Why It Is Okay to Major and Minor in Two Unrelated Areas

By Amanda Harbrecht, Social Media Intern

Students making the “major” decision often worry about how their declared field of study will impact their job prospects. The focus becomes strictly on the coursework that will clearly and directly push them in the direction of what they think they want to do. All too often this leads to students ruling out classes that might hold unexpected value for them both personally and professionally. When someone says they are majoring and minoring in two seemingly unrelated fields of study, your initial reaction may be confusion. How will a theology minor help an accounting major? But in actuality there are several reasons why a distinct major/minor pairing can work for you. 

1. Study what interests you.

If you have diverse interests, then your diverse coursework will be an accurate reflection of you. Too often people study what they think they should study, or what they think will guarantee them a job. If you are passionate about two very different subjects, or if there is some that topic you enjoy but do not know how practical it is for your major, then majoring and minoring in unrelated areas could be your solution. Just because your major is Finance, you do not need to write off your interest in a Studio Art minor. If you are an English major and you want to minor in Computer Science, go ahead. College offers many new opportunities, but instead of exploring and embracing all the new fields available to them, students often limit themselves to what will boost their major or their resume. But the fact of the matter is, if you study what interests you, then you will be more inclined to study, and those study habits will show on your resume and strong study habits can translate into any career.



2. Variety is the spice of life—academic life.

Majoring and minoring in two unrelated fields can add welcome variety to academic life. I personally find that after working on a large marketing project for hours, switching to my computing homework can be a refreshing change. It allows me to switch up not only the type of work I am doing, but also the mindset I use. It is no secret that in the workplace, task variety can increase engagement and motivation. In my experience this principle can apply to studying as well. Students and workers alike can become burnt out when faced with the same type of work every day, over and over again. Majoring and minoring in two different areas injects some welcome diversity into a student’s academic routine. Studying different subjects can increase problem-solving abilities and encourage students to consider new ways of thinking. The way you approach problems when writing a literary essay is different than the way you approach problems when debugging a computer program. So not only will the variety of work keep you refreshed and focused, but it can also help you build skills to use outside the classroom.

3. Companies want well-rounded employees.

Companies look for three-dimensional employees who can offer a range of talents and abilities to the company. This is not a vague way to say that it is okay to wander aimlessly and directionless through academia; rather, it is saying that being interested in other subjects away from your major can make you a more balanced and versatile candidate. A unique course of study can set you apart as a potential employee. Diversity has been shown to be a powerful asset to any organization, and a distinctive major/minor combination can present you as an intriguing candidate. An unrelated major and minor prepare you to both approach problems from different perspectives, and also make big-picture connections across fields.

Majoring and minoring in two seemingly unrelated subjects may seem counterproductive, but it actually has many benefits.  The most important part though is to major and/or minor in what interests you. Whether those areas are very similar or very different, you will be more engaged and more motivated if you feel connected to your studies.