4 answers

Should I choose a minor that is easily utilized if my major is specific to a certain field?

Asked Fayetteville, North Carolina

I would like to major in conservation biology or wildlife biology, but it seems like a very difficult field to become employed in, and I was planning on minoring in psychology because I am interested in behavior and thought it would compliment a biology degree. However, would it be better to minor, or double major, in a more career-oriented field? Such as business, marketing, liberal arts, etc. They aren't especially interesting topics for me, but would they serve well as a backup plan? #conservation #wildlife-biology #business #marketing #liberal-arts #choosing-a-major #choosing-major ##choosing-a-minor #choosing-a-career #psychology #majors-and-minors #interests

4 answers

John’s Answer

Updated

Yes, wildlife biology is a competitive career field - I've worked as a wildlife biologist for over 30 years. So focus on what will make you better qualified than other candidates with a bachelors degree. As another person said, a second major in a related field can make you more competitive - education, journalism, GIS/mapping, even business, veterinary medicine, genetics. Those kinds of majors will give you skills that can be used in wildlife biology, but which aren't often taught as part of a wildlife degree.

I'd discourage the idea of getting a completely different 2d degree - while a 2d degree may cover more employment options, it won't make you more competitive in your preferred field, in fact it may confuse employers. Plus the time and effort you put into a 2d degree could have been spent getting more skills in wildlife biology. Also consider what other things you can do be more competitive - like getting job experience.

Wildlife biology is competitive enough that having a BS degree and no experience isn't enough to make you stand out from the crowd. But a little experience, like volunteer work, summer seasonal work, etc. adds a lot - not only does it give you experience, it also shows you have a work ethic AND it gives you a reference who can recommend you and vouch for you. That's what will get the attention of the hiring supervisor.

And a wildlife biology degree can qualify your for other entry-level biologist jobs, like medical labs, teaching science, etc.

John recommends the following next steps:

  • Look at current job postings to see what skill sets employers are looking for. That may give you an idea of what else to study in college.
  • Meet a wildlife biologist to learn about their job and what they did that qualified them.
  • Look for volunteer, part-time or seasonal jobs related to your preferred field. That will give you experience and connections that other applicants won't have.

Michael’s Answer

Updated

Hi Jazmin,


It is often better and more efficient from an educational standpoint to have a Minor that related to your Major, especially when you are considering going into a field is competitive to find a job. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with having a not totally relevant Minor. For instance, I have a degree in Finance but by Minor was in Psychology. I originally majored in Psychology but personally discovered that I wanted to seek a practical degree that would make me more employable. Psychology turned out to be very useful with my career in sales, so you'd be surprised how these subjects can complement each other. To make you more employable as a "backup" I would recommend making General Business a Minor. If nothing else, it teaches you good skills that are translatable to many other professions.


Thanks!


Mike

marlene’s Answer

Updated

In my opinion you should choose a major that you gave sincere interest in.

if it can be applied to a future career of interest all the better .

i

MADERA’s Answer

Updated

Not necessarily. How sure are you that you want to work in a specific field regardless if it’s your minor or major? I find that many colleagues ended up doing something totally different from their degree. Essentially, by the time they achieved the degree they yearned for something different. I recommend talking to professionals in your field of interest for both the major and minor to understand their experiences. Keep the conversation short, no more than 10 to 15 min, create focused and concise questions and send the questions in advance if you can.

MADERA recommends the following next steps:

  • I recommend talking to professionals in your field of interest for both the major and minor to understand their experiences. Keep the conversation short, no more than 10 to 15 min, create focused and concise questions and send the questions in advance if you can.