Approximately 260 students at the University of Indianapolis decided to pursue two different majors, according to Director of the Center for Advising and Student Achievement Josh Morrison. Sacrificing time, students may choose to become double majors for the added benefit of having more versatility in their educational experience. He also said that there is a variety of reasons as to why students decide to pursue a double major.
Senior professional writing and finance double major Kara Wagoner said that she came to UIndy with little to no inclination that she would be pursuing a major in business. Wagoner said that she wanted to round out her education to make herself a better job candidate, leading her to the School of Business.
“Even though I have loved the English Department for as long as I’ve been at UIndy, I didn’t ever know what kind of career I hoped to have with a professional writing major,” Wagoner said. “Originally, I added a business administration minor because I hoped it would make me more marketable, but then I took a finance course and loved it. I added my double major at the beginning of my sophomore year at the recommendation of a finance professor.”
Morrison said that while a majority of students that are double majors make the decision after taking courses outside of their major, there are still a large amount that make the decision before starting classes. Sophomore human biology and Spanish double major Tori Akles enrolled with a double major rather than making the modification after enrollment. She aimed to remain active in both fields, citing the varied coursework in both. Akles said she believes the versatility comes at a cost.
“It varies from semester to semester, but a lot of times you have a lot of homework that is really varying in subjects,” Akles said. “When I am doing biology and Spanish homework, I really have to change my mindset from science topics, such as cell genetics, to Spanish. I really have to change what I’m thinking to make it easier to go along with the assignments. There’s a little more homework and mental power in it.”
According to Morrison, students sacrifice the flexibility of a class schedule and the amount of work to prepare for a better chance in the job market. Wagoner said she remains actively involved in both the English department and the School of Business. Morrison hopes that it will be an advantage for her in the future, giving her the upper hand over those with just one major.
“…because my combination of majors is unique, it is a great conversation starter in interview and networking settings,” Wagoner said. “I have more job opportunities because of my field, and I believe my communication and writing skills could definitely help me secure a job in the business world.”
Sophomore nursing and psychology double major Dillon Scott also said that he is hopeful to have the advantage when applying and interviewing for positions he is interested in. He said that his two majors will give him flexibility in deciding on what kind of career he wants to commit himself to.
“My goal is to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. While my goal is nursing, I can always rely on my psychology [major] to pursue a career as a therapist, psychiatrist or counselor,” Scott said. “In that way, they can be versatile for both long term and short term careers. I will always have an option if one or the other doesn’t work out.”
Because UIndy is a liberal arts school, students have the opportunity to explore other fields and re-evaluate their decisions on the path of their education, according to Morrison. He said he has seen students that have had double majors with varying degrees of difference. Scott said that many of the schools and departments on campus have been looking at alternatives to make the curriculum more fluid.
“There are some departments on campus that understand that there are students with majors of differing degrees,” Morrison said. “To help, they are creating more explicit paths to help students with multiple majors to streamline their teaching and education.”
Morrison said that the amount of students with double majors is always a dynamic number, with students consistently adding, removing or changing majors. Dillon said many nursing students experience a double major much differently than him. However, he said that there is one thing that he consistently needs: “Sleep.”