Double Major vs. Dual Degree: What’s the Difference?
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In this article we will cover
- What is a double major?
- What is a dual degree?
- What are the differences between a double major and dual degree?
- What are the similarities between a double major and a dual degree?
- The pros of double majors and dual degrees?
- The cons of double majors and dual degrees?
- Examples of double majors
- Examples of dual degrees
- Should you do a double major or dual degree?
Let's get started
There are countless ways to make your college degree more marketable. When you're ready to launch your career. Choosing double majors or dual degrees will definitely help a student stand out.
But how does a student determine the right path?
Which one leads to the better result?
What looks more impressive on a college transcript and on a resume?
It depends. There are benefits and drawbacks to both situations. Students should have a clear idea of their educational and career goals. Which will help drive this decision?
So in this article we are going to give you the breakdown for both paths.
First up what is a double?
Major choosing a double major means that a student declares two different majors that often complement each other from the same program or college at their university. When that student graduates, they receive a diploma for a bachelor's degree that lists two specializations. For example the diploma will be for a bachelor of science for the double major in mass media and graphic arts.
Students who double major are able to pursue two areas of study that they are passionate about. Then they can use that unique specialization to improve their employment options. Typically students choose a primary degree to start their college education. Map out a clear path for both majors with an advisor and then declare the second major about halfway through college so on that note.
What is a dual degree?
A dual degree is more involved than a double major. Students who pursue a dual degree also choose to study two different areas. However they receive two degrees or diplomas from different fields upon graduating. Dual degrees may yield two bachelor degrees from different colleges a bachelor's and a master's degree from the same college or two masters or professional degrees. Because a dual degree includes coursework in two different disciplines, a student is usually required to apply to, and be accepted by, each school before they start college. This ensures that the student is ready for, and committed to, both programs.
Dual degrees improve employment prospects after graduation and if degrees are bachelors and masters they often lead to increased pay.
So what are the key differences between a double major and a dual degree?
There are several key differences between a double major and a dual degree. From the start as mentioned earlier a double major leads to one degree upon graduation. While a dual degree means that a student earns two degrees when they graduate.
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Several other key differences include the following
Students should have an idea before they start college if they want to pursue a double major or a dual degree. Both options require a clear plan so that the students stay on track and finishes college in a reasonable time frame. Ideally it won't be more than four years. However, a double major can be declared- and sometimes must be declared per the university- later on, while a dual degree should be declared before starting college. That's how it usually goes. There is a more involved planning process for a dual degree because it is for more than one program in more than one discipline. It’s far more specialized.
It will take less time to earn a double major than a dual degree. If a student's interests lie within the same program or discipline, they can double up on as many classes they can to save time. For example general education requirements are often the same for two degrees within the same college and can be counted for both majors. Universities have a limit on how many of these courses can be counted for both majors. With a dual degree, however, there's more coursework involved, which will take more time.
Classes will not transfer easily between degrees, so more credit hours are required, in some cases universities offer accelerated dual programs such as a bachelor of science in a business program and a master of business administration in five years.
Because many classes can be counted for two majors, fewer classes must be taken, which costs less overall. For a dual degree, students will need to take more coursework, which costs more in the long run.
Both double major and dual degree options improve a student's job prospects because in both cases the student is showing a range of abilities and a distinct specialization. The dual degree however is literally two degrees, often at two different lengths and levels of study upon graduation. Earning both bachelor's and master's degrees at the same time means that a student graduates at a higher level, which will likely yield better job opportunities and pay.
What are some similarities between a double major and a dual degree?
Whether student chooses to double major or to declare dual degrees? They are choosing to study two fields at the same time in college. It’s that simple; often these are areas that complement and strengthen each other. For example a recent survey of college graduates showed that the most lucrative double major was in business and in a stem field. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Other times the majors or degrees are quite different to create a unique specialty.
The similarities between a double major and dual degree include the following:
In both cases, a student gains a great deal more from their education by broadening their knowledge in areas in which they're passionate. Through a double major or dual degree, a student is able to create a unique specialization that makes them more marketable after they graduate.
Students who decided to double up majors or degrees tend to display similar skills and characteristics. They are creative and dynamic. They are organized and hardworking. These skills are what drive them to a more challenging course load and help them to stay on track.
Whether a double major or dual degree, astudent can focustheir education on a very specializedcareer. For example, someone who doublemajors in art and biologymight learn how to draw a detailed andaccurate illustrations for an anatomytextbook.
Adding a major or degree to undergraduate work will only enhance the student's options. It’s important to map out a plan and purpose toward a career goal, but even if that original plan doesn't come to fruition, a student who doubled up on majors or degrees now has more options, more skills and more knowledge to draw from. And options are always a good thing in life.
So what are the pros of double majors?
Choosing a double major only enhances a student's skills and knowledge. A student who shows an interest in more than one area or in a certain specialization will benefit from dedicating a little more time to a double major.
A double major typically involves two majors within the same school program or discipline at a university. We've said that before.
This is beneficial because much of the coursework such as general education courses will account for both majors. Which again will save you a lot of time and money. So a student can increase their skills and education with a reasonable number of additional courses. Because many courses will account for both majors. This also means a student is saving money. Fewer credits are required for a double major.
Having a second major also provides a student with a backup plan. If the educational or career path doesn't go as planned, there are other skills from which to draw. And as mentioned a pro you're choosing two majors is that employers will notice your drive and additional skill set through that second major.
What are the cons of double majors?
It’s important to work closely with an advisor to plan a course load with two majors. It is possible to graduate within four years. But if the second major is declared late not enough courses crossover or the student does not stay on track with the educational path. It could take longer than a traditional four years to graduate.
That additional course load also means a lot of dedication to classes and additional stress. Students who choose to double major should make sure they can handle the stress of additional classes and work.
And although a double major will illustrate to employers that a student is dedicated and has a broad knowledge base it will likely not translate to a higher or a better paying position than peers. A double major still yields one bachelor's degree. Which usually does not lead to better pay or a higher position.
What are the pros of dual degrees?
Students who pursue dual degrees leave college with two degrees. Right that makes sense this can be either two bachelor's degrees from different colleges or programs, or degrees from different levels of study, like a bachelor's and a master's degree. Graduating with two degrees – especially if there are bachelors and masters – can and should lead to a better position or more pay with an employer.
Dual degrees require more work but often lead to more rewards in the long run. If you leverage your dual degree correctly.
What are the cons of dual degrees?
Dual degrees must be declared early and they typically require admission to both degree programs. You’ll probably apply to a dual degree program even before you get into college. This is something a student must be committed to from the very beginning.
Because the degrees are in different programs or colleges, fewer – or no – classes can count for both degrees. This means that a student will take more classes. This requires more time and money for courses, the programs often cannot be completed in the traditional four years.
Again check out with your dual degree program on that information
Students who want to pursue dual degrees should have a clear path in place with an advisor that shows their educational path and career goals. A dual degree will require a lot of dedication to class work.
What are some examples of double majors?
Students can get very creative with their double major combinations. Some combos make a student more versatile and marketable, others are unique.
Examples of common double majors include:
- Two business majors
- Foreign language and business
- Foreign language and political science
- Foreign language and international studies
- Communication and science
- Economics and math
- Economics and engineering
What are some examples of dual degrees?
Dual degrees include one of the following: Two bachelor's degree a bachelor's and master's degree or two graduate or professional degrees.
Many times popular dual degrees can be taken on an accelerated timeline. Such as a five-year BS/BA plus MBA program.
Examples of common dual bachelor's degrees include the following:
- BS/BA in engineering
- BS/BA in business
- BA/BFA in art
Examples of common bachelor's and master's degree combinations include:
- BS/MS in engineering
Examples of two graduate or professional degrees include:
- Master's/ JD
So should you do a double major or dual degree?
Choosing a double major versus a dual degree depends on your passions and career aspirations. So you gotta work backward.
Here are some questions to consider before deciding on either option:
- What are your interests?
- What are your career aspirations?
- How much time are you willing to dedicate to coursework?
- How much money can you set aside for coursework?
- Are you able to handle the stress of additional work?
Conclusion: Double Vs Dual Degree
Students who are interested in more than one specialization will benefit greatly from either a double major or a dual degree. This shows employers that you have drive motivation creativity and dedication. It also brings a broader skill set to the job to determine the right path. You should think carefully about what you want to pursue and how much time and money you are willing to commit to the required coursework. Like we said ask those questions and be honest with yourself. you should also work closely with an advisor to confirm the necessary classes and schedule to stay on track.
And that’s it for this article. We hope you learned a lot about the differences between a double major and a dual degree.