I am going to be completely honest with you. When the idea for this blog came my way, I didn’t actually know what having an academic minor entails. So I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to find out what an academic minor is and why it is important. I even got in touch with some knowledgeable faculty.

To help you gain a better understanding of minors, I will share what I have found.


A minor is an additional field of study that complements your major. Whatever field you pursue can be benefitted by supporting knowledge from other areas of study. To get a better understanding overall, I talked to Anne Gaertner, Cornerstone University’s senior director of employer relations and internships.

“An academic minor is a subset of a student’s academic studies. While a major is a primary focus area and includes a significant number of credits, a minor is a subset of a student’s studies,” Gaertner said.

So for example, I am a psychology major. Some reasonable choices for me to pursue as a minor might be sociology, biology or a foreign language. For marketing majors, a minor could be in graphic design or consumer psychology. Someone in an engineering major could look into a business minor.

There are endless options for combinations of fields. So if you think there are no options for you, try taking another look or contact an adviser at the college to ask their recommendations.


“Course work prepares students for opportunities outside the classroom including volunteering and internship experiences. What you do in the classroom and through your studies sets the stage for applying it in a real-life setting. It’s one thing to read about something in a book. It’s an entirely different experience to see the inner workings of creative problem solving unfold in a professional setting,” Gaertner said.

Minors are not always required, but don’t let that dissuade you from looking into them. “Even if a minor isn’t required, students are highly encouraged to pursue experiences that support their course of study,” Gaertner noted.


You know you have options and you understand why having one could be beneficial. The big question still remains: how do I obtain a minor?

If you are ready to start looking into programs, here is some advice from Gaertner: “Be intentional and strategic. You may need to do a job shadow or complete an informational interview in a given area to determine if it’s a course of study for you. Invest the time before picking your minor to ensure a good fit for you and your goals.”

I may be a little biased, but I think my research paid off. After talking with Gaertner and doing some exploration on my own, I feel that I have a better understanding of academic minors, and I hope you do too.

Explore your options at Cornerstone by checking out our major and minor programs for a comprehensive list of everything CU offers or get in touch with our admissions counselors.