Academic minor policy change beneficial to students, offers learning opportunities
February 20, 2014
Recently the Pa. State System of Higher Education issued a requirement for all 14 member universities regarding academic minors and the overlapping of coursework.
The current policy at SRU is that at least four credits have to be taken outside of major degree requirements to earn a minor. For example, a minor requiring 18 credits may include up to 14 credits from the student’s major.
The statewide revision to that policy mandates that only six credits required for a given major can count towards a minor. So in the 18 credit minor program, 12 of those credits would have to be outside a student’s major.
This current policy will be in effect until the summer of 2015 with the new one applying to all students graduating in the fall of 2015 and later, regardless of when they declared their minor or started their education at Slippery Rock University.
While all this policy change may seem like mumbo-jumbo, it’s important for students to realize that they might not be able to graduate with their current minor if there are too many overlapping courses.
While it may seem disappointing to many students that their blow-off minor might not come to fruition, we think the policy is a good idea.
The whole idea behind receiving an academic minor is to advance a skill set or broaden a knowledge base in some fashion, and by only taking one or two classes outside a major, nobody is helping or challenging themselves to learn anything new, really.
Minors are a great opportunity for professional advancement. Students may need additional training for a career path that a minor can provide (e.g. accounting). They might also like to improve resume content by taking courses and receiving additional training employers are interested in. One may want to complement certain aspects of their academic training with a different subject that may provide both practical and theoretical knowledge. For example, a business management major minoring in women’s studies to work in a non-profit that focuses on women’s issues.
A minor may also be important for students considering graduate school. Top dogs in academia land look at a minor to see that a student has additional skills and interests, like having a Spanish minor and applying to law school, while also showing a bit about who the student is as a person.
While your minor probably won’t make or break your application, it can serve as an additional piece of information to make a student stand out a bit from the rest of the academic crowd.
While arguing for and against minors could go back and forth all day, the point is that under the current policy, SRU students’ hard work is almost for naught – it is work they would be doing anyway.
With the new policy, students actually have to put time into scheduling other classes outside their major and taking a minor very seriously, which is something we can get behind.