Double Majoring and Minoring

Why Choose to Pursue a Double Major or Dual Degree?

First, let’s clarify the difference between a double major and a dual degree. Double majoring is when you receive one degree with two areas of specialization. Both majors are within the same college. A dual degree, on the other hand, is when you receive two degrees in two distinct fields. Each degree is awarded by two different colleges.

If you are extremely interested in multiple fields, declaring a double major or dual degree will deepen your knowledge in multiple subjects and develop new skills. However, the additional coursework required to complete these programs may take you longer to complete than a traditional four year bachelor’s degree. You should consult an advisor and define your career goals before deciding to pursue either of these programs.

Dual Degree Resources (if currently enrolled in Grainger)

Double Majoring Within Grainger

Consult the Grainger College Undergraduate Academic Advising page for questions about the application process and qualifications.

Dual Degree & Double Major Testimonials from Current Students

“I am currently pursuing a dual degree in bioengineering under the Grainger College of Engineering and chemistry under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I was originally intending on pursuing a chemistry minor as most premedical students pursue one due to the number of chemistry courses we are required to take. However, taking a further look into the requirements for a chemistry degree, I discovered that I had the supplementary calculus and physics classes needed as well as space for two more chemistry courses in my schedule. Throughout my first two years as a student, my feelings for chemistry had grown from strong disliking and confusion in general chemistry 1 to a solid understanding of organic chemistry 2. Chemistry had taught me more about the world around me and I wanted to keep learning about it, so I filled out the paperwork and obtained the necessary signatures for the addition. Another requirement for a dual degree in any other college is that you have to transfer and spend two semesters in that college, which I already had as I was a general biology major my freshman year. Though the extra class load has been difficult, it definitely is not impossible – I’ve taken classes I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise take and overall, I have a larger appreciation for science.”

Sonja Gurbani ’23

Why Choose to Pursue a Minor?

If you are moderately interested in another field, declaring a minor will allow you explore other disciplines without the same coursework requirements as a double major or dual degree program. A minor will often complement your major. In addition, James Scholars can utilize a minor to fulfill their honors contract. Ideally, the coursework required to complete a minor should not extend your education beyond the traditional four year bachelor’s degree. You should consult your advisor and define your career goals before choosing to pursue a minor.

Minoring Advice for BIOE Students

For BIOE undergraduates, it is easier to complete a minor that is closely related to your BIOE track due to the overlapping coursework requirements. For example, students in the Cell and Tissue Engineering or Therapeutics Engineering tracks commonly minor in chemistry or molecular and cellular biology. Pursuing a computer science minor in the Computational and Systems Biology track is also common. The one exception to this situation applies to students in the Biomechanics track. There is a lot of overlap in this curriculum with mechanical engineering classes, however, the Department of Mechanical Engineering does not offer a minor to BIOE students.

A full list of available minors can be found here.

Minor Testimonials from Current BIOE Students

“I am a senior in bioengineering and I am minoring in chemistry. To be completely honest, I thought I had to declare a minor, but after just kinda doing it, I realized the merit that came with having a minor because it shows that you have knowledge in more than just your major. I faced no real challenges or obstacles. I had actually declared a double major that I decided to drop later in lieu of a minor instead. Gonna get some hate for this, but I actually liked organic chemistry. Both organic chemistry 1 and 2 were a lot of work, but I realized that I do have a very strong foundation in organic chemisry, and it has been helpful with classes like Quantitative Pharmacology (BIOE 498 QP) and Biomaterials (MSE 470), two classes that are preparing me well for graduate school.”

Hayden Moore ’23

Minoring in BIOE

If you are a non-BIOE major, declaring a BIOE minor can have many benefits. Mainly, you will gain experiences in the life sciences and apply them using engineering principles. The BIOE minor curriculum can be found in the course catalog.

If you’re interested in declaring a BIOE minor, please visit the program website for more information.

BIOE Minor Testimonials from Current non-BIOE Students

“I decided to add on a Bioengineering minor as it intertwines with my Biomaterials pathway in MatSE.

A lot of people told me that getting a minor was a waste of time, and I can say now that I am finished with my minor that most of the classes were really interesting in terms of the biological aspect. It is not an easy course selection with Organic Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology I and II, and lab courses, aside from the BioE courses you can choose from. I wholeheartedly recommend this minor if one wants to learn more about biological aspects of the human body and take higher level courses that compliment their study of choice.

One thing to note is that the minor classes are majority in the MCB department and for the 400 level requirements, some classes are upper-level BioE courses that require a lot of previous knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. If you think you can handle that, then this minor will provide you with many knowledgeable subjects that would be of use later in medical school, graduate studies, research, or industry. It is a widely versatile minor that one should consider if they are interested in biology and engineering.”

Steven Endres, Materials Science and Engineering, Class of 2023