Jan. 31, 2024

Benefits of an academic minor


When entering college every student is tasked with choosing their major, the primary area of study that determines the classes they’ll take. 

Minors, however, don’t get talked about nearly as often. Kelsey Seeba, an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, said some common questions she receives include whether every student needs to declare a minor, what the available minor options are, factors to consider when choosing a minor and how to declare a minor.

Here are some answers to those common questions on minors to help address their purpose and how you can find the minor that best fits your goals.

What is a minor?

A minor is a secondary academic discipline in addition to your major. Minors are great for those who have multiple interests, or who want to find a similar subject to complement their major. 

Minors also are a way to build your skill set to make your resume stand out. Most minors require around 16-21 credits to complete.

Is every student required to have a minor?

Whether you are required to have a minor or not depends on your major program of study. While some programs require students to select a minor to pair with their major, others have a specific minor already built into the program. Even if your academic program doesn’t require a minor, you still can add one. Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree is another option students can take.

“Depending on your major, you may opt to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree which requires a second-year language proficiency at the collegiate level,” Seeba said. “This is major dependent on whether you have the degree option or not. If you have questions about minors or your degree, talk with your advisor.” 

You can check your program requirements and where you can explore minor options on the curriculum guides webpage. The academic programs guide webpage also allows you to filter program options by major and minor.

What are the benefits of having a minor?

There are several benefits a minor can have depending on your specific educational and career goals.

“Adding a minor can set you apart from other professionals in your field, increase your employment opportunities, demonstrate your breadth of knowledge and show employers your interests/abilities beyond your major,” Seeba said. “The great part about adding a minor is the flexibility to choose another academic area beyond your major focus.”

Is graduating on time still an option after adding a minor?

This depends on several factors. Majors with minors already built-in or required as part of the program of study should not lead to additional time. Many students who graduate in four years have one or more minors, while others choose to add a semester to complete their minor. 

Seeba used the strategic communications major program as an example when outlining the path some students may take. 

“Students studying communication select a minor as part of their major program of study. Common minors for communication range from art to entrepreneurship and many in between. Some strategic communication majors opt to minor in art as it enhances their design skills and differentiates them in an applicant pool,” she said. “Strategic Communication focuses on advertising and public relations, which art can complement or offer a creative outlet for.”

Who can students speak with to learn more about minors and what minor best fits their education?

To learn more about a specific minor, you should reach out to the academic advisor that advises for that specific academic area. To find who the advisor is and to schedule a time to meet, visit the ‘who is my advisor’ webpage.

Your assigned academic advisor is also someone who can help you explore minor options and give recommendations.

Additionally, the Career and Advising Center has career coaches who can determine major and minor options based on your interests and desired career path. 

For incoming students, your admission counselor can help you look at the available minor options. 

Apply today to start your NDSU journey or schedule a visit to see what NDSU has to offer.

Categories: Students, Academics
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