Nov 02, 2023
Figuring out what to study in college is a big decision. The goal is to choose an area of focus that interests you and will also allow you to earn a good living. Your college major will probably play a big role in your career, but adding a minor can also be valuable. While college majors and minors are two different things, they can work together to give you a well-rounded education.
Your college major is your main area of study—or what you’ll specialize in when earning your undergraduate degree. Most colleges require you to declare a major by the end of your sophomore year, and you can expect to take somewhere between 30 to 36 credit hours within your major. When you graduate, your major will be listed on your college diploma. For example, you might earn a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism or a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.
A college minor is a secondary area of focus that usually requires 16 to 30 credit hours. Unlike a major, you do not get a degree for a minor—it won’t be listed on your college diploma, but it will likely appear on your transcript. At most colleges, declaring a minor isn’t required, but it does have potential benefits. There are two main ways to go about it:
Keep in mind that depending on the coursework, adding a minor may prolong your college experience. That could translate to a larger time commitment and higher out-of-pocket costs. Also consider the number of required credit hours to see if that fits into your academic and personal schedule.
|What is it?
|Your main area of focus while earning your undergraduate degree
|A secondary area of focus that may or may not support your major
|Is it required?
|Most colleges will require you to declare a major
|How many credit hours does it typically require?
|30 to 36 hours
|16 to 30 hours
|Is it listed on your college diploma?
When choosing a college major, consider your interests, strengths, and career goals. These things can help point you in the right direction. Consider visiting your college’s career center or meeting with a career counselor to help you select a major/minor pairing that feels right for you. They can also provide insights into the job market so you know what to expect when you graduate. The goal is to figure out if adding a college minor is worth your while and how to find one that resonates with your interests.