I can 100% say that one of the reasons I chose Hopkins was because it was one of the only schools where I had heard students and faculty encourage the idea of double-majoring. Coming into college, I knew that I definitely wanted to study Spanish, but I also was leaning towards the idea of majoring in Neuroscience. My freshman fall, I decided to take the course An Introduction to Neuroscience taught by Dr. Hendry, and I knew immediately that it was something that I wanted to pursue. It’s invigorating to learn about a subject that still has so many mysteries left to uncover. The field is always expanding and the opportunity to be a part of that is amazing. So if it wasn’t apparent that I was a nerd before, it definitely is now (especially if you start asking me about my Neuro classes—just ask my friends). As registration for Spring classes is just around the corner, on Friday, I decided to officially turn in the paperwork for adding Neuro as my second major. A couple signatures later, it was done! I’ve been assigned a faculty advisor in the Neuroscience department, and just today I got my first NS departmental weekly email. Brains and Spain is officially in action!
When I had made my decision last year to double major, I was excited but I was also incredibly nervous. Hopkins is without a doubt an academically rigorous school, and I didn’t want to overload my schedule and leave myself with no time to participate in everything else our school has to offer. But they do say that there’s no better place to combine your interests for a reason! After talking to faculty, staff, and students I realized just how accessible double majoring is. Here are, in no particular order, a couple of reasons why the life of a double major isn’t as intimidating as it sounds:
- No core curriculum. I think all of Hopkins’ students would say that not having core classes is one of the best things about our academics. We have an incredible freedom to craft our schedules to fit our interests, which means that we can jump right into specific and detailed classes. We do have something called distribution requirements, which means that students have to take a certain number of classes in each department (i.e. Natural science, Humanities, etc.), but the selection of classes allows us to choose classes in those departments that still pertain to our interests. For example, I took an Anthropology class last year that had an Engineering focus in exploring how technology is implemented in Aid. Half of my class consisted of Engineering students while the other half was Humanities/Social Sciences, which made discussions really interesting! As a double major distributions become easier, because a lot of requisites for majors will cancel out the distribution requirements of the other. For example, my Spanish major classes fulfill the humanities distribution of my Neuroscience major.
- Advisors. There is no shortage of them. And they are so, so helpful. Right now, I’m at four—my general advisor (assigned to you as a freshman), my pre-med advisor, my Spanish advisor, and my Neuroscience advisor. Double majoring does mean having to plan a lot of classes, but with the help of many faculty advisors, it happens painlessly! All of my advisors are ready to help with whatever question I may have—which greatly reduces my stress levels, come registration period. In general, there are always a lot of resources available for use.
- It’s popular. There are a LOT of double majors on campus, and across so many disciplines. Not only is it possible to double major within Arts & Sciences, and within Engineering, but you can also double major across the two! One of the coolest combinations I think I’ve heard is Civil Engineering and Sociology. Students here are highly motivated and passionate, and it’s amazing to see people coupling their interests.
- Out of class opportunities. Each department at Hopkins has an incredible amount of opportunities for its students, whether it’s a new class, study abroad, research, community service, etc. Double majoring means double the amount of opportunities! It also means finding a really cool way to pursue all of your interests outside of the classroom.
Because I’m at risk of writing a novel I’ll stop there, but I absolutely love being a double major, and I love that it is encouraged. At Hopkins, Faculty and Students alike are excited about pursuing the things they are passionate about and the ability to do so is amazing, whether it’s a double major, a major and a minor, maybe even a double major AND a minor! So if you do want to pursue multiple subjects/majors, you’re in luck, because Hopkins does its best to make sure you get to do exactly what you love.