Dual degree students see more hours: 150 hours required for those with two degreesBy Mary Catherine Hodges | 01/11/2015 10:39pm
If you ask Alex Jones what year she is, she will likely tell you she’s a junior. However, on paper, Jones, a dual degree student, is a senior.
Jones, a junior majoring in advertising and marketing, came to the University with 30 Advanced Placement credit hours from high school.
“I went into the career center freshmen year because I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Jones said. “When I went to go get my results, they told me I’d qualified for two majors.”
After getting her results, Jones went to see her adviser, Daniel Maguire. Maguire, who is a registrar in the Culverhouse College of Commerce, introduced Jones to the idea of being a dual degree student. Maguire explained to Jones that graduating with a dual degree meant she would work toward and graduate with two degrees from separate colleges.
After enrolling as a dual degree student, Jones readjusted her class schedule and credit requirements to fit the rigorous requisites for dual degree students.
“Acquiring a dual degree isn’t as simple as it sounds,” Maguire said. “It means to simultaneously pursue two degrees and requires students to take 150 credit hours instead of the usual 120.”
Maguire said students interested in pursuing a dual degree generally already have a significant amount of AP credit from high school. He said students pursuing dual degrees who do not begin college with 30 or more hours of AP credits end up graduating a semester or two late.
For students without significant AP credit who are interested in doubling up, Maguire recommends a double major or minor.
Maguire said whether a student is fit to pursue a double degree depends on each student’s academic strengths, weakness and interests.
“It’s completely individualized to the student," he said. "Not every student or major is compatible with a dual degree or double major.”
Liam Adkison, a sophomore majoring in history and German, came to the University with 15 AP credit hours from high school.
“I had enough credit and time so that I could double major and not pull myself off track” she said.
Adkison, who was originally only a history major, decided to add a major after taking and enjoying a German class at the University. He said the 15 hour head start he got from high school credit played a significant role in making the jump to double major.
Both Adkinson and Jones said their study habits have changed since becoming dual degree and double major students.
“I have to study a lot more, for completely different subjects.” Adkinson said.
Although being a dual degree or double major student requires more academically than the typical major-minor combination, students like Jones and Adkinson said taking on the extra major or degree is worth it.
“I love it because I’m getting exposed to and going in depth in more than one field," Jones said.
Adkinson said he handles having two majors by making a plan before the semester starts so he doesn't get overwhelmed once classes start. For Jones, allotting time to study for each of her degrees separately has helped in maintaining focus.
Maguire said he strongly urges prospective dual degree or double major students to seek an adviser immediately.
“The sooner students come in and we can get started talking about their options, the better off they’ll be," he said.
Students who are undecided or unsure of what major or majors to pursue are encouraged to take advantage of on-campus resources like the Career Center, which offers personality assessments to determine majors compatible with each student .