2 answers

How hard is it to double major in college?

Asked Montgomery, Alabama

I am not sure which field I would like to go into: Fashion Merchandise or Mass Communications. Is it difficult balancing so many classes? #business #art #fashion #communications #colleges #public-media

2 answers

Sarah’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas

Hi Kennedy,

Great question!

It really depends on the college ... some universities do not allow their students to double major, so I would first check with a counselor at your institution to ensure that a double major is possible. If it is not, then I'd recommend a minor in one of the fields you're interested in.

If a double major is something you're considering and your university will allow you to do this, I'd first get a list of all requirements for each of the fields and make a draft timeline of how many classes you'll need to take each semester, and how many years it will take to graduate. Review this with a counselor to ensure your expectations are correct. I'd recommend picking a major (or two) after your first full year in college so you have some experience and can make an informed choice (you may not fully understand the time commitments of a class until you've taken a few courses).

You may need to take more than the required amount of hours a semester in order to fulfill all obligations, or summer school classes, but if you're a hard worker and committed to the program, you can do it! :)

Hope that helps!

Sarah

Updated
Hi Sarah, thank you so much for that amazing advice you gave Kennedy above! I actually had a follow up question that I wanted to ask; do you have any friends who double majored, or possibly any personal experience with how the double major played out once he/she/they entered the job market? Thank you so much in advance! -David

Sejal’s Answer

Hi Kennedy, this is such a great question - thanks for asking!


It's challenging to give a direct "it's easy" or "it's not that hard" or "it's pretty hard" response without knowing more about the university, or the course track, or the professors, etc. but I would love to share with you my personal experience doing a double major at the University of California, Irvine.


I entered UCI as a Psych & Social Behavior ("PSB") major, and intended to complete a minor in Political Science ("PoliSci"), as I knew it would help come law school application time. UCI is divided into schools, and PSB and PoliSci were not in the same school. What this meant was, to an extent, I would need to take the same set of pre-requisite courses for both majors (e.g., six total classes of statistics, instead of three). I thought this really annoying but decided to talk to a guidance counselor to figure out what I really need to do.


I'm so glad I did that because she informed me that while I would need to take some of the pre-requisite courses twice, I wouldn't have to take all - PHEW! Because otherwise, I feared I'd be in college for more than four years :) The most important thing, she told me, was for me to make sure that I would enjoy both majors, because it would require extra work, often taking five classes a quarter instead of four. She helped me map out the course I would have to take, and the optional courses I could take to fulfill the requirements. That evening, I researched the courses online to understand the subject matter, and the professors, and decided that I was ready to take on a double major. I went back to meet with the guidance counselor to map out a plan based on when courses were taught, to make sure I would complete each major in time to graduate.


Now, let's chat about the course work. Was it tough? Definitely at times. But was it something I couldn't handle? Nope! Remember, if you're motivated, you can conquer anything. Sure, some classes were a drag, and not nearly as interesting as others, but my eye was always on the prize: graduating with two degrees. I remember planning to take early morning classes, so I could spend the afternoon studying, and the evening to enjoy college. I remember getting a mentor for my tougher classes, and going to office hours to meet with professors to make sure I was understanding the subject matter and on track to get good grades. And, during this time, I was able to join a club, and volunteer in my free time, and take on a legal internship. You can do it all, you just have to stay organized and understand that sometimes a sacrifice or two will need to be made. In the end, receiving my two degrees made it all so worth it!


So, again, I can't tell you if it will be easy, medium, or hard, but I can tell you that if it's something you really want to do, you should talk to a guidance counselor to map out a plan, and do some research on your own. Know that you may have to work harder than if you had one major, but if it is something you really want to do, that you can do it.


Good luck!

Sejal recommends the following next steps:

  • Schedule time to meet with guidance counselor.
  • Map out course plan, and research courses and professors.
  • Look into a grad school mentor to help you to stay on track.
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