Double Majors, Secondary Majors, and Dual Degrees
Interested in pursuing two different majors? There are multiple paths you can choose from: a double major, a secondary major, or a dual degree. You can find official information about these different options in the Stanford Bulletin links below. On this page, your Academic Advisors explain the significant differences between these three options.
With a double major, you receive one degree, and both majors are listed on your diploma. A double major requires you to complete the standard 180 minimum units to graduate, and results in two majors within a single Bachelor's degree: either a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Arts and Science (BAS). This means that your two majors can either be both in a BA field, both in a BS field, or in one BA and one BS field.
Generally speaking, you cannot "double-count" major requirements towards your two majors. For a double major, both sets of requirements must be fulfilled without overlap. Exceptions are sometimes possible, but you must get the explicit permission of both of your intended major departments.
With a secondary major, you receive one degree, and only one major is listed on your diploma. A secondary major also requires the 180 minimum units to graduate and results in a single Bachelor's degree. Only one major (your primary major) will appear on your diploma. Your transcript will bear a notation indicating that you have also fulfilled the course requirements for your chosen secondary major.
A secondary major allows you to fulfill the requirements for two different majors while using overlapping courses. In other words, you can double-count course requirements when pursuing a secondary major. This often means that a secondary major will require fewer total courses than a double major. However, remember that only your primary major will be listed on your diploma.
A dual degree results in two different Bachelor's degrees, and is also known as a "concurrent BA and BS." A dual degree requires 225 units to graduate, and is only possible if you wish to pursue one major in a BA field and the other in a BS field. One major will be listed on your BA diploma, and the other major will be listed on your BS diploma.
Of the three options, double majors and secondary majors are far more common than a dual degree. A dual degree requires significantly more course units, and does not necessarily provide any significant advantages for future employment or an academic career. Many students find they may wish to use their time and energy to pursue other options, such as a coterm program (which results in a Masters degree).
The Stanford Bulletin is the authoritative source on these different options, and you should read the official explanation of the types of Bachelor’s Degrees that Stanford offers to understand your choices.