Double Major v Double Degree - Which One is For You?

Last updated on 27 Oct 2021
Double Major v Double Degree - Which One is For You?


By Alisha Kusuma

You’ve probably heard of a double major, where you can obtain a single degree (i.e one diploma) with specialization in two fields within the same regular academic years. But have you heard of a joint degree? There is a major difference between the two. A joint degree program lets you study two different study programs and graduate with two independent degrees (ie two bachelor's degrees, a bachelor’s and master’s, etc) for considerably the same time as regular academic years if you took only one degree.

Both of double majors and double degree can be great options for you if you have a passion for more than one field of study. Having to do either of the options lets you expand your knowledge and boost your academic credentials. And according to studies, having a double degree/double major has a positive influence on getting a higher salary compared to the ones who only have one. Your capacity as a professional will expand and not constrained with only one overly specialized subject. This way, you will be exposed to new ways of thinking and communicating outside your primary area. But which option is the best fit for you?

Fundamental Differences

Double Major

A double major means studying two fields in the same institution and earning the same type of degree with two distinct study programs. Typically, a double major wouldn’t require more money or time to complete than a single major would.

For example, you can do a double major in English and Linguistic Studies in the same university at the same time (you should consult with your academic advisor first). When you complete the program, you will earn one college degree with two concentrations in English and Linguistic Studies. Because both classes for the English and Linguistic majors are under the same department, you will be rewarded with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Some students decide to do a double major to boost their GPA and their chance to receive offers from the companies they aim for since companies look for diversified skills. For example, you could be a professional writer or work with a company that sells scientific equipment. You could even combine your majors in a more specialized career; for instance, you could become an editor of a science journal.

Double degree

On the other hand, A double degree enables you to obtain two degrees within one academic year. A double degree is a great way to study at two different institutions that one of them could be located overseas. The first degree will be given from the local university where you are from And the second degree will be given by the university overseas where you will attend. From having two degrees, it is said that the opportunities to win in the ever rapid global competitiveness. Moreover, you will get to experience studying overseas and hone your adaptability skills.

Others get dual degrees that complement each other professionally.

Typically, universities that offer dual degree programs need to apply and get accepted to both of the schools at which the fields are housed. Different from a double major program, a dual degree takes slightly more time to be completed than a regular academic program since students have to simultaneously complete two independent degrees. This extra time means you need to pay more in tuition, accommodation, etc. However, considering you will be rewarded with two degrees at once means you save money and time than if you had pursued two degrees separately.

Take Gusti Dananjaya, while he attends the University of Indonesia to complete his Bachelor's degree in Economics, he also enrolls in Adelaide University to complete the same Bachelor degree. The collaborative program between the two universities lets him study in two different universities; His first two years he spends at the University of Indonesia and the last two years he spends at Adelaide University. In the end, he receives Sarjana Ekonomi (SE) from the University of Indonesia and Bachelor of Economics from Adelaide University.

He chooses to do the double degree program at the University of Indonesia because he wants to experience studying abroad without having to devote the full-length of academic years to complete a degree.

Double Major vs Double Degree: Which One Should You Do?

Although associated with higher earnings from holding a double major/double degree, it doesn't mean the double major is right for everyone, especially when it is not necessary for an individual's career path. You should consider all of the pros and cons of every potential opportunity, from deciding whether to do a double degree or double major.

Keep in mind, you will need to compromise and properly manage your time. Doing a double degree means a lot more classes and a whole lot more work to be completed. It will require you to fully focus on your studies to make sure you are all caught up, which can take the time allocated for social or organization activities.

Doing school-related activities or being a part of student body organizations is known to have its benefits too such as networking, communicating, and organizational skills. It will be a miss of an opportunity if you decide to not take part especially for career preferences that emphasize organizational skills.

So, which one would you choose?