Is Double Majoring a Good Idea? Probably Not

By Sam Coren Staff

is double majoring a good ideaFor some students, the idea of taking two majors in college rather than one, or double majoring, is exciting. It can be tough choosing between two subjects you care very deeply about. A lot of students take it upon themselves to enroll in two programs simultaneously so they can have the best of both worlds.

I’ve also met students who decided to double major after figuring out more than halfway through college that their originally declared major just wasn’t for them. In an attempt to feel like they didn’t have “useless” credits from their first major on their transcript they chose to “double down” and finish up their old degree requirements while fulfilling the new ones.

So are two undergrad degrees really better than one right? Should you even bother? Some users on Quora have excellent insights to share on the topic:

Limited Course Flexibility for Electives

“The downside to double majoring is that it dramatically limits your class flexibility. You will have very little freedom to just take cool classes outside of your two majors.

Therefore, I think double majoring only makes sense if:

1. You are interested in working in a field / position where you will rely on both degrees and where it will help you to be able to point to both degrees.

2. You have a sufficient personal interest in both fields that you want to get a rigorous education in both.

In the more likely situation that you just find a second field interesting or you think having some knowledge in the second field could someday be useful, I would recommend that you just major in the one that is more important to you (or more useful for your future goals) and take whichever classes interest you in the second department. You will gain all the benefits of the double major (absent conditions one and two above) without having to take all the boring classes that major curriculum forces on you, and you will have the freedom to also take an awesome sounding class from a totally unrelated discipline if you decide to.”

-Ravi Sankar

Ravi Sankar is a Senior in Computer Science at Stanford University and a team member at Piazzza.

“Very shortly after you graduate, nobody gives a darn.”

“I did it both ways. First time in college: double majored (also double minored, can we not talk about what a crazy overachiever I was?). Yes, it did quite nearly drive me crazy, though I’ll admit I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

Second time: single major, was working already in a field where I’d rely on two fields I had thought about majoring in, but decided to keep the second one as something I could take classes in as I had time and interest, not a major. (Which Ravi Sankar suggests in his answer.) And I had a minor that was different from either of those two (long story, but minoring in the second interest wasn’t allowed).

Although I ended up only two classes short of a true double-major, I’m glad I did it that way. The pressure was much less—and the two classes I didn’t take bored me to tears just reading the course syllabi.

Also: Very shortly after you graduate, nobody gives a darn. (It may distress you just how quickly no one gives a darn!) If you know your stuff, you know your stuff. End of story.

So based on my own experience, I recommend not double majoring. It leaves your college experience much more open—even if you do end up indulging your passion for the second topic, the choice is made much more freely.”

- Kelly Erickson

Kelly Erickson is a small business Experience Designer and author of the Maximum Customer Experience Blog.


So where do you stand on the concept of double majoring? Did you double major in college? Do you regret it? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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