Can I double major at Penn State?

While some of you might not know what you want to study and are still deciding on ONE major, a common question we hear from future students is about the possibility of pursuing a double major – can I do it? How does it work? How long does it take?

The good news is that yes, in most cases you can double major (or what Penn State refers to as pursuing concurrent majors). We always encourage students to apply to what they would consider their primary major when completing the application. Once enrolled, students can start exploring the addition of another major. Keep in mind that if one of the majors you hope to pursue requires an audition or portfolio, you should contact the College of Arts and Architecture prior to applying to inquire about this process.

Once you are enrolled at Penn State and you determine what your second degree will be, you have to get approval to double major from both of the colleges offering the majors. At this time, you will also outline the coursework needed to complete both programs and look at courses that may be used to meet the requirements for both majors. To earn two degrees, students are still expected to meet the same acceptance standards and graduation requirements that are met by all other students pursuing those degrees. The length of time that it will take you to earn both degrees depends largely on the degrees you are pursuing and how many courses meet both degree requirements – some students still graduate in 4 years, but others do require more time.

And while earning a double major is possible, there are some restrictions. Some of our majors are controlled and not available for concurrent major students. Additionally, colleges and departments have identified combinations of majors that are not approved, so students should check with their academic adviser when looking into their options. In general, students may not combine a general major with a departmental major within the same college.

Hopefully this gives you a sense of how the process of pursuing a double major works – students have many options, and with 160 majors, there is no shortage of possible combinations for students to explore. But, if you have any questions about the process or your specific areas of interest, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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2 Responses to Can I double major at Penn State?

  1. Caley Glasgow says:

    Hi Mark – Is your son enrolled at Penn State? If yes, he should contact his academic adviser to discuss how he can use his credits towards a possible second degree.

  2. Mark Daichendt says:


    My son is pursuing a single undergraduate major at this time. Due to personal interests, he’s taken courses not required for the major, but which would satisfy requirements for a second undergraduate major that he could potentially take some time after completing the first degree. (Graduate, and then start to finish a second undergraduate degree.)

    Technically, he would only need an additional 18 credit hours to satisfy all the requirements for the second degree. Is that sufficient, or is there some minimum number of credits that have to be earned beyond the first degree for a second degree?

    If it is the latter, is there a way by which course work he’s completed that is not required for the first degree can be applied to satisfy such a minimum total additional credit hours?


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