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How does a double major work?

bree97bree97 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Is it double the credits? Do you graduate with two degrees? Is it more work?

Replies to: How does a double major work?

  • PhilpsychPhilpsych Registered User Posts: 310 Member
    1.) I guess every school works differently. At my school, you can't use any classes to fulfill both major requirements, but I have heard of that happening in other schools. Either way, you're probably going to graduate with the same number of credits, maybe even a few more, but you'll have less room for electives.

    2.) Absolutely. Several people I know who have double-majored have had to take more than the minimum course load every semester in order to graduate on time.

    3.) From my understanding, yes--if a degree is different from a diploma. I think that the diploma just says, "Student has fulfilled the requirements for Major A and Major B."
  • blackwidow22blackwidow22 Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    Philipsych is right. Typically each school will have its own requirements and rules to how you can fulfill a double major. If money is an issue or you want to graduate in less than 5 years, you may want to either reconsider it or really schedule the classes very well. Sometimes schools will allow classes to go towards both majors and this is the easiest way to get the generals out of the way. Also, it is easier if the two majors share coursework like biology and chemistry, this way you can take classes that count for both majors.

    You do end up with two degrees and it is much harder because you have more classes. Each degree will have its own amount of credits in order to graduate. One degree may require more or less credits than others.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 14,733 Senior Member
    No, double majors generally lead to a single degree. there are some dual degree programs which require more than 4 years.
  • doublelegkingdoublelegking Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    It depends if the majors are within the same school or not. If they are, then it is easier: ie. Accounting and Finance double major, both are within the school of business. It would definitely be harder and take more time if you double major with majors in different schools: ie. Computer Science and Public Policy. This would probably take more than 4 years unless you come in with a decent amount of AP or IB credits.
  • PhilpsychPhilpsych Registered User Posts: 310 Member
    Oh, right, I forgot about the varying number of credits. That's going to make some combinations easier than others.

    There are two people who double-majored that I can think of off the top of my head. One majored in two fairly similar fields that had nine and ten requirements respectively; to my knowledge, she never had to take extra classes and there was at least one overlap. But my other friend majored in two radically different fields that had ten and fifteen requirements respectively, and so although he graduated on time he had to take extra classes almost every semester.
  • halcyonheatherhalcyonheather Registered User Posts: 8,987 Senior Member
    A double major can mean two degrees, but it can also mean one degree with two majors. Different options are available at different schools. At my school, you can (for example) double major or get two degrees in two humanities fields, but if you want to major in a humanities field and an engineering field, you have to get two degrees.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 9,572 Senior Member
    A double major works really hard.
    It's usually not encouraged because your grades can take a tumble.
  • PhantomVirgoPhantomVirgo Registered User Posts: 1,088 Senior Member
    edited July 2016
    As has been said in this thread, it really varies by school. I double majored, and this was my experience:

    At my school, you get one degree with two majors attached to it, regardless of what the actual majors are. If you complete two (or more) majors leading to a BA, you get a BA with majors in [insert majors]. For two or more leading to a BS, same thing (except BS instead of BA obviously). If you complete at least one major leading to a BA and one leading to a BS, you receive a BAS (bachelors of arts and sciences) in the majors. I did a double major in linguistics (BA) and computer science (BS) and have a BAS as a result.

    I graduated in four years without overloading, and could have graduated a quarter early if I had overloaded one quarter junior year. For me, linguistics was a fairly light major that basically took up my free electives besides a few additional classes I took for fun. My majors were also different enough to where I only had to take about three classes outside of their requirements to fulfill general education requirements. Plus I had a balanced workload most quarters in my last two years, because at that point prereqs were done and I could balance my schedules evenly.

    I also was a meticulous schedule planner and came to know the catalog sections for those majors like the back of my hand. You don't necessarily need to be that meticulous to pull it off, but you definitely need to look ahead a couple quarters/semesters and try to anticipate potential problems if you want to finish quickly. Keeping in regular contact with advisers for both majors is key to this.
  • hungryteenagerhungryteenager Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    It doesn't :)

    On a serious note, a dual degree is different from a double major. Dual degree is double credits. With a double major, it's typically one degree, and you take both degrees required courses, but the credit is shared under one course of study, if that makes sense.
  • PhilpsychPhilpsych Registered User Posts: 310 Member
    @hungryteenager How do you define "course of study"? Also, I thought dual-degree meant that you were splitting your time between two campuses--is that correct?

    And it sounds like both my friends that I mentioned above definitely had double majors. They took exactly as many classes as they needed to graduate, but they just had less room for electives. But I think my friend who took the 10- and 15-credit majors graduated with more than the minimum number of credits. (I'll also have a few extra, because I'll probably be in an extra class for each of my last three semesters.)
  • harvestmoonharvestmoon Registered User Posts: 954 Member
    Yes, a double major is double the work in the sense that you're taking upper-level courses and taking capstone sources in two fields. However, that doesn't always mean its double the amount of credits.

    Most universities require something like 124ish credits to get a BA degree (I know that a lot of engineering/some BS degrees require more). If you're required to take 40 credits of general education and 40 credits in your major, that's 80 credits and, logically, leaves 44 credits left.

    Now, sometimes it takes more than 40 credits to fulfill major's requirements (perhaps you have to take certain prereqs that aren't counted toward the major, perhaps there are more than 40 credits required, etc.). So, you might end up with less than 44 "extra" credits, which is usually why people end up minioring in something (usually about 20-24 credits in a field) since it gets you to the required number for a degree. Or, some people end up taking more credits each semester (perhaps 18 or 20 credits some semesters) or take a few classes during the summer so that they can finish the requirements for two majors (for the same DEGREE - most of the time you don't get another degree. All the credits count toward the bachelor's you are attempting).

    In my case, a lot of my writing courses for my major double-counted as general education requirements and my second major was only 32 credits (though there were 16 of "uncounted" prereqs I had to take since I was just started it out), so I ended up finishing two majors in four years quite easily. I did this by reading through my undergraduate catalogue very carefully, talking to my professors in both majors to clarify the requirements, etc. A few professors knew of my double major and even helped me out - I did a TA for credit class for one prof (counted as an elective in the major) and the chair of my other department let me count my study abroad credits for a class it wasn't normally "counted" for as because I had time conflicts with my other major.

    Everyone will have a different story, but basically, double-majoring is a LOT of work and you become engrossed in TWO subjects, but it's not always impossible. Some combinations are definitely harder than others, but it can be done.
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