Do Your Major and Minor Need to Match?

6

Your choice of college major is, for lack of a better term, major. Whatever discipline you choose to earn your degree in will most likely determine your future career. Depending on what your career plans are, your choice of major may have even been a serious factor in helping you choose a college or university to attend. There are lots of resources to help you choose a major, including lists of the most popular, or lists of the ones that have the most monetary value.

There is, however, another academic choice many college and university students will need to make, and that’s a choice of academic minor. While some bachelor’s degree programs don’t offer minors as an option, most still do. There are career tracks where certain minors are preferred or even expected to accompany certain bachelor’s degrees. Many fields are wide-open when it comes to choice of minor.

An academic minor can be an excellent chance to narrow or expand your career choices. In most liberal arts programs, you will need to earn a certain number of elective credits to complete requirements for a bachelor’s degree. Using those elective credits to earn a minor outside the college or department of your major can go a long way to increase your future hireability.

When you choose to minor in something like a foreign language, you’re going to be adding a tangible skill to your future resume. Now you’re not just a person with a bachelor’s degree in social work, you’re a person with a social work degree and a minor in Spanish. Those two disciplines combine to make you a desirable candidate for many positions where both skills are necessary. The same is true for bachelor’s of science degrees. A computer science major with a minor in communication or business management is someone with a career track that runs to the corporate or management side of the tech world rather than just the development side. Think of your minor as a possible door to a second career track, or at least a sub-track.

Minors can complement your major as well and essentially set you up for a very precise career. Perhaps you’re a secondary education major with a minor in English, that says you’re preparing to be a high school English teacher.

One of the best things to do when you’re considering declaring a minor is to talk to people in the profession you’d like to hold. What did they minor in? What did other people they know in the field minor in? What advice do they have? Also, talk to your academic advisor. They may have great advice on how to translate the credits you’ve already earned into a useful minor. And talk to faculty in your department, they work with students following the exact track you are all the time—they may have real insight into smart minor choices.