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What is the difference between a college major and minor?

I'm considering universities and I was sure I wanted to major in neuroscience, but one of my desired schools only has a neuroscience minor. I'm not sure what the differences are and how having a minor versus major degree will affect my career options.

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Tim’s Answer

Concur with the responses that have been provided. Remember, some colleges may limit the number of majors or minors you can pursue at the same time during your studies. Make sure to check this before deciding on your course load.
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Joseph’s Answer

Major is the selection you choose for your career, but many people also choose a minor to make themselves more marketable and broaden there knowledge base.

example one may major in Business but minor in Economics.
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Dan’s Answer

Your major is the field you choose to focus on because it captivates your interest. It's the subject you enjoyed so much in high school that you decided to make it your primary area of study in college. This doesn't mean you only study that one subject; the university will also require you to take related courses. For instance, if you're a Computer Science major, you'll also be taking classes in math, science, and engineering.

Your minor, on the other hand, is a secondary field of study that you choose either to enhance your career prospects or to pursue a personal interest. This could be a subject like Business, Economics, or Math that you want to study in addition to your major. It could be something you plan to use in future projects or even just a hobby.

Remember, you don't have to major or minor in a subject to take courses in it while you're in college. Consider adding a category of "interest" courses to your schedule. These can help you become a more well-rounded individual and keep your studies engaging.
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Chris’s Answer

Hi Rhyian. Requirements will vary somewhat between different universities and even departments within that university as to what is needed for a major and a minor, so when you select the institutions you would like to attend you can ask academic counselors how that is structured. This can be done before applying so you know what may fit best for what you want to study.

The first point of clarification is that "major" and "minor" are part of the same degree. They are not, at least in the vast majority of institutions, separate types of degrees. The simple answer is that the major, or major specialization, is the main focus of your degree and has the most amount of relevant courses. The minor, or minor specialization, is a secondary specialization that is typically related to your major. So if you have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, your major is Computer Science. Your secondary is more flexible and does not have to be related, and requires fewer courses to complete the requirements for a minor. If your major is Computer Science, your secondary could be in Economics or even another language like Spanish if you are a native English speaker.

In your specific case, the school may not have enough Neuroscience specific courses to qualify as a major. Universities will have a number of courses you need to take to meet requirements as a major, such as 10 for a major and 5 for a minor (note that these are arbitrary and made up, it could vary). In that case, they may have only 5 courses they consider Neuroscience and therefore cannot be a major. However, talking to one of their academic counselors you may find that those courses are part of a different field of study called something else. So you're still learning a lot about neuroscience and related topics but your major would be called something differently. For example, your degree and major may be Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience.
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