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Davis, California

Friday, April 12, 2024

You can have it all, and more


UC Davis College of Letters and Science campaigns for double majoring

College is a time for exploration when students can consider all their interests instead of pursuing just one. However, many students are too afraid to consider studying multiple fields because they don’t know how much it will benefit them.

The “Have it All” campaign of the College of Letters and Science is a program focused on encouraging students to consider double majoring or taking on a minor in a humanities or social science in order to meet the standards of increasingly competitive workplaces.

“We are really trying to encourage students to not think of their education as just vocational training,” said Milmon Harrison, associate professor of African American and African Studies. “Whatever field you are in, [majoring in another study] can only aid you in […] what it is that you do.”

The idea for the campaign came from student testimonials in Harrison’s African American studies classes. His students that came from science backgrounds noted that they only took his classes to meet general education (GE) requirements, but that in the end they found a deep interest in the topic.

Harrison hopes the campaign will encourage students that are studying science, engineering or math to broaden their horizons for the work world and to encourage anyone interested in liberal arts to pursue that field.

“Questioning what someone will do with an English literature major is becoming an old-fashioned way of thinking about our education,” Harrison said. “The world of work is changing so much these days that for most of us we can’t afford to just be a specialist in just our own very narrow field of expertise. It is a very different world now and students are finding that when they have technical backgrounds [and a] background in the liberal arts […] that it does make them a bit more competitive.”

Another goal of the campaign is to get students to start thinking about double majoring earlier in their academic career. According to second-year philosophy and neurobiology, physiology and behavior double major Amanda Blake, pursuing both her majors was a choice made based on her current interests and future career. She took her first philosophy class during Fall Quarter of her freshman year.

“[Deciding to double major] was actually kind of on a whim,” Blake said. “Philosophy 15: [Introduction to] Bioethics […] is probably the best class I’ve taken at UC Davis. I really enjoyed the content and the class, so I decided to pursue philosophy classes to see if I liked them, and I did. I’ve been taking major requirements ever since.”

Beth Floyd, director of undergraduate education and advising for the College of Letters and Science, said that in the last five years, about 23 percent of graduates in the College of Letters and Science have graduated with two or more majors.

“In our college, Bachelor of Arts degrees don’t require a lot of units on top of GE units,” Floyd said. “Some students don’t decide to [double] it until their junior year when developing a passion [but] they can still graduate on time.”

Floyd highlighted the benefits of double majoring, as it could help students who have a smaller course load fulfill more of the 180-unit graduation requirement and allow students in more intensive majors to fulfill GE requirements.

“It’s a lot easier than people realize [Philosophy] is only a 52-unit major and it’s filling in those social science and arts and humanities GEs [I] would have to take anyway,” Blake said. “The two majors pretty much fill all my requirements.”

For students who are unsure of how to manage a double major, the campaign encourages them to seek advising or pursue a minor. Floyd also pointed out that it can be easier to take on a double major for students coming in with high school AP credits.

For Stephanie Chavez, second-year biological sciences and Spanish double major, taking Spanish in high school helped her start at higher division classes at UC Davis.

“I am glad I decided to [double major],” Chavez said. “Sometimes [majoring in two subjects] gets complicated because it’s a heavy workload, but it isn’t something I haven’t been able to handle.”

The benefits of double majoring lie in the pursual of other academic interests, to better oneself both academically and individualistically.

“Adding a second major is not difficult at all especially for those who plan early,” Floyd said. “This is the perfect time in your life to do this exploration in finding what you’re passionate about and you should take advantage of it.”


Written by: Amanda Cruz — features@theaggie.org


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