Good Minors for Psychology Majors

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Many universities allow students to pursue what is known as an academic minor. This can add yet another element of confusion for psychology majors who are trying to figure out which subjects to study and which classes will help them the most.

A college minor represents a secondary field of study in addition to a college major. While it is similar in many ways to a major, it involves fewer required classes. In many cases, a minor represents approximately two years of study in a given subject. Most colleges and universities do not require students to select a minor. It is usually optional.

Reasons to Pursue an Academic Minor

The choice of what to minor in (or whether to select an academic minor at all) is really up to the individual student in most cases. Is there a subject that you are interested in learning more about? A minor is a bit like a "mini-major" and can be a great way to explore that interest without committing to a major in the subject.

Students might choose to earn a minor in a topic related to their field, or in something that might help them later on in graduate school. "Minors, along with double majors, are increasingly popular as students try to master multiple subjects on the way to flexible careers or future education," suggested Michelle Slatalla in an article for The New York Times.

For example, a student who plans to enter the workforce after graduation as a case manager or psychiatric technician might opt to earn a minor in a foreign language if they plan to work with clients who do not speak English or who speak English as a second language. In this case, earning a minor not only looks good on a job candidate's resume, but it also imparts important skills that will help in the workplace.

A minor might also represent an interest in a topic that you love but don't necessarily want to earn a degree in. In some instances, a minor might even be something that isn't related to your major. For example, you might choose to earn a minor in a foreign language or art history simply because you love the subject and are interested in taking classes in that area.

Good Minor Options for Psychology Majors

The specific minor you might choose depends a great deal on your career plans. If you are thinking of a career in social service, a minor in a foreign language, social work, or sociology might be helpful.

If you are thinking of earning a graduate degree in a certain specialty area, certain minors can also be helpful. For example, someone planning to become a forensic psychologist might earn a minor in criminology, while someone planning to become a school psychologist might pursue a minor in education.

Some minor options commonly chosen by psychology majors include:

  • Foreign languages
  • Biology
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics
  • Nutrition
  • Health sciences
  • Education

Career-Boosting Minors for Psychology Majors

For psychology majors who are planning to go to graduate school, a minor can be a great way to complete prerequisites and gain some knowledge and experience in an allied area. For example, a student planning to get a graduate degree in health psychology might choose to earn an academic minor in a health-related topic.

Are you planning to go into a competitive job field after graduation? A minor might help you in the workforce and make you stand out to employers. Or are you thinking of applying to a graduate program in a subject other than psychology? In that case, a minor can help you pick up necessary prerequisites for your graduate program and give you some extra knowledge and experience in that subject area.

1 Source
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  1. University of Southern California. Minors: Rules and regulations.

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.