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Georgia Tech - Double degrees plausible?

jasonchan1994jasonchan1994 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
Hi, I'm struggling between taking Computer Science and Architecture as major for Georgia Tech. I know they're very different majors but I am very interested in both of them. So I'm considering a double degree.

However, I am told by many that Gatech is a very hard engineering school. So I'm not sure if having a double engineering degree is plausible in terms of workload. Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot!! =)
Post edited by jasonchan1994 on
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Replies to: Georgia Tech - Double degrees plausible?

  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    Let's take a look.

    Computer science requires 126 hours. 12 hours are free electives which can come from Architecture, so there's really 114 hours needed for this degree.

    By my count, Architecture requires 62 hours that are not included in the computer science degree (basically ARCH courses and COA electives). So that means that two degrees = 176 hours.

    At 15 hours/semester, you'd graduate in 12 semesters or 6 years. You could increase the course load and you graduate in 5.5 years, but it's not as simple as that. Since you could only take the "easy" courses that result in high grades (English, social science electives, humanities electives, etc) one time, your GPA would suffer. In addition, you'd be taking very time-intensive Architecture Studio labs at the same time as very time intensive CS courses. So you'd probably need to take less than a normal load to graduate with your sanity, so plan on closer to 6.5 to 7 years.

    At the end of the day, what are you going to do with these two degrees? The goal of college is to prepare you for a future career, not to entertain you. You need to think long and hard about that before making a decision on your major.

    The bigger issue for you, as well, is that because Architecture requires major courses in the first semester, you need to make a decision pretty quickly to prevent delaying graduation.
  • KaonyputputKaonyputput Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    ^^^definitely hit the point.

    There's a difference between double majoring in CS/Arch and ME/Math (for example) at GT. The former consists are distinct principles, while the latter major have some overlap with classes. With CS/Arch, you'd have to pretty much take twice the classes needed for a single major, while with ME/Math, some of the classes overlap, making a double major feasible.

    When I visited GT, the professors I met with all agreed that the engineering majors are VERY intense and work-heavy. It'd be nearly impossible to do well within each major without sacrificing something in return.

    What Banjo didn't include is study time for each class within each major. Being GT, the classes are not exactly ones you can skim by. Ask any student: you'll spend hours on homework each night and even moreso studying for tests/midterms/etc. It's not that double majoring is impossible, it's that you must do well in both majors. Companies would rather look at a student who only majored in ME (for example) with a 3.5 GPA over a CS/Arch major with a lower GPA.

    All-in-all, college is a step for your future, and while you should pursue your interests (which is why college was even conceived), you need to pick a major that'll land you a job or admission to grad school, whether it's a single or double major.
  • jasonchan1994jasonchan1994 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    Thanks a lot guys, sounds like it is a problem after all.
    Well, if I am to decide between the two majors, is it too late to make up my mind during my first year? Since I am accepted into the College of Architecture, they have the common first year for all students in that college. Is it possible for me to take some computer science courses at the same time, and then decide whether I would like to change my major?
  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    You could probably get away with a generic first semester but really should have a major by the second semester. You'll need to take the required ARCH first semester classes and CS first semester class. Your first semester would probably be:

    Math 1501 - Calc I - 4 hours
    CS 1301 - Intro to Computing - 3 hours
    COA 1101 - Fundamentals of Design I - 3 hours
    COA 1060 - Introduction to Design - 3 hours
    Engl 1101 - English & Comp 1 - 3 hours

    If you went Architecture, you would still be on track. If you went CS, the two COA classes would count as free electives and you wouldn't really be behind.

    CS Courses (one of many threads): GT Catalog : COC : BS CS Thread : Devices & Intelligence

    Arch Courses: GT COA Architecture : BS Architecture : Degree Requirements
  • KaonyputputKaonyputput Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    Before you enroll, have a strong idea about which major you are leaning toward; that is, pick a major and stick to it. As a result, you will enter college with a definite curriculum path, instead of one that wavers between COA and CS. You'll have a greater chance of graduating in 4/5 years (GT is notorious for graduating students in 5 years) than if you were undecided before entering GT. Also, you won't question your decision to pick COA or CS as much if you decide before as to deciding a semester in.

    If you have any AP credit, see if you can skip some of the freshmen classes and move on to higher level courses needed for your final major. If so, you could potentially get a minor in CS, if you go with COA.

    For a minor is CS:
    Complete at least 18 semester hours of Computer Science coursework of which 12 semester hours must be at the 3000-level or higher.
    Minor in Computer Science | College of Computing.

    It'd be more feasible to get a minor if you have some AP Credit. If not, a single major is your best option.

    Don't try to overwork yourself as to force yourself to get a major/minor at GT. GT is a very demanding school, and doing well in your major is your main and first priority.
  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    pick a major and stick to it

    That's obviously bad advice. Don't stick with a major just to graduate on time, pick a major that interests you long-term. One more year of college isn't that big of a deal, 45 years working in a field you don't enjoy is a big deal.

    As far as graduating in 5 years, Tech graduates about 50% of students in the 4th year and 50% in the 5th year or later. Most of the 5th year students are engineers that co-oped (co-op used to require 5 years) and that have a 132-142 hour curriculum (which neither Architecture nor CS have).
  • KaonyputputKaonyputput Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    Okay, that didn't come out as I hoped. My point is that you should decide between COA and CS, but don't waver between the two during college. After your first semester or year, you should probably have a good idea about which way you are leaning and go off of that.
  • jasonchan1994jasonchan1994 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    I have IBH in Computer Science, Math, and English, so I guess I can skip a bit of the freshman year (assuming that I do well in May).
    I guess I'll just try to make a decision as soon as possible during the first term/semester. But is it convenient for me (as in will they let me / scheduling conflicts perhaps?) to take CS courses while being in the College of Arch?
    Also, if I decide to change my major to CS, do I have to wait till the next term/semester for the change to take place?

    Btw, BanjoHitter, when you say "Most of the 5th year students are engineers that co-oped (co-op used to require 5 years) and that have a 132-142 hour curriculum (which neither Architecture nor CS have)" do you mean both CS and Archi don't have co-op or that they don't require that many hours?

    Thanks a lot guys!
  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    Well, Arch requires at least one CS course, so taking CS1301 during your first semester makes sense. Beyond that you can take up to 3 free electives as an Arch major, so taking them in the CS department is fine.

    As far as my previous comments, CS and Arch are both lower in credit hours than engineering (120's vs. 130's) and students usually do not co-op (they intern). This leads to earlier graduation.

    One thing I'll add - take a look at the career prospects in each of the fields. In 2007 (before the crash), Arch majors were 50% placed at graduation with a median salary of $40,000. CS majors were 87% placed with a median salary of $60,000. If you look at the most recent survey (Fall 2010), Arch majors were 0% placed at graduation while CS majors were 74% placed with a median salary of $61,000. And it's not just that way at Tech- it's an industry wide issue.
  • jasonchan1994jasonchan1994 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    Thanks, Banjo.

    About electives, I found a strange difference between the two majors:
    BS Arch seems to allow 21 credit hours of free electives "http://www.catalog.gatech.edu/colleges/coa/arch/ugrad/bsarch/electives.php"
    BS CompSci, however, seems to only allow 6 credit hours of free electives "http://www.catalog.gatech.edu/colleges/coc/ugrad/comsci/threads.php"
    Why is there such a big difference?

    Also, how long does it take for a Change of Major to take effect?

    Thanks!
  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    About electives, I found a strange difference between the two majors...

    That's the difference between a technical major and a non-technical major.
    Also, how long does it take for a Change of Major to take effect?

    A change of major is processed immediately, but I believe it doesn't actually take effect until the start of the next semester. If you changed majors now (before your first semester), it would be immediate.
  • jasonchan1994jasonchan1994 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    Thanks for the tip, Banjo.
    But does that make Architecture an easy (or at least easier) degree though?
    Also, did you mean that I can apply for a change of major right now? By sending emails?
  • BanjoHitterBanjoHitter Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    You can call and Admissions should be able to change your major over the phone. At least that's what I've heard.

    I'm not going to get into what majors are easier and harder than others, because it's different for every person. But in very general terms, Architecture takes as much time as engineering or CS, but in Architecture you spend less time "figuring out" and more time actually "doing".
  • KaonyputputKaonyputput Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    With engineering degrees you have a lot more technical classes that provide engineering theory, so to speak---the "thinking" component. I found a course list online, just to look at some of the classes, and there are four design studio classes that are 2000-3000 level classes, where engineers have design classes their senior year---the "doing" component.

    Website for reference:
    1000 - 3000 Level Courses | School of Architecture

    Just to add to what Banjo said.
  • jasonchan1994jasonchan1994 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    Well thanks a lot everybody. I guess I'll just try my best to decide early then =)!

    P.S. Office of Admissions replied me this (for others' references):
    "You can change your major at any point. For incoming freshman, we recommend that you wait until FASET orientation. You will have the opportunity there to change your major and register for the right classes! "
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