Is Double Majoring Worth It?

Everything you need to know about double majors including an answer to the question ‘how does double majoring work?’ and ‘Is it worth it?’. Pros and Cons, tips and advice.
Allan T
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Oct 21, 2021
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Is Double Majoring Worth It?

Going to University is a decision that people cannot make lightly. Not only is it expensive, getting into a university requires hard work during high school including both getting good grades as well as excelling in extracurriculars. Once they get to University there are different ways of getting the most out of it depending on the person. Some people know exactly what they want to do and study that field in-depth, some people take an active role in social life and build connections that will help them in the future, and some people choose to learn as much as possible by double majoring. 


In this article, we will go over what exactly a double major is, the benefits and downsides of double majoring, some of the best double major combinations, and more.

What is a Double Major?

A major is a specialty that you choose within a degree. For example, if you earn a business degree you can choose to major in specialties as diverse as marketing, finance, accounting, etc.   The major you choose determines the kinds of courses you will need to complete to graduate as well as the field you will most likely eventually work in, so choosing a major is an important step for anybody attending college or university. A double major essentially means that you choose two specialties to focus on. This has benefits when it comes to future employability and lets you pursue more than one subject if you have multiple interests. 

Why earn a double major?

Recruiters often search for potential employees based on their majors. This means that if you have two majors, you have more options for potential work once you graduate. Some students choose majors that are vastly different so that they have multiple options in the future, for example majoring in both dance and economics. This type of combination allows students to pursue both a passion as well as a safer job option.


On the other hand, some students choose to double major in subjects that are closely connected to each other, therefore giving them a leg up when applying for certain types of jobs. For example, double majoring in psychology and marketing will help get a job in a market research company. Finally, there are people who just enjoy learning and want to know as much as possible. These people might double major in subjects purely out of Interest.


Is double majoring more expensive? This is another great reason to double major. Most undergraduate degrees do not charge more for a double major if you finish it within 4 years, so by double majoring, you are getting the most of your tuition money. 

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How to Double Major 

Every university has its own unique set of requirements for how to double major so it is best to check their individual websites to see exactly what you would have to do. In general, these are the requirements for double majors for popular schools:


  • Completing the required hours of accredited coursework for each individual major. This can vary based on University as well as the specific majors
  • A minimum GPA that you must attain before declaring a second major
  • A specified time by which the student must graduate
  • A specified time by which the intention to double major must be stated
  • Consultations with an advisor 

The Best Double Majors Combinations

There are a lot of benefits of double majoring and there are some combinations that are more popular than others. This is either because people with these combinations get hired more or because of an intrinsic connection between the subjects.


  • International Relations and Foreign Languages
  • Economics and Mathematics
  • Physics and Mathematics
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Marketing and Psychology
  • Biology and Chemistry
  • Computer Science and Finance
  • Political Science and Philosophy
  • Criminal Justice and Psychology
  • Accounting and Computer Information Systems
  • Education and Psychology
  • Communication and Marketing
  • Environmental Science and Marine Biology 

How Does Double Majoring Work?

One of the biggest challenges of double majoring is fulfilling all the requirements in as short a time as possible. Every university has its own requirements but in general a major requires 120 hours of credited course work. Depending on how closely related the majors you choose are there may be some overlap between required courses so most double majors require about 180 credit hours to complete. Additionally, many of these are foundation or general courses, so there is some repetition which further reduces the total credited hours required. 


It is vitally important to plan out your academic career semester by semester if you want to complete a double major as soon as possible. Make sure you talk to an advisor as well as upperclassmen who are attempting the same double major as you. Doing advanced placement courses in high school is another great way of skipping over some of the general courses in your freshman year to get a head start on your double major.

Pros and Cons of a Double Major

A double major is not a decision to be made lightly. There are clear benefits but there are disadvantages as well. Let's go over the pros and cons.

Pros

  • The biggest advantage of a double major is that it improves your employability. A double major in related fields can make you stand out from the competition and a double major in different fields can allow you to apply for a more diverse set of jobs.
  • Double majoring allows you to become a more well-rounded individual by improving your critical thinking, planning, and other skills.
  • Double majoring can give you a backup plan if you want to follow your passion. For example, majoring in both dance and communications allows you to find a job in an office if you ever need to.
  • Does double majoring cost more? Most undergraduate courses do not charge more for a double major. 

Cons

  • University can be difficult, and double majoring will increase your workload immensely.
  • You may have to take extra courses each semester as well as summer courses.
  • Some universities charge more tuition for double majors or for taking more classes.
  • You may have to spend extra time in University making it more expensive.
  • You may not be able to do as many extracurriculars or enjoy social events because of the extra workload
  • With such a tightly packed schedule you may not be able to take interesting electives 
  • You may miss out on activities like summer internships or study abroad programs

Managing a Double Major

Managing a double major is no easy task but if you plan ahead it becomes much easier.

Plan ahead

Spend a lot of time going over the requirements of each major and see which double majors make the most sense for you. If the scheduling does not work out or there aren't many overlapping classes it might not be feasible. In this case, choose one major that you really want and another that benefits it.

Time management 

A double major increases your workload. That isn't just class time but also homework, projects, required readings, etc. Use a productivity tool or scheduling tool to make sure that you stay on top of everything.

Ask for guidance 

Most universities require you to speak with an advisor before deciding to double major but don't limit yourself just to that. Talk to students who are already pursuing the double major you want and ask them for advice. Speak to any professionals you know in the industry you want to join. There is never any harm in asking for help. 

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Alternatives to a Double Major

A double major improves your future job prospects but there are other steps you can take as well if a double major doesn't seem possible.


Declare a minor. A double major requires you to fulfill the same amount of credits. A minor usually requires you to fulfill half the credits. Minors aren't included on diplomas but appear on transcripts and are helpful when creating a resume.


Do an internship. An internship is a great way to gain some real-world experience and prestigious internships can lead to excellent jobs. 


Study abroad. Studying abroad can either give you the chance to take specific classes from a foreign University or allow you to experience a new country which may be beneficial for certain jobs in fields like international relations. 


Get certificates. Apart from University, you can get qualified in several things by completing courses and getting certificates. This can range from hard skills in computer coding to certificates in communications.


Get a part-time job. Sometimes you may need to get a part-time job for financial reasons, but it is also an alternative to double majoring if you want to improve your chances of getting a job after graduation by having real-world experience.

Dual Degree vs Double Major

Whereas all the options mentioned above are good alternatives to double majoring, a dual degree is considered better than a double major. Double majoring gives you one degree with two majors whereas a double degree gives you two completely different degrees. This has all the benefits of a double major and is more prestigious, but a double degree takes even more time than a double major and often costs more. Double majors are more common in undergraduate degrees and double degrees are more common in higher education programs. 

So is Double Majoring Worth It?

Deciding to double major or not is a big step and depends on each unique person’s strengths, weaknesses, desires, and goals. Earning a double major has proven benefits to job opportunities and career growth but it is also difficult to achieve. People have different goals from University so there is no objective answer to the question is double majoring worth it?


If you are trying to decide whether double majoring is worth it, go over the pros and cons, look over the requirements in your University, speak to an advisor, and be prepared to work hard. If you ever take on more than you can handle and need any help with homework, projects, essays, or just understanding material, Studyfy has an amazing roster of academic professionals who can help you with anything you need.