Administrators said the addition of departmental minors offers undergraduates another way to broaden their majors. Previously, students could elect to take a second major, or choose a sequence from the A&S Interdisciplinary Minors Program - such as American studies, Church history, Latin American studies and medieval studies - which consists of six courses taught by various departments.
Last year, the A&S Educational Policy Committee adopted guidelines by which individual departments could offer minors. As of this spring, the EPC had approved minors in chemistry, computer science, economics, fine arts, geology and geophysics, history, mathematics, philosophy and theology.
"For the right student, a double major can be the right experience," said A&S Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ. "But meeting the requirements of two majors can limit a student's ability to take a broad range of electives. This way, he or she can have a significant experience with another discipline in a way that offers a more specific focus."
"The creation of departmental minors," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, "provides a structured program that serves as a good complement to one's academic major."
A&S Associate Dean Carol Hurd Green said student interest was a major factor in the college's decision to begin offering departmental minors.
"Students have said they want their selection of elective courses to indicate a coherent theme, one which complements their major in some way," she said. "Furthermore, they want their transcripts to reflect those choices. We hope the minors will encourage them to think creatively about clustering their courses and move them away from double majors."
According to the A&S guidelines, a minor program must consist of six or seven courses, including an introductory course and at least one upper-level course or seminar, and be under the direction of a department member, who helps students choose the appropriate classes.
Among other restrictions, no more than two core courses can be applied to a minor, and those courses which do not count toward a major are likewise invalid for minors. Students cannot pursue a major and minor in the same department unless it offers more than one major; however, the same courses cannot be counted toward both the major and minor.
Administrators also note that students can choose to take two minors, and apply courses they have previously taken toward fulfilling a minor's requirements.
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