What are good double majors for computer science students?

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The right double major for computer science depends on your interests and goals.

A double major in engineering, math, or a comparable discipline complements what you learn in a computer science program by overlapping, reinforcing, and building on what you learn.

A dual major in business introduces new knowledge and skills in areas such as marketing, management, and finance. Humanities double majors hone analytical and critical thinking alongside writing skills.

No matter what you choose, your career prospects could benefit from broadening your cross-disciplinary skills.

Best Dual Majors in Computer Science

The six computer science double majors listed here serve only as a few choice options. You don’t need to limit yourself to just these majors. Pairing a computer science degree with any major can have benefits in the classroom and after graduation, so also consider unexpected double majors in computer science.

Adding a double major can add a semester or two to your degree, depending on the overlap between required classes. You may need to complete a full course load plus summer school to complete the two major requirements within the typical four-year time frame for graduation.

However, institutions like Oregon State University and the University of Miami offer programs specifically designed as dual computer science degrees.

Physics

Why it’s a good fit: Physics and computer science have a lot in common, but their differences make them excellent complementary majors. Physics is the study of matter and energy and how they work in the universe, while computer science explores the theoretical and practical applications of computers.

Both physics and computer science use mathematics and modeling, with physics often relying on computer science for this task.

Challenges: Physics requires more math than a traditional computer science program. Moreover, much of the experimentation in physics is theoretical. Computer science students who want to see clear, concrete data may find physics difficult.

Potential careers for double majors: Computational physicist, data scientist, software developer

Electrical engineering

Why it’s a good fit: Combine electrical engineering with computer science to learn how the electrical guts of computers work and how to use computers to solve problems. Electrical engineers create solutions with electrical components, while computer scientists use calculation and logic. A double major with computer science trains students to seek logical solutions by designing and developing computing systems and devices. Otherwise, consider a computer engineering degree.

Challenges: Electrical engineering requires abstract thinking. Additionally, computer science majors interested in cybersecurity, data science, and artificial intelligence may not find topics such as digital systems and electrical circuits useful or interesting.

Potential careers for double majors: Computer engineer, electrical engineer, hardware developer

Data Science

Why it’s a good fit: Data science is a growing interdisciplinary field that combines computer science and statistics. By combining a data science major with computer science, you deepen your understanding of using computer science theories and practices to effectively analyze data and solve problems.

A double major in data science and computer science also introduces students to the applications of data science for disciplines such as business.

Challenges: A computer science major requires more programming courses than a data science major, with both pros and cons. You will also need to take additional mathematics and statistics courses for the data science major.

Potential careers for double majors: Data Scientist, Applied Computer Scientist, Data Engineer

Economy

Why it’s a good fit: Economics involves the study of resources and their allocation. Economics applies to individuals, communities, organizations and nations. The combination of economics and computer science allows you to use computers to evaluate data and solve problems related to economics.

A major in computer science and economics deepens your understanding of market design, machine learning, and computational finance.

Challenges: While math is a fundamental aspect of economics, computer science degrees involve more advanced math courses than economics degrees. Although economics sharpens analytical thinking, some may view finance or business as more practical choices.

Potential careers for double majors: IT economist, software developer, market analyst

Math

Why it’s a good fit: Computer science is grounded in math, so a double major in computer science and math increases your understanding of computer science fundamentals. A double major with computer science benefits students interested in graduate school or a career in computational or applied mathematics.

Challenges: The additional math and statistics courses of a math major can prove difficult for a computer science major who is not interested or adept in the discipline. The different graduation requirements for the two degrees can be difficult to fit into a typical four-year graduation timeline.

Potential careers for double majors: Professor of applied mathematics, researcher in computational mathematics, data scientist

cyber security

To explore

Best Careers With a Cybersecurity Degree

The growing field of cybersecurity protects sensitive data and private networks from cyberattacks. Professionals with cybersecurity degrees enjoy high demand and high salaries.

Why it’s a good fit: Cybersecurity and IT complement each other. Their overlapping topics and courses can prove beneficial and informative. Computer experts in cybersecurity can analyze threats, protect systems and detect flaws. Cybersecurity degrees include courses in criminal justice, national security, and risk management.

Challenges: Although the disciplines overlap, this double major may still take an additional semester or two. Double majors in cybersecurity and computer science must be interested in cybersecurity or work in a related field.

Potential careers for double majors: Computer Forensic Analyst, Cybersecurity Architect, Cybersecurity Engineer

Choose your second major

To choose the right double major, consider:

  • Are you interested in both disciplines?
  • What are the career options after graduation?
  • If you want to go to higher education, how does this influence this option?
  • Are there redundancies and overlaps in degree requirements?
  • Will it extend your timeline to graduate?
  • What is the relevance of the double degree for the labor market?

Alternatives to double majoring in computer science and another discipline include adding an emphasis or choosing a minor.

Good computer science minors supplement and supplement a computer science major but without repetitive or unnecessary courses.

This article has been reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE

A portrait of Sierra Gawlowski, a smiling brunette woman.

Sierra Gawlowski, PE, earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in Washington State. She has worked for a private consulting engineering company as well as for public bodies. Sierra enjoys mentoring engineering students and junior staff. She also leads a project team for Engineers Without Borders and currently sits on the board of Kilowatts for Humanity.

Gawlowski is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Independent Assessment Network.

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