Many college students have a hard time settling on a major, and others have career goals that combine several areas of interest. This is the time when students are exploring their interest areas. Double majors are appealing because students can pursue multiple fields of study. Some colleges make it easy for students to major in two subjects at a time, but others do not. It is wise to evaluate how a double major will affect course selection and time needed to graduate.
- First of all decision is required. If students aren’t already enrolled in a college or university, but know they want to double major, they should decide on a college or university that helps them meet their goals. Each school has its own unique policies and requirements for graduation. Each department will require different courses for a particular major. College-bound students trying to compare schools should work through these steps for each college on their list. Information from different sources should be collected.
- Every course demands a set of skills. Identify them. Moreover, identify core graduation requirements. Core curriculum requirements, often referred to as “the basics,” are college-wide requirements for all students. Core classes often include writing, reading, critical thinking, and problem solving. Some colleges only want students to complete a few core courses, but at some schools students spend the first year or two satisfying these requirements.
- Some college offer general courses while some subjected specific courses like management, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance. Select major’s specific to the college. Students should take time to review the specifics of each major, and meet with an advisor in the department they’re interested in to get their questions answered.
- Obtain minimum degree requirements for majors. What courses are to be completed before majors? Prepare a list of them. Most colleges list degree requirements online, and details also are available from departmental advisors
- Identify preliminary or prerequisite courses. These are the courses that must be taken before a student can register for a more advanced course. For example, College Algebra may be a prerequisite for Elements of Calculus, or Introduction to British Literature may be required before a student could take Shakespeare’s Major Works.
- Find the course that can be helpful in many ways. Find all courses that satisfy multiple requirements. Because two majors means twice the number of requirements, a student considering double majors should try to minimize the number of extra classes by identifying classes that count for more than one requirement.
- Planning- Draft a degree plan. A degree plan lists what courses a student will take each year and is customizable to reflect more or fewer classes or semesters. Begin by listing all prerequisite courses. Next, add all courses that need to be taken in a sequence. List courses that must be completed at a specific time, such as a freshman seminar or senior capstone class. Finally, fill in openings with all remaining classes.
- Estimate the time duration- Evaluate the time needed to complete the degree plan. Some students will be able to complete all requirements for a double major in four years. Others may need to take extra classes for a few semesters or even add an extra year.
- Meet with campus or departmental advisors for approval. Some colleges have “general advising” for freshmen and sophomores to make sure first and second-year students are satisfying core requirements and developing degree plans. However, students planning to double major need to meet with advisors in both departments. Specific departmental advisors help students plan when to take required courses and how to complete a degree plan in a timely manner.
- Meet all campus requirements for degree plan submission and approval. Every college will have its own requirements for declaring a major and submitting degree plans for approval. Requirements can change from year to year, so students are encouraged to submit their plans early.
Completing the requirements for one degree can be challenging; double majors can require double the work. Students should research their options carefully before deciding to add a second major. Once they’ve committed to a double major, they can save themselves time, money, and stress by developing a careful plan for completing all the requirements.