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Dual Degree vs. Double Major: Which is a Better Fit?

double degree double major Sep 16, 2022

Are you interested in pursuing more than one field of study while you earn your bachelor's degree? If so, then getting a dual degree or double major may be an excellent choice for you. Having two degrees can open many doors as you search for a job. But do these terms mean the same thing? What are the differences between the two, and how can you decide which is a better fit for you? Before opting for the extra workload, students should determine what option is more beneficial to their academic path. 

One of the best ways to gain insight into college-related subjects is to talk to an advisor or college consultant. College admissions consultants work with students and parents to identify schools that better fit them. Clark College Consulting offers personal college coaching for students who need additional college planning services. We have helped students throughout the US with academic planning, admissions essays, and financial aid resources. Students should weigh the pros and cons of enrolling in a dual degree vs. a double major program. Keep reading to learn more about which options fit best for you.

Dual Degree or Double Major: The Differences

The diploma is the most significant difference between a double major and a dual degree. After graduating with a bachelor's in a double major, you will receive only one diploma. Instead of your diploma saying you graduated in one field, you will have two fields of study listed. Most double major programs correlate with a specific area of study, such as: 

  • Accounting and finance
  • Marketing and communications
  • Psychology and criminal justice 

With a dual degree, you will earn two diplomas in those specific fields. There is an option to gain two bachelor's degrees or one bachelor's and one master's degree. Many universities offer dual degree programs that allow students to receive both a bachelor's and master's degree in four years. Although each major has critical similarities and differences, you should ask yourself if the pros outweigh the cons.

Pros and Cons of a Double Major

The great thing about double majoring is that you can begin during the first year or as a sophomore. Students in college are likely to change their core major or minors and can even declare a double major. A double major can also be an excellent choice for students who do not want to make a decision immediately. Changing your major or doubling up can occur even a year into your college career. Here are the major pros and cons of double majoring:


  • A double major keeps students academically diverse. Majoring in two separate fields can impress employers.
  • Required courses can overlap between majors, making you feel less stressed about taking additional courses.
  • A double major is completed in four years and often costs the same as receiving one degree depending on how many classes you take.


  • The workload may be too intense for new students to balance, especially if they are involved on campus or are student-athletes.
  • Unless you are majoring in similar fields such as English and Journalism, there may be few classes that can apply to both majors. This factor can be stressful to many students who may struggle to find the money or patience to tackle additional courses.
  • You may need to take classes during the summer or online to finish in a short amount of time.
  • The program may not provide enough of a challenge for you; triple majors are also possible!

Pros and Cons of a Dual Degree

Students may gravitate toward a dual degree program because it offers them the opportunity to gain two degrees at the same time as one. Although this is an excellent way to broaden your area of study, there are several things to consider before committing to one program over the other. Here are a few disadvantages and advantages of earning a dual degree:


  • Students who handle a heavier workload can enjoy the challenge of gaining a dual degree.
  • A dual degree can lead to more significant career opportunities and prospects and a higher salary.
  • Earning two degrees in a shorter period allows students to move forward in their careers quickly.


  • It may take more than the traditional four years to complete both degrees, depending on the program.
  • Unless you enroll in a program from the same college, you will have to get acceptance into two schools.
  • This option can not only take more time to complete but may be more expensive. Changes in schools, tuition costs, and housing are essential factors. 

Benefits and Tips to Consider 

Dual degree programs range from receiving two bachelor's, one bachelor's and one master's, or two master's degrees after graduation. The benefits of both depend on what you choose to do after graduating—combined dual degree programs give students to join similar studies. Double majoring is more beneficial for a student with an opposing career path. 



  • Always plan! Write down a list of where you want to go and how to get there. Get started from your very first semester and don’t delay.
  • Ask yourself what career you want to pursue and what majors you can study to get there.
  • Meet with mentors, advisors, and college admission consultants to best pinpoint the right fit for you. No need to do it alone!
  • Ask questions to the admissions office about the differences between the dual degree and double major programs they offer.
  • Resources are available before you even step on campus. College admissions consultants are also a great resource! 

Refer to the benefits and tips section of this guide to help gauge your path towards academic success.


What's Next?

College comes with its own set of obstacles. Planning does not need to be one of them. Whether you are a student or a parent of an incoming freshman, Clark College Consulting takes the stress out of planning. We have the tools and resources to guide students through the admissions process. Ask us how we can help you today!


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