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Considering a double major or a dual degree? Here’s the difference and what you need to know!

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

If you are passionate about more than one field of study, then you might be interested in pursuing a post-secondary education in both.

This could either mean enrolling in a dual degree or a double major. Now it’s important you understand the differences between the two because they are not interchangeable.

Learning about dual degrees and double majors as they relate to your academic and professional goals can help you decide which program would be the right fit for you. In this guide, we discuss everything you need to know about dual degrees and double majors -from the differences between the two options to the potential benefits.

The difference between a double major and a dual degree

The main difference between a double major and a dual degree is what you end up with upon graduation. With a double major, you get one degree in two fields of study as opposed to a dual degree that awards you two separate diplomas in two distinct concentrations.

Typically, earning a double major takes the same amount of time as graduating with a single major. That being said, some majors require additional credits to complete, which could entail a longer time to graduate. These majors can be related or entirely different, though it’s most beneficial to you when you choose majors that complement one another, like criminal justice and psychology or communication and business.

On the other hand, a dual degree helps you earn two distinct credentials in fields of your choice (based on your career objectives). Like the double major, these two areas could be complementary. With that said, dual degrees take much longer (one extra year of study at the very least) and involve more requirements to fulfill.

While this largely depends on the dual degree program you pursue, the two degrees tend to have overlapping classes. This can help reduce the total number of credits you have to earn and potentially tuition costs as well.

The Pros and Cons of a Dual Degree

Pursuing a dual degree gives you the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge in two distinct (or complementary) disciplines. You also get to develop applicable skills in both fields which can diversify your career prospects. Employers will perceive you as more qualified than candidates who only have one of the two degrees you earned. Moreover, you get to earn two degrees in less time than it would take to pursue each one individually.

On the other hand, pursuing a dual degree is highly competitive and the requirements are quite rigorous. Earning two degrees means more work as you’d also have to deal with a much heftier course load in such a compressed amount of time. This can be overwhelming if you don’t have the organizational skills necessary to manage the stress that comes with a dual degree.

Not only that but you may find it difficult to maintain other activities or part-time jobs while studying.

The Pros and Cons of a Double Major

Pursuing a double major allows you to study two different academic disciplines without the added tuition cost. With that being said, employers don’t always take double majors into account if one of the majors is unrelated to the position advertised. While you can graduate earlier than dual degree students, a double major adds approximately one year or more to the traditional four-year degree. This also means a busy course load compared to single-major students.

Which Option to Go For?

You’re probably wondering which is better, a double major or a dual degree.

The truth is, one option is not necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to your personal and professional goals. If, for example, you don’t plan on pursuing a graduate program after earning your bachelor’s but want to acquire more diverse and in-depth knowledge, then a double major may be the option to go for. If, on the other hand, you’re passionate about two fields of study and want the distinction of two degrees, then a dual degree makes more sense.

Ultimately, you should consider your goals but also your resources to make a well-rounded decision. If you’re still not sure, you can reach out to us at DS Education Group and we will help you determine the best path for you.

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