Tips on How to Manage a Double Major

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Amira Adel

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24 May, 2021

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4 mins read

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Tips and Advice

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One of the most significant decisions students have to make is choosing a major. However, not everyone can decide on only one major. Some might want to pursue more than one A.K.A double major. Double majors are primarily available in USA universities. They require students to complete requirements for two different disciplines but still only earn one degree - a degree with a double major. If you love two majors and you know you wish to study both at college, consider applying for a double major. Still, keep in mind that double majoring is totally different from having a major and a minor. 

The Difference Between a Major and a Minor

The USA education system is very complicated as there are different degrees you have to be aware of. Still, a double major shouldn’t be confused with a degree with a major and a minor. Your major is the field of expertise you wish to pursue, and you could pursue a double degree in totally different fields. On the other hand, your minor is a secondary focus of study, and it mostly compliments your major. Fulfilling a minor requires students to earn about 18 to 30 credit hours. On the other hand, finishing a major usually requires 40 to 50 credit hours; therefore, you have to earn 100 credit hours to earn a degree with a double major. 

Should You Choose a Double Major?

Pros of Double Majoring 

If you are totally sure you can handle the extra work required to complete a double major, it is a good idea to study two degrees simultaneously. Your double degree can help you land more jobs, add to your connections and skills, increase your job prospects, and increase your knowledge level. 

Cons of Double Majoring 

On the other hand, double majors are expensive, and your lectures could contradict each other; therefore, you need the best time management skills to manage your tasks, lectures and study sessions. Furthermore, if you double major with a job, chances will take you more than five years to graduate. 

How to Apply for a Double Major?

In the US, many universities only require approval from both departments to allow you to start studying as a double major student. Still, studying two majors doesn't guarantee you get a double major degree. Instead, you have to apply for a declaration of a double major to ensure you earn the degree. This process could differ from one university to another. So, read your universities guidelines well before moving forward with your plan as a double major student. 

Generally, unless stated otherwise in your university guidelines, the following steps are all you need to declare a double major later on. 

1. Fulfil the Requirements 

To declare a double major, you need to ensure you fulfil the requirements of both degrees first before applying for your certificate.

  •  Your credit hours should be satisfactory ( 40 hours for each major).

  • You need to have a plan set with your academic advisor for both majors.

  • Finally, you need to complete the two majors within 6-12 quarters, depending on your university’s requirements. 

2. Fill the Forms 

To declare a double major, you need to complete and fill a double major petition with your university main forms that your advisor should be familiar with. Afterwards, you need to submit a study plan that includes your lectures, progress and hours guide, a list of the requirements for both majors and what you accomplished, and finally, a brief statement of purpose explaining your reasons for studying two majors. 

3. Submit the Forms

Once the forms and letter of explanation are submitted, you have to wait for approval from both departments to ensure you earn a degree with a double major. Once that is done, you have to submit the approval to your college advisor office and wait for the results. 

Tips to Manage a Double Major

Although you can major in two different disciplines simultaneously as a double major student, most universities allow you to major in two correlated fields easier than they allow other combined majors. A couple of examples for these fields are as follows:

  • Economics and mathematics

  • English and philosophy

  • Education and psychology

  • Art and psychology

When deciding to manage a double major as efficiently as you can, you should keep the bigger picture in mind. You should think about how the majors will benefit you academically and career-wise. Pick majors that are related to each other to ease your application process so you can benefit from your degrees easily later on. Once enrolled, you need to follow simple tips to ensure you earn your degree within the correct timeline.

1. Stay in Contact with Your Advisors

Another big help when deciding to manage a double major is that most universities have advisors for double major students. Always stay in touch with your advisors and update them on your progress. Universities usually provide double major students with a four-year course plan; however, your advisor could always help you pick the most convenient courses for your career interests if the pre-set four-year plan is not matching your overall goals. 

Elizabeth Terry-Emmot, director of the College of Liberal Arts Advising Center at Colorado State University, said: “Help from advisors is key to completing multiple degrees.” She also stated that a lot of the students she worked with successfully completed two or even three majors and still graduated in four years.

2.  Manage Your Money

Double majoring usually means more tuition fees for more classes. Additionally, it might lead to an extended year or two at university. Planning might help you maintain your finances. If you have taken a student loan, calculate your expenses ahead to ensure your loan is covering the new additional tuition. If not,  you might have to consider working part-time to cover the extra expenses. 

3. Study Smart 

To successfully complete a double major, you need to manage your time well. Taking a double major means double the courses, the exams, and the assignments. That’s why you should always map out your time. Set a plan for each subject and use a planner app to organise your tasks and assignment. This way, you are never lost!

4.  Prioritise  

Pursuing a double major requires a little more energy than usual. You might have to prioritise your daily tasks to stay on schedule, not just your study schedule. If your daily routine includes social club activities or volunteer work, you might have to give up on them. Moreover, as a double major student, you might have to take summer courses to finish your degree in 4 years.

Now you have a complete guide to how to manage a double major. It is time to move forward with your plan. If you are hesitant, don’t worry, a double major is worth it in the long run, and if you feel it is too hard, consider a minor and a major degree. 


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