Double majors 101

girl studing and drawing at a desk

Considering a double major? You’re not alone. Each year, more students at CSU opt to double major, and it’s no wonder why. There are big benefits to pursuing two programs of study. Naturally, double majors can bring up some questions. So we’re bringing together the need-to-know information to help you make an informed decision.

What is a double major?

In order to graduate with an undergraduate degree, every student must choose at least one major. A double major is when a student declares two majors at the same time. All double majors consist of a primary major and a secondary major. Your primary major is the foundation for your degree, and a secondary major can be declared anytime after your first semester of classes begins. Declaring a secondary major is different than declaring a minor. While a minor is a way to narrow the focus of your studies, a minor requires much fewer (a minimum of 21) credits than a major (typically around 40-45 credits).

When should I declare a double major?

You can declare a secondary major anytime after your first day of class. Waiting until the semester begins allows you time to set up an appointment with an academic advisor in your secondary major area. You can discuss your options thoroughly with them, set up a graduation timeline, and then declare. Some students choose to contact an advisor before classes begin — either during their Ram Orientation session or anytime via phone. Although you cannot officially declare until classes begin, you certainly can discuss your goals and options beforehand.

How do I declare a double major?

To declare your secondary major, contact the college or department housing the major you’re interested in. If you have trouble locating contact information, your admissions counselor can help. Then, schedule a time to speak with an academic advisor in the program. Your advisor will help you fill out a major change form to declare your secondary major, and then you can have it signed by a representative in your major’s department. Keep in mind that some majors are competitive, meaning they have additional admission requirements.

What are the benefits of double majoring?

Students with double majors often gain a broader worldview and educational background, and they possess a unique combination of skills. Double majoring can allow you to design your perfect academic path, and give you an edge in your career field after college. Double majoring also allows you to pursue a passion that you may not wish to make a career out of, but do wish to be immersed and educated in.

Are there drawbacks?

Double majoring means more required coursework, and that may take you longer to fulfill the requirements of both majors. But, it’s not impossible to stick to a traditional four-year graduation timeline. Be sure to speak with an academic advisor to weigh the pros and cons. They will work with you to create a timeline for graduation while considering your secondary major.

Who do I talk to if I need help?

If you are interested in declaring a secondary major, contact the college or department the program is housed in. As you go through this process, never hesitate to reach out to your admissions counselor. After you’ve been admitted, the Office of the Registrar can help you work through your options and connect you with the right individuals across campus.

Hear from current double majors

Six students share their double major advice.


Jill Baylis

Jill was a staff member in the Office of Admissions until 2019 when she moved to Denver. As a first-generation college student, she focused on simplifying the college admissions process and helping future Rams find community on campus.