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Do you need to have a minor

bookreaderbookreader Registered User Posts: 1,895 Senior Member
edited February 2008 in Parents Forum
My son is a history major and is in the spring semester of his junior year. His college, while it does of course require that all students have a major, it does not require that the students have a minor.

He is feeling like he should have a minor since "everybody" has one and he does not. He has taken a number of electives but none so far have inspired him to want to persue that field for a minor (a minor would require 18 credits in a certain area).

I think that a minor isn't all that important since your diploma only notes your major and not your minor. When job hunting, I only applied for jobs that fit with my major and no one ever asked me what I minored in. My husband had the same experience when job hunting.

So, it is just fine to not have a minor? I'd appreciate hearing from others who have 'gone before us'.

Thanks in advance.
Post edited by bookreader on

Replies to: Do you need to have a minor

  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    It is just fine not to have a minor.

    There seems to be a trend (which I, personally, don't get) to double major, triple major, have a minor etc.

    But it is really not important in pretty much any career that I know of. "Everybody" having one is something he should not worry about at all. But, if he is concerned, he could meet with an advisor or a faculty member in the field he wants to pursue (if he's planning further education) or a career services person in a career field that interests him - ask these people if there is any advantage to having a minor. I don't think there will be.
  • nngmmnngmm Registered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    I actually heard that some graduate programs see minors and extra majors as a "lack of focus"...
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    @ bookreader

    There is nothing wrong with just having a major. It is true that more students graduate with a major and minor. Some students, such as my myself, also pursue double majors. Some are able to add a minor to their double majors. The most ambitious pursue triple majors! The most important thing is graduating with degree in a major and a breadth of courses that your son particularly enjoys.
  • dilksydilksy - Posts: 1,903 Senior Member
    Minors really only matter if it's in something that is clearly complementary to your major. For lots of things like econ and physics, it would certainly be seen as a good thing if you had a minor in math. If you're interested in foreign relations, having a minor in the language spoken in the region you're most interested in would be a good thing. If you're taking history just for the hell of it...it's not going to help.
  • debate_addictdebate_addict Registered User Posts: 2,307 Senior Member
    the person who featured this thread probably thought this was a significant threat to talk about - and i agree completely.
  • hops_scouthops_scout Registered User Posts: 3,903 Senior Member
    At SEMO, some majors require a minor and some don't. It mainly depends on the number of credit hours a specific major is. You have to have 120 credits to graduate so if a major program is only 50 credit hours then you have 19 to go after completing the University Studies stuff which is 51 I believe. My program I don't have to worry about a minor because after the 51 my program is 76 so it's over 120.

    One of my professors talks about "bait" and when you're fishing you want to use a variety of bait. Having a minor in this or a certification in that, or experience in something can be used as "bait" when looking for a job. So the more bait you got the better. Sort of...
  • srunnisrunni Registered User Posts: 768 Member
    On that note, would it be a good idea to have 2 majors and a minor? Or would this be too much? (I'm starting college this fall)
  • legendofmaxlegendofmax Registered User Posts: 4,737 Senior Member
    Don't spread yourself out too thinly. Study what you love and study it deeply -- if you happen to love the content of two majors then you should go for it. But if you're just resume-padding by trying to stuff in multiple majors and minors, odds are you're not going to have a very deep knowledge in any one of those things
  • beanieboobeanieboo Registered User Posts: 718 Member
    dont do a minor because it will be better for a job or something. minors can be something youre just generally interested in and will enjoy taking a lot of classes in.

    or, you could be like my brother. he was a bio major premed student in college and last semester he found out htat if he took one extra chem class he would then have a chem minor. so ofr him it was wroth it. im a finance/human resource management major but i might minor in history because i love learning about history and tkaing history classes. yet i could never imagine majoring in it, it would be too much

    to get to the point, noone really cares about minors i think. unless its something like econ/physics and math.
  • corrangedcorranged Registered User Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    There's no need to minor.

    I have also heard comments against double-majoring by professors and others. It makes sense for a few students, some students run into it automatically based on their interests, and no one else should really worry about it.
  • DebrunsDebruns Registered User Posts: 2,793 Senior Member
    Because of AP classes and the type of classes, my son said he has seen double majors and double minors! It isn't like they planned it, but because of the classes taken, they could have a double in each.

    I haven't heard this across the board yet, but GC's have been telling me in the future AP courses to get out of others will become less. You will get credit, but not necessarily a release from taking a course. Two friends of my son said English AP's aren't being used to get out of English 1 courses and Government AP courses are only used for credits at his school. It can be a "money" thing for the college, or it can be that some have seen the level of writing,etc. wasn't up to par.
  • TheAnalystTheAnalyst Registered User Posts: 2,814 Senior Member
    In hiring, I would not be more impressed by a candidate with a double major or minor than one with a single major. I might even find it confusing and distracting on the resume, but expect I could look beyond that in most cases and see it as a neutral. If a job applicant has a secondary skill such as a language ability, that can easily be communicated on a resume without the addition of a minor in that field.

    A history major is going to be a good fit for a job that values critical reading and writing ability, which covers a lot of potential options. If your son minors in something it might limit his job prospects if he interviews in a field totally unrelated to his minor. The potential employer might believe he would be unhappy unless doing something more connected to his minor, which in your son's case would not be true.

    Of course, he could also produce multiple resumes, depending on the job prospect and emphasize different skills in each. Some resumes wouldn't mention the minor and others would so it doesn't have to hurt. Nevertheless, totally unnecessary to pursue, in my opinion.
  • SuperMom_I_AintSuperMom_I_Aint Registered User Posts: 277 Junior Member
    Agree w/Analyst. We list the type of degree we're seeking w/respect to a specific job. If you've got the degree & experience, that's great. If you've got an unrelated major/minor, this does NOT work as a plus factor (neither does it detract). Practically speaking, experience is a more weighty plus in our hiring consideration than degree major or variety.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    I disagree with the idea that a minor (or a double major) will somehow disadvantage a job applicant. Many employers are looking for creativity and versatility - even in technical or other very specific kinds of positions. I'd prefer to hire an engineer who had, say, a minor in music or anthropology, vs. one who didn't if all other things were equal.

    I suppose if a minor somehow causes a student to sacrifice lots of coursework in his/her major or to miss out on internships, etc., then it could be more of a problem. In most cases, though, a student can complete a minor without "major" tradeoffs.

    To me, a minor that is quite different than the major indicates that the applicant is likely to be more interesting, better able to deal with people outside his/her discipline, and more likely to come up with novel solutions to problems. There can be specific benefits, too - I'd expect a CompSci major with an English Lit minor to be more likely to be able to put together well-written proposals and PowerPoints, though clearly one would need to dig deeper to ensure that was really the case.
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    Um, lots of good responses so far. I agree that a minor is unnecessary. But I also agree with those who say AP courses and college coursework taken in HS can make a minor unavoidable. And what about those students who truly love two subjects? My UG double was Chemistry and Mathematics, but when I got into the working world I found I liked the latter MUCH more than the former. The Math major did open a few doors for me. YMMV.
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