Double Majoring at UIC: A Precious Opportunity That Often Goes Unknown
June 10, 2020 by Emma Nijssen
If applying for a double major within your division in UIC (ie. an Underwood Division major student applying for a double major in International Studies and Comparative Literature and Culture), you will be accepted without any selection process. Applying for a double major within UIC, but from a different division (ie. an Underwood Division student applying for a double major in Justice and Civil Leadership), is done through a selection process. Administrators will judge whether you are qualified to declare this major. Finally, students can also double major in non-UIC, general Yonsei majors. This also includes a selection process. Students can choose to double major in almost any major offered at Yonsei, save for a few specialized areas such as medicine and dentistry. The application itself is done from the end of your fourth semester for UIC majors and from the end of your third semester for non-UIC majors, through the Yonsei Portal’s Academic Management System. Specific instructions on the time frame and specific process are uploaded to the UIC notices website before the final examination period of each semester.
Assumptions Versus Reality:
Underclassmen are often of the perception that juggling two majors instead of focusing on one is extra challenging. Mentioning that I am doing a double major often elicits reactions along the lines of, “Wow, I could never do that!” But as shown in the breakdown above, the number of total classes needed to graduate doesn’t change. And since general electives also contribute to your overall GPA, double majoring doesn’t make it harder to get higher grades. In fact, replacing general electives classes of many different subject areas with classes for your second major actually means that you will have extra robust background knowledge from your other classes of that major—which will likely translate into higher grades all around.
UIC students who have taken the introductory class RC101 will know that UIC’s “magic numbers” are 42+42+42=126 (or slightly different equations for some divisions). This refers to the credits UIC students must achieve in order to graduate: 42 credits from the common curriculum courses, 42 credits from their first major, and 42 credits of general electives—which refers to any classes that do not fall under their major. But when double majoring, these numbers shift. Though different majors have different specific requirements, the total credits needed remains around 126, so the added burden of double majoring is negligible. The specific breakdowns for each major’s required credits can be found on the UIC website under the “majors and curriculum tab:” just go to your field of interest and click on the “Degree Requirements” button to download a pdf file with all the details.
**How hard is it really? **
For myself, the double major experience has been very enlightening. While general electives give all students the opportunity to take classes from all majors and dabble in subjects they are interested in, double majoring provides a deeper involvement in both subjects at once. In my past three years at UIC, majoring in both Political Science and in Sustainable Development, I have found myself fascinated time and time again by how intertwined these two subjects actually are. When taking classes from either major, my experience is definitely enriched by my deeper knowledge of another field. Having background knowledge on how voting methods influence election results informs my opinions on how the global community should approach climate change, for example. Also, being involved in two entirely different student (and professor) communities has enriched my experience as a student.
If there is a downside to double majoring, it would be that it is often challenging to fit all the classes I need into my schedule each semester. Time slots for different majors sometimes do not correlate well, and almost every semester I have long days and awkward breaks. On top of that, my majors are on two different campuses, so I commute back and forth at least two days per week. But despite this, I still highly recommend double majoring to any incoming students willing to give it a try. Those who are willing to do some advance planning of the credits needed for graduation, and put in just a little extra effort, the rewards greatly outweigh the trouble.