Major vs. Minor: What’s the Difference? - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (2023)

When looking through college application forms and completing information for them, you must have come across the terms major or minor and maybe been confused about what to choose. Well, we are here to assure you that you do not have to rush the process of deciding if and what you want to major or minor in. A big advantage of many U.S. universities is that they do not require you todeclare a majorright away. They understand that many students are unsure of what they want to do, so they encourage them to explore academic subjects that might not have been accessible in high school. First, you should take some time to understand better what each term means.

Here’s all you’ll need to know about what they are, the difference between major and minor, as well as some tips to help you make the right choices for your academic career.

What Is a Major in University?

Your major in university expresses the primary area of your studies. Depending on the major program you choose, the university in question will determine around a third of the courses you have to take to complete the program. By choosing and completing a major, you will be prepared and qualified forentry-level jobs related to the subjectyou specialize in.

How do I choose a major?

One of the most important decisions regarding your academic life is picking a major. The choice you make can pave the way towards a successful career and open many doors for you. Universities and colleges recognize the importance of this decision, and that is why they do not rush you to make your choice. However, before picking, there are a few things you should consider.

What to consider when choosing a college major?

Major vs. Minor: What’s the Difference? - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (1)

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When picking your major, have in mind areas of study that interest you. Make a list of majors that you like doing or are intrigued by, as well as ones based on your abilities and fields you excel in. If you enjoy reading books and writing, you could try majoring in literature. Or, if you are fascinated by technology and the online world, majoring in computer science orinformation technologymight be for you. In case you are great with numbers, then considera major in accountingor numerical analysis. The possibilities are endless. Go through that list and talk to professionals in each field to gain a better understanding. According to a survey, around84% of studentswho received advice from people with experience deemed it helpful for the decision process. Your major is supposed to help prepare you for your future career. So, you can also do some research and see whether jobs in the major you are considering are employable.

Will my major dictate my profession?

To put it simply—no. Your major does not dictate your profession.Research on majorsshows that 62% of recent graduates work in jobs that require a bachelor’s degree. However, only 27% of them are working on jobs that relate to the field they majored in.

Can you change your major in college?

Studies show that during college, it is common for students toswitch their major. This switch could come as a result of newly developed abilities, preferences, or some other reason.

It is important to note that the timing of a major switch is important. Switching your major later in your college career can cause a delay in your graduation. Therefore, if you are sure of your decision, make the switch as early as possible.

What Is a Minor in University?

A college minor is the second concentration of your studies and the courses you take. It can be a field related to your major or a completely different area that you are passionate about.

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Similarly to the major, your minor also determines a set of classes you are required to take to complete it.

How do I choose a minor?

A minor requires less time commitment than a major. This secondary concentration will not expect as many classes as a major. Therefore, you have the chance to explore more departments and areas of study if you decide to pursue it. Minors are optional. You can choose not to pick any or complete only one. Some universities allow students to pursue more than one minor. It is up to you.

When picking your minor, you can choose something that will complement your major or a completely different field of study. Whatever the case, remember that choosing your minor always comes secondary to your major. Many schools do not even require it, so you can continue without ever picking one. Or, if you do want to pursue a minor, you have plenty of time to decide the path you want to take.

What to consider when choosing a college minor?

With the many possible options, it can be challenging to select a minor. Some aspects to consider when choosing your minor are your studies and passions. Many students pick minors that complement their majors. This way, they can add depth to their studies. Let’s say you are majoring in music, then some good minor options that will help you gain more experience and knowledge would be songwriting, jazz studies, or music recording. Alternatively, if you are pursuing a major in marketing, you might consider minoring in graphic design or international business.

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Alternatively, you might want to minor in a subject that may not be related to your major but is part of your interests. For example, if you are majoring in data science but have always liked history, nothing stops you from picking a minor in history.

Can you change your minor in college?

If you regret your minor pick, the good news is that you can switch it for another or cancel it altogether. Your college advisor can assist you in making this switch and inform you of the requirements for the process.

If you have not found any other minor to switch to, then you can only cancel the one you picked beforehand and not pursue a minor. In this case, the minor department within your college should help you fill in an application to request canceling your minor.

Should I get a college minor?

In case you have the opportunity to minor in college and are willing to work for it, then you should. The fact that it is an optional secondary discipline will show potential future employees that you willingly go above and beyond to learn and develop your skills. Minors are rarely a requirement for jobs. However, they can give you a boost in the application journey. Especially so when the minor is in a field related to the job.

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College Major and Minor Combinations

We already established that your minor can support your major. You might decide to major in a more general field. Then, you can use your minor to focus and specialize in a more specific area of that field. Some common major and minor combinations include:

  • Major in finance+minor in computer science.
  • Major in economics+minor in statistics.
  • Major in business+minor in psychology.
  • Major in marketing+minor in communication.
  • Major in political science+minor in international relations.

The Difference Between Major and Minor

When it comes to the debate major vs. minor, the first difference between the two is their level of importance for your studies. Your major will decide your primary field of study, whereas the minor is a secondary concentration.

Then, although it varies from school to school, generally, minors require fewercredit hours. Once everything is done, your major is the only one that will be displayed on your graduation certificate. You can still add the minor to your resume though.

Majors and minors are meant to provide a well-rounded foundation for you to advance your career based on your abilities and interests. It is both a curse and a blessing to have so many options to choose from. But, having the chance to switch your picks should make the process less stressful.

It doesn’t matter how early you pick your major and minor or how many times you switch them, as long as you just do not give up and continue trying.

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What is the difference between major and minor degree? ›

In a Bachelor's Degree, the Major is the main focus of your studies and the Minor is a secondary specialization. Your Major should be the field of study in which you wish to pursue a professional career, while the Minor can be either a complementary subject to that goal or a further exploration of a hobby or interest.

Does a minor degree mean anything? ›

A minor can help you stand out. With the many ways to stand out when applying for jobs, graduate school or professional school, having a minor could be one of them. Taking on the challenge of several extra upper-division courses shows that you are determined, take initiative and can handle the additional workload.

What are major and minor courses? ›

If so, you have likely come across the words “major” and “minor” and might be confused by what they mean. Majors and minors allow you to customize your bachelor's degree based on what you would like to specialize in. Simply put: a major is your main specialization and a minor is your secondary specialization.

Is a minor the same as a degree? ›

A minor is not a degree. It's a concentration that you get in addition to your primary field of study, known as your major. Although minors can often round out your degree and provide depth and context to your education, they are not considered to be stand-alone degrees or certifications.

Is a major minor worth it? ›

In general, a minor doesn't make a degree more attractive to employers, but some majors benefit from a carefully selected minor. For example, a degree in law or social work with a minor in Spanish shows that you're particularly suited to work in Hispanic communities.

Should I have a major and a minor? ›

Having a minor and a major listed on your resume helps it stand out from the competition. A minor shows employers that you're willing to go above and beyond in terms of your education. Employers could see this as a willingness to apply the same effort at your job.

What is the benefit of having a minor? ›

According to a blog by Peterson's, having a minor in college can "round-out your degree, complement your chosen major and career aspirations, and expand your knowledge and education [in] a particular passion."

Is a minor higher than a major? ›

Minor Scale Formula

The starting note of a relative minor scale is 3 half steps lower than the major scale. So the relative minor scale of C Major is A minor and the notes are A B C D E F G A.

What is the best minor degree to get? ›

The Best Minors for the New Decade
  1. Creative Writing. Creative writing isn't just for future novelists or poet laureates. ...
  2. Multimedia Journalism. ...
  3. Urban Studies/Planning. ...
  4. Environmental Science. ...
  5. Queer Studies. ...
  6. African (or Africana) Studies. ...
  7. Business. ...
  8. Animal Studies.

How many majors and minors can you have? ›

How many majors or minors can I declare? If you choose, you may declare up to three areas of study. This could be two majors and a minor, or one major and two minors.

Do I put my minor on resume? ›

A minor should be listed on your resume after the major, either on the same line or one line below your major. The key is to ensure clean formatting and easy readability. This guide will provide you with a detailed breakdown of how to list your minor on a resume.

Can I turn my minor into a major? ›

You cannot officially get a major or a minor or a concentration after graduating — unless you enroll in a program again.

Do minors show up on diploma? ›

Completion of a minor appears on the diploma and official transcript.

What is the benefit of having a minor in college? ›

There are some clear benefits to earning a minor. Undergrads can complement their major and develop interdisciplinary strengths with a minor. What's more, a minor lets students explore fields outside their major. A minor might even help you out after graduation as you look for jobs.

Is a minor good for a job? ›

A minor is above and beyond your degree requirements. It shows your work ethic and makes you more appealing to potential employers who want to hire someone willing to put in the effort. Second, academic minors can help you fill a role within an organization that is more specialized.

Is minor Key better than major? ›

Major usually sounds happy or fun, while minor often sounds sad or serious. Chords from major keys typically have a dominant, complete sound to them, while chords from minor keys often sound more dissonant and interesting.

Are college minors worth it? ›

Even though students will take more college courses for a major, experts say they shouldn't overlook the importance of determining a minor. “Minors are incredibly important because it's another way to demonstrate to employers that you have an interest in something,” Millay says.

What is the easiest minor in college? ›

Some of the easiest minors are:
  • Business Administration. Business administration programs tend to how low weekly workloads and high average GPAs among enrolled students. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Public Relations & Advertising. ...
  • Journalism.

How many minors equal a major? ›

However, three minors for similar mistakes will often result in a major, which will cause you to fail your test. But many drivers do indeed fail their tests first time. This is extremely common, and it's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Do 3 minors make a major? ›

While you can receive 15 minors and still pass, three minors for the same mistake will most likely result in a major and a fail.

Is major or minor more happy? ›

Most of the time, when all else is held constant, music in a major key is judged as happy while minor key music is heard as sad. I say most of the time because it's not true across the board. Minor music can be happy even if people do not understand the lyrics, such as in Van Morrison's 'Moondance'.

What is the easiest degree to major in? ›

The 16 Easiest College Majors – 2023 Rankings
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
Nov 1, 2022

What is the most useful major in college? ›

Here is a list of the most useful college majors based on post-graduate employment and median annual wage as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  • Physics. ...
  • Political science. ...
  • Business administration. ...
  • Nursing. ...
  • Meteorology. ...
  • General engineering. ...
  • Materials science. ...
  • Chemical engineering.
Mar 30, 2020

What is the best major for students? ›

30 Best College Majors for the Future Rankings
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Cybersecurity.
  • Nuclear Engineering.
  • Physics.
  • Computer Science.
  • Chemistry.
  • Information Technology.
  • Communications.
Nov 1, 2022

Can my minor be unrelated to my major? ›

If you're passionate about more than one subject and already majoring in the area of your chosen career, you're probably wondering if a minor needs to relate to your major? The answer is no, your minor can be in any subject and doesn't need to have anything to do with your major.

Can I major in 3 things? ›

What is a triple major? Students who triple major complete the requirements for three separate disciplines and graduate with one bachelor's degree. Triple majors are well-suited for students looking to explore different interests and get a leg up in the job market.

Can I major in 2 things? ›

Students interested in more than one subject or interdisciplinary studies don't need to worry—yes, it's absolutely possible to major in two things at once. Pursuing a double major is not only very common, college students can also take advantage of several unique benefits and opportunities.

Is it smart to double major? ›

A double major ideally helps you achieve a more extensive education by deepening your knowledge of two subjects without adding significantly to the time it takes to earn your bachelor's degree. With a double major, you may have broader career options when you graduate, as well as a higher earning potential over time.

How do you put a dean's list on a resume? ›

How do you put Dean's List on your resume ? Put Dean's List on your resume under the education section, followed by college name, major, grade point average, and the years you made the list.

Is a dual degree the same as a double major? ›

A dual-degree program lets you earn two credentials in distinct fields. A double major results in one degree with two areas of specialization. Both options can help you access a wider array of career opportunities. Pursue the option that best fits your personal circumstances and academic/professional goals.

What makes a major a minor? ›

What Makes a Chord Minor or Major? The difference between a major and minor chord comes down to one, simple change: the 3rd in a scale. A major chord contains the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the major scale. A minor chord contains the 1st, flattened (lowered) 3rd, and 5th notes of the major scale that it's named for.

What is a major in college examples? ›

A college major is your desired area of focus in your studies. It's what you earn your degree in. Some examples are Business Administration, Early Elementary Education, Information Technology, and Spanish Language.

How hard is it to switch majors? ›

Switching majors is similar to college transfer. Changing majors across colleges or schools within the same university is as tough as changing majors from a different college to another university. In doing so, the requirements and courses are so different, that it is like changing institutions.

Should I double major or minor? ›

The Takeaway: If you're truly interested in another area of study, and want to immerse yourself completely in it, double majoring might be the right path. If you're just curious about it or want to try something new, minoring is probably best.

Do diplomas say your major? ›

Diplomas do NOT reflect areas of concentration, specialization or emphasis. Depending on your major, your concentration or emphasis may appear on your transcript.

Can you major and minor in the same thing? ›

Students at the undergraduate level can have multiple majors and minors. They can also have dual degrees. On the other hand, students at the graduate level can have dual degrees only. If one of the degrees they are earning is a bachelor's degree, then they can have multiple majors and minors, too.

Is a minor the same as an associate's degree? ›

No, they are different. An associate's degree is typically awarded by a community college, junior college or a technical college. A minor, however, signifies an additional field of study on top of your undergraduate major in a specific area, and it includes upper-level college courses within that area.

What are the benefits of having a minor? ›

5 Benefits Of Having A Minor
  • A Minor Can Make You Stand Out. A minor does a lot of things for you as a student and eventually as a job candidate. ...
  • A Minor Can Help You Explore More Options. ...
  • A Minor Can Be Fun! ...
  • A Minor Can Help You Pivot Your Career. ...
  • Having A Minor Can Give You More Job Opportunities.

How many years is a major degree? ›

Bachelor's degrees require students to complete four- or five-year programs in a specific academic discipline. The two most common types of bachelor's degrees are bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS).

What are the easiest minors? ›

Some of the easiest minors are:
  • Business Administration. Business administration programs tend to how low weekly workloads and high average GPAs among enrolled students. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Public Relations & Advertising. ...
  • Journalism.

How do you pick a major minor? ›

Similar to how education experts recommend you choose your major, you'll want to consider minors that complement your current skill set and fit well with your major. Talk with other students in your major and academic advisors to ensure that you're not overlooking a minor that could be a great fit for you.


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