Preparing College Students for a Double Major

Charles Stam is a public policy analyst and a Columbia College graduate who double-majored in history and political science. In particular, Charles M. Stam focused his studies on post-World War II and Cold War-era American political history as well as international relations. Charles Maurice Stam utilized both fields of study to enhance his understanding of present day American politics.

For some students entering their first years of college, deciding to declare two majors might be an obvious choice. An individual who wants to become a literary agent, for example, could benefit from coursework in both English literature and business, so pairing the two as a double major makes perfect sense. For those considering a marriage of bio-engineering and advanced mathematics, on the other hand, the prospect might seem a bit more daunting. There are a few steps to take before declaring two majors in order to make sure that the decision is the right one.

To start, make a simple list of pros and cons. Think of the time constraints involved with a double major, both in terms of how much work you will be putting in on a daily basis and how many additional semesters you might need to attend in order to complete both degrees. Staying an extra year or two also poses a serious financial burden, another point of consideration. There are a number of personal advisers, career counselors, and department heads who can discuss the requirements of a double major, while students on campus who are double majoring can serve as a direct source for information on the prospect. In the end, the matter is a personal decision, and students who feel that they can handle the workload and will benefit later in life from completing a double major should do so.


New Book Challenges Current Approach to Foreign Policy

A graduate of Columbia University, Charles M. Stam presently works as an analyst with a public policy firm. Previously, he served as a fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Outside his professional responsibilities, Charles Maurice Stam regularly reads non-fiction and hopes to apply his background in history and political science to a legal career.

Last year, Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, released his latest book, “Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order.” A long-time member of the Washington, D.C., community, Dr. Haass served as the principal advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell, special assistant to President George H.W. Bush, and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.

In his new book, Dr. Haass suggests that America’s international strength must stem from domestic policy changes that will improve schools, address infrastructural problems, and update the immigration system. At present, he argues, the country is caught in a dangerous cycle of underperforming at home and overreaching abroad, and he suggests that correcting this imbalance is the only way to ensure long-term national security. Additionally, the book posits that the United States should focus on maintaining a balance of power in Asia and work collaboratively with groups like the United Nations and the European Union to affect change overseas.