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Augie students four times more likely to double major

March  28, 2013

As experts and families alike try to understand how to get the greatest value possible from a college education, The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy released a report that examines the rise of double majors. The report explores why students choose two majors, what pairings of majors are most prevalent and how studying two majors impacts students’ academic and extracurricular lives.

In their report, “Double Majors: Influences, Identities, and Impacts,” authors Richard Pitt and Steven J. Tepper summarize, “We believe this research reveals that overall, double majors reap positive benefits in terms of creativity and liberal learning.”

Pitt and Tipper say the rate of double majors nationally is nine percent. For their sample of 1,760 high-caliber students at elite institutions, the rate was 19 percent; at Augustana College the percentage is even higher. Among the Class of 2012, 37.7 percent of Augustana graduates earned two or more majors.

Brooke Randazzo and
Emma Anderson

Why do so many Augustana students double major?

“I believe this is a reflection of our fundamental approach to education,” said Augustan’s Dean and Chief Academic Officer Pareena Lawrence. “Solutions to the complex problems that we face in the world today are not under the domain of any one discipline, but require a multidisciplinary approach. Our curriculum and the interdisciplinary approach that many of our faculty take in teaching at Augustana helps foster this desire to learn more.”

Brooke Randazzo, a senior from Naperville, Ill., majoring in mathematics and psychology, said, “I think it’s really beneficial to be well-rounded and get multiple perspectives on things. I have been able to apply what I know about the logic in math to my work in psychology and vice versa.” Randazzo adds, “As a double major, you almost have a leg up on other students who aren’t able to have those outside perspectives.”

Sociology and psychology major Emma Anderson, a senior from Elburn, Ill., sees another benefit in a double major. Anderson appreciates the close relationships she’s built with faculty in two departments. Having recently received acceptance letters from several graduate schools, Anderson credits her strong relationships with two sets of faculty. She explains, “As a double major, I’ve built relationships with two sets of people who know me, know my interests and what I want to do. I have two sets of people looking out for me and two sets of opportunities.”

A third benefit students take with them after graduation: additional credentials. Dean Lawrence said, “While some may see this as amassing unnecessary credentials, I see it as a way to nurture curiosity and interests of our students. And what is so wrong if one can collect a few additional credentials along the way?”

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu