Back Up Majors

Back-up and prospective majors are imperative when it comes to Haas. Since nothing is finite, it’s always good to have other disciplines to pursue, especially if you have other interests. Here are some examples of choices for either a simultaneous degree or a Haas replacement that many people have pursued.


By far the most popular simultaneous degree or back-up major is Economics due to the overlapping of pre-requisites, degree requirements, and similarity of material. For instance, the pre-requisites of both majors consist of two semesters of math, one semester of statistics, and introductory economics (Econ 1). Economics also includes one semester of intermediate economics (Econ 100A or 100B) and Haas includes this as part of its core curriculum. Thus, if the plan falls through, Economics is always a viable option for students who aren’t able to declare in any other discipline by the time junior year rolls around.

The Economics requirements show what the Economics department in Berkeley is focused on. In upper division, intermediate macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics are necessary. In addition, there are five electives students can choose from that are mainly pulled from the Economics department, but there are also elective choices in Business, Legal Studies, Environmental Economics; etc. Students can choose from being more quantitative or not.

Political Economy

Another similar major to Economics is Political Economy, and is another popularly pursued major. Unlike Economics and Business, Political Economy is interdisciplinary and thus much more flexible than the other two. Intermediate macroeconomics, microeconomics, classical and modern theories of political economy, and history are important foundations in the major. In addition, one of the appeals of Political Economy is the opportunity to create your own concentration, combining theoretical and methodological knowledge in a particular area. Departments to pull from include Economics, Geography, Public Policy, Political Science, History, and Environmental Economics. Consult the Political Economy Handbook for details.

Media Studies

Media Studies is a major many people recommend for those who hold interests in marketing. Media Studies provides a channel for media in a historical context, and thus provides a good background for those who wish to pursue the subject. Like Political Economy, Media Studies is interdisciplinary, pulling from departments such as Anthropology, Political Science, and Sociology. UGBA 105 (Marketing) and UGBA 165 (Advertising Strategy) also qualify as electives.

Political Science

Some choose Political Science in addition to their other studies. Unlike the other majors I have spoke of, Political Science is not interdisciplinary and only permit classes within the department to qualify as major requirements. They provide a concentration, in which students can choose from American Politics, Comparative Politics, Empirical Theory and Quantitative Methods, Political Theory, and International Relations; dictated in the lower division courses by numbers 1 through 5.


Psychology is a very popular pairing with the Business Administration degree at Berkeley. It is also a very popular major in general, and perhaps that’s why many choose to do both. Regardless, psychology majors go through a very broad set of pre-requisites that include biological science, social science, evolution, and quantitative methods. The field in Berkeley is heavily focused in research as well through the offering of Psych 101: Research Design and Methods. Requirements consist of taking a multitude of courses about biological science, cognitive development, social/personality psychology, and clinical psychology.

Computer Science

Unlike the other majors I have listed previously, Computer Science is a very different major than Business, and the only purely quantitative major on this list. Berkeley is known for many fields; Computer Science being one. Thus, as many students pursue Business, many students also pursue Computer Science. Some go one way, others go another, and some even choose to pursue both. These two requirements are completely different, so be open minded if you do indeed attempt one or the other. The foundational courses are CS 61A (structure and interpretation of programs), 61B (data structures and algorithms), 61C (machine structures), and 70 (discrete math and probability), which then branches on to choices in software, application, and theory. While Computer Science is a very focused major at Berkeley, there are plenty of electives within other departments that provide a chance for application; such as Business, Statistics, Cognitive Science, Economics, Information, Engineering, and Physics.

Should I double major?

You should consider a double major or simultaneous degree only if you love both subjects equally and passionately. Do not have double major just so that it looks good on paper. Truth be told, many employers view double majors as an instance of indirection and loss of focus; and thus if you don’t have a good reason as to why you went both ways, you won’t be as strong of a candidate. However, if you explain why you love Business and are passionate in Japanese culture, you will be much more of a joy to talk to.

How difficult is it to double major?

This depends entirely on the similarity of majors and the degree of enjoyment you have towards those majors. For instance, if you love both Business and Computer Science equally; while the requirements are pretty different (but there are two potential overlaps), it will be a cinch because you would be willing to take all those classes anyway. However, if you hate Computer Science and you’re only doing it because it looks good; you’re going to have a hard time keeping up.

Other majors, such as similar majors like Business, Economics, Political Science, or Media Studies have similar requirements, so while only two courses can overlap between two majors, courses within these majors will tend to overlap on material, and you can use one course’s material on another. Thus, learning it will be easier than if you learned it raw.

How should I go about organizing and planning for a potential double major or simultaneous degree?

Check out my Excel Document “Planners” located on my Resources page. There, I show a couple of examples of ways you can plan for a double major or simultaneous degree. I suggest keeping track of all your prospective majors and making sure that you are able to follow through with any major by overlapping as many requirements as possible. Then, when you have finally narrowed down your choices by the end of sophomore year or so; you’ll be ready to focus in what you love!

A Word of Advice

Remember that major does not equal career! Your major should be an interest, not a future. If it happens that you don’t major in business, it’s not the end of the world! You may still obtain the career you want, as long as you have the experience and knowledge to do so. It’s not required to major in experience and knowledge; you can always take upper division business classes and obtain internships without being a business major!

Many people also choose to pursue different majors in addition to the ones on this list; these aren’t the only majors that students choose as either replacements or simultaneous degrees. I myself considered doubling in Business & Cognitive Science or Business & Linguistics at one point.

Pursue what you love! Worry about what comes afterwards later. And college will be a much more enjoyable experience for you.

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