Double majoring across schools
At Washington University, completing one major is no easy feat. Add another major and things might get difficult. And if that second major is in a different school, well then, your workload will get a bit tricky. But, as Wash. U. students, the thought of a challenge is not intimidating. In fact, if you look around, you’ll find many students working toward two majors in two separate schools.
Senior Snow Powers applied to the University through the art school but picked up marketing from the business school in the spring of her freshman year.
“[Wash. U.] was my first choice because of its flexibility,” Powers said. “I wanted to take other classes beyond the art school and have that well-rounded education.”
Junior Chris Tang Foon’s primary major was finance until he decided to take a computer science class from the School of Engineering.
“I took computer science in high school, and I really enjoyed it,” Tang Foon said. “Sophomore year I took computer science again and still liked it, so I decided I was interested in a second major.”
He said that the current status of the economy was also a factor in deciding to double major in the business and engineering schools. “[Double majoring] gives you a broader range of skills, and if you are interested in both areas, you shouldn’t have a problem one way or another in your career,” Tang Foon said.
While double majoring across two schools does broaden interests over various mediums, it also requires a lot of work and planning.
“I had to schedule and figure out all the classes I would have to take, and [classes] change,” Powers said, “I had to find out during which semester certain classes were offered. My schedule is really tight, and I don’t really have time to take any extra classes.” In fact, Powers averages 18 to 20 credit hours per semester.
Tang Foon’s schedule is similarly packed.“Freshman year I took a few classes that didn’t do much for me,” Tang Foon said. “I took bio and chem because I still wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do. [My schedule] is a bit tight right now.”
Although their schedules are extremely rigid, both Tang Foon and Powers think that double majoring will pay off in the long run.
“Going into the art school, you are a little scared that you’re not going to get the job that’s quite as prestigious as the people who are pre-med or in the business school,” Powers said. “If I go into an artistic field and feel that it’s not working for me, or I’m not getting the kind of work that I’m looking for, I do have that second major in marketing to back off of.”
In regards to advice for students thinking about pursuing a double major across schools, Tang Foon and Powers both stressed the importance of planning ahead.
Tang Foon commented that the University does not make students jump through hoops once they decide they would like to double major, but scheduling does become much easier when students declare their majors early.
“Plan ahead. It really helps if you have an internship over the summer that you get credits from because there isn’t a lot of overlap between schools,” Powers said. “Get credits wherever you can find them and take classes pass/fail. It’s easy to feel really overwhelmed with your credits, and it just becomes crazy.”