One of the things I really missed while I wasn’t journalling was the ability to poll the collective wisdom of the interwebs.

Today’s question:

I’m back in school. I’m trying to put together a tentative program of courses so that I can apply to my employer for reimbursement. According to the UMUC website, selecting a minor is optional, but “strongly recommended”. There are a few minors that I’m interested in. But at the very slow rate that I’m able to take classes, adding a minor could easily add a year or two to my degree. So my question to those of you familiar with higher education, is this: apart from personal edification, is there a good reason to take a minor? Does it improve my chances of getting a job? Does it help with pursuing future degrees? What are the advantages? Or does UMUC “strongly recommend” taking a minor just because it means more money for them?

View All


  1. what kind of program are you exactly taking?

    Are you going for a bachelors? or associates?
    Technical degree or humanities?

    Minors, so far as I have experienced them, usually only play a role when you are applying for further education in a field that was not the same as the one you graduated with.. (or as a way in certain technical fields of emphasizing a specialty skill you have.. like if you were a mech eng with an electrical eng minor.. or perhaps having a german minor so if you wanted to work in german-speaking countries etc etc..)

    It’s basically a way of adding in a bit of “see, I’m a bit of a renaissance kinda guy…” but not everyone really cares about it…

    1. Re: what kind of program are you exactly taking?

      Batchelor’s degree in Computer Science (technically, Computer Science and Information Systems, which is their roundabout way of saying “Software Engineering”).

      1. yeah.. what the others are saying..

        then a minor prolly doesn’t make that much of a difference… other than the business and tech possibilities that are mentioned below..

        for other fields–it is more important… In undergrad eng, I had to have a minor, but being the semi-contrarian I was back then, I minored in math and took all kinds of crazy math classes (including abstract algebra and differential geometry which had no practical application whatsoever and kicked my ass but were awesome in the sense that it was mostly grad students and seniors taking them and I was a freshman…) and here in hist o’ sci grad school, a minor is required–but that helps later on, because it can be used to help you appear more marketable..

  2. I didn’t have a minor in college. . .but then, I had TWO majors so maybe it balanced out. I almost had a computer science minor, but lamed out on taking the required “this is how you turn a computer on” classes because I didn’t really care.

    My minimal experience in this regard is that employers in technical fields don’t give a rats ass if you had a psych minor or an art minor or whatever, unless it applies to the field. Now, if you’re a computer science major with a minor in information systems management or business administration, they’ll probably LOVE YOU.

    If you’re in a liberal arts field, writing, journalism, psychology, etc, a minor helps you get a job by showing how well rounded you are. For the most part, technology employers don’t care about that.

    So if you want a minor, make it a career useful one like Business or Graphic Design or some such.

    1. I’m going for a CS degree. I had a sinking feeling looking at the course catalog that business and management were the only available minors which would actually be worth anything to me, career-wise. It’s probably stuff I could use to know; but I dread trying to sustain interest in management classes.

      1. Economics may be more up your alley, and it’s pretty close to business.

        On the bright side of Business, you could tailor your minor to private enterprise, that way if you ever wanted to go the entrepreneurial route you would already have the knowledge base.

        1. We’re thinking along similar lines. The only other two minors I found worth considering were Psychology, which would be purely personal interest; and Economics, which is both a personal interest and semi-practical.

          They do offer entreprenurial and home-based business courses. I suppose I really ought to get some knowledge of that area. Ugh.

  3. I say it depends. Having a minor isn’t “necessary” but if you are going into a field that touches on two different fields of study then it might be useful to have that “extra” bit of education.

    1. Makes sense. In my case I’m not going into a new field; I’m just getting a rubber-stamp that shows that I know what I already know in the field I’ve been working in for 7+ years.

  4. Minors are supposed to give a little edge over say someone who doesn’t have one. Or show that you are a well rounded individual, or that you like to do extra. In reality you having work experience is probably going to play you up over another candidate for a job more thna a minor would, if that makes sense. If you were just going to school, it would be a good idea, but since you already have work experience going for you you should do it if you want to. If there’s one you want to do that you already have kowledge in consider CLEP-ing some credits so you can just use it to finish up your elective requirements.

    1. Yeah, I wondered if that might be the case. Since this whole exercise is largely so I can satisfy the Powers That Be that I am getting an education, and therefore promotable, the utility of a minor might be limited.

  5. Minors are an extra “ooh la la!” on your resume, and nobody really cares about them.
    Unless you want to go on with school or research or something and it’s super important…
    For instance, if you want to ultimately work on ancient mapping techniques or trade routes during the middle ages, it would be really good to have a geography major and a history minor or vice versa.

    Or something…

    1. Hmmm… we use ancient technology here… maybe I should go for a History minor with my Computer Science major ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Yeah, minors really aren’t that big of a deal in the post-undergraduate world, honestly. No-one I’ve ever talked to about jobs has ever cared about them. *shrug* If you’re really interested in pursuing another subject, just not at the same rate as your major interest, go for it. Otherwise, don’t stress and certainly don’t postpone graduating simply for a minor.

    1. Thanks for your input!

  7. Minors don’t seem to matter as far as I’ve been able to tell. At all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I’m glad no one told me that when I was a minor ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comments are closed.