Deciding your major is an important step as an incoming or current college student. Your decision will influence how you spend your time in college and what career options you can pursue after graduation.
Many students find it relatively easy to narrow down the list of possibilities but have trouble making a final decision. If you can’t choose between two majors, you might be wondering: “Should I double major?” The decision to double major shouldn’t be made lightly. There are many factors to consider. Use the following decision guide to help you choose the path that’s right for you.
What Exactly Is a Double Major?
If you answer the question “Should I double major?” with an affirmative response, you might assume that you will be earning two bachelor’s degrees. This is a common misconception. A double major is earning two concentrations. Think of it as earning a bachelor’s in psychology and economics; instead of two separate degrees, they are combined. You would earn one degree (psychology) and have a concentration in another field (economics).
A double or dual degree, on the other hand, will give you two degrees (two separate sheets of paper), one being a BA and the other being BS. This academic track requires you to complete the full academic criteria for each degree. For example, you would complete an English degree and a cybersecurity degree.
Is a Double Major Right for You?
Students who have a double major often choose this path because they are deeply passionate about multiple areas of study. They may have had difficulty choosing between two fields. Similarly, some students simply love to learn and want to get the most out of their college experience. Other students choose to double major because it will give them a competitive edge in the workforce.
All of these are excellent reasons to push yourself academically and earn a double major. There are many benefits to declaring a double major, including the following:
- Effective preparation for entering graduate school
- Enhanced career qualifications and a competitive edge over other job candidates
- A broad arsenal of transferrable knowledge and skills that expand one’s career possibilities
- Potential for commanding a higher salary and a more favorable benefits package
- Qualifications for pursuing a unique career that has overlap with multiple fields
- Development of excellent time management and organizational skills, as well as a strong work ethic
Is a Double Degree Right for Me?
As you consider earning a double major, you may want to consider earning a double degree instead. Keep in mind they are different from one another and should be discussed with your counselor. Would you want to earn one degree that has a different emphasis? Then you want a double major. Otherwise, you want a double degree. In addition to practical, career-related benefits, there are some personal benefits of selecting a double degree.
For example, if you get a bachelor’s in communication and business you will get one degree that covers the topics. However, if you just get a communications degree and pursue a different degree, like a business degree, then you’re pursuing two degrees — a double degree.
You might choose to double degree in these fields for the sake of nurturing your passion while planning for the future. Choosing to double degree can let you make the most of your time in earning two distinct bachelor's degrees. You can enjoy the learning process while you simultaneously work toward a rewarding career.
Are There Possible Disadvantages of Double Majoring?
It’s important to carefully consider the possible advantages and disadvantages of your decision before you make it. For instance, while earning a double major won’t necessarily double your workload, you can expect more studying and assignments. However, if you’re someone who enjoys being challenged, this might not be a disadvantage.
Another possible disadvantage is that you may need to take some summer courses to stay on track to graduate and this might affect your internship or work plans. Furthermore, if you’re a junior or senior who decides to double major, you may not be able to fit in all the requirements before your original four-year graduation date. This means you can expect more time in school and more tuition costs.
Will I Need Longer Than Four Years To Finish My Degree If I Double Major?
Graduating with a double major in a reasonable amount of time is possible. However, every student’s situation is unique. You will need to discuss this with your academic advisor. Your advisor will review your current credits and the requirements for each major to determine if you can stay on track to graduate in four years with a double major. Note that it’s generally easier to fit a double major into a four-year timeframe if you begin the process in your freshman year.
Another important consideration is the policies of your university. Some schools are quite generous regarding double majoring, such as allowing students to choose which majors to earn under a single degree.
Double Major or Have a Minor Instead?
If you’re not quite sure whether you want the workload of a double major, one option to consider is declaring a minor.
A minor might be a good alternative if you have other significant time commitments. For instance, you might want to play collegiate athletics, enjoy club activities, volunteer in the community or work at a part-time job or internship. It’s still possible to do these things with a double degree, but you will be stretched thin, so a minor might be more practical.
How To Double Major: Setting the Wheels in Motion
You’ve answered the question “Should I double major?” with a resounding “Yes!” and now you’re curious about how to double major. Even if you’ve just arrived on campus as a freshman, you can begin setting the wheels in motion by reaching out to your academic advisor. Discuss your intentions and gather all the information you’ll need pertaining to the required courses, deadlines and paperwork.
Before you file the paperwork, you may wish to speak with other double major students about their experiences. They can help you understand what to expect from the workload and how to deal with any possible scheduling issues. Lastly, consider talking to your professors about your career plans to determine if the double major you choose is truly the right fit for you.
You can pursue your passion and find purpose for your career by becoming an undergraduate student at Grand Canyon University. Our colleges offer diverse bachelor’s degree options for both double-major and single-major students. These range from programs in business and management to criminal justice, nursing and healthcare, performing arts and so much more.
GCU students can also choose from a wide spectrum of minors to enhance their skill set and acquire a competitive advantage in the job market. Click the Request Info button at the top of your screen to explore your future at GCU.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.