Double Majors: A Pathway to Expanded Knowledge and Opportunities

21/08/20237 minute read
Double Majors: A Pathway to Expanded Knowledge and Opportunities

With a plethora of diverse college majors to choose from, picking one, let alone two, majors can be a daunting task. This blog post therefore aims to better inform readers about double majors - what they are and their potential career implications. This could be of great help to parents and students interested to pursue a diverse range of academic interests.

What is a Double Major?

Double majoring entails the study of two separate fields for a single degree. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice among students, given the need to stay versatile and relevant in the constantly evolving economy today.

Unlike a single major, where you attain one area of specialisation within one degree, a double major results in specialisations in two disciplines within one single degree. While you can earn a degree with a major and a minor in different disciplines, a single degree will focus primarily on the major – whereas a double major places equal importance on both majors.

Be careful not to confuse a double major with a dual degree program. The latter entails the study of two separate degrees from two different disciplines simultaneously, thus requiring greater years of study, along with a higher workload.

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The Advantages of Double Majors

In a rapidly evolving economy today, a double major can allow you to diversify your skillsets in more than one area, thereby boosting your employability and potentially your wages. A study published in the Columbia Economic Review found that graduates with double majors typically earn higher wages than their single major counterparts.

Increasingly, there is a notable trend of millennials taking on mid-career switches, with a significant number of millennials even wishing they started out in a different major. With a broader area of study within a single degree, this opens more doors to a wider variety of career options upon graduation. This translates into more back up career options, should you decide along your course of study that your primary major is not best aligned with your interests.

The Challenges of Double Majors

It is important to take note of the possible difficulties associated with double majoring. A double major may entail an increased academic workload, given the equal importance placed on both specialisations within one degree. In turn, this poses additional challenges of time management and careful scheduling one must grapple with during the course of study.

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Types of Double Majors

While there are a multitude of different double major programs available, some common ones are:

Here are some universities with well -known double major programs:

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Career Opportunities and Outcomes

With an added area of specialisation within the course of studying a single degree, this could bolster your CV as it signals to prospective employers that you have competencies in more than one relevant area. In turn, this could enhance your career opportunities as you are given roles with greater exposure to different areas of the industry.

Take the finance and banking industry for instance, where a double major in finance and accountancy may prove to be advantageous, given the added competency of being well acquainted with spreadsheets and accounting concepts. Graduates with double majors in computer science and business may find themselves a step ahead in applying for quantitative or technology-related roles.

Similarly, in the area of policymaking in the government sector, the fusion of a humanities major with the study of public policy or governance as a second major may similarly prove to be advantageous. This could be attributed to their acquired understanding of how policies are formulated, and their potential exposure to policymaking during their course of study.

Last but not least, consider the area of supply chain management, where a second major in statistics or a logistics related major can be significant plus.

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Final Thoughts

Beyond the potential career benefits that a double major may bring, it is imperative to note that they are by no means guaranteed, and there are challenges that come with it. For instance, certain colleges may have higher graduation requirements to meet for double majoring, and the heavier workload is something one has to consider shouldering. 

Beyond the academic challenge, having to spend extra time in school prior to graduation also translates to monetary costs – which can put a strain on your finances. Furthermore, having your modules largely spread across the two majors may mean that you have less autonomy to pick elective modules as you normally would have if you were taking a single major degree with a minor instead. 

That said, if you are confident of your academic interests and career aspirations, and your time management skills you likely have acquired in high school, these challenges can well be overcome.

All in all, with any course of action, there are both pros and cons to consider. Whether a double major is right for you – or anyone for that matter – varies from person to person. It would be helpful to consider your personal academic interests, career aspirations, and proclivities when deciding whether a double major is the appropriate path to take on.