What is the Difference Between a Dual Degree Program and a Major and Minor Program?

When you are entering into college or choosing your major, you’re  faced with a lot of decisions. Choosing between a dual degree program and a major/minor program is one of them. What are the major differences between the two?

The Degree You Receive

If you have a major/minor, you are not really go to receive a degree in each of them. You might receive an English degree with a journalism minor or a Spanish degree with a political science minor, but you won’t have a degree in both subjects. However, if you opt for a dual degree program, then you will have a degree from each of the distinct subjects.

Number of Credits

Whether you choose a major/minor program or a dual major, you are going to have to earn more credits than if you just had one major. However, at some schools, a minor is going to be only 18 credits or so whereas a major could entail triple or quadruple that amount of credits. As a result, you could wind up staying in school for a much longer time if you chose to have a dual major as opposed to getting a minor.

Program Availability

When you go to a college, you are going to have your pick from an array of majors. The selection pool from which you choose your first major is going to be the same pool from which you choose your second. However, not all major programs are going to have a minor equivalent. For example, your school might have a minor in English but not in writing studies. If you have your heart set on a certain minor program, you must make sure that it is actually offered before enrolling in the school.

For The Job Market

Whether you should opt for a major/minor program or a dual degree program is going to depend upon what the job market requires. Let’s look at some school teaching programs. Perhaps you want to teach high school mathematics. You are going to need one degree in education and one degree in mathematics. Many schools are not going to allow you to just minor in one of these subjects. Therefore, you must also find out what the demands of the job market are and what the requirements are for you to actually obtain a position in the field.

The Course Levels

If you are going for a dual degree program, then you are going to take classes of the highest caliber in both of these subjects. With a minor, you will take more of a mixed amount of classes, and you might not be able to get some of the advanced courses that you want. Again, specific program requirements can vary so be sure to look into yours.

Some people use the terms “major/minor program” and “dual degree program” interchangeably, but they are absolutely not the same. In general, a dual degree program is going to better prepare you for a job in the specific field and provide you with more in-depth courses to enhance your knowledge.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris