Double Major/Secondary Major

A double major is different from a double degree. A double major represents the completion of work in two academic majors but for one degree. For example, a student who majors in Graphic Design and Industrial Design will receive only one BFA diploma. 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.

First-year students are not eligible for double major consideration (since they have not yet started a specific major). Other students interested in pursuing two majors should first consult with their academic advisor in their current home department and with their advisor’s assistance, they must develop a proposal which includes a rationale for pursuit of the double major. Then, the student should meet with both academic Department Heads to develop a detailed plan for pursuing degree requirements in both departments over the course of their academic career at RISD. Both Department Heads must provide written permission to formally declare both majors using the Secondary Major’ form, available at the Registrar’s Office. 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 from Student Financial Services, 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 withdraws their double major declaration by notice to the Registrar’s Office.

Upon graduation, both majors will appear on the official transcript.