What you need to know

Choosing to double major is a serious decision and the workload is rigorous. As such, it is important for you to consider your options carefully.

MIT offers many options for pursuing a multidisciplinary education. For some, this is best served by a double major. For others, different academic options or extracurricular activities may provide the ideal way to gain knowledge in other fields. The key is that there is no single path for everyone.


What you need to do

  • Decide whether a double major is right for you by asking yourself the following:
    • What are my academic and professional goals?
    • Is a double major the best way to gain the knowledge and skills desired?
    • What are the alternatives for gaining knowledge in a second field?
    • What opportunities or experiences might I have to forgo in order to pursue a double major, such as co-curricular activities or an experience abroad?
    • How will I organize my time to accommodate the additional workload?
  • Discuss your multidisciplinary interests and goals with people in the MIT community. 
    • Faculty in each field can provide perspective on how to gain the type of knowledge and skills you desire.
    • Academic administrators in both departments can provide valuable insight and answer questions about the requirements.
    • Peers who are pursuing double majors provide realistic input on the workload and experience.
    • Career Development Center counselors can help you understand how a double major could fit into your career development plan.
    • MIT alumni can provide real-world perspective on the knowledge and skills necessary in your areas of interest.
  • Talk with your advisor as soon as you are ready. You should allow enough time to plan a program and account for all of the requirements. The deadline for declaring a double major is the Add Date of your second-to-last term.

Alternatives to a double major

Remember that there are several other ways to take classes outside of your major:

  • You can take classes in other departments to fulfill the 48 units of unrestricted electives that are part of all degree programs.
  • You can minor in up to two different fields that are not in the same area as your major. Minor programs consist of five to seven subjects.
  • Several departments at MIT offer flexible degrees. With the help of your advisor, you can tailor the degree by taking subjects offered by other departments.
  • Composite, or joint, majors afford you the opportunity to combine multiple areas of study in one degree.

There are also many ways you can gain subject matter knowledge outside of the classroom:

  • Internships
  • UROPs and other research opportunities
  • Participation in student clubs or teams that focus on your area of interest
  • Public service that incorporates your area of interest