5 Things You Must Know Before Pursuing a Double Major

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Are you a college student or about to pursue your tertiary studies? If so, perhaps deciding on which major to pursue and dedicate your time and resources to it for at least four years of your life could be a tough decision. Many college-bound freshers find themselves in a dilemma to decide on the major of their choice. That thought is certainly conflicting since a wrong click of major options can put you into a relentless trouble of potentially being stuck in a rut in your job upon graduating. Though it doesn’t have to be that way if you have a proper plan.

Are you a mathematician with an interest in drawing and feeling uncertain whether to major in mathematics or studio arts? Or are you a talented writer who loves the earth and wish to study both literature and environmental science? If so, you can always make your diverse interests recognized by ‘double-majoring’.

1. Double Major vs Double Degree – Are They the Same?

First of all, it is important to note that ‘Double Major’ and ‘Double Degree’ are not the same.  A double major is when the two majors a student pursue lead to the same degree type such as B.A, B.S, B.M, and other equivalent accreditations.

For instance, pursuing one major in Accounting and the other in Marketing, both from the same business college earns a student a degree namely Bachelor of Business Administration (B.A.). Or pursuing one major in Chemistry and the other in Biological Sciences both from the same college of arts and sciences may earn him a Bachelor of Science (B.S.). In both of these scenarios, despite pursuing two majors simultaneously, the student may earn only one degree within the same discipline.

On the other hand, double degree or dual degree refers to the process of attaining two degrees by studying two different disciplines. For example, a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.A.) in Finance from the College of Business and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics from the College of Arts and Sciences is a dual degree awarded from ‘different colleges’. As a different scenario, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English may also be awarded from the ‘same’ College of Arts and Sciences.

Pursuing either double degree or double major may seem appealing since this endeavor favors the extended knowledge and competency within two related or unrelated industries. However, attempting to tackle two realms of knowledge within just 4 – 5 years do come with unforeseeable challenges and pitfalls. Given the daunting nature of this atypical pursuit, you may want to understand certain pros and cons of double academic track that can factor into your career prospects. Whether or not you think your college life is worthy of a double major, look into these factors below before you make a determination.


2. Do You Have Multi-Disciplinary Interests, and Are They Complementary?

Do you believe you are passionate about more than one branch of studies? Then perhaps a double major would be a more viable option. A student may wish to pursue videography and, at the same time, interested in social affairs and interactive disciplines; in which case, he can opt for a Bachelor’s degree in film studies with an array of courses in international relations.

Ultimately, you should consider a double major if your choices are complementary to each other. Most field of studies are interconnected as the academia personnel usually attempt to understand ‘philosophy’ which revolves around intellectual curiosity, extended analysis, and the willingness to discover to support the scientific way of reasoning. An author with the solid knowledge in literature and language learns the principles of marketing or sales so as to understand the customer flow and to foster a superior loop of readers. In every industry we engage in, it is highly likely that it will demand multi-disciplinary capabilities; most of the time, being able to do something that isn’t even in the to-do list can be a plus factor.


3. Can the Pair of Majors Synergise and Enhance Your Employability?

Organizations and companies favor candidates with an impressive feat of career assets. As a point of reference, Singapore Management University and Singapore University of Technology & Design offer a Dual Degree Program (SUTD-SMU DDP) that integrates the knowledge of technology into the business expertise, enabling students to spread their employment chances across both engineering and business sectors. An information architect with a touch of user interface (UI) knowledge should get a leap over the rest of user experience (UX) designers because he possesses a blend of technical and imaginative attributes.


4. When NOT to Consider a Double Major?

When your primary major involves an overwhelming course load or you have a distinct career aspiration, you are not encouraged to decide on double-majoring. For instance, you may not wish to consider majoring in two tracks if you are a pre-medical student aspiring to become a reputable doctor. Medicine and healthcare majors come with a massive burden of studying and experimenting. Aside from lengthy hours of memorizing heavy loads of information, medical majors typically require clinical rotations and a couple of psychologically conflicting episodes that will not allow you to share your attention to some other major.

Or do you aspire to become an attorney or a forensic scientist and enjoy mentally consuming the legal terms and penal codes to pass a bar examination? Then perhaps you may not want to consider dedicating a couple of hours per day for another unrelated discipline as it may lead to overwhelming periods throughout your tertiary studies.

Related: Why Studying at Top Local Universities Can Be Better Than Studying Abroad?


5. Making the Final Verdict

Double majoring has become a popular academic trend in the US liberal arts colleges, universities, and some other countries as well. In many occasions, equipping with multi-disciplinary certifications can help you achieve the extra bucks over your coworkers. However, it is important to note that juggling between two majors can be quite a challenge as it may lead to decreased personal time and, if not managed well, can even harm your final grades.

Hence, if you are thinking of equipping your CV with an impressive line of achievements through pursuing a double major, you must take into consideration the various factors that we have discussed, which can potentially impact a huge part of your university life, and ultimately, your career prospects.


Disclaimer: This is an Opinion Article and it only reflects the views of the author and not the company or institution that may be associated with the Author. This article also does not have any intention to undermine or attack certain individuals or parties.

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