Do you need to add a minor to your degree plan? Talk to your advisor
Declaring a major in college is an important decision and carries considerable weight, shaping your career path as you work your way through the coursework in a particular discipline. But undergraduate students might want to give equal consideration to choosing a minor, which is a way to explore a subfield of your major or another field that complements it. A minor can also be a way to add another credential, and it can be a way to show you’re a motivated student who can handle the extra classes—traits that most employers think will play well in the workplace.
University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Director of Academic Advising in the College of Human Sciences and Humanities Erick Ortiz said that all advisors were well prepared to guide students through the process of deciding whether or not adding minor is the right option for them.
“We look at the general electives in your degree plan, and the first thing we try to figure out is if adding a minor will add much time to your graduation,” Ortiz said. “Generally, all minors in the College of Human Sciences and Humanities are 15 credit hours, or five courses. We look at what’s there and instead of choosing random elective courses, we try to be more strategic. If you want to add a minor, let’s add something that would be beneficial to your career path.”
Ortiz said a communication major might consider a science minor, to show the kind of supplemental knowledge that employers who work in the science or technology industry might like to see.
“Those employers can look at a person with a communication major and a minor in something like biology and feel confident the person they’re interviewing can integrate science knowledge with communication,” he said. “That’s an opportunity to build your resume and get exposure in another field. The key is to sell yourself and demonstrate your knowledge to have a successful interview.”
There are some majors that would do well to have a minor. “For example, a psychology major might do well to have a sociology minor,” he said. “Or, an anthropology major might explore literature or writing. In a minor, you don’t have to fully commit. You can just get some good skills from taking those five courses.”
Ultimately, he said it’s about exploring other interest and finding ways to supplement your degree plan and build your career options, with many additional excellent resources available in Career Services.
“Be strategic about your decision,” he said. “Ask yourself, will this minor help your career? Does it fit in your time frame? And, does your major have courses that also help satisfy a minor? All of this can be discussed with your advisor. Together, we will look at your goals and make your major and minor align.”
UHCL has minors in all four Colleges. For more information, visit www.uhcl.edu/registrar/enrollment/earning-minor. Visit UHCL’s Career Services at www.uhcl.edu/career-services/ and speak to counselors who can offer resources and guidance in your degree and career path.