Double Major FAQ
Double Major Frequently Asked Questions
Jump to a question:
- Is a double major right for me?
- What regulations do I need to understand to double major?
- Does choosing one major mean giving up all others?
- How do I pursue a self-designed academic program?
Should you pursue a double major? The answer to this question depends on your academic interests and goals. Because there are a variety of ways to arrange your program of study (choices among majors, minors, certificates, and concentrations), it is important that you consider your decision carefully and understand how your choices will affect your academic requirements.
Consider a double major:
- If you will enjoy and do well in the required courses.
- If the coursework will help you focus your personal, academic, and career aspirations.
- If you are strongly committed to both majors.
- If a second adjunct major will complement your primary major.
Reconsider a double major:
- If you haven't clarified your academic interests and goals.
- If you simply want to impress potential employers or graduate schools.
- If the course work will be difficult to complete in four years.
- If you would like to take diverse courses outside of your major disciplines. Pursuing a double major can make it difficult to complete courses that are not part of your planned program of study.
- If your interests will be served better by existing interdisciplinary and ad hoc major options.
- If you won't have the time to take advantage of research and independent study opportunities, or departmental honors seminars.
If you intend to double major, you must declare your majors individually in each department. After you declare your majors, you will be assigned a departmental adviser for each of them.
In many cases, classes that you take as major requirements for one major may be used as related courses for your second major program. However, courses that you take as major requirements for one major program cannot be counted as major requirements for your second major. Because there are nuances to these rules, be sure to ask your adviser for more information. One year before you graduate, you must submit a separate Petition to Graduate in each of your major's departments.
If you complete all of the requirements associated with the majors from two different departments, both majors will be indicated on your transcript.
There are several options for you to combine your academic interests. While the degree requirements of your school mandate that you complete a major, you also have a variety of alternatives that include dual degree programs, a second major, a minor, certificate programs, concentrations within majors, and foreign study. You can also design your own major if a traditional academic program does not meet your interests (see below). Other possibilities include using elective courses to complement your major program. For example, if you are interested in marketing, courses in communication studies, psychology, economics, and sociology may be useful to you.
If you are enrolled in WCAS, you can design an ad hoc major.
- First, consult with a faculty member in a discipline related to your interests and gain his or her support for your proposed program.
- Then, through a petition to the Curricular Review Committee, prove in a well-written proposal that your major is rigorous and feasible, in part, by including a list of courses that are consistently offered and represent a variety of difficulty levels and academic disciplines.
- Finally, you must submit letters from professors who approve of your self-designed program.
If you are a student in McCormick you can pursue a major in the Combined Studies Program.
- First, you must identify three faculty members with whom you will develop your proposed curriculum. Your principal adviser should be an engineering faculty member.
- Then, petition the McCormick School Curriculum Committee for approval. Keep in mind that your proposed course list must integrate the curriculum requirements for majors in McCormick.
If you are enrolled in the School of Music you can create an ad hoc program.
- You may apply for this program after you have completed Music's core curriculum.
- You must identify twelve courses (at least six music courses), secure a faculty sponsor, and write a proposal to the Committee on Ad Hoc Degree Programs. Your proposal should include the stated objectives of your program, potential courses, types of assignments to be completed, and how you are to be graded.
If you are enrolled in the School of Communication you can pursue an interdepartmental studies major.
- The associate dean for undergraduate students must approve your proposed program.
- You must complete the Speech distribution requirements, three required courses, and 13 classes that you choose to create your program of study.
For more information about any of these programs, contact the dean of undergraduate students in your respective school or consult with the Academic Advising Center.