Image from Pexel Commons

Image from Pexel Commons.

“What do you want to study?”

“What major are you?”

“What do you want to be in the future?”

I hated these questions. I knew my interests–including science and business—but I could never pinpoint what I want to major in college. My reluctance to commit to one single field of interest made me the business-pre-med-double-major I am today. I hope my experience serves as a useful guide to students who are still deciding.

Test the Waters with High School Courses

Although a high school course schedule is A LOT different from a college schedule, it’s still a great way to explore your interests and test out possible majors. I selected a mix of science and business-oriented courses during my years in high school (AP Physics, Biology, Micro/Macroeconomics, etc.) after starting to consider the double major path. I struggled a little with the workload at first, but I became more comfortable with and interested in the classes as the year went on. I dissected cats in biology, loved the microeconomics games, and really took my chances with physics equations (can’t look at Big Bang Theory the same way again). Looking back, I’m glad I pushed myself to take on a challenging schedule; it really gave me more confidence in my capabilities and a sense of what a double major is like.

Planning Makes Perfect

Since business and pre-med (mostly biology and chemistry) majors aren’t in related fields, there aren’t many required courses that will overlap. Therefore, good planning is essential to a successful double major experience.

Claim as many AP credits as possible

AP credits are extremely useful because they can cover most of the university core courses (if your school has a core). With most of the basic courses out of the way, you will have room for required courses from both majors.

Map out your four year plan

There are a few exams for business and pre-med students, most prominently the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and the CPA exam for accounting majors. Both exams required more than one year of intense, time-consuming preparation. If you are planning to take any of the professional exams, you need to plan your prep time around difficult courses or important events from the second major.

But nothing is set to stone! Many private colleges are very flexible with adding/dropping courses for multiple major students, and a lot of public universities have honors programs that will do the same. Even if you forgot to cram in an intro course or lab times, there are always ways to fix it.

Steer Yourself into a General Direction

Although double-majoring will give you a variety of options for your future career, you still need to find a general direction for the purposes of finding residency, internships, jobs, etc. Here are a few most popular career options for a business/pre-med student:

  • Healthcare finance
  • Medical/pharmaceutical sales
  • Medical business management
  • Informatics
  • Research management


Don’t be Scared

Many students are often discouraged from pursuing a business/pre-med double major due to the daunting number of required courses, the fear of not graduating in four years, the two drastically different field, etc. To be honest, I’ve also had those doubts before I made my decision, but I became more and more confident as I researched and planned out my years of study. I’m positive that a double major will help me grow as a more well-rounded student and give me a variety of career options in the future. TP readers, please allow yourself to explore your interests, even if it meant choosing a rigorous double major or minor!

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3 Readers Commented

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  1. K on August 9, 2015

    Hi May!
    This is a helpful article, but can you advise me on my own, two unrelated-majors?
    I want to study international relations and science/math in college. However, I have very little “proof” that science and math are something that I enjoy on my transcript and EC list. Also, as you mentioned, double majoring is scary!
    Public/community/global health is a possibility, but these majors are difficult to find for undergrads and they don’t incorporate many of the “hard” sciences in their curriculum. So, I’m thinking I can study that in grad school. What would be a broader major for undergrad studies that would combine my interests?
    I would appreciate any help!

    • May Liu Author on August 10, 2015

      Hi K!

      Thank you for reaching out! You have such a wide range of interests and very ambitious plans—Props to you for double-majoring!
      If your resume doesn’t demonstrate a clear interest in a certain major, you should definitely figure out which major your ECs orient more towards. If your resume is more liberal arts than science/math, you can certainly apply to international relations (given that you have more of an edge in that area). Remember, most schools allow you to put down two or more preferences when it comes to major selection. You can also choose to apply for one major and add on a double major during your undergraduate studies.
      For the Public Health major possibility, I suggest combining a more rigorous math/science degree with international relations or global health degree if you feel like you are missing that component. Also, you should keep in mind that many universities have flexible majors that cover your interests, so you can certainly look for majors like those or interdisciplinary programs when you are applying. A few examples would be Biometry and Statistics (Cornell), Development Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies (UC Berkeley), etc.
      Hope my response helps! And best of luck to you this application season!


      • K on August 11, 2015

        Thank you for your response! The options you mentioned are very helpful and opened my eyes to the possibilities.
        Thanks for your time,

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