Double majoring (known as a dual major if your majors cross colleges) is something that many students think about. There are pros and cons, of course. I just decided to get a dual major in Psychology and Anthropology. This will mean more work, but also so many more opportunities.
Here’s how my thought process went:
I love Psychology, but Anthropology is cool too. They both have really interesting classes, and both apply to what I want to do. I have Anthropology declared as a minor right now, but I did a Grad Planner with the major, and found out it wouldn’t take too many more credits for a major. I can do both and still graduate in 4 years, which is really important to me.
Why is doubling a good idea? It can look really good to future employers. It shows a lot of determination, and that you have differing interests that are both important to you. It can help you develop specialties that may not be possible with one major, or expand your knowledge base for what you’re planning on going into after school (Marketing and Psychology are a classic example).
So why not just minor? Some majors have seats and classes reserved for majors only. This may mean there are classes you can’t get into as a minor, limiting your options for specialization. Additionally, these classes that are “for majors only” can really help your understanding of the material. Research Methods classes can really expand your learning base and help you learn what is important in your field, but they’re often reserved for people majoring in that area. You also get a new advisor in your new major! They can help with classes, career ideas, and even more. You have a lot more resources to take advantage of.
Now for the downsides:
It may get difficult to schedule all your classes. When you have prerequisites and electives to fill for not one, but 2 majors, it may be hard to fit it all in. You may have to compromise on some classes, or stay an extra semester.
Depending on the majors, it may mean a lot more credits. Or overlapping harder classes, because both have to be taken, and there are only so many semesters in your college career. This means more stress. If you’re already stressing out about school, work, and extra-curricular activities, adding another major may not be for you.
Some majors have research or internship requirements. Fitting those in might get difficult when you add not only more classes, but requirements for another major. You might be able to get some requirements waved, or have them count for both, but you might not. Talk to an advisor in both majors before you decide.
Additionally, with your attention split, you might not put as much effort into either, as you might for just one major. You have to ask yourself if you can manage your time to do as well in all your classes, or if your grades are going to take a dip. If so, is it worth it?
If you’re thinking about doubling:
Check out the requirements for your new major in the major catalog or Grad Planner.
Talk to your current advisor, make an appointment with a career counselor, or set up an appointment with someone in your potential major’s advising center.
Visit the Deciding on a Major page on the UMD Career & Internship Services website for more resources on deciding on a major, what you can do with majors at UMD, and more.