Double-major mix-ups

While registering for a graduate-level physics course for the spring semester, Kyle Anderson, a senior double major in physics and mathematics, asked his adviser if both of his majors would be listed on his diploma.

While registering for a graduate-level physics course for the spring semester, Kyle Anderson, a senior double major in physics and mathematics, asked his adviser if both of his majors would be listed on his diploma.

To his disappointment, the answer was negative.

Anderson, who will be graduating in May 2006, said he was disappointed that his diploma will not recognize the work he has done to graduate with a degree specializing in two majors of study. Anderson is now in his fifth year at Temple.

According to him, he would have finished in four years if not for his double major. Anderson said that students who work hard to obtain double majors should receive recognition on their diplomas.

Presently, Temple diplomas recognize the degree a student obtains from the school or college he or she is enrolled in, according to the College of Science and Technology.

For example, Anderson’s diploma will read, Bachelor of Science, not Bachelor of Science in physics and math. Students’ majors are only listed on their transcripts.

Anderson e-mailed about 200 students who were listed in the Cherry and White pages as double majors, expressing his concern about this matter and hoping to gain support to have the current system changed. He received responses from about 10 students who have equal concern and would like to have their two majors listed on their diplomas.

However, these students were misinformed.

“For those of you who don’t know already, your diploma only lists your primary major. The only place your second major is acknowledged is on your transcripts,” Anderson said in the e-mail he sent to double majors chosen at random.

In an e-mail response, President David Adamany said the reason two diplomas are not issued to students is because they do not complete two separate core requirements.

“The issue isn’t whether there will be a second major on the diploma, but whether any (or all) majors should appear there,” Adamany said. Many students are unaware of what their diplomas will look like.

According to Anderson, some students expressed concern about graduate schools and employers looking at diplomas that do not recognize an applicant’s major or majors.

“No graduate school, professional school or employer ever asks to see someone’s diploma. What they ask for is the transcript,” Adamany said. “So if the transcript shows all majors and minors, the critical information is available.”

Anderson e-mailed Adamany with his concerns and advised other double majors to do the same. In his letter, Anderson proposed recognition for majors on diplomas by graduation in May.

“We’re not going to get this solved for the commencement this spring,” Adamany said.

“But it has been raised from time to time, and I personally believe students should have some recognition for double majors on their diplomas beyond recognition of them on the transcript,” Adamany wrote in a response to Anderson.

Adamany said the university has conducted a survey of other leading universities to determine what their practice is.

“Once we know that, we can begin to consider whether the Temple diploma should be changed to include one or more majors,” Adamany said.

After doing research on these other universities, Adamany said the situation was more complicated than he originally thought.

“My idea that students should be recognized for their majors on their diplomas reflects my personal experience. My own diploma shows my major. But that was many years ago, and it appears that most universities no longer do that,” Adamany said.

“I am reserving the right to change my mind once I have a better understanding of national practice among other good universities on this matter.”

So far, eight universities in the region have been surveyed, including Pennsylvania State University and University of Pittsburgh.

Along with Temple, seven of the eight institutions do not show any undergraduate major on diplomas, according to Adamany.

The issue of listing majors on diplomas has been pending for a long time, Adamany said. However, if and when a change is made it will most likely be retroactive, he said.

“When a change in diploma practices is made, it is usually made available to people who previously received a diploma if they want the change,” Adamany said.

However, Anderson said he would like to see this change happen sooner than later.

“I don’t think it should matter what other universities are doing, as long as enough people want it changed here,” Anderson said.

Leigh Zaleski can be reached at

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