Multiple Degrees
August 10, 2004 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone here have more than two Bachelor's degrees? If so, why did you get your second, and did you simply need to complete your major coursework or did you have to do the complete 60 hours/second two years?
posted by tetsuo to Education (17 answers total)
It's not too difficult to complete two bachelor's degrees in four years, espcially if both majors are in a liberal arts/humanities/arts area. I know many people at UC Davis who have double majors (Music + English, Poli Sci + History, etc) and will graduate in 4 years without too much extra work. It is a little tricker to achieve with science/engineering degrees because that course work tends to require more units which may push you in danger of going over 4 years or over an institution's unit limit. (But it is still possible with good planning.)
posted by ruwan at 1:37 PM on August 10, 2004

I did 2 (I think you meant in your question >1?) A humanities and an engineering. I had to take a lot of courses over summers etc, which actually worked out since I was at an engineering school and I could take humanities courses at liberal arts colleges.

The bigger question is if it's worth it!
posted by neustile at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2004

I have done that, but there was a 2 year delay between ending one and starting the other. Since I went to the same school, I had only to take the "core courses" and technical electives, all of the humanities were carried over.
posted by tommasz at 1:48 PM on August 10, 2004

It seemed pretty easy for me to double-major Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, if I chose my courses right. All the basic math/science requirements were more than fulfilled by engineering -- this was true for any other major in fact. Most of the higher-level major courses for EE were from a list of options and a lot of those options were in CS. And finally the Engineering school's humanities requirements were sufficient for the required minor if you took them all in the same discipline.

Didn't seem like there would be any point though. I do know people who did it just for the heck of it.
posted by smackfu at 1:54 PM on August 10, 2004

At the university where I advise, what's required for returning for a second bachelor's degree is a minimum of 30 hours, which is what most majors require. Additional time would only be clocked in if there were new general studies requirements, or if students were coming to a new college in the same university. The answer for most returning students is a bit more than "do the remaining coursework for the major" because many have taken a few courses in the new major already, but it's well short of 60 hours. Your results may vary, of course; the best thing to do is to call an academic advisor at the school you're thinking of re-attending.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:05 PM on August 10, 2004

I doubled up with Economics and Political Science.

I'm also unemployed.
posted by crazy finger at 2:16 PM on August 10, 2004

I did two degrees in four years (one in Spanish, one in Classics); I didn't even decide to take the second one until I was already halfway through my time at college. The liberal arts core coursework didn't need to be repeated, so all I had to do was the classes required for the major. I had to take summer courses to complete both in four years. At my university they estimated you'd take 120 credit hours in four years, and two degrees put me right over 150. Not too bad. (Most majors with minors were around 30 hours.)

I decided to go for the Classics degree after realizing I was taking Italian and Latin classes on top of the Spanish, and I could just make one a minor and a major out of the other one. This allowed me to pick up some English Lit classes to make another minor. I enjoyed it, but Ancient Greek, which was the other half of the Classics degree, was a lot harder than Latin!

I just did it for kicks so I could study stuff that interested me (and my job was on campus, so I had to take summer courses anyway if I wanted to work in the summer); it certainly didn't make me more employable. ;P
posted by Melinika at 2:27 PM on August 10, 2004

tetsuo - Need clarification of your question! I did a double major and earned one B.A. - that was doable. Heck, I know people who triple-majored - but still got one B.A. Are you talking about a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, for example? Am I missing something?
posted by ferociouskitty at 2:31 PM on August 10, 2004

I'm in the process of doing a BSc and already have a BA...dunno if it's really worth it, but yeah, I pretty much have to do everything except arts electives since I'm switching from English to comp sci.
posted by juv3nal at 2:48 PM on August 10, 2004

I received my B.S. in Psychology the first time around. After 6 months of soul searching, I decided to go back to complete a Management Information Systems major, which was the best decision I ever made. It took a year and a half, including summer classes, but entirely worth it as far as marketability was concerned. Plus it gave me another year and a half of unlimited access to sorority girls!
posted by jasondigitized at 3:20 PM on August 10, 2004

I did two. At dear ol' RPI, one only needed an additional 30 credits (and satisfying all degree requirements) to get a second degree.

As I had a crazy mixed-up undergraduate career, I ended up transferring to RPI out of a community college with so many credits and degree requirements filled, I could have gotten a degree in one year... except for the residency requirement of two years. So since I had to spend two years there anyway, there was nothing stopping me from getting a second degree in that time. (The Academic Advising dude prissily telling me about the residency requirement was kind of pissed when I pointed out I could do that.)

The second degree is a B.S. in philosophy (insert obvious joke here.) Its greatest impact on my life has been 60-second exchanges regarding it with various interviewers over the years when they've seen it on my resume.

(OK, that's not true. Some of the courses I took in pursuit of my philosophy degree really did change how I think about things.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:37 PM on August 10, 2004

I had a double major (biology and kinesiology) and wound up with one B.S. in four years.
posted by busboy789 at 5:11 PM on August 10, 2004

Response by poster: Sorry if my question was unclear. I did mean 2 or more (sorry neustile), and I don't mean a double major, I mean two distinct degrees, whether it is two BAs, two BSs or a BS and a BA (sorry ferociouskitty). I'm about to finish my first, in Information Studies, and want to do one in Classics or Humanities as well. Thanks for all the insight and advice everyone!
posted by tetsuo at 5:12 PM on August 10, 2004

I got a double degree (BA and BS) in five years. At my undergrad school (UMass Amherst) all that is needed to bump you up from double major to double degree is more credits, and after five years, I had those.

I didn't need to do any extra non-degree coursework but if I'd done the bare minimum in both majors I might not have had enough credits. I took the time to take a whole bunch of additional courses in both majors, which had the side-effect of giving me many extra credits. I got the two degrees because I could, mainly, and I wouldn't have cared if I'd just gotten one. I'm pretty sure none of the grad schools I applied to would have cared whether it was 2 degrees or 2 majors.

I did two majors because about 2/3s through the first (CmpSci) I decided that while I liked it, I would rather do something else for a career (Linguistics). I finished up CmpSci because it seemed silly not to (and, unless the academic job market picks up, I may need to fall back on it).

Career-wise, I doubt it would be useful to have two bachelor degrees. If anything, it may make you less employable, as you might seem overqualified (I'm not sure about this). From what you say, you might be well-served by simply adding another year or two on to your current university time, and doing another major at the same school. That way, you would be able to focus only on in-major classes. If you haven't taken any General Education (or the equivalent) classes in a while, you may be surprised at how frustrating they are for a motivated/academically experienced person.
posted by advil at 9:17 PM on August 10, 2004

I did a normal 4 year degree in microbiology, and then went to a training type program that was also degree granting that was 12 months in cytogenetics. I mostly did it for the training in cytogenetics, but with the credits i already had i could also get another BS, so why not?

I don't think it makes you less employable, but not that much more either, although I think that would depend a great deal on the actual degrees involved.
posted by rhyax at 9:57 PM on August 10, 2004

I know someone who started working towards his second bachelor's but then stopped. While doing a PhD he decided he wanted some actual phiosophy so started an undergrad course. Our institution turned out to allow credit for courses he'd already done as part of the B.Sc. and M.Sc. he already had, which was good for 2/3 of another bachelor's degree.
posted by biffa at 2:04 AM on August 11, 2004

My wife earned a B.A. in education while enrolled in the college's pre-nursing program. She then went to nursing school and earned a B.S.N. She then could have filed the petition with her undergraduate school to award her an additional B.A. in Liberal Arts because of all her work in the pre-nursing program. And if she wanted to, another 18 months would have earned her a nurse practitioner's master's degree (which I think is an M.S.N., if I'm not mistaken).
posted by marcusb at 8:29 AM on August 11, 2004

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