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?




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