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Is a double major worth it?
Published: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 4:52:51 PM

Dear Career Advisor:

 I am a fifth form high school student who has the ambition of being an economist with  the island's central bank, Bank of Jamaica. For that reason, I've opted to study economics for both my undergraduate and master's degrees. To increase my marketability for employment and to open other career fields in case my economist ambition does not immediately materialise, I've thought about pairing economics and finance, or economics and accounting. Which do you think is more viable? I've heard though, that double majoring can be overbearing, and does not go in-depth in each of the top majors. Is that true, and do you recommend it? I'll also like to know if it is possible to double major and minor, for example with economics and finance with a minor in accounting.

Yours truly,

Dear Kymani:

It is commendable that you have taken the time to give serious consideration to a potential career destination and to probable career pathways to same. You have raised several issues, therefore, we will provide responses in two parts, the first in this issue and the second next week.
For the benefit of other readers, allow me to put your question of a double major into context. A double major, at the undergraduate level, is a programme of study that allows you to meet the requirements of two majors of the same type in a single degree award. This differs slightly from a dual degree programme which leads to two distinct degrees which are typically from different disciplines.
Before embarking on doing a double degree or a dual degree or even two majors and a minor you should consider the following:

• Will it take extra time to complete the double degree? (Time of graduation may be delayed.)
• Is there opportunity to apply the same coursework towards the fulfilment of the similar requirements for both majors? (Most, but not all, universities allow this) 
• Will you need to complete additional credits (or classes)? (In some instances this is required.)
• How difficult will it be to manage the different areas of study?
• Do you have the discipline and tenacity to maintain excellent grades while doing both programmes?
• Are there other, more beneficial, routes to consider?
Depending on your disposition and financial support, if doing a double major is going to extend your time of study too far beyond the normal duration, especially where you are not able to fit the required classes into your schedule, you might want to consider other options.
It is good that you are making your considerations this early. Include in your plans a talk with your guidance counsellor to help you arrange for a visit or contact with the academic advisor at the universities for which you have interest. They will be able to give you specifics as to the available options.

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit questions to her at

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