Navigating Undergraduate Minors

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Choosing a major is a task in itself, but when it comes down to deciding whether or not to add on a minor, things can get tricky. Knowing what plan of study, in terms of a major and minor combo, will benefit you the most post-graduation can be considered a unnerving task. VALLEY is here to alleviate some of that stress and provide you with top advice in picking out a minor to best compliment your major.

Is a Minor Worth It?

You may be sitting here contemplating if a minor is even worth your time and money. Some may argue that a minor does not fit into their schedule or overall degree plan. Others may not have an interest in a subject matter other than their major. All of those reasons are valid and fair — minors may not be for everyone.

On the flip side, VALLEY wants to emphasize on the benefits a minor can bring to your education. If you are unsure about a minor’s worth, College Reality Check brought up a great point you may want to ponder.

“College minors matter to both students and employers. Students can gain additional in-depth knowledge or pursue their hobbies and interests by choosing the right minors. On the other hand, employers can benefit from hiring applicants whose minors can work to the business or company’s advantage.”

Further they added, “Minoring in college is worth it for students who wish to gain knowledge on a secondary subject matter, usually related to their major. Getting a minor is also worth it for students who wish to explore a particular interest or passion in life, which can be used as a basis for deciding on a minor.”

What Are My Options?

Luckily as a Penn State Student, the world of minors is unlimited. Pretty much any subject matter you may be interested in has a minor one way or another as the university offers more than 200 minors to choose from!

Depending on your choice of study, you may have room to fit two minors. However, if you don’t have that much space in your schedule, you can certainly enhance your studies with just one.

Most minors at Penn State such as sexuality and gender Studies or Chinese language require around 18 to 21 credits., but some such as global security can require up to 30 credits.

The Penn State Bulletin lays out each of these requirements and what classes must be completed, along with career path advice and academic advising for each minor. It is a great tool to take advantage of when first deciding what minor or minors you may be interested in adding to your resume.

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What Minor Should I Choose?

There is no right or wrong answer here so VALLEY wants to provide some suggestions on some of the minors available that are virtually transferable to any major. These are just a few of the many to choose from.


You can never go wrong with this minor. If you plan on working in any type of business setting, this minor may be smart to pick up.

With 19 credits, this minor covers a broad range of topics you can choose from. The Penn State Bulletin explains how that students are able to dive into an area of business they are interested by completing six 400-level courses in areas such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Business Law
  • Energy Business and Finance
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Financial Services
  • Health Policy and Administration
  • International Business
  • Labor Studies and Employment Relations
  • Management Information Systems
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Risk Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Statistics

Further, students are able to explore more courses by taking three of the below 400-level course topics:

  • Communication Arts and Sciences
  • Corporate Communication
  • Communications
  • Criminal Justice
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • History
  • Hospitality Management
  • Information Sciences and Technology
  • Kinesiology
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Recreation, Park and Tourism Management
  • Sociology
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Digital media trends and analytics

As digital media continues to grow and spread into various industries, it is not a bad idea to pick up some knowledge in how the communications field is constantly changing in the digital world. Along with learning about digital public relations and advertising, the Penn State Bulletin says that the minor “will prepare students to pass a number of leading industry certification tests related to analytics, SEM, social media and digital media sales and marketing.”

For this 18 credit minor, students are required to take courses in informational sciences and technology, along with courses in digital metrics. Students have the freedom to choose between digital public relations or advertising courses as well.

Foreign Language and Culture

Similar to minoring in business, a minor in a foreign language is a great addition to have with your minor. According to My University Money, “an increasing number of employers are specifically looking for candidates who can speak a second language consistent with countries they do business with. Having a minor in one of those languages could be the qualification that not only gets you hired, but also does so at a higher pay level.”

Penn State offers the following minors, most of which range from 18-19 credits:

  • Arabic language
  • Asian studies
  • Chinese Language
  • Classics and ancient Mediterranean studies
  • East European studies
  • French and Francophone studies
  • German
  • Global language and culture studies
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • International arts
  • Italian
  • Japanese language
  • Korean language
  • Latin
  • Latina and Latino studies
  • Linguistics
  • Medieval studies
  • Portuguese
  • Russian translation
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages
  • Transnational perspectives

A minor in psychology can definitely elevate your studies. Being able to confidently communicate with others and understand human behavior is a great skill to have in the working world — a skill many employers look for in job applicants.

To complete this 18 credit minor, you can choose to focus in areas including biological, clinical, cognitive, developmental, industrial-organizational, and social psychology.

Sexuality and gender studies

If you are hoping to spread inclusivity in your future professional career, a minor in sexuality and gender studies will prepare you in bringing that and more into your workplace environment. The Penn State Bulletin describes that “with its emphasis on how gender, sexuality, race and other forms of diversity impact the experiences of every individual, this curriculum trains its minors to recognize the impacts of bias and unequal social power in the social, cultural and political arenas. Graduates enter their post-graduate world sensitive to diverse perspectives that can either facilitate or impede team building, problem solving, and negotiation.”

The bulletin further describes that this 18 credit minor “helps students to question how gender identity, sexuality, and ideas of “normal” work in tandem with race, ethnicity, nationality, class, disability, age, religion, and more to create social categories that result in structural, institutional, and ideological inequality and oppression. This program draws from many disciplines, each one contributing a unique perspective on how we “live” our gender and sexuality, to enable students to analyze the myriad dimensions of human identity and experience that are shaped by sexuality and gender.”

What’s next?

VALLEY suggests you take a look at the bulletin and search through each of the many minors available and find one that speaks to you. Find a minor that allows you to dive into your passion of art history or perhaps add on a minor such as ethics that will help you open your mind to dynamic ideas and concepts.

Once you settled on a couple of different minors to choose from, contact your academic advisor and gather all the information you need in order to collect all the credits so you can officially declare your chosen minor.

Do you have a minor built into your degree? Let VALLEY know your thought process behind choosing your minor on Twitter by tagging @VALLEYmag.


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