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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About
Double Majors

Deciding Whether to Pursue a Double Major

Requirements and Application Process

 


What is a double major at MIT?
A double major is an academic plan in which you complete the General Institute Requirements (GIRs) and the degree requirements of two majors.

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Why should I consider two majors?
A double major is one of several ways to prepare for the complexity of real-world problems whose solutions draw on multiple disciplines. While you have several vehicles for pursuing a multidisciplinary education, your choices should be based on your interests and goals.

For some students, their multidisciplinary interests will be best served through a double major. For others, a single major with one or two minors will be ideal. And for others, pursuing UROPs, internships, study abroad, or participation in student clubs or teams will give them the opportunity to gain knowledge in another field. The key is that there is no single path for everyone.

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How do I decide if a double major is the right choice?
There are many factors to consider such as:

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Who can help me make a decision about a double major?

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Is a double major the only way to take classes in other areas of study?
No, there are several ways to take classes outside your major:

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Are there alternatives to gaining subject matter knowledge outside of classes?
There are many ways you can gain subject matter knowledge outside of the classroom:

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Are there certain double majors that are "easier" than others?
While the requirements of each major are unique, no combination can be labeled easier than any other. Some programs have more overlap in their requirements, but this does not correlate to the rigor of any particular combination. If you decide to pursue a double major, let your interests and future goals inform your decision about which majors to choose.

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When should I start thinking about a double major?
You should discuss your multidisciplinary interests with your advisor as soon as you are ready. Some students start thinking and talking about this as they declare a major; other students need more time. Whatever the circumstances, you should allow enough time to plan a program and account for all the requirements.

The deadline for declaring a double major is the Add Date of your penultimate term, so a double major cannot be a last-minute decision.

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Are employers looking for students with double majors?
Employers are not specifically looking for students with double majors. Instead, employers define their needs based on the qualities, knowledge and skills they feel are critical to success in their field. It is important to remember that employers are not only looking at your academic preparedness but also the experiences you had outside the classroom that develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, etc. Talk to faculty, MIT alumni, and professionals to gain insight into what employers are looking for in your fields of interest. Also, talk to a career counselor in the Career Development Center to gain perspective on whether a double major could be beneficial based on your career interests and goals. With this knowledge, you can determine how to tailor your MIT experience to further your professional goals.

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What are the eligibility requirements?

[See http://web.mit.edu/doublemajor for full details]

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What is the application process?

  1. Develop a double major academic plan with your faculty advisor and complete the double major application form.
  2. Ask your faculty advisor to sign the application.
  3. Ask an administrator and/or advisor from the second department to review your plan and sign the application. (Note: Departmental signature requirements vary; please confirm what is required.)
  4. Submit the application to the Committee on Curricula (Room 5-111) for approval.
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When can I apply for a double major?
Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you can complete and submit the application to the Committee on Curricula in Room 5-111.

The application deadline is the Add Date of your penultimate term.

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How is financial aid applied to a double major?
Single or double major students are typically supported through eight terms at MIT. Students who are pursuing double majors and who need additional time beyond the eight terms to complete their degree will not be able to receive scholarship support from MIT. Other financial aid from state or federal sources may still be available. Students who are pursuing a single major and are having academic, personal, financial, or other difficulties may appeal to be granted MIT scholarship beyond eight terms; these appeals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Because financial aid is determined on an individual basis, you should consult with Student Financial Services to understand the impact of a double major on your financial aid.

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Can I pursue a minor with a double major?
Whether you pursue a single or double major, you can minor in up to two different fields, as long as the minors are not in the same field as your major(s).

Minor programs consist of five to seven subjects, although six are generally required. These subjects may count toward General Institute Requirements (GIRs) and departmental program requirements.

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What is the Communication Requirement for a double major?
You must complete two CI-H subjects and the CI-M subjects that fulfill the communication component of each major. Typically, this means that you must take four CI-M subjects, two for each program. However, if a subject is approved as a CI subject in both majors, you may use that subject to fulfill the CI-M component of both programs simultaneously, with the approval of the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR). Contact the Office of the Communication Requirement (12-126; commreq@mit.edu) for more information.

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Can I change majors after my double major plan has been approved?
Yes. However, to change one of the Courses in a previously approved double major, you must reapply for the double major to the Committee on Curricula with a new academic plan, approved by both departments, by the Add Date of your penultimate term.

To change a Course in a previously approved double major to a Course in the same department (e.g., 7 to 7-A), submit a Change of Major Form.
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Can I switch my secondary major to my primary major after my double major plan has been approved?
Yes. To switch your primary and secondary majors, submit a Change of Major Form.

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What if I don't finish the requirements for both majors before I graduate?
In order to receive a diploma for a double major, you must complete the GIRs and the requirements of both majors. If you complete the GIRs and the requirements for one of the programs, you will have to decide between graduating with a single major or continuing your studies until you complete both majors. If you graduate with a single major, you may not return to MIT to complete the second major. To change from a double major to a single major, submit a Change of Major Form.

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Where can I get more information?
Double Major Website:
http://web.mit.edu/doublemajor

Departmental Websites:
http://web.mit.edu/education

Registrar's Office
Room 5-111
617-258-6412
curricula@mit.edu