Office for Academic Advising Support > Resources > Minors

Exploring Minors

​​A minor is an optional secondary credential that students may choose to pursue for a variety of reasons including deepening their knowledge in an area of study outside of their major or pursuing a newly discovered interest.  Minors have fewer requirements than majors and typically require between 5-8 courses.   ​

It will depend on what your major is and what minor you are pursuing, but courses for a minor typically fulfill your open electives.  They can also potentially overlap with liberal studies requirements and even major courses.   You’ll want to review the guidelines for how you can uses minor courses to fill degree requirements here and speak to an academic advisor.

To continue pursuing an interest.   Perhaps you have always enjoyed studying a subject but don’t want to pursue it as your major.  Or maybe you discovered a new interesting field while completing a liberal studies requirement and want to learn a little bit more.  A minor can be a way to continue taking a few classes that interest you outside of your major. 

To formally indicate a skill.   A minor can indicate to graduate schools or employers that you have a certain skill set, like proficiency in a language, a technical skill, or writing.

To focus degree requirements.  In order to earn your degree at DePaul, you are required to complete liberal studies and open elective requirements.  A minor can be a way to focus a number of these requirements on a subject that interests you and deepen your knowledge in that area.

To complement your career interest with a supporting field.  Students who have a particular career path in mind may want to gain knowledge in complementary areas to help them with their career goals. For example, a student who wants to pursue law school may wish to minor in a modern language.  A student who wants to be a journalist covering foreign policy, might consider a minor in International Politics.  A student who wants to be a freelance photographer might consider a minor in Business Administration.  A student studying Psychology and planning to go to graduate school for Art Therapy may wish to minor in Art.

To maximize previously earned credit.  Students who earned credit at another school or who started in one major and changed to another may have some focused credit in one area that isn’t being applied toward a major or liberal studies.  Depending on what the credit is, they sometimes have a chance to take a few more classes and complete a minor.  Talk with an advisor about options for any previously earned credit you have.

It’s a good idea to consider a few things before deciding to pursue a minor:

Will this add time to your stay at DePaul?  If it will, are there other ways to pursue the interest?  An advisor can help you weigh your options and discuss your reasons for pursuing the minor.

Is this something you’d rather be majoring in?  Sometimes students think of their minor as the field they’d prefer to be pursuing but are unsure what that means for career options, so they minor in the field instead.  If that describes you, an academic advisor and career advisor can talk with you about your options. 

Are there other things you’d rather save your open electives for?   Students with limited open electives may prefer to set them aside for a study abroad program, introductory language classes, or even pursuing a wide variety of different classes.  You can confirm how many open electives you have with your major by reviewing your Degree Progress Report or talking with an advisor.

What value does this add to your degree?  You get to decide what value a minor means to your degree, so start thinking about how you’d explain your reasons for pursuing the minor to a family member or future employer.  If you believe there is external value to the minor (for example, that it will help you get a certain job) you may wish to do some informational interviewing with people in that field to find out what they think about the value of that minor. 

There are some combinations of majors and minors that are prohibited, so it’s important to look at the Academic Catalog to review the requirements for the minor you’re considering.  You can review that information here.

Also, course prerequisites always apply and may not appear in a list of minor requirements.  For example, only advanced language courses fulfill requirements for language minors, so if you’re starting a new language, you will have more to complete than what’s listed.  Talk with an advisor if you aren’t sure if there are prerequisites for the courses in your minor.

Check out our page on how to formally declare a major or minor here.