What is the Difference Between a Minor and a Concentration?

The difference between a minor and a concentration is that the former is a secondary field of study while the latter is a specific sub-field of the major. That is, a minor can be in any field, but a concentration will only be related to the major. Both of these academic options come with unique benefits.

Minor Basics

Some colleges will offer minors, which are basically majors that require fewer courses. Most majors will require prerequisite classes and interdisciplinary classes across different fields. Sometimes, the completion of a minor may only be a few classes within the academic department.

There are different purposes of minors. Some students elect to minor in a field supplement their major. For example, many business majors minor in accounting, marketing or management. Some of the most popular minors include psychology, administration, criminal justice and the humanities.

Some students choose to minor in something they love doesn’t pertain to their future career. A minor is an excellent way for students to increase the marketability of their resume or increase their application’s effectiveness when applying to grad school.

Concentration Basics

A concentration is a specific area of study within the chosen major. Similar to minors, schools do not require students to declare a concentration. Instead, they offer them as academic options to help attract students to the department and help students customize their college experience. The specific a concentration will designate the types of classes that students must take to fulfill the degree program’s requirements.

For example, common biology minors include chemistry, botany, zoology and even epidemiology. Sociology majors often concentrate in statistics, anthropology, psychology or gender studies. A political science major may choose a concentration in economics, public policy, foreign affairs or American government. A concentration increases the expertise of the student in their academic track and informs potential employers about specific areas of interest.

Major Basics

Regardless of whether a student earns a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, they can choose a concentration in a focused area, or a secondary less intensive course of study through a minor. The standard bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours. Most undergraduate students take an average semester load of 15 credit hours. A major is the primary field of study that will come with 30 to 60 credit hours of core coursework that must be completed.

The requirements for each major are defined by the target academic department. This means that they can be either broadly or narrowly defined depending on the department’s resources. For example, a school may offer a general degree in business, or a narrowly defined business degree in entrepreneurship or corporate business. A general major is best for students who want to pursue a variety of careers during their lifetime.

The ultimate difference between a minor and a concentration is that a minor is a separate field of study, but a concentration is very specific academic sub-field within the major. Visit here to review the 10 most popular majors.