Double the majors, double the benefits?

Senior William Baldwin is double majoring in both Spanish and computer science at K-State. Baldwin originally planned to major in Spanish only during his first year at K-State after returning from nine months in Spain, but later discovered his love for computer science through an introductory class. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

Just as with everything, there are pros and cons to a double major. Ultimately, however, it is up to the students to decide whether or not it is necessary for their future.

On one hand, double majoring can be worthwhile for expanding knowledge and acquiring skills in time management, persistence and discipline. Having a double major may also help you stand out when looking for jobs.

In her article “Double Majors Do Double Duty,” Elisa Kronish makes the case that double majoring can indicate to future employers that you’re adaptable and flexible.

“Part of the charm for employers is that your extra work demonstrates a willingness to take on difficult tasks,” Kronish said. “If your majors overlap, you demonstrate to employers that you possess breadth of knowledge as well as depth in a certain field.”

Jennifer Tatman, journalism and mass communications academic adviser, said she agrees that double majoring can be a good option for students.

“I think double majoring can be a great option for students who have specific interests and want to get an in depth knowledge of more than one field,” Tatman said. “I think double majoring would be good for a student who has career goals in mind that can not be met by completing just one major, or a major and a minor.”

According to Tatman, examples of double majors that work well together are public relations and political science or English and print journalism. She has seen students double major in majors like English, history, political science, communication studies, art, anthropology, business, apparel marketing, hospitality management, education and agriculture.

Colby Murphy, business administration academic adviser, also said accounting with finance and marketing with management are good double majors for business students.

Students can talk to their academic advisers if they are thinking about adding another major. Advisers can offer more suggestions and provide professional advice.

“I think double majoring gives you a broad perspective, as well as a broad education in the workforce,” Jonah Jacobsen, a junior double-majoring in accounting and finance, said. “Adding another major is worth it if it’s something you enjoy. It might take a little longer, but it’s definitely manageable.”

On the other hand, however, double majoring may not be worthwhile to some students depending on their interest and commitment levels, as well as their major and future employment opportunities. By double majoring, it is possible to lose the flexibility to take electives. Double majoring also costs extra time and money.

“I think completing a double major just to have that on your resume would not be a good idea,” Tatman said. “It can be a lot of extra work that may not be necessary to get a job.”

For those with a very specific focus and major, a double major may not be necessary.

“I personally don’t see a reason to get two majors, because it is not necessary for me,” Andrew Arling, freshman in archeology, said.

Considering which type of double major to strive for depends on potential future occupational opportunities. Double majoring is an opportunity that all college students have, but it may require extra time, investment and planning.