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What is a minor?

Every student in the College completes a “major” after gaining the breadth of knowledge provided by the general education coursework of their first two years.  A “major” is an in depth dive into a specific discipline and requires a student to take 10 or more classes in a specific area of study.  

A “minor” is a similar opportunity to focus on a specific area of study, but it requires fewer classes, usually 5-6. Students are not required to have a minor. 

Should I have a minor in addition to a major?

Many students have academic interests outside of their major area of study. Sometimes those academic interests conveniently coalesce around a specific academic discipline, such as history, chemistry, or philosophy. If your interests lead you to take 5-6 classes in a specific discipline, you might be interested in minoring in that discipline. 

If your academic interests are more broadly distributed, the classes that draw your attention may not neatly correspond to an official minor. That’s okay! After accounting for your general education and major requirements you should fill up your time at UVA with those classes that interest you the most. College is a unique time of exploration and many students love the flexibility that comes from not having the additional constraints of minor requirements.

Will having a minor help me get a job?

Some students think that having an additional major or minor will make them more attractive to potential employers. It is true that some employers are looking for people with a specific skill set or knowledge base. If the classes required for a minor provide that knowledge, you might decide to complete that minor. On the other hand, you could also just take some of the classes, without completing all of the requirements for the minor. (Important caveat: Some classes are restricted to students in a specific major or minor.) Listing a minor on your resume signals to potential employers that you have a certain skill set or knowledge base, but you can also just list those skills directly. After all, it’s the knowledge and skills they are interested in, not the fact that you completed a minor.

Can I have a minor in another school at UVA?

Yes! A College student can declare a minor in another undergraduate school at UVA if that school allows. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If a College student has two minors, at least one of them must be a College minor.
  • College students have to earn at least 108 of their 120 total credits in College classes. Classes taken in other schools count toward the 12 non-College credits that can be counted for a College degree. Your Academic Requirements Report in SIS can help you keep track of your College versus non-College credits. (Note: Some classes taken for the Urban and Environmental Planning minor in the School of Architecture may count as College-equivalent classes if students complete the minor.)
  • For more on policies concerning minors in the College, please see the link below.
Last updated: June 5, 2024
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