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What It’s Like to Double Major in Philosophy and Sociology

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

When I first applied to CU, I never thought I would double major. I’d known that I wanted to major in philosophy for a while, mainly because of my desire to go to law school. I was focused on philosophy for my first year but added sociology as a minor toward the end of the spring semester. After taking more sociology classes, I decided that I loved each discipline equally (although philosophy will always be my first love) and officially declared sociology as my second major. Since then, I’ve had a great time studying both disciplines. So, I wanted to share some misconceptions, frustrations, and great parts of my experience. 

Common Misconceptions About Double Majoring

Many people assume that double majoring is more complicated and time-consuming than it truly is. While it is true that double majoring isn’t easy, it’s not as awful as any horror stories you may have heard. Of course, this mainly depends on your majors and how well they fit together. I chose philosophy and sociology because I genuinely enjoyed learning when I studied them. I hadn’t felt that in a while, and maybe it was just the professors, but these disciplines pulled me back to a feeling I hadn’t experienced in years. Both majors require hefty amounts of reading, but it’s usually manageable if you allocate your time wisely. Also, contrary to popular belief, my undergraduate plan hasn’t been derailed in any way. I can still comfortably finish my undergrad in four years. Double majoring hasn’t added as much stress as the ‘double’ in the name would have you believe. 

Common Misconceptions About Philosophy and Sociology

There are many misconceptions about these majors, but philosophy arguably has more. 

One common misconception about philosophy is that it’s just about studying philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Although we do study the works of these philosophers, mainly due to their influence and prevalence on everything that followed in the discipline, they are not the only ones. In fact, philosophy overlaps with other fields and covers a broad range of topics. The required classes for this major span from the history of ancient philosophy to interdisciplinary courses that cover philosophy and gender, so there’s something for everybody. Something else that people tend to get wrong about philosophy is believing that it’s not valuable for the real world. Whenever I tell people that I’m majoring in philosophy, I’m met with the classic question, “What will you do with that?”. Considering people’s limited exposure to academic philosophy, this is not surprising. However, philosophy is involved in many areas of life, whether we recognize it or not. 

Although sociology doesn’t get as much of a bad wrap, it’s still worth defending. Some people assume that sociology is just examining society and not doing much more. However, it is an incredibly varied field that studies societal patterns and tries to figure out how to address them. Analysis of these patterns can lead to policy change, a broadened sense of the world, and personal growth. Not to mention, sociology is flexible with regard to the topics it focuses on. Considering that it studies society, focuses could range from conceptions of deviance to healthcare and much more. It prompts me to see the world differently and look beyond surface-level factors, which is incredibly valuable for the world today. 

The Pros and Cons of Double Majoring

The most frustrating part about double majoring in philosophy and sociology is the density of course material. The more time it takes to read everything and understand it, the less time you have for more fun activities. Although it’s all fascinating, professors tend to assign more than necessary, and with every professor doing it, it becomes difficult to manage at times. Double majoring also limits the number of classes you can take outside of your majors. My schedule is consistently filled with classes relating to each major, so there’s no time to explore the entire course catalog. Although I’d love to take an art class at some point, there’s just no room for it. 

The best part about double majoring in these disciplines is that they are both subjects I love, and I wasn’t forced to choose. Studying these subjects has been some of the best times of my life and has opened my eyes to things I’ve never thought about before. Having access to multiple perspectives and points of view, in my experience, has made me a better person and student. Both disciplines also mesh together really well due to how broad they are. Having majors that cross paths fairly often makes the experience more fulfilling and enhances my learning of each. Also, the majors I chose are exciting, so I never really get bored of them. 

Of course, double majoring isn’t for everybody, but it’s something to look into if you’re interested in studying more than one subject. The majors I chose are perfect for me and make learning more fun than it ever could have been if I had just picked one. This process has had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Samantha is an Editorial Assistant and Contributing Writer for CU Boulder's chapter of Her Campus. In her editorial position, she edits articles for clarity and provides guidance to other writers so they can improve their skills. As a contributing writer, she submits two articles per month, often writing in depth about social phenomena. Aside from Her Campus, Samantha is a senior at CU Boulder, double majoring in philosophy and sociology. She's currently working on an Honors Thesis in philosophy and hopes to go to law school after graduating in May 2024. She is involved in campus organizations like the Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program, the CU LA Program, and the Honors Program. This semester, she’s a mentor for learning assistants as an LA Mentor. Outside of a school setting, Samantha enjoys crocheting, reading, and writing. Overall, she’s very quiet, and her hobbies reflect that. She can usually be found with heaps of yarn or her nose buried in a book, silently enjoying her time alone. In addition to writing as a member of Her Campus, she enjoys writing short stories and pieces about her life. One of her biggest goals is to publish a book of stories and pieces that almost act as a memoir.