Everything You Need to Know About Minoring in University
Want to branch outside of your major? Explore your passions through a minor!
This article is written by Zainab Damji, a fourth-year Journalism student at Ryerson University.
Knowing what you’re majoring in at university seems like one of the first things you figure out and arguably one of the most important too. While that’s definitely true, something most folks (myself included) tend to forget is minoring!
Before I continue, if you don’t know what a minor is, here's a quick crash definition for you. A minor is a subject outside of your primary focus that you’d like to get a deeper understanding of. It may complement your major or be completely unrelated. For example, I’m majoring in Journalism but since I’d love to go into the fashion industry, I’m minoring in Fashion. Now that’s not to say you have to minor in anything, but if this sounds like something up your alley — it’s best to walk into university as prepared as you can be. Here’s what I found helpful as I navigated my university minor.
1. Try to decide your minors before starting university
I know, I know. You make a ton of big decisions before you start university and this is just adding another one to the list. But honestly, I promise you — it’ll be worth it. Knowing in advance can help you plan out the rest of your four years at university, which leads me to my next point.
2. Take courses towards your minor from the first semester
Start taking courses ASAP. Your 4th-year self will thank you! It’s quite simple and not at all complex really; the sooner you start, the sooner you finish. It’ll lessen the workload and stress on you as you enter your last years of university, allowing you to focus on your major or other commitments without having to worry about finishing your minor or missing a course.
3. Bookmark the minor pages and refer to them often
Every minor at Ryerson University has its own online page. Find yours and bookmark it. I visit the minor pages so often because I always need to double-check which courses fall under my minor, which ones I’m allowed to take and any changes to the requirements.
4. Take minor-related courses as part of your course requirements
Allow me to elaborate. As part of your major, you’re required to take electives, liberals, etc. The quickest way to satisfy those requirements while working towards your minor is by, where possible, ensuring the two overlaps. I did this by visiting the course table I needed to fulfill — for example, an Open Elective table — and searching for ‘Fashion’ and choosing from the courses shortlisted there.
5. You can take multiple minors
A lot of students don’t know this but it’s very doable and allowed to take more than one minor! I personally know people who have double and even triple minored! That’s not to say you have to, just that you can if you want to.
6. Don’t let your major stop you
A lot of students wonder if it’s wise to take up a minor with a heavy course schedule. I’m here to tell you that if you truly want to learn something, you’ll be able to manage it. I know Engineering students who are minoring in Music, Philosophy, or Real Estate Management despite having an average of six courses per semester. What matters is how you plan your course schedule and manage your time.
7. It’s almost never too late to decide you want to minor in something
I honestly believe this fervently. To fulfill a minor at Ryerson, you need to take six courses. Most students take an average of four to five courses a semester, sometimes six. If you decided in your third year that you wanted to minor in something, you would just have to take two courses over the course of your four semesters to fulfill it. If that course load is too much, you also always have the option to take spring and summer courses (subject to availability of course!) So even if you decide a little later in your university journey, it’s almost always never too late.
Minoring can be tricky and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Take up a minor that you’re genuinely passionate about and interested in, and the rest will fall into place. If you want to learn more about my experience with minoring at Ryerson University or about the international student experience in Toronto, follow me on Instagram to keep up with my Ryerson journey!
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