Double majoring may hinder students in the long term

Jordan Smith

Students might believe double majoring will give them an advantage in the business world; however, this is not always the case.

“If it takes an extra year to get a double major, that is a year and money spent that could be instead spent in grad school,” said South Dakota Board of Regents Executive Director, Jack Warner. “As a general rule, if it is going to take students an extra semester or year to obtain a double major, no don’t do it.”

The extra time taken to double major can be spent other ways.

Lisa Moran, a senior from Box Elder, S.D., is obtaining a double major. She does not feel getting a double major in English and German with a double minor in Spanish and computer science is much more work than obtaining only one major.

Moran has to go an extra year because certain classes are only offered certain semesters. She decided to use her extra time to add another minor. She only needs 10 credits to complete her degrees and has taken an average of 16 to 17 credits each semester, which is about average for students getting one major to graduate on time.

“If students can obtain a double major in four years, that’s fine, but the extra credits are still costing extra money,” said Warner.

“If the two majors a student chooses are in the same college and a student is able to get either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science for both majors, it may not take any extra time at all,” said SDSU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Mary Helling.

Warner disagrees.

“Double major graduates delay students and gives them a disadvantage in the long run,” said Warner.

Warner’s claims are backed by Billie Streufert, an academic advisor at the University of Sioux Falls, who says by getting a double major, students are disadvantaging themselves by spreading their skills thin in multiple subjects and taking too much time from extracurricular activities.

Moran feels differently. She said she believes she is getting more out of college by not narrowing her choices of study.

“However, as much as it has cost me in time, money, and effort, I would say it’s worth it to be able to study multiple interests of mine. It certainly does make for a more diverse and interesting education, in my opinion,” said Moran.

According to Warner, other students who only have one major and a minor in a related field, in addition to a master’s degree, will make more money than a graduate with a double major and only a bachelor’s degree.

“Getting a master’s degree in one [subject] is ultimately a better payoff,” said Warner.

Helling says double majoring will give students a “strong background in the two fields of study,” therefore making them more competitive in the job market. This is part of the reason Moran decided to double major.

“It is a well-known fact that the job market is getting more and more competitive, and a college degree is essential to finding a decent job,” said Moran. “By studying more than one subject, I hope that I am able to compete more effectively, and portray myself as a more desirable candidate to future employers.”

Whether a student chooses to obtain a double major or a master’s degree in one field, is ultimately up to them. It is all about finding a balance, said Warner.

“[Each student must decide] how to best invest our two scarce resources: time and money — and come out with the highest degree level,” said Warner.