This article has been written to give you a realistic idea of how hard is it to double major and whether you should pursue one in college or university.
Before we go on, I would like to explain the difference between a dual major and a dual degree.
A double major is simply studying two fields in the same school of your college. For example, you could double major in Accounting and Finance as they are similar degrees and are taught in the same school. You will only have to apply once. Moreover, you will get a single degree stating that you have specialized in two different fields.
Dual degrees are counted as two separate degrees. They could either be two bachelor’s or a bachelor’s and master’s degree. You will have to get accepted to two different schools in your college and fulfil the requirements of each of the two schools. The advantage of a dual degree program is that you can get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 5 years instead of the usual 6.
How Hard is it to Double Major?
A double major is harder than a single major but not by much. Double majors require more planning and studying two different fields in more detail. Many of your easy electives will be replaced with harder in-depth courses from your second field of study which makes double majors more difficult to pursue.
A typical single major undergraduate degree consists of 120 credit hours or 40 courses:
- 20 courses count as general education classes
- 10 courses are electives that you can use to pursue your interests.
- 10 courses make up the core requirements of your major.
Unrelated Majors Or Poor Planning Will Lead To Extra Courses
In a double major 10 of your electives are replaced by the core classes of your second major. As a result, you have almost no electives when pursuing a double major.
If you declare your second major early on, you can devote your electives towards the core classes of your major. However, if you decide on choosing a second major in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of your undergraduate, by then you would have already completed several of your electives.
Hence, you will need to spend extra time to complete the core courses of our second major. You will either have to take an extra year, study doing summers, or take an extra course every semester depending on how many core courses you have left. This highlights the importance of planning and declaring your major early on.
If your two majors are unrelated then you may need to take extra courses to fulfill the requirements of both majors.
This again comes down to planning. Ideally, you should know at the beginning of your degree whether you want to pursue a double major or not. By knowing early on you can take closely related majors and map out if you need to take any extra courses.
Easier Electives Will Be Replaced By Harder Core Courses
Generally, the elective courses you take will be introductory classes to various fields. The electives only require you to have a basic understanding of the course and are easy to pass.
On the other hand, the core courses will be tougher to pass. The core courses will have harder exams and more challenging concepts. These courses will expect you to critically analyse the subject matter and apply your knowledge in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
Double Majors will require you to work harder as you will not have easy electives to help boost your GPA. Your GPA is an important factor in getting accepted to a good Master’s program. In addition to that, a high GPA will help you in your career especially in finding a high paying job straight out of college.
Studying Two Different Fields Can Be Difficult To Manage.
You will have to involve yourself in the two majors you plan to study. University is a challenging phase for many students. You will already have a packed schedule and a double major will add to that. It will leave you with little time to devote to socializing and pursuing your hobbies and interests.
Moreover, you will need to take particular care of any potential clashes between classes. You may not get all the courses you need to graduate in the time you expect to do so.
To take the higher-level courses for your two majors you will first need to take and pass all your lower-level ones. You will need to take your classes in a specific order as you need to fulfil the pre-requisites to take more advanced core classes. If the class is too full or you fail a core course it will result in you spending extra time at university. This may come in the form of extra courses in a semester, summer school, or an extra term or year.
If you plan wisely then a double major is definitely possible and not too difficult to manage. You should look into the requirements of each of the two majors you plan to pursue and see if they are closely related so that you don’t have to take a great number of extra courses. Planning is key in pulling off a dual major in a short period of time.
A double major can drastically increase your chances of becoming employable. You will have greater access to the job market by pursuing a dual major. Dual majors are highly regarded by employers and well respected in the eyes of society. Good Luck and Plan Well!