Double Majors/Secondary Majors

A double major represents the completion of work in two areas but for one degree. For example, a student who majors in graphic design and industrial design will receive only one BFA.

As double majoring is not an official policy at RISD, evaluation and approval of student requests to pursue a double major are handled on a case by case basis. It is rare for a student to double-major at RISD due mainly to the amount of extra work involved. It usually demands at least one extra year of study, sometimes more than that.

Freshmen are not eligible for consideration of double majoring. Other students interested in pursuing two majors should first consult with their academic advisors in their current home department. Then the student should meet with both academic department heads to gain their written permission to formally declare both majors. The approval process may begin as early as the first semester of sophomore year and cannot begin after the first semester of junior year. Double majors who receive financial aid should seek counseling early from the Financial Aid office, particularly in regard to aid eligibility in the fifth year and beyond.

One major will be designated “primary” and the other “secondary.” Students generally pursue both majors simultaneously rather than sequentially, hence the intention to double major must be declared by the middle of the junior year.

Both majors must be completed before the degree can be earned unless the student formally “undeclares” the desire to double major. A student may withdraw their double major declaration by notice to the Registrar’s office.

A double major is different from a double degree. Students in five-year programs, such as Architecture, receive two degrees because they are in formally approved and structured dual degree programs.