There are plenty of double concentrators in the Comm School and even several Economics/Commerce double majors, but there aren’t too many Commerce students double majoring in a science field. I’m a third-year double majoring in Commerce and Biology, and I’m going to tell you how you can do the same. Anyone who has taken intro chemistry can tell you that, like the Commerce prerequisites, science classes are hard; you’re going to have to put a lot of time and effort into them if you want to be successful. That being said, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from attempting to double major in Commerce and Biology (or any other intense major), but a few things need to happen in order for you to do it:
AP credits/course overload/summer classes
If you were fortunate enough to go to an AP school, then you already have this covered. Take advantage of not having to take intro classes your first year. Instead of taking calc 1 or 2 and forfeiting your AP credit, take calc 3 or linear algebra. If you placed out of intro biology, take the credit, and run (into upper-level classes, that is). This will let you explore options for a second major and let you get ahead in that major so that you don’t have to scramble fourth year to finish the remaining classes.
Now, if you went to an IB school or didn’t have either of these options, you may have to take more than 15 credits a semester. I would not recommend doing this your first year, but if you have to fit in an extra class, do it second year or take a summer/J-term class to get ahead.
You won’t have many credits to play around with third year in the Commerce School. At most, you will have three credits to take a class outside of the Comm School in the fall, and that’s only if you aren’t concentrating in Finance or Accounting. In order to fit everything in, you need to plan things out from day one. Meet with your adviser, stop by Commerce Student Services during drop-in hours, or talk to upperclassmen who have done the same. Tell them what you want to do, and they will help you develop a plan to get it done.
Passion for both majors
There will be times throughout the semester when you question why you are putting yourself through this. You will consider dropping the second major, maybe just minoring in the other field, or even decide not to apply to the Comm School. I urge you really to think before making that decision; it may be hard right now, but in the end, you might regret not finishing that second major. You’re going to have to make sacrifices, but if you are truly passionate about your second major, you will find a way to do both.
Look at the big picture
To the untrained eye, Biology and Commerce may seem to have absolutely nothing in common, but if you zoom out, they overlap a lot more than you would think. There are overarching principles that, if tweaked, apply to both disciplines. For example, life tables are used in ecology to summarize population dynamics, but also by life insurance companies to determine rates based on life expectancy. My point is that if you look hard enough, you can find biological practices and theories that are analogous to business practices and theories.
Double majoring can be a difficult feat but also very rewarding. It’s nice to have a major outside of the Comm School because it lets me explore other things I’m interested in. I’m learning a solid practical skill set in the Comm School and feeding my academic curiosity by majoring in Biology, the best of both worlds.
Posted by Nicole A., Third-Year Commerce Student