Is Double Majoring Right For You?

Many students begin college with a declared major, or they take time to explore subjects they are interested in before deciding on a single major. This academic path works well for most students, but another option is declaring two majors. While double-majoring is a greater commitment of time and resources, for some students it also means greater benefits.

Double majoring can be a smart decision if you are passionate about two academic areas or want to create your own dual-subject college experience, like I did. Others may consider pursuing a second major a kind of safety net for broader job opportunities in the future.

How can you tell if double majoring is the right choice for you? Keep reading to see if you might benefit from selecting two majors in college. As with any important academic decision, it’s always wise to speak with your academic advisor who can help you understand what’s required for a double major at your school.

Expand Your Knowledge in Two Different Fields of Study

Some students develop an interest in two different potential majors and feel equally drawn to both. If the idea of missing out on classes in one area of study saddens you, you may want to think about a double major. It can provide you with a more topically diverse and interdisciplinary education, depending on the majors chosen. Often, what you learn in class for one major can even strengthen the skills already being practiced in your other major courses.

In certain cases, it can be smart to double major, particularly when the two majors you select share some required classes. While there are limits on how many units can count toward both majors, those classes will allow you to make progress on your two majors simultaneously.

Blend Learning in Complementary Subjects

There are a multitude of majors that complement each other well, and you may not want to make the choice of selecting only one. My own experience as a double major in journalism and communication is an example of how two majors can pair well together. Through my communication classes, I am enhancing my journalism studies, because I’m learning how to be a better verbal communicator and writer—incredibly important skills for a sports journalist to have in any media or work environment.

In my case, I started out majoring in journalism, which meant that I was already taking a large number of communication classes as well. Because of this, I decided to go the extra mile, take some additional communication classes, and work toward earning a full communication studies bachelor’s degree in addition to the journalism degree. (At APU, there are different requirements for double majors and those earning an additional bachelor’s degree.)

Increase Your Job Options After Graduation

In terms of planning for your career after college, having two majors can be an advantage when it comes to finding a job. Being able to state on your résumé or in a job interview that you have academic training in multiple fields can be enticing for potential employers.

Having that training in two fields may also give you options when you’re applying for jobs. You won’t be limited to a single field when you’re searching job boards and networking. For example, if you major in a foreign language and political science, you may be eligible for jobs that pertain to one or both of those areas of knowledge. This may take some of the stress out of the job search process and help you land a job that you find fulfilling.

Like most academic options you’ll have in college, you’ll want to take time to weigh the pros and cons of double majoring. In some cases, adding an academic minor may be enough exposure to your second field of interest. It’s not uncommon that double majoring will extend the time it takes to graduate and may mean taking summer classes. But for some students, though the work is increased with a double major, so is the reward.