Double Majors and Dual Degrees

First, a word of skepticism...

Although double majors and dual degrees are available to Arts and Sciences students, they are not necessarily a good idea! Each credential imposes requirements that constrain the student's options and are likely to impose scheduling constraints for the student. Be advised that we do not permit course-credit overloads to facilitate pursuing a double major or double degree. Before deciding to pursue a double major or dual degree, consider:

  • completing a single major with one or two minors
  • that your transcript is your ultimate credential; plan for a "portfolio" of courses that will be recorded by your transcript and will reflect your interests
  • the value of the flexibility in your free electives and the cost of giving up that flexibility to pursue a double major or double degree.

Double majors

With some planning, a student can complete two majors for a BA degree. The double major might be accomplished within the minimum 120 credits, but some students will take some extra credits in order to meet all their objectives. In either case, the double major can usually be finished in four years. To complete a double major, the student only needs to declare both majors. One major is considered the primary major for administrative purposes, but from the student's point of view, each major carries equal weight in the degree. The only limitation is that no more than three courses may count toward two majors. As noted in the explanation of the differences between the BA vs. BS degrees, a student with a double major in, say, English and Anthropology, earns a BA in Arts and Sciences with majors in English and Anthropology (not a BA in English and a BA in Anthropology; there's only one degree). Only three courses may overlap between each major. 

Dual degrees

A student can also complete two degrees. Because of the definition of the BS degree, a student pursuing a BS who wants another major must pursue a dual degree. A student may request a BA and a BS (the BS may be in Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, or Engineering and Applied Science), or the student may request two BS degrees. For a dual degree a student declares the first major (either BA or BS) and then requests via a dual degree petition for permission to declare the second degree. The dual degree petition must be accompanied by a semester-by-semester academic plan signed by major advisors in both programs that shows which courses the student will take to meet the requirements of both degrees and in which semester the student will take which courses. Two fundamental requirements:

  • The student must earn 30 credits beyond the first degree to earn any second degree at Lehigh. (Accordingly, the dual degree usually takes five years, but students can reduce the total time with AP credits or summer session courses.)

  • Graduation and distribution requirements must be satisfied in both programs.

There is no limit to the overlap of courses as there is with the double major, but each major in the dual degree program must have at least 30 credits that stands independently of coursework in the other major.


The Arts/Engineering program provides guidance to students seeking a BA in an Arts and Sciences discipline and a BS in an Engineering discipline.