General Education

Should I Pursue A Double Major?

Should I Pursue A Double Major?
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Sarah Mariski October 22, 2020

A majority of college students consider a double major in their college career, but is it the right path for you?

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College students who pursue a double major will complete two sets of degree requirements to earn one bachelor’s degree. This means students are ready to pursue employment in two job fields after graduation. Certain institutions differentiate the terms “double major" and “dual major." Double major means that a student completed degree requirements in two entirely different fields (think engineering and communications). Dual major means that students complete two sets of degree requirements in similar fields such as business management and finance. Look into your institutions policies and whether or not they separate these terms.

Why do people double major?

Pursuing a double major makes a student more competitive in the job market. It allows students to focus on two disciplines rather than just one, giving you niche skill sets. This is especially useful if you know exactly what kind of job you are looking for or if you'd rather not be boxed into select job prospects. Either way, students who pursue double majors have a leg up on their peers when entering the job force.

What majors should I choose?

Many students choose a second major based on their primary major. Sometimes, majors can overlap in terms of course requirements - making the double majoring process less of a hassle. However, some people have two entirely different interests and their majors are not any less valid, they may just have to plan their academic course tighter. Any major which you are committed to investing your energy into will be worth it long-term. Some double-major bonds include:

  • Finance-Economics or Mathematics
  • Communications-Media/Cinema Studies or Graphic Design
  • Journalism-History 
  • International Relations-Foreign Language
  • Political Science-Economics
  • Business Management-Marketing
  • Psychology-Social Work
  • Public Health-Statistics or Management

What are the upsides?

  • Bigger spectrum of potential careers (and job prospects)
  • Diverse education, skillset, and critical thinking abilities upon graduation
  • Most colleges have resources to help you organize a double major
  • Pairing the right majors could increase your salary after graduation

What are the downsides?

  • There is no guarantee of graduating in 4 years
  • You will have to manage your time (and schedule) strictly 
  • Too many classes may force you to miss out on other experiences like study abroad opportunities, internships, or leadership positions in extracurricular activities 
  • Potential for more expenses (especially if you need to course overload or take a summer course)

Other Considerations?

If you decide that double majoring is not right for you, there are other options to consider when you are still passionate about different subjects. Consider a major and a minor. Minors require less courses, less time, and you will still have something to show for your hard work. Another possibility is to concentrate your major in a specific direction. For example: you could major in communications with a concentration in graphic design instead of double majoring. This can also happen on the graduate level. You can choose to receive an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management. Look over your school’s offerings to fully understand your options.

Consider a double major only if you are passionate about multiple fields or if it will help in your dream job search. Pursuing a double major for no reason other than to stand out is not recommended. You will subject yourself to unnecessary stress and you won’t be getting the most out of your college experience. Talk to your guidance counselor if you are unsure about adding a new major.

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