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Seeing Double Double Majors and Course‐Taking In The Liberal Arts. Southern Sociological Society 2011 Richard N. Pitt & Whitney Laster Vanderbilt University. The Multiple Majors Project is funded by The Teagle Foundation in association with the

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slide1

Seeing Double

Double Majors and Course‐Taking In The Liberal Arts

Southern Sociological Society 2011

Richard N. Pitt & Whitney Laster

Vanderbilt University

The Multiple Majors Project is funded by The Teagle Foundation in association with the

Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, & Public Policy and the Vanderbilt University Department of Sociology

slide2

Double Majoring

  • The Rise Of A Major Curricular Trend Over The Last Ten Years
  • We Know Almost Nothing About The Trend’s Benefits and Drawbacks
  • Is Double Majoring Creating The
  • Kind Of “Renaissance” Student We Often
  • Associate With A Liberally-Educated Person?

Are double-majors taking more courses across multiple domains of knowledge

than single majors?

slide3

Data And Methods

Undergraduate Transcripts

N=200 • 138 Institutions

30 Biology Single Majors

33 Biology Double Majors

16 Bio/STEM & 17 Bio/Non-STEM

30 English Single Majors

38 English Double Majors

22 Engl/HUMN & 16 Engl/Non-HUMN

30 Psychology Single Majors

39 Psychology Double Majors

20 Psyc/SOCS & 19 Psyc/Non-SOCS

slide5

Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

(Economic Review 1993; Ellison et al 1997;

Warner and Pierce 1993, Belfield and Levin 2002)

Aesthetic Inquiry (8%)

Foreign Language & Culture 15%)

Historical Analysis (8%)

Literary Analysis/Composition (8%)

Moral Reasoning (8%)

Quantitative Reasoning (8%)

Scientific Inquiry (15%)

Social Analysis (15%)

Interdisciplinary (8%)

Others (8%)

HHI For The Average

Core Curriculum

(13 Courses)

.11

Non-Specialization

slide6

Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

(Economic Review 1993; Ellison et al 1997;

Warner and Pierce 1993, Belfield and Levin 2002)

Aesthetic Inquiry (3%)

Foreign Language & Culture (7%)

Historical Analysis (6%)

Literary Analysis/Composition (15%)

Moral Reasoning (6%)

Quantitative Reasoning (6%)

Scientific Inquiry (26%)

Social Analysis (21%)

Interdisciplinary (4%)

Others (6%)

HHI For The Average

Core Curriculum

(39 Courses)

.31

Specialization

slide7

Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

NATURAL SCIENCE

Aesthetic Inquiry (4%)

Foreign Language & Culture (5%)

Historical Analysis (5%)

Literary Analysis/Composition (6%)

Moral Reasoning (5%)

Quantitative Reasoning (9%)

Scientific Inquiry (47%)

Social Analysis (11%)

Interdisciplinary (3%)

Others (6%)

HHI For The Science Single Major

(41Courses)

.36

Specialization

HHI For The Science “Doubling-Down”

(43Courses)

.46

Hyper-Specialization

HHI For The Science “Doubling-Different”

(42Courses)

.31

Hypo-Specialization

slide8

Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

HUMANITIES

Aesthetic Inquiry (4%)

Foreign Language & Culture (9%)

Historical Analysis (7%)

Literary Analysis/Composition (30%)

Moral Reasoning (8%)

Quantitative Reasoning (5%)

Scientific Inquiry (14%)

Social Analysis (12%)

Interdisciplinary (5%)

Others (5%)

HHI For The Humanities Single Major

(35 Courses)

.26

Specialization

HHI For The Humanities “Doubling-Down”

(38 Courses)

.24

Hyper-Specialization

HHI For The Humanities “Doubling-Different”

(40 Courses)

.29

Hypo-Specialization

slide9

Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

SOCIAL SCIENCE

Aesthetic Inquiry (3%)

Foreign Language & Culture (7%)

Historical Analysis (5%)

Literary Analysis/Composition (9%)

Moral Reasoning (5%)

Quantitative Reasoning (7%)

Scientific Inquiry (13%)

Social Analysis (42%)

Interdisciplinary (4%)

Others (6%)

HHI For The Social Science Single Major

(35 Courses)

.27

Specialization

HHI For The Social Science “Doubling-Down”

(37 Courses)

.37

Hyper-Specialization

HHI For The Social Science “Doubling-Different”

(40 Courses)

.23

Hypo-Specialization

slide10

Findings Summary

  • Hyper-specialization (“doubling-down”) reduces and hypo-specialization (“doubling-different”) increases the breadth of students’ knowledge for STEM and SOCS
  • Both hyper-specialization and hypo-specialization work in opposite directions for HUMN majors
  • Science majors are the most concentrated (HHI=.38) of the disciplines even when “doubling-different.”
  • Humanities majors are the least concentrated (HHI=.26) but much of this is a function of the humanities epitomizing “liberal arts” knowledge.
  • Social science majors are in-between (HHI=29) but less likely to peak in their primary domain of knowledge than others.