NTU’s Second Major vs Double Major Programme – What’s The Difference?

Second Major vs Double Major

NTU offers lots of different choices when it comes to your degree. 

Wanna know the difference between a double and a second major programme? You’ve come to the right place!

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is a double major in NTU?

A double major consists of two majors, both of equal weightage. Both majors will be reflected on your degree certificate when you graduate.

The double major programme consists of several pre-determined combinations curated by NTU. Currently, there are 16 different combinations to choose from:

  • Chinese and English
  • Chinese and Philosophy
  • Chinese and History
  • English and History
  • English and Philosophy
  • English Literature and Art History
  • Philosophy and History
  • Linguistics & Multicultural Studies and History
  • Linguistics & Multicultural Studies and English
  • Linguistics & Multicultural Studies and Chinese
  • Linguistics & Multicultural Studies and Philosophy
  • Linguistics & Multicultural Studies and Psychology
  • Economics and Media Analytics
  • Economics and Psychology
  • Economics and Public Policy & Global Affairs
  • Psychology and Media Analytics 

However, it is important to note that you can only choose from these 16 options.

Unfortunately, this means that if your desired subject combination is not offered as a double major, you must choose the second major route.

You can learn more about NTU’s double major programme here.

What is a second major in NTU?

The second major programme entails taking on a second major of lesser weightage, in addition to your primary major.

Unlike a double major, your second major will not be reflected on your degree certificate

Instead, it will be shown on your final transcript. You will also receive an additional certificate upon graduation.

One advantage of the second major programme is that you have a lot more freedom of choice. There are a variety of options offered, including:

This enables you to take combinations that the double major programme does not offer!

Different second majors also have different curriculum requirements, set by their respective schools. 

This means that the number of Academic Units (AUs) needed to fulfill a second major in one school might differ from another.

For example, a second major in Art History requires you to complete 33 AUs. In contrast, a second major in Chinese requires you to complete 35 AUs.

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For more information, you can refer to NTU’s website here.

How do I apply for a double or a second major programme at NTU?

You will need to apply for the specific double major you desire, when applying to study at NTU. 

As such, you will need a clear idea of what you want to major in, and commit to these 2 majors upfront.

The second major programme works differently. 

As stated on NTU’s website, you must obtain a minimum CGPA of 4.0 in your first year of university to qualify for the programme. Thereafter, you can apply for a second major in your second year.

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This also means that you have more freedom to explore your options in your first year, before committing to 2 majors!

How many academic units (AUs) must I fulfil to graduate?

Here’s how many AUs are needed to graduate NTU’s various programmes:

ProgrammeNumber of Academic Units (AUs)
Single Major Programme125 to 128 AUs
Second Major Programme135 to 138 AUs
Double Major Programme138 AUs

A double or second major programme requires 10 more AUs than a single major programme. This roughly translates to 4 extra modules across the same 4-year candidature.

From my personal experience of taking a second major, this extra workload is definitely manageable.

I didn’t feel any significant difference in stress as compared to my friends in the single major programme. 🙂

Final Year Project (FYP)

One key difference between double and second majors is your options for FYP.

Double majors have the option of doing an interdisciplinary FYP. You can choose a topic that combines both your majors, instead of focusing on just one of them.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for the second major programme. 

You are unable to attempt an FYP from your second major, and you can only attempt the FYP of your primary major.

Can I change my double major programme if I change my mind?

Yes! According to NTU’s FAQ page, you can submit a request to change your double major programme to a single major programme.

This can be done after your first or second semester.

However, your change of programme is subject to the approval and acceptance of your intended major.

Is there a point in taking a second major programme?

The short answer is: Yes, absolutely!

Although your second major is of lesser weightage, you will still be taking a significant amount of modules.

To illustrate this, let’s compare a major and second major in Philosophy.

From NTU’s Philosophy page, a Philosophy major will need to complete 58 AUs, not including FYP. 

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In comparison, a second major in Psychology consists of 35 AUs.

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That’s still 60% of the full course!

Essentially, you still learn a lot from a second major – and it also looks great on your transcript, and when applying for jobs! 

At the very least, having a second major reflects your drive and dedication to learning, and also demonstrates your ability to juggle responsibilities and manage your time well

It also serves as an added advantage, if your second major teaches you skills or concepts that can be applied to the jobs you intend to apply for!

All in all, a second major is definitely worth pursuing if you have a great interest in the subject. 🙂

Which degree programme should I choose?

There’s really no right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on personal preference and circumstance.

For example, your desired combination may not be offered as a double major. As such, a second major is your only option.

Some may also find the extra workload too stressful, and want to focus solely on one major. And that’s just fine, too!

At the end of the day, what you should consider is:

  • Do I have any interest in studying 2 majors?
  • Am I prepared to take on an extra workload, as compared to doing a single major?

I chose to major in Philosophy, with a second major in Psychology. It was a lot of extra work, but it was also a lot of fun!

Still, I enjoyed myself because I had a great interest in both these subjects, and wanted to learn as much as I could. Not everyone would feel the same way, and that’s perfectly okay.


In summary, the difference between a double and a second major programme is as follows:

Double MajorSecond Major
Must choose from 16 combinations curated by NTUCan choose your own combination
Commitment upon admission into NTUCommitment after 1st year in NTU
138 AUs135 to 138 AUs
Option of doing interdisciplinary FYPNo option to do FYP of second major

Essentially, both consist of roughly the same amount of work. The main difference is that double majors are pre-selected by NTU, while second majors are chosen by you.

You must also commit to a double major upon entry into NTU. In contrast, you only choose your second major after your first year at NTU.

A double or second major can be very fulfilling – but only if it’s something you’re truly interested in. 

You can take a look at the options available for double and second majors, and decide for yourself! 🙂

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