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Selecting a Minor

Selecting a Minor

Author: Alison DeRudder

Identify best practices for selecting a minor.

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Tutorial Audio

what's covered
This tutorial explores the process of choosing a minor that is right for you by defining best practices. Here is a list of what’s covered:
  1. Choosing a Minor
  2. Requirements for Minors

1. Choosing a Minor

Previous tutorials discussed the process of choosing your major, which is the main focus of your studies in higher education. You may also have the option (or be required to) choose one or more minors, which you know are the secondary focus of your studies.

How do you determine what to minor in? Since minors usually consist of around 5 specific courses, your strategy for choosing a minor can be practical and career-oriented, or you can choose to minor in something you really enjoy learning about.

Here are some tips for choosing a minor:

  • Look at a list of the courses you have already taken or that you need to take for your major, and check them against the required courses for minors at your school. It may surprise you to learn that you already have some or most of a minor completed. If this is the case, it may be an economical idea to complete the required courses for that minor since you are almost there already.
  • Consider what additional skills or knowledge will be most valuable in your career and life after school. These could be topics that are related to your major, or they could be other useful topics that are not related to your major. It's possible that you may not have another chance to study these things in depth after you graduate, so use your minor as an opportunity to prepare yourself for your future.

  • Think about what you have enjoyed learning about the most, or something you are extremely curious about. Ideally, your minor should be something you are excited to learn about because it will probably require you to take additional, specific courses outside of your major. You may as well use your minor to study something you like.

2. Requirements for Minors

If minors are optional at your school, is it worth the investment of time and resources to complete a minor? This is a question you will need to ponder and decide on as you complete the courses for your degree.

Minors are offered by schools because they are beneficial in diversifying your knowledge and skills. Having some expertise with more than one subject area can be extremely useful when seeking employment and communicating with others.

On the other hand, if you are struggling to complete the coursework for your major, taking on the additional course requirements for a minor may delay or hamper your ability to achieve your primary academic goal of graduating with a degree in your major. Therefore, you should carefully review the requirements for your degree and think about how much additional coursework will be required to complete the minor.

As with declaring your major, involving your academic advisor in this decision-making process is helpful because they can help you understand the requirements and you can discuss your concerns with them.

Choose a minor that is practical to your personal and career goals and/or something you find exciting and interesting. Before selecting a minor, it is important to review the requirements for this minor to determine if you have the time and resources to take on the additional coursework.