If you are about to get into university but haven’t decided which major to take yet, you may wonder if you can take more than one. If that’s the case, keep reading!
In this article we are going to answer the question ‘’How many majors can you have?’’. We will discover the possibilities of having multiple majors and we will give you our recommendations in case you wish to have more than one specialty.
How many majors can you have?
Actually, this depends on your university. In some universities with exceptional cases, you can have up to three majors. However, the most common is that you can choose up to three areas of study. That is: two majors and a minor; one major and two minors.
College education is more commonly known as undergraduate studies. These studies lead to a degree called Bachelor’s Degree.
Undergraduate studies generally last four years and, during those four years, it’s necessary to choose a major and a minor: a ‘main area of specialization’ and a ‘secondary area of specialization’.
At some colleges, you may even:
- Take majors in two courses (double major).
- Take a major and a minor.
- Create your own major.
The students have much more freedom to configure their studies, since they can choose the subjects they want to take each year (based on their major and minor), instead of sticking to a specific degree and schedule from day one.
In this way, students who eventually want to investigate the chemical mysteries of DNA could configure their Bachelor’s Degree “with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Genetics.”
During your first two years of study, you will generally need to take a wide variety of classes in different subjects, which are commonly known as prerequisites: literature, science, social studies, art, history, etc. This is for you to acquire general knowledge and fundamentals of a variety of subjects before concentrating on a specific field of study.
What ‘s a major?
In American universities there’s not such a structured curriculum. The students are constantly choosing which subjects they want to do. Therefore, it’s possible to choose quite a few subjects from other careers, such as financial economics, although in the end the resulting specialization is mechanical engineering.
A major or specialization is a specific area in which students specialize. In general, half of the courses you will take in college will be part of your major or will be related to that major.
For example, if a person’s primary orientation is journalism, they will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. You will need to take a certain number of courses in this field in order to meet the requirements for your major orientation degree. You will need to choose your main orientation at the beginning of your third year of study.
To complete a certain “major” or area of study, it’s necessary to choose a subject from each of the specialties in the area of study.
For example, if someone wishes to complete their “major” in Psychology and there are three specialties or minors in psychology (Educational, Organizational and Clinical), the person must choose at least one Educational subject, another Organizational and another Clinical subject.
Finally, to specialize in a minor, the student must choose at least two or three subjects, or even more depending on the requirements of each university, of the specialty in which they want to graduate. Thus, to specialize in clinical psychology, you must choose three subjects from the specialty “clinical psychology”.
How to choose your major?
At most four-year colleges, and in the case of many majors or majors, students should not choose any until they start their sophomore year of college. This gives them plenty of time to try out various subjects and see which ones interest them.
Some majors – like some areas of engineering – are exceptions to this rule. Students have to commit to these fields of study earlier so that they have time to take all required courses.
Choosing a career is one of the most important and difficult decisions young people face. For this, a preliminary and decisive step is to select an area of study that is close to your interests.
Analyzing the possible fields in which you could develop helps to establish a safer decision about your professional career. In this sense, you can even discover areas that you did not know and that may be of interest to you.
You must consider a series of factors in order to select your area of study, for example, you must take into account what motivates you the most, your strengths, talents, interests and expectations of professional development that the chosen area of study will provide you.
But how do I correctly choose my area of study? Here we present you some options.
An alternative is to take a career test. This tool, through a series of questions, will help you identify your motivations and guide you on the best path to take in your professional future, according to what is most similar to your profile.
You can find vocational tests on various websites, you just have to try to select the test that is focused on guiding you on the areas of study that fit you and not only on the possible careers to study.
Once you have found the right test, answer the questions as honestly as possible, so the result will be the most akin to you.
Most of the higher education institutions have a special team for the admission processes, we recommend that you visit the educational establishments of your interest in advance and learn about the educational project, the careers that are taught, study plans, etc.
Go to the faculty of the area that interests you and request a meeting with the Directors or Deans of the faculties, they will be able to guide you in a personal way and give you much more specific advice on the subject and the approach that the institution gives to the major you want to choose.
Project your work life
Another way to clarify doubts about your area of study is through a self-knowledge exercise, which considers inclinations, personal preferences, skills and life project.
Think about how you plan for the future, how you want to develop your work life and what profession can help you draw that plan. For example, an exercise that will help you is to define if you want to sell, coordinate, build, manufacture, research, etc. The action of the verb will allow you to determine in which area your interests are fixed.
Talk to a career advisor
Seeking support from experts in vocational guidance will also help you clear up doubts. Many psychologists and educational psychologists are dedicated to advising young people who do not know what area or what career to study. With their guidance, you can better understand your skills and interests.
There are many specialists who offer these evaluations, those who even attend schools to give mass talks about the importance of selecting the right career.
- Follow your interests and motivations.
- Project your work life
- Do a self-assessment of your capabilities according to the areas that already exist.
- Be honest with yourself.
- Take classes in which you will feel safe and confident to see if that area is of interest to you.
- Take classes in which you have some difficulties, to discover if there are areas that you didn’t know and may interest you.
- Remember that your specializations in your undergraduate degree will not determine the rest of your career. This will serve as a basis for the path you want to take.
How many majors can you have?
Certain motivated students with career goals in various fields study more than one major. Many of them have different interests, or just want more opportunities. In any step you take in your higher education, you must consider certain factors to make the decision; take several majors or complete your degree with a single major and minor.
The counselors will help you make a good decision about all the options you have.
Can you have double major, triple major, and … quadruple major? So how many units would you need to graduate?
Usually, a major needs 12 courses to graduate. That means that if you want to do more than two majors, you can only enroll in two courses required for each major. Say, you want to do a double major:
You will need at least 22 required courses.
If you want to make a triple major: You will need 32 required crusaders.
That counting only the majors, if you want to add a second specialization (minor) it will be another 10 more courses that you will need to graduate.
This is where an important factor comes in: credits. On average, universities accept a minimum of 12 credits and a maximum of 16. Although you can request an extension of credits, it must be justified.
If you want to have 4 majors, you would need to enroll at least 25 credits per semester. This may not be allowed at your university.
Something that can be beneficial is if your majors coincide in subjects, this means that you would take a single class for your two majors.
Depending on the number of courses in the Major and the subjects used, the student could take a second (or third) Major, which, with permission, could replace the completion of a Minor. However, throughout the university, courses cannot serve two purposes. Thus, if two Majors coincide in some courses, more subjects must be taken to meet the total credits required.
Changing your Major
A very distinctive feature of the American higher education system is the ability to change your major orientation multiple times if you so choose. It’s extremely common for American students to change major orientation at some point during their undergraduate studies.
If you’re not sure what best you want while you’re in high school, don’t worry. Most students change majors during college. Even those who think they are confident about the major they want to study often change their minds.
Students generally discover a different field that they enjoy the most or in which they excel. The American education system is very flexible. However, remember that the main orientation change can lead to more courses, which means more time and money.
How do you know if multiple majors is for you?
These keys could guide you:
1. You are already committed to two or more specializations
If you find that you are accumulating course credits that could fit into two different fields of study, it might be worth declaring both majors. Especially if you enjoy them!
2. Specializations complement each other
Some majors are usually “made for each other”. So together, they could give you a head start in standing out in your career. Are you interested, for example, in political journalism? You could simultaneously specialize in political science, journalism and English.
3. You may not graduate in 4 years
A specialization is already demanding. Imagine two or more! If you would be willing to stay in school for a few more semesters, ask yourself:
- Can I afford an extra semester?
- Wouldn’t I mind if my friends graduated first?
- Would you go the extra mile?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be well on your way.
4. You have different interests
“A double major is not for everyone,” Ceri advises on the MIT Admissions blog. But, as for this college student, this could be your best alternative to reconcile diverse interests.
5. Check it out with the pillow
“There are no one-size-fits-all formulas, so follow the educational path that satisfies you the most. But since a double major could mean extra money, time and work, think carefully before embarking on this challenge,” concludes Steven Roy Goodman , an expert in career strategy, on the Her Campus site.
You must consider the reasons why you make this decision, really evaluate if you want to do more than one major, remember that you have many options. And before any indecision, there are professionals who will help you on your way. Likewise, if your university allows it and you can afford it, do a triple major!
FAQS: How many majors can you have?
How many majors can you do at once?
This depends on the university. There are universities that allow you to do up to 3 majors, yes, you have to organize your schedule and your study plan well.
Can you have 3 majors?
Yes. This is called triple majoring and it is difficult to achieve, but not impossible.
Can you have multiple majors?
Yes, at the university you can specialize in two or more branches. Of course, if we talk about majors, the most common are double major, however, it’s possible to make a triple major.
How do you double major in 4 years?
If you want to finish your double major in 4 years we recommend:
1. Talk to your advisor: They can help you design a better curriculum.
2. Earn credits in High School. If you are still in high school, you can take advanced classes and advance credits.
3. Take summer classes.
What is the hardest major?
Apparently the STEM majors are the most difficult. According to a recent study, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are in the top 3.
In this article we answered the question ‘’How many majors can you have?’’. We discovered the possibilities of having multiple majors and we gave you our recommendations in case you wish to have more than one specialty.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know!
Friedman, H. H., Friedman, L. W., & Amoo, T. (2003). Is one major enough? The growth of multiple majors. In Proceedings of the Decision Sciences Institute Conference (pp. 22-25).
Sheehy, K., & Moody, J. (2019). How to Manage a Double Major. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from US News & World Report website: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2013/09/25/3-tips-to-manage-a-double-major
University, S. (2011). Multiple Majors. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from Stanford.edu website: https://web.stanford.edu/dept/registrar/bulletin1112/4893.htm