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Declaring your major is an exciting time in your academic career. Perhaps you’ve finally found your calling, discovered your innate skill sets, or stumbled upon a deep-rooted passion for a particular subject.
Of course, the opportunity to essentially choose your own adventure and prepare yourself for the professional world can seem somewhat scary and overwhelming. Some students may even have trouble deciding between two majors or are interested in a related topic.
Thankfully, students can usually pick between a minor or double major in a second subject area. If you’re interested in pursuing more than one major or diving deeper into a subfield, this guide will break down the intricacies of choosing a double major or minor to study.
What’s the Difference Between Double Majors and Minors?
A double major combines two different majors in the same program. For example, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in business administration may be combined with a BS in accounting, allowing students to expand their education in a chosen field.
Students majoring in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program may also pursue an additional BA or BS degree to focus on a particular skill set or improve employment prospects following graduation. The combination of a BA or BS is known as a dual-degree program.
On the other hand, a minor comprises fewer credits and is designed for students to explore fields outside of their major or that supplement their primary specialization.
How to Choose Between a Double Major or Minor
Choosing to pursue a secondary academic interest can be tricky. In many instances, you might declare an additional subject area based on your interests and professional goals.
Consider your first declared major and the opportunities that lie ahead of graduation. Do you have plenty of career options? Are you genuinely engrossed in your chosen field? Will you eventually regret not pursuing a different major?
Even if your two degrees don’t exactly mesh, you can still validate your decisions so that employers will appreciate your investment in learning and your ability to integrate two opposing subjects.
Remember that more schooling is an added expense to an already costly degree. On average, attending a four-year, in-state public university costs $25,487 annually, including living expenses and books. It also requires a commitment of study and time—likely beyond the traditional four-year undergraduate program—to maintain good grades.
There isn’t an easy answer to whether a double major or minor is the right path for you. That’s something only you can decide based on your individual circumstances. However, if you’re interested in boosting your employability, hiring managers may be more impressed with a double major.
Likewise, graduate school is rather competitive. Listing a double major on your application may improve your chances of acceptance into a master’s program.
4 Great Examples of Double Majors
If you’re wondering what to double major in, several degree programs go very well together. These four double majors are great examples for you to consider.
1. Environmental Science and Public Policy
Environmental science programs are excellent degrees options for nature lovers who want to create a healthier planet for future generations.
To more effectively reach your goals, a public policy background can help you understand laws and regulations that impact the earth while better preparing you for advocacy roles with nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
Additionally, if you’re particularly interested in government careers, it’s essential to be well-versed in the environmental issues affecting your country, state, or city — from sustainability challenges to pollution.
2. Foreign Language and Business
Pursuing a business degree and a foreign language degree is ideal for students who wish to get involved in international business and trading endeavors.
Knowing a foreign language has several advantages — perhaps most importantly, it allows you to connect with others worldwide. The most spoken languages globally are English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, and Spanish.
Considering that most international business is conducted in North America, Asia, and South America, it should be no surprise that pairing your business education with a foreign language will open doors to several career and networking opportunities.
3. Marketing and Communications
If you’re interested in social media or public relations careers, a double major in marketing and communications can be practical in teaching you how to navigate evolving markets.
With nearly 58.7% of the global population using social media, marketers recognize the importance of leveraging digital tools to reach their target audience. In fact, according to HubSpot, 79% of global marketers bought paid advertising on social media to reach users in 2021.
As such, applicants with a comprehensive background in branding, personal relations, internal and external communication, and marketing are in very high demand.
4. Art and Business
Even the most talented artists struggle to achieve professional success and recognition. However, a double major in art and business will allow you to foster your talents and learn the business side of things.
The art field is highly competitive, making it crucial for creators to market and sell their work for a living wage. A business background will teach you how to price your product, maintain positive customer relationships, and navigate contracts.
Similarly, a business major can benefit from art programs by enriching your creativity and innovation skills — two traits that fuel the corporate world.
Double Major or Minor: The Choice is Yours
Pursuing a second college major or a minor isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re committed to learning, can spend more time at school, and it makes financial sense, declaring a double major could be your best option.
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