We all have to choose a major (or two!) when we come to Cal, although we may switch a few times before we officially declare. After taking a few classes in different departments, however, we may realize that we want to expand our knowledge more than a single major allows. To do this, students might choose a minor in a different academic department. Why would you do this, though? And how do you go about finding a minor that fits your interests? Here are some questions that may cross your mind if you’re considering working toward a minor:
Question #1: Is the minor something you are actually interested in? If you’re a science student and you’d like to take up something in the arts or humanities — or if you’d like to complement your major with something in a similar field — then maybe you should pursue a minor.
Question #2: Do you have time? This is the pivotal question we ask ourselves whenever we sign up for anything, isn’t it? But really, if your major is made up of a huge number of classes or if you’re involved in other activities, you’ll have to really think about whether you want to commit to five or six more upper-division classes.
Question #3: Is there some overlap with your major? Because really, it would be awesome if you could take advantage of taking one class that counts both for your major and your intended minor. Make sure to check with your adviser before assuming it would count for both.
Question #4: Are there any classes that are actually interesting? Even if you already have a minor in mind, maybe you’ll take one class for it. Then you’ll try to find another class next semester, and there just won’t be anything you think is worth your time.
Question #5: Can you get into the classes? If you want to study something outside of your college or even just outside of your major, it can be tough to enroll in the classes without automatically being sent to the wait list. Some departments are forgiving to nonmajors, but make sure you have some chance of getting in. Otherwise, your minor could end up becoming more complicated than your major.
Question #6: Will it help your career? Maybe your major isn’t completely related to the job you want after graduation. If so, you could supplement your degree with a minor in something more relevant to your career goals.
Question #7: Would it be better to double major or minor? You might jump back and forth on this decision. One inspiring morning, you may feel like, “I can double major in political science and history all day, every day.” Until you realize, as you slump in your Main Stacks seat, that all four of your classes are reading-based and require too many essays. You may decide you have the time to go the extra mile to declare a double major. Or you might switch out that double major for the less committal minor.
Image source: Derrick Coetzee under Creative Commons