Double Major vs. Dual Degree: Critical Differences

A double major requires 120 credits and results in a single degree with a primary and secondary major. For more information, see below.

UMass Amherst also offers the option of pursuing a Dual Degree - earning two separate degrees simultaneously. If that interests you, you must call 545-1311 to make an appointment with Professor Lynn Phillips, the Chief Undergraduate Advisor. A Dual Degree requires: 

  • 150 credits taken in consecutive semesters

  • completing the requirements of both majors, and 

  • completing the College requirements of both majors, if they are in different colleges (that means that all Communication Dual Degree students must complete the SBS Global Education Requirement - no exceptions).

For more information, please consult the Academic Regulations Handbook

You can double-major in virtually anything

Communication majors may double-major in any other major that allows it. Communication majors have doubled in Psychology, Spanish, History, Classics, Chemistry, Management, Marketing, Dance, Sports Management, English, Legal Studies, Hospitality, Political Science, Theater, Sociology, BDIC, German, Judaic Studies, and Philosophy, among others. Note that double majors must complete all the requirements of both major programs.

FAQs

Are there any restrictions on what majors I can combine with Communication?

The Communication department does not impose any, but the department you hope to double-major with might. Check with them for their rules.

How do I declare a double major?

If you have questions about becoming a Communication major, drop by the Comm Undergraduate Advising Office in N323 Integrative Learning Center (ILC) and speak with a peer advisor about the application process. Then, fill out an application and submit it to the Undergraduate Secretary in N318 ILC along with your transcript. Once you have been admitted to the major, you will need to fill out a change of major form, which you can find in the Registrar’s Office or in N318 ILC. It’s recommended that you do this by the end of your sophomore year. If you are already a Communication major and wish to add an additional major, please make an appointment with an advisor in that department for infomation about admission and requirements.

What if I pursue a double major but don’t finish one major in time for graduation?

If you fail to complete the requirements for one of your majors, you will not graduate, even if you fulfill all of your other graduation requirements. If you don’t plan to complete the requirements for one of your majors, you must formally drop it with a "Change of Major" form before you can be cleared for graduation. Pick one up at N318 Integrative Learning Center (ILC).

What is meant by “primary major” and “secondary major”?

Double majors are required to identify one major as primary, making the other one secondary. You still have to satisfy the requirements of both majors, but the choice of primary major determines several things:

  • You will take your Junior Year Writing course in your primary major*
  • You will take your IE course in your primary major (you may also take one or more IE courses in your secondary major)
  • You will complete the College requirements of your primary major (so if Communication is your primary major, you must complete the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Global Education Requirement)
  • Although both majors will appear on your transcript, only your primary major will appear on  your diploma

*If Communication is your primary major, you will take COMM 375-Junior Year Writing in the Communication Department. If you have already taken Junior Year Writing in your secondary major, you must fill out a "Request to Substitute an Outside Course" form so that SPIRE will waive the requirement on your Communication Academic Requirements Report (ARR). Then you must take another 3-credit COMM course at the 300-level or above instead of COMM 375.

If Communication is your secondary major, the Junior Year Writing requirement can be taken in your primary major; SPIRE will automatically waive the writing requirement for Communication. However, you will have to replace the 3 Communication credits you would have earned taking Junior Year Writing in Communication with another class at the 300 level or higher. This will ensure that you reach the 36 credits required for the Communication major.

Can I minor in Communication?

No. The Communication department does not offer a minor in Communication.

Click here to learn more about applying to the Communication major.