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Double-majors: any advice?

AyulinAyulin Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So, it's been three years since I graduated from high school, and I'm just about to start university proper (currently going to the summer term, which is just one or two classes crammed into just over a month); the reason for the gap is due to the whole conscription thing we have going on over here, though that isn't really relevant to my question - just a little bit of background to pre-empt any "why were you slacking for three years?" questions :P

I'm going to be majoring in Computer Science, which is a four year honours degree course. The university is also offering a double-degree program in either Management or Management of Technology, which I'm thinking of taking up (in the latter, since it seems like it'd be more related to my main major.)

I was just wondering if anyone had experience doing a double-major as an undergrad, since any searches I've done for this specific course (at the uni I'm going to) turn up results anywhere from "sure, it's doable" to "you'll have to work really hard and do extra classes or you won't make it in four years".

The reason I'm asking now instead of after I've actually started full-time studies (and would have the benefit of other students/the faculty to bug instead) is because I'd be able to express interest in the course now and start taking classes for it in the first semester; otherwise, I'd have to wait for the second semester before applying and starting then - i.e. I'd have the slight advantage of beginning to fulfil the course requirements now. This could very well be a naive line of thinking that doesn't make any sense, since I admit I've close to no knowledge whatsoever about how things work at this level; the last three years of very little brain-use haven't helped my reasoning abilities much either.

So yeah. Any thoughts or advice would be very much appreciated.

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Posts

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    Unless you know you're interested in something, there's no point in committing yourself to majoring in it, so asking other people is kind of not helpful.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    What country are you in? University systems vary fairly widely across the world.

  • AyulinAyulin Registered User regular
    (Really quickly before I go to sleep): I'm in Singapore.

    Just realised that my original post comes off as asking outright if I should go ahead and do it or not - that wasn't my intent, sorry. Just trying to find out more about this type of thing in general (workload, difficulty, etc.)

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    Ayulin wrote:
    (Really quickly before I go to sleep): I'm in Singapore.

    Just realised that my original post comes off as asking outright if I should go ahead and do it or not - that wasn't my intent, sorry. Just trying to find out more about this type of thing in general (workload, difficulty, etc.)

    There's no standard for this. It depends 100% on your university's requirements, both for general education and for the specific majors.

  • mightyjongyomightyjongyo Registered User regular
    It really depends on you. Some people are totally fine with loading up on credits each term, some people can only handle 16 credits each term. Also, if the CS stuff comes easily to you, then you'll probably feel more comfortable double-majoring. Also keep in mind that the coursework will likely get more difficult as you go on, so what may seem doable at first may be a real challenge later. Also, you will want to consider whether it's viable for you to take an extra year or two if that's how it turns out, although that may not be a problem until later on if you feel like you can't handle two majors at once.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    I'll have two majors after next semester. Definitely could have done it in just a bit over four years, but it took me longer. The thing is, usually general courses can be courses that also count toward your other major, so it isn't always as big of an increase as you might think.

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  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    I'm double majoring in Applied Linguistics and French, and there are several overlapping classes that make it easier. All it really means for me is that I can't take as many "fluff classes" as I might normally. I have to be pretty specific about the classes I sign up for to graduate in a timely manner. I don't have to overload (16+ credits a term) at all. I'm not really working any harder than I would for a single major.

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Yeah, going off what Esh said, just depends on the courses and how much overlap there is. Double majoring in Biology and Criminal Law is a lot different than Marketing and Advertising.

    Some people go for contrasting majors to increase their job potential/knowledge, others try to be really strong in one area (Business, Engineering, Science, etc).

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  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    If the Computer Science major is a full-blown Engineering major, there's not going to be a whole lot of available overlap. There might be 1-2 business courses you take that could count for a Management major, and perhaps a few electives. Because they're so disparate, you should expect to take more than four years to do it. On the other hand, compared to the engineering courses you'll be taking, the management ones will probably be a joke. But that depends somewhat on the school.

    A lot of engineers do get hired into management positions later in their career, so if your long-term goal is to manage a bunch of CS guys at a company, then the double major will give you a leg up.

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  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    I have a feeling the OP's two majors won't have nearly as much overlap as it does in Esh's case.

    My advice is to go in it swinging for that double major. If you feel like it is too difficult, you could always drop the management major and turn it into some kind of business minor.

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  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    I did a double major in four years and didn't find it excessively hard, but it is going to depend a lot on your school and the two majors involved. For me my gen eds were the same for the two majors. I did find all the classes, even the senior level classes for one of the majors relatively easy so that made me comfortable taking a lot of credits most semesters. It also helps for scheduling purposes if one of the majors is a large major with lots of sections of the lower level courses and flexibility in the upper level courses (ie take 5 of these 10 courses rather than these 5 specific courses that are only offered every other year) and flexibility in the class order (I took a 200 level class the last semester of my senior year b/c that was the first time it happened to fit into my schedule but it wasn't a pre-req for anything else).

    None of the classes I took counted for both majors.

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  • AyulinAyulin Registered User regular
    Thanks to everyone for all the info, it helps quite a bit.

    The two courses don't share any classes in common, though the second major is actually six classes that make up a minor, plus an additional six on top of that; I could fit those first six into my "normal" studies (since we have around 8 classes or so that we can take as elective - very rough figures here for simplicity) to meet the minor requirements, then it'd just be seeing how to arrange the remaining ones.

    Will definitely do some more pondering, though. Thanks again!

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  • MarmosetMarmoset Registered User
    I did a double major in Biology and English, so as different as you can get! My secret to finishing in four years was taking summer classes. If your school offers those, and you don't plan on working full-time in the summer, I definitely recommend it. It can be annoying, but REALLY speeds up the process.

  • IcemopperIcemopper Registered User regular
    I doubled in Music and Religious studies which people laugh at for the small workload. Those people have never majored in either, however, and the workload is just as heavy as any other major. I wrote 5 or so 20 page papers for my religion classes and a 40 page thesis for music in one semester, and it really wasn't bad. You just have to realize that you're in school and that is your job.

    As others have said, results will most certainly vary, but you can count on being very busy.

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  • Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User
    Just adding to the experience pool. I double-majored in chemistry and geology. It took 6 years of 15-18 credit-hours per quarter. 15-18 credit hours is 3 1-hour classes that meet every day M-F with associated labs, and 3 quarters per year, 3 months per quarter and summers off, except for the last summer - that was field camp.

    A considerable number of pre-req class requirements for the geology major were also requirements for the chemistry major. If that over-lap was not there, it would have required perhaps another 2/3rds of a year to 1 year's worth of extra classes to get both degrees(iirc).

    Oh, and I can't say that the geology degree has been all that useful, except to wow the ladies with my rock and cave knowledge. Heh. In retrospect, it might have been more useful to get a biology degree.

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  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    (All from a US POV)Computer Science tends to be a difficult major time wise. Its pretty easy (relatively) to double major in majors with less workload but in my experience (and from what I've heard) its usually fairly difficult to have the time to take the necessary gen eds after the first year. Taking another major is very very likely to add years on to the process.

    In the US also, business and management majors tend to be kind of bullshit. If you go to a famous business school it can help you get your foot in the door some places, but for many its a dressed up version of the old "liberal arts" degree. Adding it on to a Computer Science degree, presuming you want to be in development or something related, may not even really help you much.

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    Double major in biochem and chem. It has taken me five years to complete. If you are going in to the sciences, drop the honors portion if it has extra course requirements because no one cares that you took honors and generated a senior thesis if it wasn't publishable.

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  • LitejediLitejedi New York CityRegistered User regular
    Double Major in Civil and Environmental Engineering. It took me about five years to complete, and I had to take a few summers worth of classes and do 16-18 hour semesters once I decided to do it. The Environmental Engineering degree added about eight-ten more classes to the civil engineering degree requirements, though they shared a lot (especially as my focus is in water stuff, which there is a lot of overlap between both majors). That being said, it was worth it, though it may have been better to do the school's BS/MS program, in retrospect, though that would have been considerably more difficult.

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  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    It really depends, generally (I think) people end up with double majors often (at least in American Liberal Arts) because they pursue a major and a minor and realize that they can turn that minor into a double major. At least that was common when I was in school.

    I know a number of people who have done double majors, and the time/effort is anywhere from completing in 3 years (burnout) to taking an extra semester or two to finish it up.

    In part it depends on what your trajectory looks like. If you're planning on continuing your education, it generally isn't a huge, huge deal. If you're planning on going into the workforce it can set you slightly apart from other applicants in the interview process assuming a management/business focus for the second major. Your mileage with any of it will vary and is more a matter of "how hard are you willing to work yourself?" I can't speak for Singapore, but in the US the focus is pretty much on the undergrad degree and not in concentration. I was an English/Religious Studies BA in undergrad and found myself a career in finance. My girlfriend was an East Asian Studies/Gov major in undergrad, and she now works in marketing.

    With something a bit more vocational like CS, if you can swing it a management double seems a good, worthwhile investment if you can pull it off.

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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Ayulin wrote:
    Thanks to everyone for all the info, it helps quite a bit.

    The two courses don't share any classes in common, though the second major is actually six classes that make up a minor, plus an additional six on top of that; I could fit those first six into my "normal" studies (since we have around 8 classes or so that we can take as elective - very rough figures here for simplicity) to meet the minor requirements, then it'd just be seeing how to arrange the remaining ones.

    Will definitely do some more pondering, though. Thanks again!

    Can you do a double degree by chance? They are pretty common in NZ and usually only require about 25-30% more workload and another year of study (for Arts/Law, not say, Science).

    Kalkino on
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  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    Double major in biochem and chem. It has taken me five years to complete. If you are going in to the sciences, drop the honors portion if it has extra course requirements because no one cares that you took honors and generated a senior thesis if it wasn't publishable.

    Strongly disagree since Singapore's university system is like NZ's (according to wikipedia at least), where honours is an entire extra year and normal bachelors degrees are only typically 3 years. If I've been informed correctly, things like US immigration requirements specifically state four year degrees to actually count for anything.

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