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Pros and Cons of a Double Major

As you're getting started with your Bachelor's Degree, you may be wondering what major to choose. And, if you're undecided or torn between multiple majors, you may be considering a double major. Choosing to major in two different subjects has its advantages, along with a few drawbacks to consider. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of pursuing a double major.

You Can Pursue Two Interests Simultaneously

One of the best reasons to choose a double major is that it allows you to pursue two separate areas of interest at the same time. For example, if you'd like to pursue a career in political science but also have an interest in art, a double major will allow you to pursue your career interests while also honing skills in a second area you are passionate about -- one that may later become a philanthropic cause for you or even a second career at some point. The time you have to pursue your bachelor's degree is a rare opportunity to explore many areas of interest and obtain a very broad and balanced education. Pursuing a double major is a great way to take advantage of that.

You'll be More Competitive in the Job Market

By gaining deep knowledge and skills in two potentially complementary subject areas (computer science and business, for example) you can gain a competitive advantage in the job market. Employers are always seeking potential team members who have a highly competitive skill set. As a newly minted college graduate, you won't have the same experience level that those out of school for some time can offer, but if you do have multiple skills that may be valuable to a company, you will likely be looked at in a more positive light and your resume may be pushed closer to the top of the stack of consideration. So, if you are considering a double major for immediate job competitiveness reasons, consider majors that complement and enhance each other, or that provide skills and knowledge that may be rare yet highly valued in your chosen field.

It May Take Longer to Complete Your Degree

Do consider that pursuing a double major may lengthen the amount of time you spend as an undergraduate. You will be required to fulfill all general education requirements to graduate, plus all classes required by your major. If you decide to double major, this may mean many more semester credit hours worth of classes. Even if you take the maximum course load allowed (which is recommended) you may still need an extra semester or even an extra year to complete your degree with all requirements for both majors.

It May be More Expensive to Complete Your Degree

Because of the additional time required to pursue most double majors, the amount of money you spend on your college degree will also likely increase. You will need to pay additional tuition and fees for each additional semester you spend at your college or university. Keep in mind that most schools charge a flat tuition rate for each semester if you are enrolled full time, so taking the maximum course load per semester is recommended to accommodate the most classes for your money. But as noted above, you will likely still need to pay for at least an additional semester or two to complete your degree.
When considering a double major, be sure to weigh the costs versus the benefits:

  • Do you want to pursue a second major for interest or for career potential (or, ideally, for both)?
  • How much longer will it take you to complete your degree (add up the classes and credit hours required for both majors and know how much time and money you will need for the second major ahead of time).
  • Is the second major something you are passionate enough about or potentially career-enhancing enough to justify the additional time and expense of extra time in college?

Once you've evaluated the facts, you will be in a great position to make the right choice for you and your budget.

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