University of Minnesota

Exploring Minors and Certificates

What is a minor?

An academic minor is a secondary specialization or field of study incorporated into your undergraduate degree program. While most programs do not require you to have a minor, many students choose to declare a minor along with their major. A minor does not have to directly relate to your major, although it can be helpful to think about how a minor would complement your major field of study.

While exploring possibilities for your major, it is good to consider how a minor might satisfy some of your interests as well.

What is a certificate?

A certificate is a group of courses intended to teach you a specific set of knowledge or professional skills in areas like language, technology, education, and business.

Minors and certificates are very similar. Minors require that you complete them with a degree program, while certificates can be completed by students who are not enrolled in a degree program.

Where can I find minors?

At the U of M, there are two types of minors. The first is undergraduate minors related to a major. These are minors that have a corresponding academic major (ex: there is both a Chemistry major and a Chemistry minor). The second list is undergraduate freestanding minors. These minors do not have a corresponding academic major. They typically are more interdisciplinary in nature (such as Social Justice), or include academic departments that do not offer a major (such as Public Health).

Minors Related to a Major Freestanding Minors Certificates

How long will it take me to complete a minor or certificate?

Minors very in credit total, but the average minor consists of 15-16 credits. Most certificates can be completed in 12-16 credits, but some take considerably longer. Be sure to consult the undergraduate catalog or department for credit totals for each minor.

Can I declare a minor that is in a college other than the one I am enrolled in?

This depends. Many minors are open to students regardless of the college you are enrolled in. However, there are some exceptions to this, as some minors require you to be enrolled in that college in order to declare the minor. Be sure to ask your academic adviser if you have questions.

How do I declare a minor?

Contact the department that offers the minor for instructions on declaring.


Center for Academic Planning and Exploration

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