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Unlike declaring a college major, choosing a college minor is optional, and many students do not avail themselves of this possibility. Nevertheless, completing a minor degree program in college may serve several purposes.
First, the minor can broaden the ground covered by the major. In these days, when college majors can be very specific, the minor can develop another closely related area. For example, a student with a major in biology with a specialization in cellular and molecular biology might pursue a minor in computational neuroscience. A student with a major in Classical literature might choose to minor in philosophy.
Besides extending the choice of college major, a well-chosen minor can also complement it. One might add a minor in mathematics to any science major, a minor in philosophy to virtually any humanities major, or a minor in sociology to any social science major.
Nearly any field can be complemented by a college minor in writing or journalism, which can, on the one hand, help the content area specialist with the public presentation of his or her work or, on the other hand, give the writer or journalist specialized knowledge to inform his or her publications. If public presentation online is desired, a minor in computer science may prove useful.
A college minor in a foreign language may broaden a student’s employment possibilities or increase their ability to study internationally or work with colleagues from overseas. Research possibilities expand when publications from other countries can be read in the original language. Likewise, students who wish to produce a product or service for market or expect to be involved in the management of a company may profitably add a minor in business.
For a student with diverse talents or who are not completely fulfilled by their major, a college minor can be an opportunity to engage in a totally different type of thought and exploration. Science majors can develop their understanding of literature using the college minor, and humanities majors might explore zoology or psychology. The minor can also be used to carry on what may have started as an extracurricular activity, such as playing an instrument, acting, or singing.
Once you find a minor that you might be interested in, you should speak with an adviser in that department. The advisor will let you know exactly what is required to satisfy your chosen minor.
An advisor will also give you information on what courses are required for the minor, and how the minor might relate to your major. This is important because you may be able to plan a few courses that meet both your minor and major requirements. You will also discover the prerequisites for some of the courses in your minor. Some minors even have GPA requirements that an advisor will be able to let you know about.
With today’s changing economy, many colleges are offering new interdisciplinary bachelors programs. These types of degree programs can be complimented by a well chosen minor. A minor in an interdisciplinary program can help to focus your studies, and give you an area of specialization.
For example, I am pursuing a degree in Sustainability. This program combines aspects of environmental sciences, engineering, and economics. My sustainability degree required me to choose a focus track. The focus track I chose was energy, materials, and technology.
I already have an associate degree in business, but I am still choosing a minor. I decided to minor in Materials science and engineering. I felt that this would focus my degree. I will still
have a broad knowledge base, but my specialty will be the applications of materials in sustainable energy and technology projects.
The business associate prepares me with the basic knowledge in entrepreneurship and marketing new products. My degree is not necessarily classified under one industry, but I will have the ability to focus my research within a couple of industries.
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