Doubling Up (in Majors!)

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Some people not only have one thing that they're passionate about, but they also happen to be incredibly gifted at that one particular thing. That sure makes it easy when it comes to making a decision about what to major in during one's four years in college. I've got one friend who's been writing since she was a kid; now she's an English major & there's no doubt in my mind that one day I'll see a book of hers on the New York Times Bestsellers list.

But what if your passions & your talents don't quite line up quite perfectly? Or what if you're incredible at a wide variety of things (people like that really do exist, I promise) & you're also passionate about them all? Or maybe if you just simply can't quite make up your mind about what to do. That's why there's such thing as a double major!

Before you question the concept of double majoring when you feel as though you can't even come up with one, hear me out. Personally, I came to college without any idea of what I wanted to be my major. I lived the "FUN-decided" college life & spent time thinking & praying about my future. After all my core classes & a semester abroad in Spain, I decided on two majors: History & Spanish. Just like it takes time for people to figure out what exactly they would like to major in, it takes time to figure out if & in what they'd like to double major. 

It's also a fact that double majoring doesn't always make sense. If you're considering majoring in Biology & English Writing, you might want to also consider spending more than four years in college or sticking to just one major. However, when the departments of both potential majors are related, double majoring is not only doable, it's incredibly useful for your future.

One particularly practical route is double majoring in what you envision yourself doing with your life alongside a foreign language. Spanish, French, or German can serve the future journalist, historian or teacher well. Learning another language deeply broadens your horizons because you can use what you've learned to interact with countless more people. You will never regret learning something that opens up your life to more of the world.

You could also double major in any of the fine arts alongside whatever else you are considering for your future. A major in History or English ensures you are skilled at critical thinking as well as capable of writing well. The liberal arts certainly set you up for success in graduate or professional school & also translate over to success in any occupation.

The most common pairing, however, tends to be Biology & Chemistry. Double majoring in the sciences works well for anyone pursuing anything in the medical field. Whether that future in medicine looks like medical school, physical therapy school, or physician assistant school, a double major gives you more educational experience going forward. In this case especially though, it is crucial to talk to both of your advisors & understand the commitment that both majors require. Here are some reminders about double majoring here at MC to keep in mind:

  • Both of your majors must be within the same degree. This just means that either both of the majors have to be a BA or they both have to be a BS.
  • The hours for the second major cannot simply overlap with hours from your first major. You've got to get 30 unique semester hours for the second major. Hours also cannot be shared between majors & minors.
  • If you are required to have a minor for your first major, you cannot just substitute a second major. You'll still have to declare a minor & get the required number of hours for it alongside double majoring. However, if your second major calls for a minor as well, you don't actually have to have two minors. Just one will suffice for both of your majors. 

Beyond all the logistics though, the best piece of advice I can give is to just have a good, long conversation with your advisor before you take on another major. Double majoring is fantastic, but it is also a lot of work. It really isn't for the faint of heart. You've got to be able to balance two degree plans & commit to doing so for four full years. It's rigorous & demanding to say the least. Consider your priorities for your time in college: classes, friends, student government, tribes/clubs, etc. None of them are mutually exclusive, at least with good time management skills, but it's important that you choose what you can reasonably do to the best of your ability. 

Double majoring is, simply put, an awesome opportunity to widen your education. You get to graduate from college with two different degrees. You put in the work & it's well worth it. From my own perspective as a double major, it's exciting & certainly appeals to the nerd in me. If it resonates with you too, then as you think about the classes you'll be taking next semester & schedule an advising appointment, take the time to have a conversation with your advisor about double majoring. 

Best of luck!

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