Student Life

What Is a Minor in College?

Move aside college majors, it's time to talk about minors in college

Student Contributor, Rachel Lechwar

February 23, 2022

What Is a Minor in College?
Answering commonly asked questions about college minors.
While it may seem like a minor decision, determining how you want to spend your credit hours is an important consideration. It’s easy to feel lost with so many options, but it helps to assess what exactly you want from your courses.

What is a college minor?

Minors are a way to explore another discipline outside your major. They require a declaration, just like college majors, but will typically take only 16-30 credit hours to complete. Essentially, it is a chance to branch out from your own area of study, whether that is to complement your degree or explore an interest.

Is a minor required?

It depends on the degree program and university. For an English major at Florida State, a minor is required. However, other degree programs are more demanding, and you can graduate without a minor in another field.

What are some benefits of having a minor?

Build your skillset: Taking courses outside your major can help diversify your abilities that will help in the workplace. Increasing connections: In minor classes, you will work with people outside your major, which can help expand your outlook and learn about other career paths.
Discover interests: If you choose a minor based solely on your passions, it’s a great way to devote energy towards it without worrying about how it will apply to your future career. On the other hand, if you choose a major based on what practically fits your major, you can take classes that line up with your future aspirations.

How do I decide if I should add a minor?

The first thing to consider is your time. A college minor can take as little as 12 hours or up to 30 credit hours. When declaring a minor, make sure you don’t overload yourself with coursework.
There may be some elective requirements that overlap with minor classes. Check with your advisor to see how you can best use your credit hours. Depending on the required hours of your major, there may be more room in your schedule. Those who took AP classes of dual enrollment have already fulfilled some general education requirements, which frees up space for more classes. Other important things to consider are the cost of the extra classes as well as the pressure it could put on social activities. It may help to create a loose map of your schedule until graduation and include extracurricular activities alongside credit hours.

How do I pick a college minor?

There is no one answer to this question. Some choose a minor based on what will best complement their major. For example, as an English major, I chose Communications as my minor, figuring that I could build skills to apply my writing in different settings. However, some choose a minor solely based on interests. An accounting major could minor in film simply because they have a passion for cinematography. Employers are not going to analyze your minor choice; in reality, it is for your benefit, so keep that in the forefront of your mind when making the decision. Now, some questions to ask yourself: • Do I have the time to devote to this coursework? • What do I want to get out of these classes? Practical career applications or exploration of interests? • What minors does my university offer? • Am I interested in the courses available for the minor?

Should I Minor or Double Major?

This is a bit more difficult to answer and is entirely subjective. I had to ask myself the same question this semester. Since a minor is required for my degree, I originally opted to minor in communications; however, I started to realize that I had a lot more space in my schedule for another year of classes. I felt like I needed more experience before graduation, so I applied for the Communications major program. Stories of minoring and double majoring will vary, so it depends on your own intentions. Since a minor will not appear on your degree while another major will, some decide that it’s worth it to take the extra classes. However, I would caution against double-majoring simply for the sake of boosting a resume. My advisors have told me that employers look more at experience than degree, so balance coursework with internships and jobs to help you stand out. Ultimately, deciding on a college minor and even deciding whether it is worth it depends entirely on your own personal situation. If you have a major that doesn’t require a minor, take some time to explore your options. College is a time for experimentation, so minors give you the opportunity to branch out and discover different subject areas to make you a more well-rounded individual.

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