Minors add breadth and coherence to an undergraduate education. In conjunction with a major field, a minor can help students achieve a more well-developed expertise in related areas of study.
Alternately, a minor can be used to achieve a well-rounded, broadened course of study that allows students to cultivate interests separate from their declared major.
Weighing the Decision to Minor
The decision whether to pursue a minor should be weighed against several alternatives:
- Achieving significant breadth within the major, sometimes through honors or a senior project
- Pursuing a more varied, less prescribed, curriculum outside your major
- Undertaking academic opportunities that require significant time and planning, such as honors, research, public service and overseas study
The advantages to each alternative depend on your intellectual interests and goals. In all cases, the choice of a minor deserves careful consideration and consultation with faculty and academic advisors.
For more information on special considerations for declaring a minor, please see:
Choosing a Minor
Since a minor is an option rather than a requirement, carefully consider your goals before pursuing any minor in conjunction with your declared major. Consider the following points in making an informed decision:
- Identify your personal goals in pursuing a minor. Do you want to pursue a minor related to your major field? Or do you want a minor that provides balance and variety in your coursework?
- Browse the Bulletin. Look not only at the minor requirements for different programs, but also for courses that interest you. Then look for those that provide a useful complement or contrast to your major field of study, regardless of their relevance to minor requirements. You may decide to forego a minor to pursue a selection of courses that creates coherence with your overall educational goals.
- Consult departmental / program websites.These often provide the most detailed discussion of the specific disciplinary goals and practices that characterize study in the minor. They also outline the research interests and expertise of the faculty.
- Consult with an advisor. Talk with either a UAR advisor or your faculty advisor about minors that might pair well with your major. Also ask about how to use a minor to provide balance to your course of study (e.g., pairing a humanities minor with a science major).
Counting Courses in Minors and Majors
Students pursuing a minor cannot double-count courses for completing major and minor requirements unless they satisfy an introductory skill requirement (e.g., intro math or foreign language). For instance, students majoring in an engineering field must meet a “school requirement” in the School of Engineering. Please review the Stanford Bulletin for official policies on completing major and minor requirements. If you have any questions about double-counting courses, consult with an advisor.
For more information on completing multiple major and/or minor requirements, please see:
Declaring a Minor
You must declare your minor no later than the deadline for your application to graduate, according to the declaration procedures developed and monitored by the Office of the University Registrar. Note that some departments or programs set earlier deadlines for declaration; verify dates with department / program student services administrators.
- The process of declaring a minor is described on the Office of the University Registrar's Undergraduate Minors page.
- You may also refer to the Student Services Center's How to Video on Declaring a Major-Minor.
Changing a Minor
You can change your minor at any time by dropping your existing minor or declaring a new one on Axess. If you are thinking of changing your minor declaration, be sure to consult with your academic advisor before doing so.