Should I complete a minor?

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Student surrounded by various majors and minors.

I took an Intro to Sexuality class when I was in my first year of college. I thought it would add joy to my first-semester load. We met twice a week for 90 minutes and were assigned to a small discussion group with an upper-level student facilitator.

We talked about our book chapters informally during the discussion group, and the facilitator had the freedom to meet at the bookstore coffee shop, on the grass under a tree, in her dorm's study room, the CVS prophylactic aisle, or even Taco Bell. I loved the small discussion group so much that I became a facilitator in my junior year and ended up minoring in sexuality.

I took special topics courses on teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and prevention, and the sociology of gender. It was the very best part of my degree program and is now called gender, sexuality and women's studies. Much later, I would work in a women’s shelter and psychiatric hospital, and reflect on my minor courses often.

Do I have to take a minor?

For Wayne State students, taking a minor is optional with the exception of any student with a major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). The completion of a minor is required for all CLAS students unless they meet one of the following conditions: The minor requirement is waived for students who complete a second major, a double major, a concurrent degree, a dual degree, or a second degree.

Students earning a co-major in peace and conflict studies or Latino/a and Latin American Studies, or who are completing an undergraduate certificate, will be considered to have completed the minor requirement. The University Honors co-major does not fulfill the college requirement for a minor.

CLAS students can choose any minor at the university. Students outside of CLAS should always consult their program advisors to determine whether adding a minor is feasible and to consider which minors would fit into their degree programs.

What will a minor do for me?

A minor can help you market yourself to employers after graduation because it gives you valuable skills in areas outside of your major. Many jobs require specialized instruction that is not encompassed in your major alone, like proficiency in a second language, accounting concepts, or the understanding of different populations that sociology, anthropology, or psychology gives you.

Take, for example, a current customer liaison position posted to Indeed. The requirements include a high level of proficiency with Microsoft applications, exceptional oral and written communication skills, and fluency in a foreign language.

An accounting specialist position in a manufacturing company requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and the knowledge obtained by working or studying with diverse groups and cultures. Your minor will give you talking points for interviews and the confidence to expound on the many concepts learned in that program as it relates to your major.

A minor can enhance your major

Take music and math, for example. Math and music are both beautiful and elegant. They are built using abstract thinking, creativity and focus. Math helps musicians understand sound while music gives mathematicians the ability to test patterns and relationships. Language fluency and cultural understanding fit into any career path by allowing the student to practice career concepts within a particular community.

Fluency in both Arabic and English allows a physician to understand and treat broader groups of patients. Business majors with an accounting minor are poised to advance in finance positions within any company and earn far more than those without financial acumen. Criminal justice students who study sociology, anthropology, or psychology better understand the behavior of offenders and inspire trust in survivors. Special education teachers with an art or music background can use creative concepts to connect with students.

A minor can also add joy to your college experience

This can lead to better grades, higher morale and access to like-minded students to hang out and study with. If you have a passion that you are not sure will translate into job opportunities, you can easily fit that passion into your plan of work and graduate with both career readiness and inspiration. For CLAS students, graduation from Wayne State requires 120 credits which are split into approximately 45% general education courses, 35% major courses, and 20% minor courses.

Many courses that you will take as general education requirements will count toward your major and minor and vice versa. Every Wayne State student will use major, minor, language and culture, and general education courses to construct a full, well-rounded degree. Choosing a minor that makes you happy also applies to pre-med, pre-law, and other pre-professional students, and can help you with entrance testing, higher GPA, and better graduate program applications and interviews.

Work with an advisor early and often

Your advisor will help you construct your plan of work, to help you choose the courses that you will most enjoy, and to guide you from enrollment through graduation. In CLAS, your advisor will be located in your major department. You can also reach them using our list of advisors.

If you are majoring in another school or college, you can consult this Wayne State's advising list for contact information. If you are a first-year exploratory student, a pre-professional student, a veteran, pre-social work or pre-nursing student, our awesome University Advising Center has staff is ready to help you. Connect with professors in your major to receive invaluable advice about courses that will inspire and enlighten you.

Where are the minors I can choose from?

You can read more about choosing a major and apply many of those concepts to choosing a minor. 

By Jill de Jesus, academic services officer III

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