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Usefulness of minors

  1. Aug 6, 2007 #1
    How useful can minors be? I'm trying to decide whether to complete my minors in physics and linguistics, alongside my CS and Math degrees. I doubt they would be useful for grad schools, but for employment maybe?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2007 #2
    What do you think you would like to study in grad school? It would make sense to make this discipline one of your majors, but if you decided you wanted to study physics with a physics minor and a math major, you still probably present a compelling application. It sounds like you're leaning toward CS too (natural language processing, AI?)

    One of my friends has a degree in biophysics with minors in Chinese and Philosophy - his undergrad degree took six years. I have an almost-major in english lit. I can't say that my knowledge of Shakespeare comes in handy as a physics researcher (although I am known as the Office Grammar Person). On the other hand, I really appreciate the English coursework that I did. English was a lot different from physics, I read some awesome books and I was introduced to some really head-spinning ideas that I would never have encountered in a physics class. I also had some really good professors and I met a lot of people I would never have met in physics or math.

    If you feel you can afford the time and the tuition, go for it! It also might be worth investigating whether the courses required for a minor are really courses that you're interested in. Otherwise, there's nothing stopping you from just taking the courses that you're keen on.
  4. Aug 6, 2007 #3


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    I wouldn't stay an extra year for a minor, nevermind 2 years!

    An extra year for a double major, sure, but minor... no way. If the minor isn't done within the 4 years, just move on. When you're in graduate school, you can possibly keep doing work in the undergraduate, of the other field you like, and then get like a Certificate or Diploma or even a degree one day.
  5. Aug 6, 2007 #4
    Actually I'm in my last year. I was going to try to finish the minors in the last year that I have while also finishing the degrees. I wouldn't stay an extra year JUST for minors.
  6. Aug 6, 2007 #5
    For most employers, I believe your minor will have a value somewhat less than the frame your diploma fits in.
  7. Aug 6, 2007 #6


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    Generally, I'd advise that you take minors only for your own personal growth. They mean nothing after your undergraduate education beyond showing that you're "well-rounded." Some employers will care about your well-roundedness, but most will not.

    - Warren
  8. Aug 6, 2007 #7


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    Most minors are very useful.
    If you want to be a mathematician, they can fetch your coffee, sharpen your pencils, fetch papers for you and so on. You could even teach them some basic arithmetic as a return favour.

    I'm sure they can be used in other sciences as well. :smile:
  9. Aug 6, 2007 #8
    From personal experience the only use i've seem from minors is self-satisfaction. Being able to study a field outside of your primary focus that you would otherwise not be able to learn in-depth (I did mathematics). I think if you take somthing that sharply contrast your major then it would prove useful. You'd get little out of science major with a science minor, but with a bussiness or english exposition minor it would highlight that you have strengths that would set you apart from your peers. Certain liberal arts minors might also boost your chances for grad school if you are going into a different field like Law or an MBA.
  10. Aug 6, 2007 #9


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    Finding sharp fault with earning a "minor concentration" has very very little, if any justification. To limit oneself just to the major field of courses can and likely will render the student under-developed. Concepts and skills outside of your major field can become extremely beneficial for your major field - and I don't mean just the "required" courses which support your degree. As example, maybe you need 3 units of computer programming for a Geology degree; but if you earn maybe 18 to 25 units in computer science/programming, you could gain far more useful skills and ideas which may contribute to the work you might do in Geology. At that extent, whether or not you gain the official "minor" recognition with your degree becomes less important than actually having the knowledge and skills which came with those extra courses.

    (and for that example, I simply assume by faith that computer science may be useful in Geology)
  11. Aug 6, 2007 #10
    Well if I want to do any scientific programming or computational science, I think having taken a decent amount of physics courses (physics minor) would not be so bad. Yet having the linguistics minor isn't bad either if I want to do anything in natural language processing or AI. But then taking more course in math and CS alone might just be better.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
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