written by christie ngo (peace advisor)
I’m currently a second year pursuing a simultaneous degree in Nutritional Science: Physiology and Metabolism in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and Psychology, B.A., in L&S. For those who don’t know, a simultaneous degree is basically the same thing as a double major, except the majors are offered through different colleges. Berkeley has 14 different colleges and schools, each with its own set of requirements for admission. While you enter school here in a certain college, you are free to switch to another if you meet the guidelines and stay mindful of any application deadlines or restrictions. However, if you plan to obtain a simultaneous degree, you will be petitioning to be in both colleges. If you are considering pursuing a simultaneous degree, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I see myself doing with these two majors? As someone who intends to obtain both a B.A. and B.S., I definitely appreciate the freedom to pursue two seemingly opposite majors. However, my choices of major extend from an interest in both the psychological and physiological aspects that affect our diets and lifestyles. In that way, I’ve combined my interests in relation to each other. Consider your own path. What draws you toward each major? They don’t necessarily have to fit together perfectly, but any similarities between the two may prove to be helpful if you decide to get involved in research, look for a job, or pursue additional education.
- Will I graduate in time? In other words, is it feasible to pursue these two majors? Will you have to take classes every summer? Some majors may have only minimal prerequisites but a ton of mandatory upper divs. Others may emphasize developing a strong background in research. Take the time to look at not only the requirements for declaring, but also the upper division courses available to each major. Is there any overlap between the majors? If so, you can take one course and knock out both requisites at once. It’s equally important to check when classes are offered. Certain courses can only be taken during fall or spring, and pursuing two different majors may lead to schedule conflicts.
- Who can I ask for help? Trying to get into a major outside of your home college can confusing. Being in CNR myself, a smaller college encourages meeting with your advisor and getting feedback every semester. However, in a large college such as L&S, you may find yourself getting lost among your peers. Find out who the advisors are for your majors and schedule an appointment! Advisors are available for general questions, information about courses, degree checks, and so much more. They can help you plan out your schedule and figure out your future goals.
This list is in no way comprehensive of all the questions you should ask yourself when considering a simultaneous degree, but it’s definitely enough to get you started. As always, stay on top of application deadlines and be aware of what majoring in two different colleges entails. You will be responsible for fulfilling the requirements set by each college (namely, if you’re in the College of Chemistry and want to add a major from L&S, you will have to complete the 7-course breadths!) and keeping yourself on track. It can be a challenging route to take, but if you are passionate about your interests and want to pursue a simultaneous degree, consider checking it out!