What is a Minor?

A minor is an accreditation granted to you by the institution that certifies your competence in a secondary academic area unrelated to your “major” or the degree you are seeking. It is acknowledged on the transcripts and serves as proof that you are also quite proficient in the secondary field.

Minors at IIT Madras

Almost a decade back, IIT-M had a system that required students to opt for a minor beforehand and mandatorily complete courses about it. But now, the system has been revoked with the influx of a large and varied range of electives, thus giving students the liberty to chart their path into a minor. According to the ongoing system, each minor would have some compulsory courses and a roster of electives, and a student has to take 4 courses, i.e. 36-40 credits, to claim the minor degree. From minor to minor, the requirements may differ - some may require a student to take one core course and 3 electives of the minor, while some may demand two core courses and two electives to be taken. Minor can be taken in any course you want to - AI, Machine Learning, Applied Economics, Mathematics, Sociology, International Relations, and so on.

How to claim a Minor?

A minor at IIT-M can be claimed by emailing the Dean of Academic Courses after you have completed all courses required to claim the minor or are in progress, by the date of claiming. Most of the engineering disciplines require students to have almost 72-90 unallotted credits to accommodate a minor and a fixed quorum for humanities electives. Students should complete the minor requirements by the seventh semester to claim it and add it to their resumes. This subtly conveys the strong message that by the third or fourth semester, one should have at least a general concept of the topic they wish to minor in. A glimpse into the branch and category-wise credit requirements of B.Tech and Dual Degree programs can clarify the credit availability to claim a minor. NPTEL is another way to acquire a minor, provided they are used judiciously since there is a limit on the number of credits that can be gained and transferred via NPTEL. If a person makes careful use of all such avenues, it is even possible to minor in 2 disciplines, at least theoretically.

Does Your Branch Affect Your Choice of Minor?

A student’s major branch does not pose any constraint in the choice of minor they take. The only requirement to claim a minor is to complete the required courses and thus there is no question of branch. A minor degree may be different from the major branch or be an allied degree, as the student wishes. There is no order of preference as to how minor courses have to be taken, as long as one is not a prerequisite for another. Students do not have to fret over mapping the course over semesters.

Why do a Minor?

A minor can play a significant role in your résumé if you are inclined towards placements because it shows prospective employers that you have completed multiple courses in a certain field and have specialized abilities that may match what they are searching for. A minor also appears on your transcripts, making the process of “cross-apping” simpler. When someone decides to go for graduate studies (a Masters’ or Ph.D.) in a subject unrelated to their Bachelor’s degree, it is known as “cross-apping.” A minor in the area you want to change into is always helpful in situations like this. In addition, some minors might improve your total academic record, regardless of whether you decide to cross-apply. Regardless of such factors, a minor is a great way to delve deeper into a subject of your interest, which may be out of your core domain.