Is an Interdisciplinary or Double Major Right for You?

Published on Oct 04, 2013

Columbia is full of creative students who are talented in so many ways. If you often find yourself torn between two different fields, maybe it’s time you consider a double major or interdisciplinary major.

Is a double major right for me?

We all know that the degree programs here at Columbia are rigorous.  But, this is your big chance to find your creative niche. So, if you can’t fully decide on exactly you want to do with your creativity, or you really love two different areas of study, then maybe it’s time to start looking at a double major.  Dual majors can make your more competitive in the job market and inspire your best cross-disciplinary work. Keep in mind that a double major will likely add on an extra year or so to your time in college. A typical semester is around 16 credits, so you may have to tack on a few extra credit hours, or take summer courses, if you want to complete your time in four years

How to declare a double major

To go about declaring a double major, make an appointment with your college advisor. They’ll sit down with you, make sure you have the time and determination, and then make sure your two chosen fields are compatible. Both majors must stay within the same degree program. In other words, if you are pursuing one major for the Bachelor of Arts degree, your second major needs to also be on the Bachelor of Arts track.  If that doesn’t work for you, maybe an interdisciplinary major will.

What is an interdisciplinary major?

Columbia defines an interdisciplinary major as “a custom-designed program created to serve a student’s interest that is not covered by the college’s existing degree programs.” Basically, this is just another way to put your creativity to use and take control of exactly what you want to do.

Is an interdisciplinary major right for me?

Anyone who wants to combine two fields from different departments and doesn’t want the intense commitment of a double major should look into this option. 

Applying for an interdisciplinary major

Again, make an appointment with your college advisor. Tell him or her what you’re interested in and the two of you can bounce some ideas off each other. Your advisor will give you an application for the major and walk you through exactly what to do. If your plan is approved by the departments, the two major fields will then become a cohesive program. This won’t count as a double major and not all majors will work with this program, but it might end up being the right fit for your unique interests.