What Does it Mean to Double Major in College?

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As it turns out, you can have more than one major in college: this is commonly called a double major. 

Students pursuing a double major are required to complete two sets of degree requirements. They are provided with the respective degrees one by one, as and when finished. 

You can double major in related fields like Business and Finance. Additionally, if you have interests in two different fields (think Psychology and Literature), a double major can come to your rescue here too.

So, let’s get started and see why should you double major?

Why Double Major, Anyway?

One of the reasons that most students choose to go for 2 majors in college is to get a competitive advantage when entering the workforce. You get to focus on two disciplines, which could be related or unrelated, simultaneously. 

This helps you in two ways. It boosts your resume and also appeals to your likings. You no longer have to choose between the two of your favorite subjects. You can pursue each one of them simultaneously. 

double major in college

How Do You Apply for a Double Major?

Pursuing a double major is easy. Most schools will allow you to do so. However, we recommend checking with the authorities to be on the safe side. Princeton, for instance, doesn’t provide a double major program. 

Keep in mind that a double major may be called by a different name at your college or university. Stanford, for instance, likes calling it a second major. 

More often than not, the same procedure is followed in most schools. You are required to submit your request before the deadline announced in the academic calendar, and wait for the authorities to approve. 

Before you go ahead and apply for 2 majors in college, make sure you’re familiar with its different pros and cons.

Pros of a Double Major

Unlimited learning

If you love English literature but psychology fascinates you and you don’t want to choose one between the two – how about keeping both? The double major allows you to do that. This way, you are able to make the most out of your time at school.

Exposure to new things

Experiences define your personality and studying two subjects enriches your experience seamlessly. When you double major, you need to handle more than one subject at once and exposes you to different industries and opportunities. 

This not only boosts your knowledge but also helps you in understanding what you want to do down the line. It helps you in narrowing down the choices and help you scrape away the misfits. 

Boost to your resume

Studying two subjects, although could be tough, will make you a desirable candidate by providing you with an edge over other competitors. When employers review your background, they will be impressed with your strong work ethic. 

Networking

A double major will broaden your circle and boost your connections. You will be able to develop relationships with professors and students from both subjects. When compared to your peers, you will have a larger professional network. This will boost your chances of landing on an entry-level job after graduation. What’s not to like about that, right?

Cons of a Double Major

Increased tuition costs

Quite predictably, pursuing a double major will likely increase the cost of your tuition. If your subject requires you to study another semester, you will need to pay the extra associated fee. Although graduating with a double major will make your resume shine, it could also prove to be a financial burden depending on your school and situation.

double major

Extra study burden

Pursuing a double major means that you would have to spend extra time studying two subjects. In addition to completing the general education requirements, you will also be required to attend the respective classes for each major and complete the assignments. If your two majors are especially divergent (say, engineering and philosophy), you might have many more courses to take due to lack of overlap.

This will also reflect itself in the form of more tests and papers. The result? You will be required to handle the intense course load and attend an additional semester or two to complete the course requirements. 

Missing out on internships

As is evident, you need to put extra effort to make things work while doing a double major. This will dip into the free time that you get for extracurricular activities and internships. And possibly sleep….

How to Manage Stress?

Pursuing a double major comes with a lot of stress. You need to study two fields, handle twice the study load, and twice the assignments. If not managed well, the entire process could prove to be troublesome and could impact your grades adversely as well. 

Before you make this important decision, map out your classes and other extracurricular activities. Calculate the number of hours it will take you each semester. Will you be enrolling yourself in summer courses? 

Once you have all this data in place, base your decision on the facts and your unique situation. You might also like to discuss the issue with upperclassmen who pursued a double major successfully. Ask them about their experiences to further educate your decision. 

double major
Are two better than one?

Will a Double Major Help You Land a Job?

Yes, a double major can boost your chances of getting a job. Not only that, it can help you do better in that job once you’re hired. A study revealed that students who double major end up earning more than their peers who majored in only one field. Another study showed that students who double major also perform better in their careers as they tend to be more innovative. 

Can You Have More Than Two Majors?

Well, keeping the usefulness of a double major in mind, you might be wondering if you are allowed to do more than two majors. Although there is no limit to how many majors you can complete, the whole process could turn out to be exhausting. 

To complete a major, you need to fulfill a set of requirements which could include internships, senior thesis or project, coursework, assignments, and tests. 

All this takes time, and eventually, there will be a lot of overlap. This will make it tough for you to complete more than two majors within a reasonable amount of time.

Also consider why you are pursuing so many majors. Be brutally honest with yourself in doing so. Are you prolonging your education on purpose to avoid “the real world”? Do you have trouble deciding so find it easier to just choose everything? 

Thus, although pursuing more than two majors is allowed, it is not ideal.

What is the Difference Between a Dual Degree and a Double Major?

Many students get confused between a dual degree and a double major. Although the terms might sound similar at first, there is a considerable amount of difference between the two.

Essentially, when you receive a dual degree, you get two degrees. These degrees could be a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science or even a bachelor’s degree and an advanced degree. 

However, this is not the case with a double major. When you double major, you are completing two sets of degree requirements and receiving one Bachelor’s degree but with two or more areas of specialization. 

For instance, you can double major in Computer Science and Development and pursue a career in the technology industry. Or double major in Marketing and German and explore career opportunities in international business.

What are Commonly Combined Majors?

Made up your mind to pursue a double major? Check out some frequently combined fields of study:

  • Computer science

As digitization is growing at a rapid rate, there is an urgent need for the secure and ethical handling of data. Thus, you may choose to accompany your computer science degree with other complement programs in homeland security, healthcare, finance, communications, the justice system or STEM. 

  • Communications

Effective communication plays a crucial role in most industries. So, you can pair your degree in communication with other relevant courses like marketing, technology, journalism, public policy or media. 

  • Economics

Economics focuses on financial growth and public welfare. Keeping this in mind, you can choose to pair it with accounting, politics, finance, public policy or health. 

  • Psychology

Psychology enhances your communication and develops your relationship skills, thus helping you work cooperatively with colleagues and clients. A degree in psychology can be paired with sociology, education, criminology, business or healthcare. 

The Next Steps

As is evident, a double major could boost your skills and brighten your career. Time management could be a bit tough at first, but all the efforts that you put in to pursue a double major will prove worthwhile in the end. 

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