Minors: an extra educational benefit

A minor at CSU amounts to twenty-one credits, plus $7,959, plus a semester and a half of commitment.

The minor is an area where an additional skill set is added to later help the individual be well-employed in their years to come, according to Sue D. Pendell, Ph.D., chair of the department of communication studies.


Many students, especially those in the College of Liberal Arts, are required to have a minor with their specified major. Other majors, such as engineering, are not required to have a minor.

“Majors requiring a minor are most often in the College of Liberal Arts as there is more flexibility, potential electives, in their majors compared to those of the other colleges, for example engineering, natural resources, etc.,” said Carole J. Makela, Ph.D., the university curriculum committee chair.

The decision is made after a department within each college proposes a new major or makes changes to an existing major where a minor may be required, according to Makela.

While it ranges from college to college, major to major, the majors that require minors seem to be concentrated in the College of Liberal Arts.

For instance both communication study majors as well as journalism and technical communication (JTC) majors are both required to have 21 subject-specific credits on top of their major specific credits.

This is to help broaden education in a specific subject of interest as well as enhance career opportunities, according to Pendell.

“Communication studies and journalism and technical communication do not have minors because both departments have so many majors that we have trouble offering enough classes for them,” Pendell said.

“I was originally going to minor in French, but since it was just two more credits basically I decided to double major in it,” said Sarah Klaus, junior communications and french major.

Being a communications major can be a very broad thing. It is a good idea to have the minor or extra major in order to specify your area of studying and feel like your major is a good degree, according to Klaus.

While a major in the College of Liberal Arts may lack specificity, an engineering major does not, according to Dr. Tom Siller, associate dean of the College of Engineering. Engineers are focused on their type of engineering, from mechanical, biomedical, civil and environmental etc. Hence, they are not required to further focus on something outside of that, and the college doesn’t feel as if it is necessary.


In general, if a major is not specific enough, a minor helps guide students in a direction which they further want to pursue in their professional life after graduating from Colorado State University.

At the end of the day, each department makes their decisions of curriculum with the faculty and then it is further approved by the Faculty Council.

“Some departments, including Communication Studies, require a minor so students will have an additional area of focus which should help them become happily and gainfully employed,” said Pendell.

Collegian Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at news@collegian.com.