Minors: Why Are They Important?

You meet someone new  on campus, you join a new club, you go home for the holidays to spend time with family; and the ever so popular  question continues to arise: “So, what’s your major?.” It never occurs to anyone to ask you about your minor does it? Not initially at least. It is logical for a major to be regarded more important than a minor, but minors also carry a high degree of importance. Minors can prove beneficial in many ways and it is necessary to highlight these benefits.

1. A minor can balance out your schedule:
A minor is a great way to balance out a schedule. For example, students within our college have to take many rigorous science courses which can be quite stressing. By pursing a minor in another subject area, let’s say a Social Science, classes completed for the minor can be great neutralizers for the heavy science courses required for a College of Biological Sciences (CBS) major.  A minor is especially beneficial during the last few quarters before graduating when all a CBS student has left to complete are upper division courses. Minor courses can help spread out the last upper division courses so the student does not feel compelled to squeeze them all in within a few quarters.

A minor can benefit as a major course neutralizer in any major, however, this does not apply only to the College of Biological Sciences. Any major at UC Davis can seem congested with tough courses, not to say that minor courses are a breeze, but minor courses do bring a pleasant change to a person’s schedule.

2. You can minor within our college! :
I am sure you are aware that students in the College of Biological Sciences cannot double major within the college. The reason for this is because there would be more than a 20% upper division course overlap within the majors in this college. Luckily, the majority of our majors do offer minors, which are open for CBS students to complete (as long as there is no more than one upper division course overlap between the student’s major and minor). If you are an enthusiastic student who is vastly interested in the sciences and would not mind adding additional science courses to your schedule then this is a great opportunity to gain knowledge within another area of the sciences.

The same applies to students in other colleges: if you are from another college and are interested in learning about a certain subject within our college but do not want to double major, a minor within CBS can supply a significant breadth of knowledge without having to complete a whole other major.

3. Knock out some GEs while you are at it:
Let us get to talking about credit! Yes sure, completing a minor will give you knowledge of a new subject but what other benefits does completing a minor bring? GE credit! Often times, students choose a minor in which the courses will satisfy components of the GE requirements which are not already satisfied by his or her major. This way, students can knock out GEs and a minor all at once. Why not complete a minor, receive recognition for completing these certain courses on your diploma, and not have to take extra GE courses on top of it all? Sounds like a great deal to me.

Apart from simply fulfilling the graduation requirement, students use GE courses in order to explore different subject areas. If you are not sure if you are interested in a minor just yet, I encourage you to explore a few classes that call your attention.

4. It can show that a student is well-rounded:
How will a minor benefit me after I graduate, you ask? Well, a minor can help show that you are a well rounded student. Whether you choose to continue a post-undergraduate degree or begin a career after you graduate, presenting a minor aside from your completed major will be a positive advantage. A minor can show, for instance, that you are able to excel in the area of Genetics and equally as well in English. Your minor will be listed in your diploma and transcript and why not include it in your resume? In fact, you should.

5. A minor can make you a more competitive candidate:
Tagging on to the previous point, a well rounded applicant is a more competitive applicant. Especially when a major and a minor complement each other. If you plan ahead and choose a minor with a certain career path in mind, then you can potentially be a more favorable candidate. An example of an effective major/minor coupling can be a Biology major with an Education minor with a Teaching career in mind.

Although minors are at times overlooked, they are important and can make a significant difference in defining you as a well rounded student, individual, or applicant. If you are now considering a minor, check out the list of minors offered here at UC Davis.

One last bit of information: Declaring a minor

Declaring a minor requires you to fill out and turn in a Minor Declaration Form to your current college. It is important to meet with the minor adviser to discuss your class choices before submitting this form. Keep in mind that the deadline to declare a minor is not until the quarter before you graduate so there is no rush. There is ample time to explore courses before committing to any minor.

Take the time to explore your options, you never know what you may find. Good luck!

Alejandra Villa
Third year, Biological Sciences
BASC Peer Adviser