Double or nothing: students taking on double majors

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Staff Writer

Double majoring is not a common choice for most students at most universities, but for some, the work that comes with it is worth it in the long run.

Most students at IU South Bend who choose to double major are commonly in the Judd Leighton School of Economics and Business or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Students in the world of fine arts usually choose to double minor in subjects they enjoy, but with the amount of time goes into each class, double majoring is not something well pursued. Minoring in fine arts is typically 18 credit hours.

Emily Richardson, junior, is currently pursuing a double major in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS).

“I initially was a Psychology major, but decided to add WGS after going to an IU WGS conference. I had been in WGS classes before and loved them, but the conference was such a great experience and helped show me how I can integrate psychology and WGS,” Richardson said.

Although Richardson loves both of her majors and professors in each major equally, there are some difficulties to taking on this task.

“The biggest difficulty is scheduling my classes. Some of my required classes conflict with each other and might only have one option since they’re in separate departments, which causes a little bit of stress in making sure I complete all my requirements for graduating. I have to be really careful in scheduling so I can be sure I graduate on time, especially with the courses that are only offered once a year,” Richardson said.

“Another difficulty is that I’m studying two different fields. Two high-level psychology classes will probably overlap a bit, but a high-level psychology class and a high-level WGS class might not overlap much at all. I’m sure if I double majored in even less related fields it would be worse,” said Richardson.

Another difficulty with double majoring can be advising. If the student is unprepared or unorganized, it can be a difficult time to plan classes accordingly. Especially, if the two advisors are not in the same school or field of study, but if a student knows what he or she needs to take, the advising process can be less painful.

Lastly, the more obvious set back of double majoring is the time and cost it can take with pursuing it. Richardson is expecting to be on track to graduate on time, but  it can take an extra year to receive the credits required to graduate.

The issue of advising and time of double majoring came across 2008 Psychology graduate, Tim Bauer. Currently, Bauer is the owner of Quality Beet, a coffee shop and grocery store in Michigan City.

Bauer originally wanted to double major with Psychology and Journalism, but opted to just major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. His minor in Sociology would not have happened if he was not on a double major track initially.

“Part of the answer is that three years went by, and it was no longer feasible to finish in a timely manner. I never met with a counselor. I only met with one when a started and during my junior year. The other part of it was the division of schools and their different requirements, which I’m not sure is still the case,” Bauer said of his challenges.

Difficulties come with anything in life, and if a student believes that double majoring is the right choice for them, Richardson and Bauer offer some advice.

“Go for it. Start double majoring early if you can. You can always try to double major and decide you don’t want to, but you might miss an opportunity if you don’t just go for it. Also, it might not too late to double major. I just declared my double major this semester and I’m a junior, but I’m still graduating on time,” Richardson said.

“It’s good to get your gen-eds [general education requirements] out of the way, for any major really. Every individual is different, so there is different advice for each, but with double majoring you are making yourself look more desirable for future employers,” Bauer said.


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