Last Updated: Dec 2, 2011
Career Counselor, Author, and Editor
Completing a major normally requires a significant number of courses in a particular subject area. This indicates to employers and further education programs (e.g., grad school) that you have a good foundation of knowledge in the subject. A double major indicates that you have two areas of significant knowledge and have completed courses that have allowed you to go in some depth into both those subjects. The benefits to this are that you may be able to connect well with future options (career and post-degree education) that are related to your first major or your second major or even something that combines the two. Simply put, a double major may help give you connect with additional post-college options. Completing elective courses in a second discipline can also demonstrate a second area of knowledge in a similar way but the advantage of a structuring it formally as a double major is that it should be written on your diploma (and is therefore very obvious and easy for employers/grad schools to understand).
Executive Director of Enrollment Management
University of Northern Colorado
Choosing a major in college is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life! While there is considerable amount of pressure being placed on students today to choose a major, many times this does not just simply occur magically. Instead, the choice of college major is dictated by a number of factors, including one's own personal value system, interests, and attraction to a particular subject matter.
However, there are many pitfalls associated with major choice, including choosing something that does not really interest you (just settling on something) and financial issues associated with staying in college longer with a double major. For some a double major makes plenty of sense. If you have an altruistic interest in a subject, but also have a genuine interest in another subject, a double major may be for you. However, know that earning a double major takes more time in college and it may make more sense to simply earn the bachelor's degree and seek a masters degree in the same subject area as the time to completion may be close to identical. Don't forget, you may also be able to minor or specialize in a secondary subject as well. At the end of the day, you must weigh your finances, time, interests, and patience in determining what makes sense.