Should I double major?
Pursuing a double major in college offers the opportunity to pursue two fields of study, potentially making you more competitive in the job market, not to mention providing a chance to expand your knowledge base.
The potential downsides of double majoring are that it can require a significant amount of time and effort and could potentially add to the cost of attending college. Ultimately, deciding whether to double major should be based on your interests, goals, and ability to manage the potential increased workload and cost.
Continue reading as we explore the pros and cons of double majoring and how it works.
What’s double majoring?
For the most part, students who double major in college complete two sets of degree requirements and graduate earning one bachelor’s degree.
So why would you want to do this? For example, you may want to work in government affairs in communities where English is the second language. In that case, you may find it beneficial to double major in political science and a foreign language like Mandarin, ultimately graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. Keep in mind this is just a single example; there’re many reasons you may want to complete the requirements for two majors while in college pursuing a single degree.
Remember that a bachelor's degree typically consists of 120 credit hours, though school requirements vary. A double major can usually be completed within 120 hours, or the minimum required by a college or university, but that may depend on the school and the specific requirements of the double major.
Of note, a double major differs from a dual-degree program, which typically yields two separate diplomas and may require more credit hours than a single degree.
Does it cost more money to double major?
When you double major, you’ll only receive a single degree. Because of that, the cost for a double major typically won’t be more than a single major if the requirements for the double major are completed within the same amount of time as a single major would’ve taken.
That being said, it can cost more to double major under certain circumstances. If declaring a second major will involve completing additional credit hours (for instance, taking summer classes or completing an additional year of college), double majoring will likely increase the cost of college.
Figuring out if a double major will cost more typically comes down to assessing the time involved in completing the two majors.
Is double majoring worth it?
The decision to double major is a personal one, and based on your present academic and long-term career goals — there’s no one size fits all approach. Ask yourself how the two fields of study you’re considering selecting complement one another and how double majoring has the potential to affect your career prospects, salary outcomes, and any other reasons you might be considering it.
Also, consider what the time commitment might look like and how this may impact your extracurricular and other opportunities at college, such as studying abroad and joining student organizations and social groups. Finally, research the overlap between your intended fields of study and whether selecting a particular second major will provide more of a benefit than selecting a minor (which’s a lesser lift course load-wise).
Let’s look closer at some of the potential pros and cons of double majoring.
Pros of double majoring
Potential for increased career opportunities
One of the more significant potential advantages of double majoring is the increased career opportunities it could potentially offer. With a double major, you could be more competitive in the job market, as you'll have a broader range of skills and knowledge to draw from. This could make you an attractive candidate to potential employers, as they'll see that you have a diverse set of skills that can be applied in various roles.
Double majoring can also potentially offer personal growth opportunities. In completing two majors, you'll be exposed to different ways of thinking and approaching problems. This can help you develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be applied in various contexts.
For many students, the decision to double major is driven by intellectual curiosity. You may have a passion for two different areas of study and want to explore both in-depth. Double majoring can offer a unique opportunity to pursue both interests simultaneously, potentially leading to new insights and discoveries.
Double majoring can potentially provide more flexibility in your career path. With two areas of expertise, you can potentially pursue different career paths and switch between them as your interests and goals change over time.
Cons of double majoring
Possibly an increased course load
Double majoring requires you to complete more course requirements than a single major. This can potentially mean taking on an increased course load, which can be challenging, as you might feel overwhelmed and struggle to balance your coursework with other responsibilities. This can potentially lead to stress, burnout, and a decline in overall academic performance.
It’ll potentially take you longer to graduate
Double majoring can potentially extend the time it takes to graduate. You may need to add an extra semester or year to your studies to complete both majors. This can result in additional expenses for tuition and housing, as well as delaying your entry into the workforce.
Limited flexibility in choosing courses
Double majoring can limit your flexibility in selecting courses and pursuing a broad range of interests. With a heavier course load, you may have less time to take electives to explore areas of study that interest you.
Might be more challenging
Double majoring can, in some cases, may be more academically challenging than pursuing a single major. This is because you’ll need to maintain a high level of academic performance in both majors to graduate. This can be challenging for some students, who may struggle to balance their coursework and maintain good grades in both majors.
Double majoring in college can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It might allow you to gain a broader range of skills and knowledge than a single major while potentially allowing you to stand out in the job market. Still, it’s essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making this decision and to seek advice from academic advisors and other mentors to make sure it’s the right choice.