Making the decision to double-major isn’t simple. A double major is a college degree program where students choose to study two different academic subjects as one combined areas of focus. There are many things to think about when deciding to double-major, particularly if you're considering two very different disciplines. You should ask yourself two questions: How would your double major function, and is it a good idea for you? This path can be a great way to combine two areas of interest and gain a well-rounded education, and there are many majors that can be paired to create a path of study that’s well suited to your interests and career goals.
What’s the difference between a double major and a dual degree?
Another important thing to consider before you forge ahead is the difference between double-majoring and pursuing a dual degree. Double majors are often granted within the same department or school. For instance, if you major in both Business and Economics, you’ll likely receive a single Bachelor of Science degree for your two areas of study. A dual degree is kind of like a double major, but with a dual degree, you obtain two distinct degrees such as a BA and a BS, as opposed to one degree for two fields of study. Programs that combine two degrees often take five or six years to complete, while you can still graduate in four years with a double major.
Related: How to Know if a Nontraditional Major Path Is Right for You
Examples of compatible double major pairings
There are many popular fields that can be paired to create a double major that’s tailored to your future goals. Here are just a few classic combinations:
- Business and Economics: A student who majors in Business may choose to pair it with a major in Economics. This combination provides a strong foundation in business principles and an understanding of economic theories and concepts. It’s a good fit for a student interested in a career in finance or consulting.
- Engineering and Computer Science: This double major provides students with a strong technical foundation and the skills to design and build complex systems. This combination is a good fit for those interested in a career in technology or engineering.
- Psychology and Education: A student majoring in Psychology may choose to pair their degree with a major in Education, creating an academic path that could lead to a career in school counseling or educational psychology.
- Political Science and International Relations: If you’re thinking of pursuing Political Science, consider pairing it with a major in International Relations. This combo is good for students interested in a career in diplomacy or foreign policy.
- Biology and Chemistry: Biology majors could pair their degree with a major in Chemistry to prepare for a career in research or pharmaceuticals.
Related: College Options for Students With Multiple Major Interests
Is there a “right” combination?
It’s important to note that the second major you choose to pair with your first chosen field of study does not have to completely complement it. If you choose to major in Chemistry and are also interested in Graphic Design or Art, it won’t drag you down in any way. If you’re willing to complete the coursework for both of these passions, the end result doesn’t really matter because you’re doing what you enjoy.
Benefits of declaring a double major
There are many benefits of double-majoring—the biggest one being an increase in job opportunities. A study published by the Cambridge University Press showed that students who double-major in Business and a STEM field typically earn more than those with only one major. But the combination doesn’t have to be constricted to just Business and STEM; any two majors doubles the potential of your career search. You’ll also receive a more well-rounded education—obtaining a unique set of skills, viewpoints, and ideas you’ll be able to apply in your professional and personal life.
Related: Top 6 Pros and Cons of Double-Majoring in College
Overall, a double major can be a great way for a college student to have a well-rounded academic experience and prepare for a successful career. By carefully choosing two majors that work for you as a student, you can gain a unique set of skills and knowledge to set yourself apart in the job market.
Need help deciding on a major in general? You can find a ton of advice in our Majors and Academics section under the subsection “How to Choose a Major.”