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What Is The Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities?

Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities

Choosing the right course for your higher education is pivotal to your career growth. The degree you select should orient with your line of interest and aims while also having a future scope. You should also analyse the demand for that degree in the current industry and available job profiles. Along with the degree, majors and minors come into the picture. But what exactly is the difference between degree majors and minors at universities? Continue reading our guide to find out.

What Is A Degree Major?

Simply put, a degree major is what is mentioned on your diploma. It is the main specialisation of your degree and makes up for the maximum classes. They cover core classes and different electives, contributing to most of your workload. For instance, if you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business, a business concentration will be your chosen major. Majors typically require 12-15 classes to be completed.

In several universities, students must choose their major while enrolling, whereas, in many others, they can select a major in the second or third year. Also, a degree major isn’t necessarily the final choice. If you change your mind afterwards and wish to switch to a different major, many universities with a flexible education system will let you do that conveniently. But in such cases, it is better to wait until the second year to finalise a major.

What Is A Degree Minor?

A degree minor is a secondary course which often complements your major. Your minor could explore your personal interest, but it is advisable to choose one that will enhance your resume. For instance, if your major is English Literature, choosing Creative Writing as your minor can help you in the future. Minors are generally five to six classes or 18 to 24 academic units.

Minor courses are usually conducted as a set number of classes or academic credits. Hence, while choosing a minor, you should check whether it fits your academic plan and if you can still graduate on time. Advisably, you should select different minors and explore the related fields to your major, but students usually have the leeway to switch if they change their minds.

Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities

Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities

As explained above, a major contributes to the better part of your education, whereas a minor is typically a complementary course. The majority of your classes will revolve around the major you choose, generally up to 40 to 50 credit hours. Minors, on the other hand, form only about 15 credit hours since they aren’t necessary for the completion of your degree. The diploma received at the end contains the chosen major but may not always mention the minors. However, the official transcripts reflect the minor. The difference between degree majors and minors at universities is more prominent in terms of the importance they hold in the education system. The following table compares the ten most popular majors and associated minors in the United States.

Sr No.MajorsMinors
1.Computer ScienceBusiness 
2.PsychologyAfricana Studies/Anthropology
4.Healthcare and related coursesAnimal Studies
5.Social SciencesUrban Studies/Planning
6.EngineeringData Science
7.Biological SciencesQueer Studies
8.Communication and JournalismMultimedia Journalism
9.Visual and Performing ArtsCreative Writing
10.Natural and Applied SciencesEnvironmental Science

Selecting A Major And A Minor

Deciding on a major or a minor can be a tedious and frustrating procedure. However, taking into account a few aspects can help you narrow down your potential list by a lot. Consider the subjects you’re passionate about, the desired skill set, the prospective industry and the difficulty level. Working backwards to a specific concentration can also help. To give an example, focus on the job profile you want, and backtrack to the majors and minors that will get you the job. To further aid your decision, we have discussed how to choose majors and minors in detail.

How To Choose A Major?

The main difference between degree majors and minors at universities reflects during the selection process, that is, when you choose your major and minors. While choosing a major, there are some pivotal aspects to consider before you make the final decision.

  • Align your passion.
  • Analyse the career prospects and job profiles.
  • Evaluate future income possibilities.
  • Consider the duration of the course.
  • Check the difficulty level.
  • Confirm if the university has a good enough programme.
  • Speak to your academic advisor.

How To Choose A Minor?

Selecting the right minor is crucial, especially if you’re looking to strengthen your degree. Consider the following steps before you settle on a minor. Also, take into account the pros and cons of each minor you shortlist.

  •  Explore your interests.
  • Consider the major.
  • Consider the credits and duration of the minor.
  • Analyse how the minor complements your goals.
  • Evaluate if the course is manageable with your major.
  • Check if selecting a minor is necessary since you might already have the required number of credits.
  • Speak to your academic advisor.

Effects On Job Prospects

Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities

The choice of college major will affect your job profile significantly since each major offers a unique set of skills and depth of knowledge. The type of job profiles you can explore after your degree will often be directly related to your major. To cite an example, engineering majors typically pursue careers in technical industries, and business majors explore jobs in marketing, finance or management. Some majors, like nursing and medicine, offer a specialised skill set which applies only to specific jobs. All in all, the major you choose typically shapes the course of your career, opportunities and qualifications in your profession.

Although degree majors dominate the job profile to a large extent, a degree minor can also bring about a considerable impact. Since minor concentrations allow students to explore different fields according to their interests and passion, they often provide opportunities for internships, volunteering and extracurriculars, which enhance your portfolio. Coupling a related minor with the chosen major can elevate your resume manifold. For instance, computer science majors can explore graphic designing as it would help them acquire jobs in web development or UI/UX. Or a psychology minor with a business major can open doors to a career in Human Resources or Management.


In conclusion, although the difference between degree majors and minors at universities is distinct, both courses are ultimately complementary to each other. A major contributes to the basic foundation of your degree while providing in-depth knowledge, specific skills and focused career development in that subject. On the contrary, minors are a great way to delve into different fields and areas to expand your knowledge. They are usually secondary areas of study that complement the major, although the selected major and minor do not necessarily have to be related. Majors are also more rigorous and demanding when compared to minors, having more classes, credits and longer duration. 

The job you decide to pursue after your degree is often decided based on the major. In such cases, minors can be used to add strength to your portfolio and demonstrate the different areas of knowledge you possess. Complementary minors can help to gain better and more diverse jobs. In the end, while selecting majors and minors can be a strenuous process, it should be solely your decision which will fast-track your career.


Q1. What is the difference between degree majors and minors at universities?

Ans: In a bachelor’s degree, a major is the core concentration of your education, while a minor is a secondary specialisation.

Q2. How to choose a major and a minor?

Ans: While choosing a major and a minor, consider the subjects you’re passionate about, the skill set you wish to develop and the desired job profiles.

Q3. Do you get a degree for minors?

Ans: Since minors are often connected to the chosen major, you don’t receive a separate degree for them. The degree you receive will be for the primary concentration, whereas the university will mention the chosen minors on the transcripts.

Q4. Is a minor an associate degree?

Ans: An associate degree covers core classes in a particular field of study. On the other hand, a minor is a secondary concentration chosen to supplement the major.

Q5. Can the major and minor be completely different?

Ans: While choosing related minors can help you in the future, no such rule is set in stone. A student’s major and minor can be completely different as well. 

Thank you for reading our guide ‘What Is The Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities’! Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.

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Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities

What Is The Difference Between Degree Majors And Minors At Universities?

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