If you’re a student fresh out of high school considering pursuing an undergraduate degree, chances are you will come across different terms you will not understand. Because pursuing a college degree is one of the most significant decisions you make in your life, you must understand how things function before opting for something. 

Students who plan on studying in the U.S. are presented with two options for an undergraduate degree: a major and a minor. We must review each one thoroughly and side by side to better comprehend the differences between the two. Keep reading to find out your options regarding a college major vs. a minor. To get an idea of some of the challenges students may face, explore a list of the hardest college majors.

What Is a Major In University?

The major you choose in college or university is what makes the core aspect of your studies. A fair part of the classes you need to take to complete your major is determined by the university you enroll in. The kind of classes you take depends on the major you pick. Completing a major in college or university will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for entry-level positions in a field or industry related to your particular major.

How to choose a major

As we have already mentioned: a major is essentially the critical aspect of your undergraduate studies. With this in mind, it goes without saying that you should choose a major carefully and only after you have weighed your options. 

The major you pick will lay the foundation of your future career in a particular field or industry. Because this is such an important decision, colleges and universities will give students plenty of time to pick a major. There are a few things to consider before selecting a major to ensure you make the right choice. If you’re curious about the potential financial returns, you might want to explore some insights into the highest paying majors available.

Things to consider when choosing a college major

Because the idea of pursuing a college degree might be overwhelming, you can always use some tips to help you choose a major.

The first and most important thing to remember is to pick a major in an area you are interested in. Start this process by making a list of majors that seem attractive to you or fascinate you and another list of majors you are interested in based on your abilities. When it comes to choosing a major in university, the possibilities are virtually endless. There are literature majors for those passionate about reading and writing, information technology or computer science majors for those interested in technology, etc.   

It is also advisable to consult with different professionals in the fields you are interested in to have a better insight into the field. Consulting with people already in the industry will help you significantly with your decision-making. 

Lastly, research the majors that interest you and the careers they generate to see employment options and job outlooks after graduation.

Will a major dictate your profession?

The major you pick will not determine your professional career. Sure, you can choose a major related to your chosen career, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, according to the Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates work in a field related to their major. 

Can you change your major in college?

Yes, you can change your college major; it is a fairly common practice among students. The switch from one major to another can happen for different reasons, like new skills, preferences, etc. While switching majors is normal, you should remember that timing is everything. If you change your major too late during your studies, you are essentially delaying your graduation.

What Is a Minor In University?

A college or university minor is a secondary concentration of your undergraduate studies. You can choose a minor that is connected to your major or some aspect of it. A university minor can also be entirely different from your major in a separate field that interests you. The number of classes you need to take to complete your minor is determined by the university you enroll in. Similar to a major, the courses you take depend on the minor you pick. 

How to choose a minor

If you are interested in picking a minor for your undergraduate studies but don’t know where to start, we are here to help. You need to know a few things about a university minor that will help you choose one. A university minor is optional and will take less of your time than a major to complete as you have fewer classes you need to take. The kind of university minor you pick will depend on your preferences, and you can even choose more than one if your university allows you to. When selecting a minor, you can go one of two ways: pick something related to your major or something different.

Things to consider when choosing a college minor


Sometimes, having too many options you can go for can render you overwhelmed—this includes choosing a university minor. Completing a university minor is a great way to complement your major. The minor you pick can be directly related to your studies and the things you are passionate about. A university minor doesn’t have to be associated with a major. In fact, if there is something else you are interested in other than your major, minoring in that field is an excellent idea.

Can you change your minor in college?

At one point in our lives, we have all been stuck with a decision we made, wishing we could change it. One of the best things about choosing a minor in university is that you can change it or drop it altogether if you don’t like the other options. All you need to do is consult your advisor about the steps you need to take to make the switch. If, for some reason, you find yourself too overwhelmed and wishing you had not picked a university minor at all, you can request to cancel your minor.

Should you get a college minor?

If you have the opportunity to minor in college and know that you can put the time and effort into it, then you should go for it. Minors in college will probably not be a job requirement for you in the future. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that because it is optional, minoring in college can help by giving you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce. A college minor, especially one related to your career, will also prove to potential employers that you are willing to do whatever it takes to expand your knowledge and skill set.

College Major And Minor Combinations


The best way to combine a college major and a minor is to major in a more extensive field and minor to specialize in a concentrated area of that field. Some of the most popular university major and minor combinations students go for include:

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  • A major in Finance + a minor in Computer Science;
  • A major in Political Science + A minor in International Relations; 
  • A major in Economics + A minor in Statistics;
  • A major in Marketing + A minor in Communication;
  • A major in Business + A minor in Psychology, etc.

Major vs. Minor: What’s the Difference?

The most significant difference between a university major and a minor is their specific role in your undergraduate studies. While a university major is your main field of study, a university minor is essentially a second (or third) concentration. 

Typically, a university major requires more time or credit hours to complete than a minor. At the end of your studies, your graduation certificate will only show your major. However, you can add both your major and minor as qualifications in your resume. 

Students who major or minor during their undergraduate studies expand their knowledge and develop new skills. Thus, by completing a major or minor (or both), you will lay a solid foundation for your future career, i.e., invest in your future.

The Impact of Major and Minor Choices on Graduate Studies and Career Opportunities

When choosing your major and minor, it’s essential to think beyond your undergraduate years and consider how these decisions will shape your opportunities for graduate studies and your career trajectory. A well-chosen combination of major and minor can provide a competitive edge in the job market, open doors to diverse career paths, and help you build a robust professional network.

Influence on graduate studies

Your choice of major can significantly influence your eligibility and preparation for specific graduate programs. For example, if you aspire to attend medical school, a major in a science-related field might be beneficial. 

Similarly, if you’re interested in pursuing an MBA, a major in business, economics, or a related field could provide a solid foundation. Your minor can also play a role by complementing your major or providing additional expertise in a specific area.

Career pathways

Although not always, the major you choose often sets the direction for your initial career path. While it’s true that many people end up working in fields unrelated to their major, your choice of study can open specific doors and create opportunities in certain industries. 

For instance, a major in computer science is typically a prerequisite for many tech roles. On the other hand, a minor can enhance your resume by showing a broader skill set or specialized knowledge in a secondary field, which can be particularly appealing to employers looking for versatile candidates.

Networking and professional connections

Your field of study can also influence the kind of professional network you build. Being part of a specific major might give you access to alumni networks, industry-specific job fairs, and internships that can be crucial stepping stones in your career. A minor can also help in networking, especially if it’s in a complementary but different field, broadening your range of contacts.

Developing a diverse skill set

Pursuing a major and a minor in different fields can help you develop a more diverse skill set, which is highly valued in many modern workplaces. For example, combining a major in engineering with a minor in communication can make you adept at both technical problem-solving and effective communication, a combination that can be rare and highly sought after in the job market.

Flexibility in career choices

Having a major and a minor in different areas can provide more flexibility in your career choices. If you decide to shift career paths later in life, having a minor in a different field can provide a foundation to pivot more easily. It demonstrates to potential employers your versatility and ability to adapt to different roles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the primary purpose of choosing a major in college?

The primary purpose of choosing a major in college is to specialize in a specific area of study that forms the core of your undergraduate education. This specialization equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level positions in a related field or industry.

While choosing a major related to your intended career is beneficial, it’s not mandatory. Only a fraction of college graduates work in fields directly related to their major. The skills and knowledge you acquire in any major can often be applied in various fields, offering flexibility in your career path.

Can I change my major during college, and how does it affect my graduation?

Yes, you can change your major in college, and it’s a common practice. However, changing your major, especially later in your studies, may extend the time required to graduate, as different majors have different course requirements.

What is a minor in college, and how does it differ from a major?

A minor in college is a secondary concentration of courses that complements your major. It requires fewer credits than a major and allows you to explore another area of interest. Unlike a major, a minor is optional and not as comprehensive.

How should I choose a minor, and can it be completely unrelated to my major?

Choose a minor based on your interests or something that complements your major. It can be directly related to your major or a different field. Consider how the minor might enhance your skills or open additional career opportunities.

Can I change or drop my minor, and how do I do it?

Yes, you can change or drop your minor. This process usually involves consulting with your academic advisor to understand the implications and steps needed to make the change.

Does having a minor impact on my job prospects after graduation?

Having a minor can provide a competitive edge in the job market, especially if it’s relevant to the field you’re entering. It demonstrates a broader range of skills and interests. However, it’s not typically a primary factor for most employers when considering job candidates.