planning and some luck when it comes to course scheduling. Talking to your adviser should be your first course of action.
Pro: More Career Options
With a double major, you might find that more doors open to you after graduation. Even if you decide to change your career trajectory a bit, you have the potential to find more career options than you would have with just one major.
Con: Less Free Time, More Money
With any extra courses or workload, you’re going to find you have less free time. The amount of studying that a double major requires deters many students from this option. You may discover you no longer have time for your extracurriculars.
The cost is also something to consider. Even if you graduate in four years, you could find your school expenses were a bit higher than you expected due to the extra courses you had to take.
Popular Double Majors
What major combos are you thinking of putting together? Here are a few of the more common examples.
- Two types of business majors
- Economics and Engineering
- A foreign language with International Studies
- A foreign language with Political Science
- Economics and Mathematics
- A foreign language with Business
How Common Are Double Majors?
Double major students may be more common than you thought! A study found that about 25% of students actually pursue double majors, and some schools may actually find that they have 40% of students going after two majors.
If you’re considering this option, it’s best to talk to your adviser and see how other students in your school are approaching double majors. You may find that many peers are actually pursuing a similar goal.
Don’t just do it for the glory after graduation because it looks good on a resume or. Make it useful, otherwise, you won’t be making the most out of your experience.