English or Judaic Studies Minor?


I am a transfer student who will be starting at the University at Albany, SUNY this fall as a history major. My goal is to become a high school social studies teacher, preferably teaching world history. To reach this goal, I intend to apply to and be accepted into the university’s Master of Science in Secondary Education program after I complete my undergraduate work.

To reach this goal, I must complete my history major, a minor of my choosing, and several social studies electives in fields such as geography, economics, and so forth. My issue is the minor, as I cannot decide whether I would like to declare English or Judaic Studies. I realize both offer their respective sets of skills, abilities, and knowledge, but, considering my second choice of profession after teaching is something related to communications, public relations, marketing, and the like, which of these two minors do you believe would be the best for me to declare? Why?

To give you all more of an idea of how each minor would affect my graduation, every minor at the university requires a minimum of 18 credits, or six classes, for graduation. With my transfer credits, I would need to take four English classes — one per semester — to complete the minor. For Judaic Studies, I would need to complete five or six courses because one world history class I am taking during my first semester might count for three credits toward this minor if I decide upon it. Please keep in mind I must also complete approximately five elective courses across geography, economics, and psychology in order to complete my social studies prerequisites so I can apply for the MSSE teaching program at the university.

This is a tough decision for me because I love both English and Judaic Studies, but I can realistically only choose one discipline for my minor. I understand English can open several avenues of potential careers, but my heart also looks toward Judaic Studies and all the knowledge I can gain from it. Thus, I call upon the College Confidential community for assistance in the matter. So, after reading what I have shared with you all, please provide your suggestions for my consideration.

Thank you for all your help,

If you are looking at possibly communications or PR as an alternative career path, the best skill you can develop is writing well. English would definitely fit the bill, but I don’t know about Judaic Studies in that regard.


Thank you for your response. I appreciate your insight. I understand how the English seems instrumental in helping to secure my potential alternative career pathways. However, I have discovered it is very possible for history majors to find jobs in communications, PR, and many of the same opportunities offered by English degrees. As for the the Judaic Studies minor, the department chairperson of this program at the University at Albany recently informed me that it provides knowledge, understanding, skills, and more in a wide range of areas, including history, culture, ethnography, and language, among others.

This is a tough decision for me because, like I mentioned above, my heart is set on two different possibilities, but I can most likely only choose one minor. That is why I greatly appreciate all who offer their suggestions to me.

Unless you think there’s a possibility that you might teach English, I see no reason a minor in English would be more beneficial to you than a minor in Judaic Studies. By all means, go for the one that interests you more.

My personal opinion is that JS complements history very nicely. If you have any interest in teaching at a private religious high school, being able to teach basic courses in religion/theology (e.g. Intro to the Bible) as well as world history may give you a leg up over other history applicants.

On a side note, Albany is a powerhouse for Mesoamerican studies. I highly recommend taking a course on the Maya or whatever else is on offer in the anthro department while you’re there, as it’s a rare opportunity.


I appreciate your insightful response to my inquiry. I did once consider teaching English, but after I really pondered the various subjects and disciplines I value and would want to share with others, I discovered history and social studies are what I love most. Judaic Studies really speaks volumes to me, as the content knowledge and skills I would walk away with (the program even includes Hebrew courses) are invaluable in a variety of fields, especially compared to if I only had knowledge of English.

The only aspect of choosing Judaic Studies over English as my minor that bothers me is the fact that my second choice of career if teaching does not work out for some reason is communications, PR or anything involving writing. While history and English degrees both have the potential to grant me a job in this field, I still wonder how employers would react when they see I minored in Judaic Studies as opposed to one in English. Do you have any thoughts on this? Also, can you tell me more about finding work at a religious school? This possibility greatly intrigues me, and I would love to learn more about it.

As for SUNY Albany, I have seen multiple courses offered in Mesoamerican and Latin American history, so I can see what you mean about the university’s robust selection. Seeing as how I must take various courses in world, European, and U.S. history for my major, I will definitely have my pick of regions. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Be sure that the history course you are taking can also be used to fulfill a minor. Usual a course used to complete a major cannot also be used for a minor or a core requirement.


I appreciate your input on this matter. At the university I will be attending, history courses will count toward my history major but will not count toward my minor. Despite this, however, I have planned out a sequence of courses that will allow me room to complete classes in either English or Judaic Studies without hindering my graduation schedule.

I was just commenting on this from your original post. My daughter, also a History major, can’t use courses for both the history major and a minor, or use a history class as a major requirement and a core requirement. It is fine to use a class for a minor and a core requirement.

I understand what you are saying, and I apologize for any confusion I may have caused. I greatly appreciate your help nonetheless.

[quote[ The only aspect of choosing Judaic Studies over English as my minor that bothers me is the fact that my second choice of career if teaching does not work out for some reason is communications, PR or anything involving writing. While history and English degrees both have the potential to grant me a job in this field, I still wonder how employers would react when they see I minored in Judaic Studies as opposed to one in English. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Employers generally don’t really care what you minored in. As long as you have the skills to do the work they want - and as you mentioned, many history majors go into communications, PR, and writing careers - you’ll be fine.

It sounds like you really want to minor in Judaic studies, so go ahead and do that.


Thank you for responding to my post. I have heard a variety of opinions on how employers view their employees’ college minors; some have insisted employers consider both majors and minors when viewing applications, while others have claimed, as you have stated, one’s minor holds less clout in comparison to his or her minor. Either way, I appreciate learning of your thoughts on this matter.

I have never been asked my minor. Never. That’s a good thing because I didn’t have one (school didn’t offer minors back in my day)

To all who have responded and all who read this discussion in the future: I have decided to minor in both English and Judaic Studies. Unless something changes, I will take only Judaic Studies courses my first two semesters at the university, followed by one Judaic course and two English classes during each of my last two semesters. This way, I will cover all my bases and feel satisfied at the end of my college career — not to mention successful with all the knowledge, skills, and other attractive qualities employers are seeking I will possess come graduation.

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts and advice on which minor I should declare and complete during my time at UAlbany! Even though I chose to minor in both subject areas, It means the world to me that you all took time to provide honest, contemplative responses to help me decide which path to take throughout my college experience, and, for that, I am truly grateful.

Take care,

Best of luck! Sounds like a great plan.

Food for thought…

In the spirit of the difficult job market…get certified for secondary education in both Social Studies and English. You will be much more employable. High school history teaching jobs are few and far between.


I’ve found it’s possible to become certified in not only subjects you major in while in college but also those that you minor in as well. The tacit rule is that you earn at least 15 credits in the discipline you wish to teach, which is more than enough than any one minor provides, since most minors require a minimum of 18 credits to complete. You just need to pass the proper tests associated with the discipline you’re interested in. This is one reason I wish to minor in English alongside Judaic Studies.

Thank you for emphasizing this point! If I cannot find a job teaching history or any social studies content area, then I will attempt find work teaching English. If this doesn’t work out, then I will look into communications.

Thanks again!

I didn’t minor in Judaic Studies, or Jewish History as it was called at my school, but I took numerous classes, including Hebrew (advanced level because I attended Yeshiva and also studied it in public HS), Yiddish and a number of history classes. I greatly enjoyed them and was glad that I took classes that I enjoyed attending and in topics that learning abut brought pleasure to me. It sounds like you have a good plan, so study what you enjoy because that will help you maintain a good GPA.