Written By - Derick de Souza

Edited By Darryl S.

Review & Contribution By Erik L. Cato

If you love education, you can take your undergraduate or graduate-level learning to an even higher level: two major courses of study, simultaneously. Instead of having one major course of study, you can take courses in two different disciplines and graduate with a Double Major degree. In this guide, we will walk you through all aspects of Double Major programs. 

Double Major

Table Of Contents

What is Double Major?

If you have the desire, schedule, and other available resources, most universities will allow you to study two disciplines simultaneously (make sure you meet with academic advisors from both departments to understand the requirements). Every university has its specific definition of what constitutes a Double Major. However, a Double Major’s general definition is “one college degree with two college majors.” For example, a student might have a Double Major in Business and Sociology but only graduate with one Bachelor’s degree.

Dual Major vs. Double Major

Some universities also use the term “Dual Major.” This may be just another term for a Double Major, or it may be defined differently. Make sure to check with your academic advisor to understand how your institution uses the term. Some schools define a Double Major as two majors in entirely different areas of study, while others define Dual Majors as being in two similar areas of study. For example, two majors in Chemical Engineering and Art History (unrelated disciplines) will result in a Double Major at these institutions. In comparison, two majors in Business and Economics (related disciplines) will be a Dual Major.

Dual Degree vs. Double Major

At some schools, students who Double Major in unrelated fields, like History and Nursing, will get two Bachelor’s degrees. And if the student’s majors are in related fields, like Business and Economics, they will only graduate with one degree. The result of a Double Major is obtaining one degree while earning a Dual Degree results in two degrees. Exactly how this works will depend on the school’s specific rules and the type of degrees chosen. 

There is also the possibility of a Dual Degree at different academic levels. For instance, students may be able to enroll in a Dual Degree program where they earn a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting along with a Master’s degree in Accounting. Earned separately, it might take six years to complete both degrees. But with this Dual Degree program, it takes five years. 

How to Declare a Double Major

When you declare a major as an undergraduate, you agree to fulfill the qualification requirements and/or prerequisites of a particular department at your school. Typically, this means you must take a minimum number of courses/credits within that specific department, plus a selection of elective classes from other departments. For instance, if you were studying for a major in Economics, you may be required to take your choice of a Science elective. As an undergraduate, you may also have to declare a Minor (in another department), which requires far fewer courses than the Major course of study.

“Declaring a Major” at graduate-level degrees is a little different. Usually, when you apply to a university, you are also applying to a specific school (Political Science, History, Physics, Computer Science, etc.). That school will, of course, have its requirements to obtain a degree.

How to Double Major

At the undergraduate level, students usually take four years to earn a degree with one major. In the same time frame, if done carefully and with your university’s approval, you can manage a Double Major. The typical Bachelor’s degree is 120 credits. General education requirements take up about 40 credits, and the major will require about 40-50 credits, leaving roughly 30-40 credits available for electives or that second major, for which you must take the necessary procedural steps to declare a Double Major officially. Speaking with an academic advisor is often a requirement for students before acceptance into a Double Major program. An academic advisor can help ensure that you get the right courses in the correct order. 

You will probably need to complete a special application as well. This will typically include a course outline or roadmap of how you plan on earning the Double Major. It may also include a statement of purpose that includes the reasons why you want to pursue two majors. Only after the college or university approves the request is the Double Major possible.

Pros & Cons of Double Majors

A Double Major could be a great opportunity, but requires much extra work and sacrifice. And in some instances, it doesn’t help a graduate to earn any more money or have any better job prospects after completion. The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of earning a Double Major:

Could help to improve possible job prospectsMay delay graduation
Could increase the student’s earning potentialCould make college more expensive
Could help to develop a deeper level of knowledgeProvides fewer opportunities to explore new areas of study
There may be more potential career pathsCreates a busier academic college life
Could create a sense of pride and personal accomplishmentMay need to choose a major earlier

FAQs about Double Major

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Double Major worth it?

Yes. It is worthwhile to gain knowledge of a degree in two areas without going through a full program. This is especially true in today’s competitive job market.

 Is a Double Major the same as having two degrees?

Does it cost more to Double Major?

How hard is it to Double Major?

How long does it take to do a Double Major?

Can you Double Major in a Master’s degree?

Can you Double Major online?

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