According to an October 2012 article in "The Chronicle of Higher Education," more college graduates were earning double majors, including about 30 to 40 percent of grads at elite schools. While this typically means more classes and higher educational costs, students see several benefits and proactively seek opportunities to graduate in two degree programs.
Despite the fact that you pay more for college with a double major, some students find that it takes little more than one to two extra semesters to add a second major, depending on the program. A management student, for instance, would likely earn a marketing major more efficiently than a science student who adds marketing. Closely related programs, such as those under the business umbrella, tend to have a higher propensity for overlap in class requirements.
Breadth of Knowledge
As an alternative to investing the extra time and money in an advanced degree, a double major increases the breadth of your learning and knowledge. You can often pick complementary majors, for instance, that combine to give you stronger skills for a particular career path. A business major might decide that a second major in psychology offers more benefit than a minor in psychology. A number of business-related careers, including market research and management involve facets of human and consumer psychology.
In many instances, students have turned to double majors as a way to hedge their bets in the job world, according to the "Chronicle of Higher Education" article. Growth in double majors from 2004 to 2012 coincided with a tough economy, suggesting that students feel they have more career options with two majors. Additionally, the broader range of knowledge with closely related majors can help students better cover required and desired qualifications for certain positions.
Some students double major simply to better themselves as people. In fact, some college professors encourage students to consider a second major in an area of great interest to them. A student pursuing a career in medicine, for instance, might add a philosophy degree to explore his passion for religion and spirituality. A criminal justice major could get a degree in communications to explore his writing talents and interests.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.