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Benefits of an academic minor

Every undergraduate student chooses a major. It’s their primary area of study and determines what classes they take.  

But minors are something that don’t get talked about nearly as much. You may be wondering what a minor even is or if you should have one. Here are answers to the most common questions about minors to help you understand their purpose and why it may be beneficial to declare one.

What is a minor?

A minor is a secondary academic discipline that you can study in addition to your major. If you have multiple interests or want to support your major with knowledge of a similar subject, pursuing a minor is a great way to do that. Most minors at NDSU require around 16-21 credits.

Am I required to have a minor?

Some programs require students to choose a minor to pair with their major, while others have a specific minor built-in to the program. Many programs don’t require a minor at all, so adding a minor would be completely optional. Check out the NDSU undergraduate program curriculum for the requirements for your program. 

What will having a minor do for me?

Adding a minor makes you familiar with more than one area of study. This can help you stand out to future employers and create more opportunities for yourself. It’s also a great way to specialize if you want to do something specific within your field. Many students choose a minor simply because they’re interested in learning more about a certain topic.

Will I still be able to graduate on time if I add a minor?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. If the minor is required or built-in to your major, it won’t add any time to your graduation date. Many students are able to graduate within four years with one or more minors. Others choose to go an extra semester to complete a minor because it will help them professionally.

“For instance, students majoring in psychology particularly enjoy taking a 200-level course called Criminology to study criminal behavior, which adds to their foundational coursework. The minor also allows students to select upper-division courses that are most interesting for them – a student interested in working within the juvenile justice system may like a 400-level course titled Deviant Behavior,” said Corin Strapp, academic and career adviser for psychology majors and undeclared students in the NDSU Career and Advising Center.

Check out NDSU’s programs of study to learn more about the available minor fields of study. If you have questions about declaring a minor or what minor would pair well with your major, talk to an academic adviser or admission counselor.

Apply today to begin your NDSU experience.


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