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What are some challenges of double majoring?

I'm currently a senior in high school and I want to learn more about how double majoring works. #college #college-majors

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Michael’s Answer

Hello Andy,

I am currently double majoring in accounting and business administration. While it is challenging it is definitely achievable. You'll want to work closely with an academic advisor at the college you are planning on attending to ensure that you can graduate on time. I would recommend reading over the requirements to graduate with both majors and what requirements the college you are looking at has to double major (these should be online). Also, making a comprehensive plan in Excel or writing one out would be beneficial so that you can visualize all the classes you need to take.

My double major has allowed me to take advantage of a larger network of professors, students, and professionals. This has afforded me many opportunities for employment and even connections to graduate programs.

However, I would say that you should be equally passionate about both majors. Make sure they compliment one and other and will help you progress your career.

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Griffin’s Answer

The difficulty of double majoring will depend on which two majors you pick. If your majors are in different fields, it will be more difficult. However, if your two majors are in the same field, it will be easier.

Often, there are classes that can be (or need to be) taken in multiple majors. For example, an introductory science course might be required for majors such as Chemistry and Physics. However, because the course can be used to complete both majors, if a person decides to do both, they can take the class once and have it count twice.

While a Chemistry major and a Physics major might share a few classes, majors that have more in common (for example, Organic Chemistry and Molecular Chemistry) might share more classes. Therefore, assuming your college allows it, you can take classes that count for two degrees. Sometimes double-majoring just requires adding several classes. But be sure to talk to your academic advisor, so you know how many classes you can use twice, if any.

(I based this response from experience at my University, but policies might be different elsewhere.)

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Peregrin’s Answer

I graduated with a double major in Political Science and Russian Studies. You end up getting 2 BAs, and the way it works is you have your set of core courses which you need to complete for any BA (some math, english, Science, etc...) and then you need to complete the minimum required course work to meet both of the BA requirements. This would typically require taking extra courses or extra time. In my case, my undergraduate university worked on trimesters, and I did a study abroad to the Soviet Union (dating myself here) to study for a semester. The number of courses you take during a semester is more than a trimester, so having gone and done a dedicated semester, all the courses there allowed me to graduate in the 4 years with both degrees.

If I had not done the study abroad, I'm not sure I would have bothered doing the double major, as I'm not sure I would have wanted to stay in college longer or take summer courses and the like. I would have still taken the courses I was interested in as a specialty, but not sure I would have gone for the extra time/cost just to get it. (Note... I say that now looking back. At the time I thought it was pretty cool and did go to grad school, so it didn't hurt to have it for me.)

In practical terms, it doesn't do too much for you. You can put it on a resume or when applying to a graduate program, but the minimum requirement of a BA would be fulfilled with just one, having 2 doesn't help you get screened any better (at least in the work world).

That said, if you have an interest in pursuing it, go for it, particularly if you see both being potential areas of interest where a BA in that field might be useful.

Best of luck.

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Lennon’s Answer

Hey Andy!

Great question. I'm currently a dual degree student in Business Administration and Philosophy, Politics, and Law (meaning I'm pursuing two Bachelors degrees at once). Some double major students are studying two topics that are both B.A.s, B.S.s, etc. In this case, there is generally some sort of fit between the two regarding a university's requirements. The main challenges that exist here revolve around timing and the strenuous course loads. Compared to single major students, dual major students generally take more units in an effort to graduate on time. This may complicate your schedule in terms of studying, free time, and due dates (I notice that the due dates in each of my degrees places a greater stress on starting assignments early). So, if you are ok with the time commitment, dual majoring is definitely a worthwhile venture.

Also, some students have two majors but each major is in a different degree type (i.e. I am studying for a B.A. and a B.S. at the same time). The challenges here are much like normal dual major students, but there exists a slightly greater emphasis on the time it takes to graduate and the availability of classes. I've had to take some courses during the summer in order stay on track for a 4 year graduation timeline. Because two separate degrees generally entails a university creating mostly separate requirements, the units needed to complete the degree are much more. Also, in terms of graduation timelines, some courses at universities are only available in one semester/term of the academic year. Therefore, working with an academic advisor will be important to ensure that you successfully complete the correct requirements at the right times. Lastly, a helpful tip I realized, if you can take classes in high school that transfer over for college credit, do so. The more transferable credits you have coming in, the less stress that exists for your course load. Hope that helps!

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Katie’s Answer

I was also double majored in college (economics & political science), which are in the same field which made it a bit more manageable to accomplish. It depends on requirements for each major at the school that you choose and if your schedule would allow you to double major without being overwhelmed.

I would definitely think strongly about why you want to double major. I did it because I was very interested in both topics and enjoyed learning about them. Since I enjoyed them both, it was easier for me to make it work.

There are some downsides to double majoring, not that they should discourage you from moving forward with it. Some examples are: you have less room in your schedule to take classes outside of your majors, high workload during your last two years of college, may limit your ability to study abroad (depending on school requirements) and trouble with scheduling all of your requirements to let you graduate in 4 years. For me, studying both majors was worth it, but something you should think about when deciding.

You also don't need to decide until you start taking classes in school! Don't put pressure on yourself to do both right away, take a few classes in the different majors and decide once you get a better understanding of workload!

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Simeon’s Answer

Double majoring is a big time investment since you'll likely be taking at least one or two more classes a semester to make the hours work out. You'll have to study more for these classes as well. However, it is often worth the investment to widen the amount of jobs that you can qualify for once you graduate. You will also potentially face the challenge of dealing with upper level classes from both majors at the same time toward the end of your degree. You can try to avoid this by saving some of your easier freshmen level courses for later in your degree and trying to take some of your harder courses sooner in order to dilute the hard classes and avoid taking them at the same time.