FAQ: Can I Double Major and Graduate in Four Years?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 25, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When completing an undergraduate degree, students often select a major based on the job they want in the future. Double majoring allows them to combine two passions during their studies. Understanding how double majoring works can help you decide if it's something that would help you reach your career goals. In this article, we discuss what a double major is, whether you can earn one in four years and answer some frequently asked questions about the process.

What is a double major?

A double major is the academic discipline of two subjects under the same degree. To earn this, students complete degree requirements for two separate degrees. These may be two related fields, such as accounting and finance, or two fields that help reach a professional goal, such as economics and public health.

Related: What Is a Major In College: FAQs

Can I double major and graduate in four years?

Someone completing a double major can graduate in four years when planning accordingly. To accelerate your process, consider earning college credits in high school through advanced placement (AP) classes. This can help you begin your college education with some credits. You can also declare your double major early so you can start taking classes for each earlier. Your academic advisor can help you understand your options and learn what requirements you need to meet. Another way to help you complete your degree sooner is by taking summer courses.

Like earning a single major, those earning two majors complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. The time to complete a double major varies depending on the number of units each major requires and may require additional credit hours. However, depending on the majors you pick, some credits for your second major may overlap with your first.

Related: How To Write a Double Major on a Resume (With Tips, Templates and Examples)

What are some popular double majors?

Some popular double majors to consider studying include:

Foreign language and international studies

A double major in a foreign language and international studies can prepare someone for a career abroad. Here, students learn how to speak another language and develop the skills needed to interact with other cultures and governments. Possible career options for those completing a foreign language and international studies double major include:

  • Language specialist

  • Diplomatic agent

  • Humanitarian relief worker

Criminal justice and psychology

Double majoring in criminal justice and psychology is another common double major since it provides the knowledge and skills needed to work in mental health treatment and social services. Having a major in psychology can help those planning to work in the criminal justice field understand their clients' behavior and emotions. Some jobs this pair is helpful for include:

  • Addiction counselor

  • Prison psychologist

  • Trial consultant

Economics and mathematics

Another double major option is combining economics and mathematics to develop logical thinking skills using mathematical methods. A mathematics major is helpful for those aspiring to work in the economics field since they often deal with numbers and calculations. Those completing a double major in economics and mathematics may pursue the following careers:

  • Actuary

  • Financial analyst

  • Consultant

Political science and statistics

Students earning a political science and statistics double major learn research methods and critical thinking skills. This combination can help prepare them for a job in social sciences where they may collect data from studies. The following are some career options for political science and statistics double majors:

  • Political scientist

  • Sociologist

  • Social worker

Marketing and communications

The marketing and communications double major can prepare students for a career in a variety of media platforms. Understanding communications is beneficial for those in marketing since it helps them learn effective methods for conveying their ideas. The following are some roles that benefit from a marketing and communications double major:

  • Director of marketing and communications

  • Social media manager

  • Public relations manager

Art and business

Those planning to sell their artwork may consider majoring in both art and business. Taking courses in business can help artists learn how to market their art and discover tactics for working with clients. Potential jobs to pursue after earning the art and business double major include:

  • Art director

  • Interior designer

  • Art gallery dealer

Related: 18 Top Business Double Majors

What are the benefits of double majoring?

Earning a double major can be a great option for students with several interests. It's also helpful for those who are working toward a specific job that may involve two fields of study. Benefits of earning a double major include:

Giving you a competitive advantage

Double majoring can help you stand out in the job market since few students earn more than one degree. This additional study also shows employers that you have a strong work ethic that can transfer into the workplace. Those considering graduate school or internships with notable companies may also have an advantage in earning this type of degree.

Increasing your job options

Having a double major can also help you expand your job opportunities because it prepares you for roles in two career fields. This can also provide the potential to earn higher salaries, and those with double majors can become specialized candidates for a job. Employers may prefer these types of individuals since they have diverse training and can work in a niche area.

Helping you improve problem-solving skills

Those pursuing two majors can learn how to solve problems differently. Since their studies are in two fields, they learn how to evaluate problems from both mindsets. For example, someone majoring in business and economics may access situations from both a business perspective and an economic perspective. Double majoring allows students to look at problems in new ways, bringing knowledge and skills from both fields.

Expanding your network

Completing a double major can help provide you with a larger network. You may make professional connections with students and professors from both subjects. This can help you find an entry-level job post-college and provide you with an advantage over those who only have a network from one major.

Related: Should You Double Major in College?

Can you double major at every college?

Many colleges and universities allow students to double major. However, some schools may not offer a specific double major program. It also may be easier to pursue at schools with one set of core requirements, rather than those that separate students into individual colleges at the institution. When choosing a college, research their requirements for double majoring. Deadlines for declaring your majors may vary by college and some require department approval. Schools sometimes refer to double majors by other names, such as secondary emphasis or double concentration.

Related: How To Choose a College in 6 Steps

How is a minor different from a double major?

One of the biggest differences between earning a minor and earning a double major is a minor often takes less time to complete. This is because earning a double major involves completing more credits and coursework than earning a major with a minor. A double major provides an in-depth study of two fields, whereas a minor provides foundational knowledge of a field to accompany your major.

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