The ever-changing and fast-paced job market requires college students to step up and gain an advantage over their peers to succeed in their chosen career path. While some people choose to upskill many people choose to pursue advanced degree options. This is often when questions about earning a double major vs dual degree come in.
The fundamental difference between a double major and a dual degree may seem vague at first glance. Many educational institutions offer both programs, but which of the two should you choose to become competitive in the job market? Find out whether you should take up a double major or dual degree in the article below.
What Is a Double Major?
A double major earns you one degree in two academic disciplines. You will earn the same credit total as a single degree. If you plan to pursue a double major, you develop a very comprehensive skill set for both specializations. This will give you an additional advantage in your chosen career path.
If you are currently choosing what to major in college, double majoring earns you two specializations but with the same academic requirements as a single degree program, usually within the same field of study. Having double majors will give you broader skills and more career possibilities in the future.
Types of Double Majors
- Engineering and business
- Political science and foreign language
- Economics and marketing
What Is a Dual Degree?
A dual degree program lets you study for separate degrees and earn two separate credentials. You earn double degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. Though it is common in undergraduate programs, students can also study for a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at the same time.
A student taking up a double degree program can choose different degree combinations that match their desired career path. For example, you can take an engineering degree and a business degree to become an engineering executive in the future.
Types of Dual Degrees
- Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Master’s in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Master’s in Information Technology
- Master’s in Finance and Master’s in Accounting
Is a Double Major Faster Than a Dual Degree?
Yes, earning a double major degree is faster than earning a dual degree. If you are going to study a dual degree program, you will be required to do more coursework than a double major, meaning extra time in school. Specific program length will depend on each program’s degree requirements and credit hours.
Taking up a double major is much like taking up a single major college degree. This means that you can usually finish college in the regular four-year time frame, or five years if it is a professional degree. You will most likely have the same credit hour requirements as for a regular college degree.
Is a Double Major Easier Than a Dual Degree?
Yes, a double major program is easier than a dual degree program. However, this will depend on the program and your ability to manage a heavy workload and other challenges. For one, a dual degree is usually taken in separate schools. Secondly, the major requirements of a dual degree, especially in a STEM field, are often more challenging than having a secondary major.
The difficulty of a double major program will also depend on what primary major and secondary major you are going to take. You may have to take advanced classes which will add to your course load.
Is a Double Major Better Than a Dual Degree?
Not necessarily. The benefits of a double major are different from a dual degree so it is hard to say which one is better. It will depend on your career goals and career objectives. Both of these academic tracks will give you a wide array of career opportunities and offer additional learning to help you meet your career aspirations.
5 Key Differences Between a Double Major and a Dual Degree
One of the basic differences between a double major and a dual degree is the cost of financing your education. In most universities, a student must earn 120 credits for a double major and 150 credits for a dual degree. These additional credits make a dual degree more expensive than a double major.
Moreover, you will also be paying for more housing, textbooks, and may need more allowance because you will be in school longer. However, you should take note that some dual degree programs have overlap in courses which can help you save more money long-term.
If you are going to study any type of dual degree program, you will need to earn more credits. For example, the University of Massachusetts Amherst requires 120 credits for a double major and 150 credits for a double degree program. You must complete the full requirements for both majors if they are in different colleges, as is the case with dual degrees.
A dual degree means you will be pursuing two degrees, which is usually in separate schools. This means that you need to apply to and get accepted to both schools. Some schools require students to complete one full semester before applying to a dual degree program.
Meanwhile, a double major program is usually housed in the same school. There is no need to apply for admission to a different school. You will simply need to take note of the number of credits you need to take and consider whether the schedule will not be an issue in the long run.
If you are going for a double degree program, then you will be staying in school for five years for a double bachelor’s, five years for a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and three years for two masters’. For a double major, you will be staying in school the same amount of time it takes for a single major degree.
Another major difference is the result that you get after your studies. As a dual degree student, you will earn two separate degrees. If you are going to undergo a double major program, you will be getting one degree with two different specializations.
Jobs That Require a Double Major
- Accounting. Students who take a double major in finance management and accounting may pursue a career in bookkeeping and accounting. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for these jobs is $73,560 per year.
- Detectives/Criminal Profiler. Students who double major in criminology and psychology can become detectives or criminal profilers. This job entails analyzing crime scene information to find leads on suspects and working closely with lawyers and law enforcement officers. BLS states that the median annual wage for detectives is $89,300.
- Epidemiologist. Students who double major in public policy and environmental science can be an epidemiologist. This job requires speaking, collecting environmental data, and creating environmental plans. BLS states that epidemiologists make an average of $74,560 as their median annual wage.
Jobs That Require a Dual Degree
- Software Developer. There are many ways to become a software developer. One of them is having a dual degree in computer science. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science will help you gain specialized skills and advanced knowledge of computer software and hardware.
- Midwife. Midwifery is a highly specialized field focused on women’s health, especially childbirth. A dual degree in nursing will help you learn the necessary medical and clinical skills to take care of a woman’s overall health.
- Marketing Communications Manager. A marketing communications manager develops marketing strategies of a company. The University of Southern California offers a dual degree program on Master of Arts in Global Communication and Master of Science in Global Media.
Should You Get a Double Major or a Dual Degree?
Choosing whether to get a double major or a dual degree will depend on a range of factors. These factors include your financial circumstances, how much time you are willing to spend in university, and the challenges you are prepared to take. Different career paths have different educational requirements, and some professions may not need the extra level of study.
Double Major vs Dual Degree FAQ
The top three business double majors are computer information systems and marketing, computer information systems and economics, and computer information systems and human resources management.
Yes, you can choose to undergo a double major program and have minors. Some schools have guidelines and limits for how many minors a student can take if they are studying a double major program.
Yes, there are many dual degrees available online. Online degrees are a flexible option for students who can’t attend regular classes. It is also a beneficial choice for those who want to attend their dream school but cannot do so physically. You can study an undergraduate degree program or a graduate program in various fields of study.
The best schools that offer dual degrees depend on the academic specialization you would like to pursue. For example, for those who want to pursue a career in the medical field, the US News & World Report ranks Johns Hopkins University highly, which offers an advanced dual program for a Doctor of Medicine and a PhD.
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