Tuesday, February 07, 2017

 

Double Majors at Community Colleges


Do any community colleges out there offer double majors?

Someone asked that in a meeting this week, and I had to admit, I’d never thought about it.  I couldn’t think of one offhand.  

At four-year schools, double majors are relatively common.  With 120 credits, it isn’t too difficult to fit the requirements of two majors.  Sometimes students will take two closely related majors, like math and computer science.  More often, at least in my anecdotal observation, they’ll split between a vocation and an avocation.  That’s the student who majors in business and theater, or accounting and philosophy.  I have to admire those students, because the overlap between majors there is usually pretty thin.  It takes serious planning and effort to pull those off.

At the two-year level, though, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it.  With 60 credits, it can be difficult to fit in the requirements for two majors.  Gen Ed requirements usually take up a larger proportion of the coursework in the first two years than in the second two years, leaving that much less space in the first two years for competing majors.  

The closest I’ve seen has been a “stackable” model, in which a student completes a certificate on the way to a degree.  That usually works best in allied health fields or IT, though I’ve seen it in culinary programs as well.  But that’s not really a double major.  It’s more like a waystation to a degree, or maybe a minor.  

Some students manage to do it by going over the 60 credits until they’re done.  That’s fine, if they’re paying their own way and know full well what they’re doing.  But it doesn’t fit the usual financial aid rules terribly well, and we tend to have a much larger issue of students not completing one major, let alone two.  

We sometimes get people with advanced degrees coming back to get associate’s in entirely new fields -- usually something employable -- but that’s different.  That’s a second degree, as opposed to a second major in the same degree.  

Wise and worldly readers, are double majors in community college more common than I’m recognizing?  Should they be?


Comments:
I can offer only the plural of anecdote, but they must be pretty rare in the sense of graduating with two degrees at the same time. Since we only have one AA degree, where the major is "general transfer", it would be an AA and AS or two AS degrees. (Like you, I won't count a certificate. Those, both stackable or separate, are pretty common. A fair number of pre-engineering students pick one up in CAD even though there is no overlap between that an the AA except as electives.)

I normally see an AS show up as a temporary way to get around financial aid rules that won't pay for excess credits like physics or calculus. They graduate with the AA, never intending to finish the AS. There are some with a pair of AS degees, usually in different health areas, and usualyy in sequence.
 
My comment is also an anecdote, but I was a double major at the community college. The extracurriculars I needed for a degree in accounting worked as the requirements for the management degree and vice-versa. When I graduated with 63 credit hours, I did so with two AS degrees, which then transferred in seamlessly to the large flagship school in town.

Granted, my academic path was somewhat self-built, but it worked out well for me.
 
I googled
community college "double major"
and found a few community colleges that offer double majors. You might want to contact some of them more directly.
 
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