I plan on obtaining an bachelors degree in aerospace engineering but I always loved physics. How difficult is it to double major in aerospace engineering and physics?
(currently an aero/math student)
Okay, there’s two types of majoring in two things: a dual major, and a double major. The basic difference between the two is that, with a dual major, you get a “B.S. in aerospace engineering and physics,” while with the other, you get a “B.S. in aerospace engineering” AND a “B.S. in physics.” A dual major requires you to simply complete the course requirements for both degrees. A double major requires that you complete the requirements for both degrees IN ADDITION TO taking a certain number of credits (usually in the high 20′s, low 30′s) above your first degree (also, as a side note, if you were getting two different types of degrees, i.e. a B.A. and a B.S, you would be going for a double major, but this doesn’t apply to you).
It goes without saying that a double major is harder, in that, regardless of the “overlap” between your two degrees, you’ll basically still be required to take 30 additional credits (which can potentially add a year). In addition, the difference between a double major and a dual major isn’t significant enough to say that a double major is “better” in any sense. Therefore, if you can, aim for a dual major. HOWEVER, if, in the course of satisfying the requirements for a dual major, you also satisfy the requirements for a double major, then there really isn’t any reason to not do it.
Now you’d usually expect engineering and physics to have a significant overlap. However, it really depends on the college that you’re going to. Usually, the college of engineering and the college of science are separate, which makes dual-majoring much harder. Therefore, you might end up double majoring, which as I mentioned before, could be much more difficult. Either way, your courseload is going to be pretty heavy.
However, even though you will be taking two different majors, they’ll have so much overlap CONCEPTUALLY that it will make things easier. Engineering is basically physics, so you definitely will have situations where you will simultaneously be studying the same thing in two different classes – not too bad, right? So even though your courseload would be heavier, you might not find it that difficult to juggle them (although they will branch out as you go further).
TLDR VERSION: You’re going to have a very heavy courseload – that goes without saying. However, it might be easier than it seems because you’re going to be studying much of the same material.
ALL HAIL THE WALL OF TEXT!!! (Sorry for being long winded, but I looked into this quite a bit when I was considering it, so I have a lot to say )