4 months ago
Admissions Advice

Double majoring?

I'm really confused about how double majoring works and have been getting conflicting answers in my college research. I'm looking at doing either English and Environmental Sciences or English and Astronomy/Astrophysics. Will it depend on the school? Also, is it even worth it or should I do a minor instead?


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Accepted Answer
4 months ago

There are slightly different rules in different schools, but you'll generally need a certain set of classes / number of credits in the field to have a "major" in it.

For most US colleges, a major is about 1/3 of the total classes you'll need to take to graduate. For some schools you'll also have 1/3 gen ed requirements and 1/3 electives, while other schools will let you have 2/3 electives beyond your "major" requirements.

Double majoring just means you complete the "major" requirements for two departments/fields/majors instead of just one. You'd typically use 1/3 of your credits for your first major, another 1/3 for your second major, and the final 1/3 for gen ed requirements or free electives (these credits are usually used to get minors, certificates, or secondary concentrations).

Some schools will give you one degree (e.g. Bachelor of Liberal Arts concentrating in English and Astronomy) or a dual degree (e.g. Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Astronomy).

In terms of whether it's worth it, that would depend on your personal preference and goals. A double major is a great way to take more classes in a second field that you're as interested in as your first/main field. However, it might not feel worth it if you don't really enjoy or want to take that many classes in your secondary field. I'm planning on double majoring because I'm equally interested in Philosophy and English, and I might as well get credit for taking a bunch of English classes alongside my Philosophy major. Some people prefer to just do one major, then minor in their second field and enjoy the freedom to use their remaining credits to dabble in a bunch of different fields. It will also depend on whether the school awards dual degrees, in which case some people find it more rewarding to double major as you would have 2 bachelor degrees instead of 1, and that will really vary depending on the school. It's totally a personal decision, and that's something you'll probably discuss more with your advisor, mentor, and/or professors in college. If you have to choose now in high school, try out some classes in your two fields of interest to see whether you'll enjoy them, talk it over with a guidance counselor/parents/friends/people close to you, and make a decision based on both what you want to do while you're in college and how your final degree will help you career-wise (if you know what career you want to go into already).

I hope this helped!


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