To Double Major or Not…

Is double majoring a good idea or just a lot of extra work? What about minors? Double minors? Concentrations? What are other people considering?
~ Anonymous

5 thoughts on “To Double Major or Not…

  1. Hey there. I am 100% sure double majoring in Political Science and East Asian Studies. I wanted to learn about Asia but wasn’t too comfortable having that as my main focus, hence I decided to also shoot for PoliSci. Theresa Tensuan suggested that if the double major became too difficult for me I could always drop one major into a minor. Since that was an awesome tip that I had no idea of, my dilemma about double majoring or not (because two theses is scary) is now solved. I am also want to concentrate on Peace, Justice and Human Rights. It is a very interesting topic for me so my way of thinking with all of these is that I might as well get credit for doing something that I enjoy.

    “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius (www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius134717.html#LtVmXEm3cjlqvEsd.99)

  2. Hi, anonymous!

    I’m a current double major (English and Linguistics), working on a joint thesis this year, and loving it! Even so, though my majors have worked out really well for me, I don’t think there’s always a benefit to double majoring. I spent some time looking over the requirements and planning out my future semesters before I could be really sure I could (and wanted to) do both– and I talked to my advisors/Dean Watter to get advice. It’s a lot of work on a fixed schedule, so I don’t have much room for electives. For two departments that have a lot of major requirements, it’s not always a good idea to keep pursuing both at the major level, especially if both have theses and you can’t combine into one joint topic (or you’re not interested in the intersection of those disciplines). I know I had to limit the amount of English and linguistics courses I could take to just above the base requirements, so I could fit both into my schedule.

    There’s nothing wrong with having one major, and there’s no shame in giving yourself more leeway with courses by focusing on one department– minors and concentrations are great options to get deeper experience with other areas without the requirements of a thesis. Really, it comes down to what works for you, your growing interests, and your schedule. The reason I chose to double major was mostly because my interests lie at the intersection of both departments, and I felt that my work in each discipline would benefit greatly from what I learned in the other’s courses.

    Single major students make up the majority of Haverfordians, and choosing depth over breadth is a great choice to make, and never is “settling” or “giving up.” Best of luck with your majoring plans!

      • Hey, Emily! It likely depends on the program. I’d say that definitely can give you an edge (and not just in grad school admissions, but in the job market)– you’ll have a unique perspective that schools will like to see, and you’ll stand out as an individual among the other applicants. But so will extracurriculars, academic projects, and summer work; if you’re sure graduate school is the path for you, check to see what successful applicants have done.

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