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Chooosing My Second Major

  1. Feb 26, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm currently a student at Rutgers University (New Brunswick). I began college with an interest in marketing. I decided to major in philosophy because I thought it would give me the best skill set for such a career. However, I ended up developing an interest in engineering from my courses in the philosophies of mind and science. Additionally, I came to realize the importance of having technical skills in the future. As a result, I've decided to double major in philosophy and a mathematical/scientific discipline. I'm considering computer science, mathematics, or physics. I've left engineering out because I don't have the time. I'm leaning towards mathematics because I think it's the most fundamental, but I'm just as interested in the other two. I plan to eventually attend graduate school to earn degrees in engineering/computer science and business. I'm hoping to find a job that combines my interests in the two.

    Which major will best help me find a good paying job after I graduate?
    Which major is most flexible in regards to applying for graduate programs?
    Which major will best prepare me for the rigors of graduate school?/Which is the most challenging?

    I know this may be a bit much for one post, but I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2010 #2
    Just have time for a quick reply... but math is probably the best overall answer to those questions, especially if you are considering studying business (although any of those options will give you the math skills to attend bschool). If you have a passion for computer science that could also help you land a job after school. Physics will be the least helpful in finding a job directly after your undergrad experience.

    On the other hand, physics and philosophy complement themselves the most out of the three options from an academic standpoint. Computer science is a close second there, being very similar in its thought processes to the analytical reasoning of philosophical logic.

    FYI I double majored in mechanical engineering and philosophy and took an operations management job out of school. Businesses and business schools will absolutely love your combination of communication and analytic skills if you choose any of those majors. A math major in particular will set you up for almost any technical graduate field you decide to enter.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  4. Feb 26, 2010 #3
    Don't make your decision based solely on this criterion. There have been a number of lively discussion on here recently about the merits of enjoying your work, and the consensus seems to be that no amount of money will make you start to enjoy something you hate doing.

    This is a pretty interesting question, but I don't know how to answer it. I'd really like to see what some of the more experienced folks have to say.

    I don't think that's a fair question. No subject is inherently more difficult at the undergraduate level than any other, it all depends on how you approach the subject. For instance I hate reading philosophy, so trying to learn it would be more difficult than trying to learn something that I enjoy.

    As for the "preparation" aspect, unless one of the departments is known to be terrible, there's no reason any major would prepare you for grad school better or worse than any other major.

    If I can make an observation, I would just add that none of the 3 questions you've asked seem to take into account what you want to do. Rather than force a second major on yourself, do some introductory reading into the different areas and see which (if any) look interesting enough to warrant your time in class.
  5. Feb 26, 2010 #4
    Hey, thanks for your reply. What do you think are the main differences between doing mathematics and computer science?
  6. Feb 26, 2010 #5
    I've taken classes in all three. I've also seen some lectures of the more advanced classes from MIT opencoureware. I'm interested in computer graphics, augmented reality, aritificial intelligence, and human-computer interfaces.

    To be honest, I'm not exactly sure of what I want to do. I just want to find a job that involves developing new technologies and marketing.
  7. Feb 26, 2010 #6
    Then it seems like computer science, computer graphics, motion technology, robotics, or even electrical engineering could fit that description. Unless you did a lot of self-teaching for programming, though, I doubt that you could do those kinds of things with a pure math degree. Applied math, on the other hand, would be great.
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