For many college students, the hardest decision may not be deciding what to major in, but rather, what to double major or minor in.
Generally, to graduate from a college or university, a student must complete a certain number of units (each class taken is a certain number of units). Part of this unit requirement usually comes from a general education (GEs) curriculum, which are classes all students must take in a wide array of subjects. Many schools also have language requirements, where students must take a certain number of semesters in a foreign language. Lastly is the classes for your major, which are a combination of lower division and upper division courses. Some of the classes in the major are mandatory courses that everyone in the major takes, while others are courses that you may chose from for a specific focus or concentration in the major.
A double major consists of two majors going towards the same degree. The most common types of degrees are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.), as well as the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed). Because both majors are in the same degree program, students have no additional general education or language requirements. If the majors are from related fields of study, there may also be overlap in courses, meaning less overall classes a student must take.
Pursuing another major allows for an in-depth understanding of two different subjects. Some jobs may even require applicants to have received a degree in a certain field, so double majoring increases your job eligibility. Some schools also offer scholarships for students who are double majoring. Ultimately, double majoring allows you to be an expert in two different fields.
Adding on an extra major can be a big commitment, as it means many more classes you will have to take. If you are going to pursue a additional major, it’s important to that you are sure of your interest and commitment to the subject. Often times, many people will pursue another major and then lose interest and end up only minoring in it.
A dual degree consists of two majors that are different degree types or are from different schools within a university. For example, pursuing a B.S. in Business and a B.A. in French would be considered a dual degree program while pursuing a B.A. in French and a B.A. in Biology would be considered a double major. Because students are pursuing majors from different schools or different degree programs, the degree requirements may be different. For example, a student pursuing a major in the business school may not have a language requirement though a student whose major is in the college of arts and sciences may have to take three semesters of a language. Different schools within a university may also have different overall unit requirements, potentially requiring students to take more or less elective units than another school.
You get to graduate with two different degrees for the price of one. You also get many of the same benefits as double majoring, including more job flexibility, expertise in another field, etc. Having two degrees may also look good on a resume.
Chances are, there may not be much overlap in your required classes. Thus, it may take an extra semester or two to finish However, some universities do offer specially designed dual degree programs that are customized to ensure that students will be able to graduate in four years.
A minor is usually half the size of a major. There are three main types of minors. The first is the classic scaled down major. For example, a minor in international relations (IR) would contain the introductory course that all IR majors take, as well as several of the upper level IR courses. The second type is a more specific minor of which there is no major equivalent. This minor is essentially a concentration or specialization in another field. For example, a student could minor in entrepreneurship, a subset of the business major that many schools offer. Lastly, there are interdisciplinary minors, which contain classes from various majors and schools across the university.
Minors are half the size of a major, so they take less long to complete and give you more room for other electives. They’re a great opportunity to explore something more in-depth and explore your interests further.
In the long run, an employer probably won’t care if you minored in Spanish or Sociology. Ultimately, minors are more about pursuing your own interests than padding your resume.