Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Adviser Homepage > Adviser Information File > Majors and Minors 

Google

Adviser Information File
Undergraduate Policies and Procedures

Double Majors and Double Degrees


CONTENTS       Double major vs. double degree
Credits required
    Double major
    Two degrees
    Overlap allowed
    Excess credits from the first degree
    Matriculation credits required
    Residence credits required
Conditions for double major vs. double degree
Degree names
Cross-campus doubles
Doubling within one department
    Multiple-major departments
    B.A. and B.S. in one department
Double majoring between day and Evening Degree Program
Declaring a double major or double degree
General education requirements
    Overlap with Areas of Knowledge
    Honors
Application for graduation
    Double-major or double-degree graduation must be simultaneous
Transcripts and diplomas
Triple majors and triple degrees

Double major vs. double degree

    Some colleges of the University, including Arts and Sciences, allow a student to receive a baccalaureate degree with two majors (a double major). It is also possible, in certain circumstances, to receive two baccalaureate degrees simultaneously (a "double degree").
  
  

Credits required

   

Double major

No additional credit is required for a double major.

Double degree

To earn two UW degrees, a student must complete 45 credits more than the number required for the degree that requires the fewer credits, regardless of whether the degrees are granted concurrently or at separate times, and regardless of the order in which the degrees are earned. Normally this means that two degrees require 225 credits, because at least one of the degrees almost always requires 180 credits.

If both degrees require more than 180 credits, the total required to earn both degrees is more than 225. For example, a student earning a B.S. in biochemistry (197 credits) and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (225 credits) would have to present at least 242 credits (197 + 45).

Overlap allowed

Each department decides whether students including that department's major in a double major may overlap core requirements-that is, count one or more courses toward both majors. Overlap with supporting-course requirements, such as the chemistry required by a biology major, is always allowed.

Excess credits from the first degree

A postbaccalaureate student who presented more than the required number of credits for an earlier degree at the UW is allowed to count the excess credits toward the additional 45 required for a second degree. For example, a student who graduated from UW with a B.A. in political science with 185 credits would be allowed to earn a B.S. in Psychology by completing as few as 40 additional credits upon his/her return.

Matriculation credits required

To earn two UW degrees, simultaneous or sequential, a student must complete at least 90 credits as a UW matriculated student (45 for each degree). See the credit chart.

Residence credits required

To earn two UW degrees, simultaneous or sequential, a student must complete at least 90 UW residence credits (45 for each degree). See the credit chart.

When earning two simultaneous UW degrees, 45 of the student's final 60 credits must be UW residence credits; a maximum of 15 credits in the final 60 may be nonresidence credits. An additional 10 credits out-of-residence is possible by petition, as long as the student has completed at least 90 total UW residence credits. The student is not allowed 15 credits out-of-residence for each degree.

To return and earn a second UW degree, the student must be readmitted to the University and complete an additional 45 UW residence credits. Any excess credits from the first degree may be counted toward this requirement. At least 45 of the final 60 credits of the second degree must be completed in residence at the UW campus granting the degree.

For information on what kinds of credit count as residence credit, see the credit chart.

  
  

Conditions for double major vs. double degree

   

Before Spring 2010, students could not double major across colleges and could earn a double degree even if the two degree names were identical (e.g., a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Sociology). This changed in Spring 2010. The rules beginning Spring 2010 are:

  • Students will earn a double major when both majors lead to the same degree name (e.g., B.A., B.S., B.F.A.), even if the two majors are in different colleges or schools. For example, if a student completes the requirements for the B.A. degree with a major in American Ethnic Studies (College of Arts and Sciences) and the B.A. degree with a major in Architectural Studies (College of Built Environments), s/he will earn a single B.A. degree with a double major. Students do not have the option to earn a double degree when the two majors lead to the same degree name. See University Handbook, Volume 4, Part 3, Chapter 14, Section 2.I
  • Students will earn a double degree when the two majors lead to differently-named degrees (e.g., B.A. vs. B.S.). For example, if a student completes the requirements for the B.A. degree with a major in Geography and the B.S. degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences, s/he will earn a double degree. Another example: if a student completes the requirements for the B.A. in Business Administration degree and the B.A. degree with a major in Political Science, s/he will earn a double degree. Although these are both Bachelors of Arts, the Business Administration major is a "named" degree and so does not have the same degree name as the Political Science degree. For more, see Degree Names below. See University Handbook Volume 4, Part 3, Chapter 14, Section 3
  
  

Degree names

   

Both majors of a double major must have the same degree name, and majors in a double degree must have different degree names. The College of Arts and Sciences offers over 70 majors but only four different degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), and Bachelor of Music (B.M.). On the other hand, every major in the College of Engineering has a different degree name.

The easiest way to discern the degree name is to look for the word "degree" in the name. Everything to the left of the word "degree" is the degree name. For example:

  • In "Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication", the degree name is "Bachelor of Arts." This major can be combined with any other "Bachelor of Arts" major to form a double major.
  • In "Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degree", the degree name is "Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration." This major cannot be part of a double major, but it could be part of a double degree. Degrees like this, with such specific names, are sometimes called named degrees.

Sometimes it's difficult to figure out the correct degree name because we are used to communicating in shorthand. The syntax for degree names is always correct in the UW Catalog pages, so I'd encourage you to use those pages as a reference.

All majors in the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Education, the College of the Environment, the School of Public Health, and the School of Social Work are straight BA's, BS's, BFA's, or BM's. Therefore, any of these majors can be combined with majors with the same degree name (e.g., BA + BA; BS + BS) into a double major.

All majors in the Foster School of Business, the College of Engineering, the Information School, and the School of Nursing are named degrees; that is, the major is part of the degree name. Therefore, any of these majors, if combined with any other major on campus, must lead to a double degree.

All other Seattle campus colleges and schools (i.e., Built Environments, Medicine), and UW-Bothell and UW-Tacoma, have a mix of degree names.

  
  

Cross-campus doubles

   

Students are not allowed to double major or double degree if the programs are offered by two different UW campuses. Furthermore, students are allowed to declare a major (or majors) on only one UW campus at a time. A student who wishes to complete majors on two campuses must first graduate with a major from one campus, then gain admission as a postbaccalaureate student to complete the major at the other campus.

  
  

Doubling within one department

   

Multiple-major departments

Double majoring in the same department is allowed only in multi-major departments. For example, a French major may double with Spanish, even though both majors are within the Romance Languages Department.

B.A. and B.S. in one department

Whether a student is allowed to complete both the B.A. and B.S. programs in one department (e.g., psychology) is a decision made by the department involved. In general it is not allowed, although some departments allow a student with an earlier B.A. to return as a postbaccalaureate student to complete a B.S.
  
  

Double majoring between day and Evening Degree Program

   

Students may be able to complete a double major in which one major is a day major and one major is an evening major (i.e., offered by the Evening Degree Program). However, there are some specific rules regulating such degrees. These include:

  • In general, major requirements for a given program must be completed while the student is enrolled in that program. That is, requirements for the day major must be completed while the student is a day student, and requirements for the evening major must be completed while the student is an Evening Degree Program student.
  • Students can be enrolled in only one program at a time, either day or the evening major, and should complete one major before enrolling in the other program. Day students may simply change their major and become Evening Degree Program students if they have earned at least 75 credits and completed one full quarter at the UW as a day student. However, Evening Degree students must apply to the day program through the regular UW transfer admission process.
  • Students must earn a minimum of 45 credits while enrolled as an Evening Degree Program student in order to earn an evening major. That is, they cannot take the majority of the classes for their evening major while enrolled as a day student, and then transfer to the evening major for only a few credits.
Advisers working with students who want to double major in day and evening should direct their questions to the Director of Evening Degree Advising. Exceptions to the above rules will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  
  

Declaring a double major or double degree

    A student who has been accepted by a second major should complete a new Change of College/School and Major or Minor form listing both majors under the new major and indicating both major codes. For example, a student can change from English to English and psychology. The student's file can be kept in either department or both departments.
  
  

General education requirements

   

When both of a student's majors or degrees are in the same college, the student must complete the general education requirements for that college.

When the majors/degrees are in different colleges, the student has to complete both sets of requirements. In most pairs of general education requirements, one set is a subset of the other. To the extent that the requirements do not overlap, the student must complete the requirements for both colleges. In many cases, the only difference will be the foreign language requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, and the School of Social Work.

Overlap with Areas of Knowledge

If at least one of the majors/degrees is in the College of Arts and Sciences, a student may count no more than 15 credits from one major department toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement. Courses from the second major may count toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement without restriction. The student chooses which major is the one with only 15 credits of overlap allowed. For example, a student doubling in business administration and music may choose business as the major restricted to 15 credits of overlap with Areas of Knowledge, and then count any number of music credits toward Areas of Knowledge. The adviser should note on the graduation application (see below) which major has the restricted overlap with Areas of Knowledge.

Honors

A student may complete a double major or double degree in which just one of the majors is honors, and may use the Honors Core Curriculum requirements for both. A student using Honors Core Curriculum for one major or degree does not have to meet the regular general education requirement for a second major or degree, or for any subsequent degree.

The honors major is identified on the student's transcript at graduation. In the case of a double major with English as the honors department, for example, the transcript will read, "Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science), With Honors in English" or, "Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science), With College Honors in English," depending on whether the student completes departmental honors or college honors. If the student completes the Honors Core Curriculum, but not Departmental Honors, s/he will earn Interdisciplinary Honors and the transcript will read, ""Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science), With Interdisciplinary Honors"

Majors are listed on the diploma if with honors, but not otherwise, so the diploma of a student with this double major would read "Bachelor of Arts, With Honors in English" or "Bachelor of Arts, With College Honors in English," and Political Science would not be printed.

For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's site on graduation, commencement, and diplomas.

  
  

Application for graduation

   

Information about preparing graduation applications for students completed double majors or double degrees is available in the Adviser's Guide.

Double-major or double-degree graduation must be simultaneous

If a student is graduated in one major before s/he has completed the requirements of a second major, s/he must reapply to the University for admission as a postbaccalaureate student to complete the second major. For this reason, it is important that the graduation application clearly indicate that the student is doubling. The proposed graduation date must be the same on both applications. When the student's intention to complete a double major or double degree is clear, the student will not be graduated until the requirements of both majors are completed.
  
  

Transcripts and diplomas

   

A double major would read on the transcript, for example, "Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science)" or "Bachelor of Arts (Political Science; English)."

A double degree would read on the transcript "Bachelor of Arts (English)" and "Bachelor of Science (Atmospheric Sciences)."

The student's major is not usually posted on the diploma, except in the case of honors (see above). Before Spring 2010, if a student completed two simultaneous degrees with the same name (e.g., Bachelor of Arts), however, the major was posted on each diploma to distinguish them.

For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's site on graduation, commencement, and diplomas.

  
  

Triple majors and triple degrees

   

Triple majors and degrees, and beyond, are also allowed. For a triple degree, the student must accumulate 90 credits beyond the number required for one degree. Each additional degree, in other words, requires 45 additional credits taken as a matriculated UW student. Otherwise, all the rules discussed above apply.

A student may also complete a double degree in which one or both of the degrees are double majors.

For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's site on graduation, commencement, and diplomas.