Is a Double BA (Bachelor of Arts) Worth It?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

A double bachelor’s degree is an advanced academic achievement. But does it really pay off? Find out if getting two degrees is worth it.

[Featured image] A young man in a red shirt and glasses studies for his double BA on his laptop.

Pursuing a double Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is worth the educational commitment if it will help you reach your career goals. With two degrees, you can get a more in-depth understanding of two subject areas, save time in college, and perhaps qualify for a wider variety of job opportunities. 

In this article, we'll discuss the requirements needed to study for a double degree, and go over the differences between similarly titled programs.

What is a double BA?

A double BA means you earn one Bachelor of Arts degree, but you major in two different areas, such as engineering and business, or psychology and economics. It is an academic degree that allows you to earn two majors in one program. You’ll focus on two study areas, and upon completion, receive one BA degree for both majors.

A double BA is usually studied within the same college or department at a university. For example, you might major in history and sustainable studies that are both in your school's college of liberal arts and sciences department.  

Double major vs. double BA vs. dual degree

The terminology of degrees can be unclear at times. The terms double major, double degree, dual degree, and double BA can be explained as follows:

The terminology you’ll see for earning one degree with two majors:

  • A double major is two majors in one degree. You can earn one degree with two academic disciplines.

  • A double BA is a double major where both subjects fall within a Bachelor of Arts. 

  • A double BS is a double major where both subjects fall within a Bachelor of Science.

The terminology you’ll see for earning two separate degrees:

  • A dual degree means earning two distinct degrees, such as a BA and a BS.

  • A double degree is another name for a dual degree.

A double major or double BA may be a good choice if you're interested in pursuing two related fields of study. You’ll find that some schools don’t offer all double majors. If your double major is unavailable where you want to study, you may need to consider a dual degree. A dual degree or double degree may be a better fit if you're looking to explore two different areas of interest. If you're unsure which route to take, speak to an advisor at your school to help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Read more: Double Major vs. Dual Degree: What's the Difference?

How do credits work in double major programs?

Each university establishes its rules for how many credit hours you need to complete to earn a double BA. In general, however, you’ll be required to earn the minimum credit hours for one of your majors. You will still need to meet the course requirements for both majors, but you might not have to spend extra time in school if you plan your required courses for both majors strategically. 

If you have transferable credits from an associate degree or advanced placement credits, these may count toward the credits you’ll need. Your school can advise you about acceptable transfer credits.

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4 advantages of a double BA   

A double Bachelor of Arts may offer a way to expand your professional career options and increase your earning potential. Take a look at some other advantages a double BA can offer:

1. Enhanced resume

Studying two fields can make a much stronger statement about your skills and abilities. A double BA indicates you have completed a rigorous educational program, which could set you apart from other job candidates.

2. Saves time

Completing two majors at once can help you study two different subjects and finish school faster than if you earned two separate bachelor's degrees. You can complete a double BA in four to five years and move into the job market or pursue further education.

3. More opportunities  

In today’s changing world, it’s good to have more than one career opportunity. Should you not find work in one of your major fields, you’ll have the option of finding employment in your second degree.

4. A unique perspective on your field of study

By combining two fields of study, you can have a better understanding of your preferred field and its place within a larger context. For example, a double major in law and political science can help you to understand the legal implications of legislation.

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Things to consider when pursuing a double BA

Many universities offer double BA programs. However, it’s important that you take this academic route with a clear understanding of the financial, time, and academic commitment it will take.

You’ll want to be cognizant of your GPA, especially if you’re planning on applying to scholarships or other financial aid programs that require a specific GPA. Make sure you can maintain your desired GPA in both majors.

Higher cost

Double BA programs can be more expensive than single degree programs because they may require you to pay tuition for two majors. Unless you can take all of your core classes for your second major as electives, you'll generally pay for more credit hours. The cost of these programs can vary depending on whether your school offers financial aid or special consideration for double majors.

Larger course load and challenging schedule

A double major can involve a significant time commitment. You'll need to balance a rigorous academic schedule with the requirements for each major. A double BA program requires a heavy amount of coursework each semester. You’ll need to be very organized, especially if you have outside commitments.  

Less time for friends and family

You’ll need to find a way to balance school coursework and social activities when you’re studying two subjects. If you want to succeed with your double BA, you’ll need to prioritize your commitments. This means making time in your busy schedule for your personal life while keeping up with your studies.

Consider a minor.

Adding a minor allows you to complete coursework in an additional subject area with your major. The coursework schedule will likely be less intensive than in a double major or dual degree. Upon graduation, you can claim a level of expertise in the minor subject and demonstrate your commitment to that subject.

Should you decide a minor is the best educational path, you’ll have more opportunities to take electives. A double BA program doesn’t leave much scheduling time, so if you have interest in electives, you might want to consider a minor instead.

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Possible degree combinations

A good double major combination allows you to take advantage of the strengths in both majors and provides the opportunity to develop skills and experience in complementary areas. It can also create multiple career paths to employment opportunities after graduation.

Many combinations are possible, so you’ll have to do some research to pick the right one for you. Here are some of those combinations:

  • Psychology and English

  • Communication and Marketing

  • Journalism and Law

  • Art History and Fine Arts

  • Foreign Language and International Studies

  • Marketing and Graphic Design

  • Economics and Foreign Language

  • Philosophy and Political Science

Should you pursue two majors?

The answer to this question depends on many factors. It's important to remember that not all degrees are created equal. Some degrees are designed for specific careers and some for general education. Reflect on your interests and aspirations to gain a better understanding about your future career plans or academic choices. 

Should you decide to pursue a double major, make certain the majors you choose align with your career goals. Your advisor or counselor can guide you through this process.

Next steps

If you have transfer credits and are looking to complete your bachelor's degree, check out the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences program from the University of North Texas on Coursera. Transfer up to 90 qualifying credit hours to accelerate your time to completion.

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Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences

University of North Texas

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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