Choosing the field of study you will be pursuing in college is a nerve-wracking decision. There might be more than one area that interests you. But, you have to choose just one. Right? Well, not exactly. There is another way. Many schools nowadays offer students the chance to double major. According to statistics reported by The College Board, about 25% of college students choose to double major while in college. This percentage is higher in more selective schools, rising to around 40%.
If you are interested in exploring two different interests in college, then keep reading as we explain what a double major is, the benefits and drawbacks that come with it. By the end of this article, you should be able to answer two questions for yourself: “is a double major worth it?” and “should I double major?”.
What Is a Double Major?
A double major indicates a bachelor’s degree that incorporates two sets of degree requirements based on your two picks for majors. The diploma you earn, in such a case, will list both majors. You can choose to major in two related fields that support one another, for example, data science and computer science. Or, you can take another route and pick two completely unrelated fields, like literature and finance.
In most schools, students have to formally declare their choices for the first major by the end of their fourth semester. Usually, they choose the second major sometime after finishing their sophomore year.
Should I Double Major in University?
The prospect of double majoring might be intriguing. But, there is more to this decision than just being able to pursue two interests at once. Before you decide whether you will go through with a double major, you should understand the benefits and drawbacks that come with it.
Benefits of a Double Major
Choosing to double major may have a significant impact on your career and potential life path. Most of the benefits associated with double majoring have to do with broadening your knowledge and skill set.
A well-rounded education
If you pick only one major, you can become well-versed in that particular area. But, you might not get to learn as much about your other interests. This way, you limit your learning potential as a student and future employee.
When you combine two different fields of study, you get a more well-rounded education. Having more comprehensive knowledge in various subjects does not only imply educational attainment, but it is also necessary for a successful life and career beyond the classroom.
Pursuing two majors can help you improve your organizational, time management, and multitasking skills. And that is just scratching the surface. Double the major, and you will be doubling the amount of learning you do, including the development of various skills that will come in handy when you start working.
Enhanced job prospects
Students who double major typically have more career opportunities and a backup plan if their first chosen discipline does not work out. Say you are interested in a creative field but you struggle to find a good job position. If you were to double major in that field and business, you would increase your chances of finding employment. You would even increase the chances of succeeding with your own business company dedicated to that creative field.
Having a double major can be beneficial to raising earnings potential. According to a study about the personal benefits of a double major, students who double major in business and STEM earn a premium over those single majors.
Drawbacks of a Double Major
As we mentioned, there are also drawbacks to such a decision. According to a report, three-fifths of students that graduate with only one major considered double majoring at some point. However, the top two reasons why they did not were:
- About 33% claimed they were not confident they could accumulate enough credits by the end of their fourth year.
- Around 31% stated they would struggle to schedule courses for two majors at once.
So, before you make any decision, research the course requirements for each major and see whether it is something you can handle.
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Alternatives to a Double Major
If you are interested in the possibility of a double major but are unsure whether you can handle two majors at once, there are other similar alternatives. Some options that will equip you with new skills and knowledge for you to consider can be:
- Choosing a minor in another area.
- Completing internships related to various fields.
- Earning different certificates.
Best Double Major Combinations
Each person chooses their majors based on their interests. However, some of the most common double majors are as follows:
- Accounting and finance.
- Computer science and data science.
- International studies and foreign language.
- Accounting and computer information systems.
- Political science and foreign language.
- Economics and mathematics.
- Economics and marketing.
- Criminal justice and psychology.
The best double majors are the ones that combine your interests and fields that can make you a more desirable employee in the job market.
Is a Double Major Worth It?
And now we are back to that central question. Is a double major worth it? You have read the benefits that can come from choosing this route. However, you must be sure of your decision and take into consideration both your strengths and weaknesses. If you think you can manage two sets of courses, then you have a lot to gain from double majoring.
Surely, you have encountered people who, years later, regret the choice they made for their college majors. Some wish they had picked something they were passionate about, and others something that would make them more marketable to employers. You have the chance to do both. If you believe you can handle two majors, then two might be better than one.