An academic minor is a curricular component which enables a student to make an inquiry into a discipline or field of study, or to investigate a particular theme. It is organized around a specific set of objectives or questions. The objectives of a minor are achieved through an ordered series of courses, whose connections are defined to indicate an internal structure. Minors are intended to provide competency in the subject. Course offerings in a minor may be centered in a specific department or drawn from several departments as in the case of a topical or thematic focus.
A minor consists of fifteen to twenty-one credit hours, with at least six credit hours, preferably nine or more, at the upper level (300 or above). Nine to twelve credit hours are organized in a logical sequence of require credits. This core provides general direction for the student's study while maintaining a degree of flexibility. Flexibility is achieved by offering the student a choice from among a group of courses to complete the credits. Departments have the responsibility to administer all minors within their unit and to approve appropriate substitutions for students. Those units involved in interdepartmental minors perform the same function as departments. Courses taken in a minor may ordinarily also be used to fulfill other academic requirements, e.g., majors, general education, without reducing the minimum number of hours required for a degree. However, no student may declare a major and a minor in the same discipline.
The integrity of a minor is measured by the degree to which the structure and content meet its objectives and, thereby, serve the student. It is also determined by its relationship to the curricular goals and objectives of the department. The regular evaluation of a minor to ensure its integrity and the practice of noting it on a student's transcript indicate its importance to the university curriculum. The true significance of a disciplinary minor is demonstrated by the extent to which it leads the student to some understanding of that discipline or field of study and to a certain degree of competence with its methods of inquiry. The quality of an interdisciplinary or thematic minor is determined by its ability to suggest answers to the questions upon which it is focused. In either case, a minor should provide basic insight into a subject that helps further the student's educational goals.