Mathematics and Music double major/double degree?

<p>I am a high school junior who is very interested in math. I am currently in the highest math class that my school offers. I plan to have a career in mathematics (actuary, maybe?) and I need to study math in college. A degree in mathematics is probably what I am interested in, rather than one in actuarial science, because a math degree seems more flexible. Also, actuaries are not hired because of their degrees, they are hired because they have passed several tests. Possibly, going to a school that has an actuarial science degree available would be beneficial to me.</p>

<p>I also am a musician. I have played the flute for many years. Music is a very important part of my life. I would like to get a degree in music in addition to math, and I don't even know if that is possible. I would most likely stay away from a major in music education and possibly aim towards a performance major? Again, I don't know if this is possible. I want to hear suggestions about where I could go to school, if this is even a possibility. What I don't want to hear is that I should consider just going for math and participating in music on the side. This is not the same. </p>

<p>I figure that about here is where I should tell you that I don't really understand the difference between double major and double degree, other than the fact that the former is one piece of paper and the latter is two. What is the difference in cost? How about time/work?</p>

<p>Some information that may be helpful:</p>

<p>-My GPA is a 4.0.
-I am currently in two AP classes. (AP Calc, and AP Chem)
-I have participated in my area's solo/ensemble competition twice (I plan to again) and have scored fairly well.
-I belong to a local youth symphony.
-I am the section leader of two school large music ensembles.
-I have been taking private flute and piano lessons for several years.
-I don't mind spending 5 years to reach my goal.</p>

<p>Schools I am considering ("reach" schools):
Tufts + NEC
Carnegie Mellon</p>

<p>Oberlin sounds nice, but it is a liberal arts school. I don't really know exactly what that means, but I might consider it more seriously if someone could explain it to me or make a case for Oberlin. </p>

<p>I'm looking for schools that are less "reach" and more "match", but I listed my reach list so that readers could comment on it and improve it. Central Washington University is my "safety" school. It accepts about 80% of it applicants, so I think I will be fine there.</p>

<p>Thank you for taking the time to hear what I have to say! Please comment with advice if you feel so inclined!</p>

<p>I know it’s very common at St Olaf (which is very good at both music and math - there’s even a special track for kids who enter with AP Calc BC 5 scores, because they have quite a few of them).
Are you in AP Calc AB or AP Calc BC?</p>

<p>A liberal arts college is a school where classes are discussion-based rather than lecture-based, with about 15-20 students per class rather than 40+ (and up to 300 or 400 depending on the school), where you have frequent contact with professors, and where the focus is undergraduate education, ie., pushing undergraduates the further they can go. They often have research opportunities because there aren’t any grad students with priority. Liberal arts colleges produce a disproportionate percentage of PHDs in relation to their size. They also tend to have a specific “vibe” so that you need to be aware of it when you make your choice or you may have more trouble fitting in. Finally, they tend to be more personal and close-knit/friendly than large universities, simply because of the numbers factor.
Tufts has a “LAC-feel”, BTW.</p>

<p>Research universities focus on research. You’re likely to have “famous” professors (although they may not teach undergrads or first year students) who published important research. There may be big sports and football or basketball may be broadcast on TV. Your first-year classes are likely to be large, with one section per week directed by a TA (ie., a graduate student who’s been selected and is paid for teaching undergraduates in addition to his/her own research and classes.) You would have thousands of choices for classes. Because of the numbers, you’d have to find your niche otherwise it can feel alienating, but you’d be likely to find a group of people “like you”.
A school you should look into is URochester.</p>

<p>Other schools with good math programs include Harvey Mudd and Northwestern.</p>

<p>Are you from WA state?</p>

<p>You can probably get a decent math education at many schools. The challenge is finding the right fit in terms of music, along with the intellectual challenge for academics. You might check the music forum for ideas about music programs, and them check the colleges associated with them. One thing to watch out for is a school with a conservatory or conservatory-like music school. It is often difficult to double major at a school like that, since a music degree is all consuming. </p>

<p>In terms of the schools you mention, it is very hard to get into the dual Tufts/NEC program, because you have to be accepted into both. They are also quite a bit of a commute from each other. CMU is divided up into different schools, and you would need to be accepted into the music school, and also see if you could double major so that math classes and labs did not conflict with music ensembles. I bring this up because one of my children, and many of his musician friends, had the same dilemma, and ended up not going to conservatory based schools because of this.</p>

<p>Search the music majors forum with the word “math”. This specific question has been asked several times.</p>

<p>I would certainly take a look at Oberlin. It has a dual degree program between the college and the conservatory which is a 5 year program. It also has a strong math department. </p>

<p>To me, the big difference with an LAC is that it doesn’t offer graduate degrees (although the Oberlin Con does offer MAs). If you search the archives there are threads discouraging people who want to get math PhD’s from going to LACs, but it really depends what you want to do.</p>

<p>[Majors</a> Handbook](<a href=“]Majors”></p>

<p>Thanks to everyone who replied! I am in AP Calc AB because my school does not offer BC. And yes, I do live in Washington state, which makes CWU a fairly good safety school. I prefer smaller schools, but I am willing to make exceptions if need be.</p>

<p>Peabody Conservatory has the best description of the difference between a double degree, a double major, a B.A. in music vs a B.M. etc. After reading this you’ll have a better sense of which direction you’d like to go. [Double</a> Degrees | Peabody Conservatory](<a href=“]Double”></p>

<p>Do know that flute is an extremely competitive instrument, and most seeking performance degrees in flute end up applying to many many music programs - more than most other instruments.</p>

<p>A college which is well known for both math and music is Williams College. For a double degree look into Lawrence University and Conservatory. Northwestern and Michigan both allow double degrees. As musicamusica suggests there are many threads on the Music Major forum about pursuing both math and music. Search for double degree and/or math in that forum.</p>

<p>Williams and URochester would be nice reaches, St Olaf a nice match, and Lawrence a nice safety. :slight_smile:
You can probably do better than Central Washington for a safety but yes, you’re right, it’s a safety for you. :slight_smile:
Check out Oberlin but there’s very different in “vibe”. UCincinnati also has stellar music programs. For both colleges though, I’ve heard it’s difficult to double major - check on the Music forum and on their respective “college” forums.</p>

<p>From the Ivies, Yale has the best music program within an academic setting.</p>

<p>I have read the Peabody description of the double major/double degree decision and it was very helpful. Thank you for suggesting it!</p>

<p>I have known since the beginning what I was getting myself into by playing flute. I know, for example, that Oberlin’s approximate acceptance rate is 30% (rough estimate), but for flutists (and female singers) it’s much lower. I realize that applying to many schools is the only way that I might have a chance.</p>

<p>Williams is a college that I have done some research on before. A double major there seems attainable (more so than with the conservatory and college combination that some schools have).
Lawrence also seems reasonable, especially the acceptance rate! :slight_smile:
Thanks again for the wonderful advice!</p>

<p>What do you (or anyone out there) think about music at MIT?</p>

<p>I’m sure someone will warn you along the way, but a double major in performance and math would be a gigantic undertaking for reasons that are very real…There have been other threads discussing this - a good music performance major spends a very huge amount of time in practice rooms and music buildings leaving little time for things like Calculus homework.</p>

<p>Keep in mind that you can also major in Math and participate in virtually every musical performance group available at any college. I was a MIS student, but I performed in lots of groups throughout college.</p>

I know that being a performance major is INCREDIBLY time consuming. Would it make a difference if I said that spending 5 years to reach this goal is fine? Would it take longer than that?</p>

I’m glad that you mentioned Lawrence. It is a very good safety (and it is better than CWU, although I will probably still apply).</p>

<p>As mentioned above, Williams has excellent departments in both math and music and double majoring in math and music is common. It is not a conservatory, but there are multiple performance venues and opportunities on campus – available to both majors and non-majors. Among academically rigorous small LACs (non-conservatories, that is) Williams stands out in its focus on the arts, music included. </p>

<p>Williams would be another reach, but talent and accomplishment in the arts is a major factor in admissions. I would also take a look at Wesleyan. If you are female, Smith.</p>

<p>Wherever you apply, be sure to submit performance supplement. I would also recommend a music resume that covers your involvement in music: courses, awards, accomplishments, participation, performances. Perhaps an additional recommendation from an instructor or a mentor, one or two media articles.</p>

<p>I decided to ask my wife who is a Music Professor your question. Her answer is simply that she knows of few actual performance majors who complete their degree in 4 years anyway just for performance. Many of your music classes only count for one college credit hour unlike most classes that account for 3. I’m not trying to dissuade you as what you aspire to is truly a neat thing, but I would be surprised if you could do both degrees in any less than 6 years. (Her answer) The requirements for the two degrees are just so very different. Now, I do think you could easily fit in a minor in either subject and finish in 4-5 years, but to do the double degree would have you having to finish a lot of coursework that simply won’t be able to fit into the other degree. It is a lot different when the two degrees are something like Music Education and Music Performance as there is so much overlap of classes, but with Math and Music you probably won’t find that. </p>

<p>One thing she did say is that if you truly decide to do this, you may want to be open to larger schools - It sounds silly, but if you are going to try to double in Music and Math at a smaller school, you are going to run into issues of scheduling when there is only one offering of a Math class (say Differential Equations) and it is at the exact same time as Wind Ensemble rehearses and you would need both.</p>

<p>Mathflute - my son is pursuing a double degree at Bard College and Conservatory - it is completely doable. And, yes, it takes five years. But he has not had to sacrifice any of his interests - except he couldn’t continue to play baseball after freshman year!</p>

<p>MIT is definitely worth looking into. I don’t know much about its performance faculty, but the composition department is one of the best in the country.</p>

<p>Stanatedj makes a good point about large schools and more choices for times for classes - and there will definitely be more math offerings to choose from. But not every large university is supportive of the double degree. Please go over to the music major forum and do a search of that forum for threads about double degrees and double majors. There are many threads full of terrific information about particular schools and their support of music students also wishing to pursue an academic degree.</p>

<p>For large schools which offer double degree paths I would look at Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern and USC. For double majors your choice is much wider. For instance, instead of Tufts/NEC you could just consider Tufts. And you would not need to audition on flute for admission to the university/college - although there may be a subsequent bar to pass to be admitted as a music major once you’re in the college.</p>

<p>I have visited the music major forum and found some information to bring back to this conversation. I learned that not only will going to a larger school help with scheduling, but also going to a school with a higher distribution of classes can assist with time issues. The lower the amount of classes in a particular subject, the more time for the other subject. Makes sense, right?</p>

<p>Looking at the specific course requirements may be a big help to me.</p>

<p>Here is just one of the many threads: <a href=“[/url]”></a></p>

<p>If you want to keep the actuarial job and career options open, see [url=&lt;a href=“”&gt;]Be</a> an Actuary<a href=“and%20note%20the%20VEE%20course%20lists%20for%20the%20various%20colleges”>/url</a>.</p>

<p>Some schools offer actuarial science majors simply to make it convenient in terms of listing courses to prepare for actuarial exams and jobs, but such a major is not necessary since you can choose the needed courses in a math, statistics, or other major.</p>

<p>UCB- would you suggest that I major is actuarial sciences if my school offers it? I was just going to major in mathematics because it seems more flexible.</p>

<p>I think your first decision is whether you want to make a commitment to a conservatory. If yes, then you can look at the conservatory schools one by one and see how much flexibility they offer and what kind of math departments they have.</p>

<p>If you don’t want a conservatory, then you could look at schools that have strong math departments and schools that have strong music departments. Start with one and see how the other fares. You’re not going to find perfect but you will find a balance of the majors you’re looking for and the ambiance that appeals to you.</p>