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I'm in my 20s and putting together a resume because I'm thinking about applying to master's programs that are focused on professional skill development. I went to school in the US and studied mathematics and philosophy (separately, not the joint program that exists at some universities) as an undergraduate. When a coworker was looking over my resume for me, she was surprised to see that it read:

Education:
Bachelor's of Science in Mathematics with honors, [university], [year]
Bachelor's of Arts in Philosophy, [university], [year]

She claimed that having two majors isn't the same thing as having two bachelor's degrees, and that listing them separately is disingenuous. This surprised me, as I consider myself as holding a BA and a BS from my university rather than (to use her words) "a BS in Mathematics and a second major in Philosophy." My university seems to trea

The top of my college transcript reads as follows:

                        Degrees Awarded
Degree:        Bachelor's of Science
Confer Date:   [date]
               Mathematics (B.S.), with honors
               Philosophy (B.A.)

                   Academic Program History
Program:       The College
               Start Term: [Autumn, year]
               Current Status: Completed Program
               Mathematics (B.S.)
               Philosophy (B.A.)

I attended a university that didn't have undergraduate "schools" which is why it says "the College" - that's the term the university uses to refer to the program that all undergraduates are in. I was given the choice of what order I wanted Mathematics and Philosophy to be listed in (both here and on my diploma), and was told that the Degree line would agree with whatever I had listed first. I wrote a BA essay which was accepted by the philosophy department.

As someone working as an applied mathematician, I'm aware that the degree in philosophy isn't particularly important to my employers. However, it is very important to me and I would like to include it in my resume. My questions are:

  1. Is it considered correct for me to say that I have a BA in philosophy and a BS in mathematics?
  2. Is it considered weird or misleading to list mathematics and philosophy separately on my resume as I have done?
  3. If the answer is no to #2, do you have recommendations about how to clarify that I studied mathematics and I studied philosophy, rather than that I did a program in mathematics and philosophy, which is not particularly uncommon at liberal arts schools (though my university doesn't offer it)
  4. Is anyone going to care? I've been told that professionally oriented master's programs tend to care less about your degrees compared to your work. My university is a more prestigious than my employer, but not by a wide margin.
  • There's an unfinished sentence in your question. – DJClayworth Apr 1 '17 at 20:45
  • @JoeStrazzere, I strongly disagree! As I read the transcript they conferred both B.S. and B.A. degrees. While standards and practices vary from university to university, I know from personal experience at a US university that you can be awarded two degrees, and the requirements are slightly higher than for a single degree with a double major. See also the Wikipedia entry for double degree. If the OP has any doubt he should check with the registrar of his college for a definitive answer. – Charles E. Grant Apr 1 '17 at 23:19
  • For what it's worth, my university sent me a postcard 6 weeks before graduation asking if I wanted to be granted a B.A. or a B.S., since I majored in both English and Computer Science. I think the transcript posted above reflects a single degree ("Bachelor's of Science") with two majors in different "schools" (Arts vs. Sciences). – gowenfawr Nov 26 '18 at 18:56
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Why not follow the formatting on the transcript? Something like:

Bachelor's of Science [University] [date]
     Mathematics (B.S.), with honors
     Philosophy (B.A.)

That indicates both degrees, and cannot be considered misleading because it is directly supported by the transcript.

  • @JoeStrazzere How would explaining it be a problem? I would think that the OP would want to talk about the unusual educational background, something that might make a CV stand out from the pile. – Patricia Shanahan Apr 2 '17 at 13:07
  • @JoeStrazzere Please see my comment under the question. – scaaahu Apr 2 '17 at 15:01
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Your co-worker is right.

Having a degree in which you study both Mathematics and Philosophy is not the same as having both a degree in Philosophy and a degree in Mathematics. Listing your qualification as two degrees runs the risk of confusing your case with someone who genuinely has two degrees, and this may reflect badly on you when they find you do not have two degrees. To that extent someone is going to care.

Your transcript clearly says that your degree is Bachelor of Science. If you had two degrees, your transcript would list both degrees. You would also have two degree certificates, and would probably have had two degree ceremonies.

My understanding of your transcript is that you studied in both the BS (Mathematics and BA (Philosophy) programs, which is not the same as completing degrees in both.

In any case, calling your university should give you a definitive answer.

  • 4
    I strongly disagree. The read the transcript as clearly stating that the OP received two different degrees: a BS in math (with honors) and a BA in philosophy. I personally received two BS degrees from an American university. At my university the difference between a double major with a single degree and two degrees was the number of credit hours completed. More were required to get two degrees. Different universities will have different standards, but if the OP has represented his transcript correctly, they have two degrees. – Charles E. Grant Apr 1 '17 at 21:55
  • @CharlesEGrant I agree it would be possible, but I think the transcript should show two degrees. – DJClayworth Apr 2 '17 at 2:00
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At the university that my kids go to there are two differences between a double major and getting two degrees. In the case of two degrees they are two diffetent types such as BS and BA. They also must take 30 credits beyond what would be neefed for either degree. For examlpe physics and chemistry is a double major, but public relations and nuclear engineering is two degrees.

If that same definition applied at your school you would have two degrees. The key is the lack of overlap between the degrees. In many places a BA requires foreign language, but a BS doesn't. A BA has only a few science and math classes, but a BS requires many science and math classes.

  • Yep, my undergrad was similar. I have a BS and a BA - two degrees, two separate pieces of paper. I just write something like "University - BS Physics, BA Computer Science - Year". – user812786 Apr 3 '17 at 20:22

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