Information on Academic Minors

West Virginia University Policy on Establishing and Managing Formal Academic Minors

General statement

Each academic unit in the University may, at its discretion, offer formal academic minors. The University does not require that an academic program unit offer a minor or that its students take a minor. Minors will be described in the catalog and identified on the student’s transcript in the same manner that majors are identified. If a department requires a concentration of courses in a secondary area and that concentration is not a formal minor, then the department should refer to this group of courses as an ‘area of emphasis’ rather than a ‘minor’ in order to avoid confusion.

Rationale

A minor formally recognizes strategic work in an area of study and thus encourages students to pursue a secondary field. The opportunity to earn a formal minor or minors may encourage students to organize what has been elective work into more coherent focus areas; the posting of those minors to students’ transcripts will better communicate focus areas of the student’s academic career. Such program options should prove appealing to both students and departments. A formal academic minor could enhance the attractiveness of graduates on the job market, help in student recruitment and retention, and provide another measure of productivity for academic units in addition to the number of majors.

Requirements

Requirements for a minor are set by the academic unit offering the minor and must include at least 15 hours of course work, with a minimum of 9 hours at the upper division level (course numbers 300 or above). Units offering a minor may require specific courses and/or may require a minimum performance standard for courses taken to fulfill minor requirements (e.g., ‘a GPA of 2.0 across courses counted toward the minor is required’ or ‘a grade of ‘C’ or higher must be earned in all courses counted toward the minor’). Courses in the minor may not be taken pass/fail.

Students may not earn a minor in the same field as their major.1 Students completing the MDS degree may not earn a minor in the same field as any of their MDS concentration areas. Courses required for completion of the student’s major may be applied to completion of a minor so long as that minor is not in the same field (i.e., offered by the same academic unit) as the major. Courses required for completion of one minor may be applied to completion of a second minor should such requirements overlap.

Students majoring in Foreign Languages may complete a foreign language minor that is not in the same area of emphasis as their major.

The establishment of academic minors does not change the College of Arts and Sciences policy that no more than 42 hours in one department subject and no more than 60 hours from a department with more than one subject may be counted toward the minimum hours required for graduation.

Procedure for establishing minors

An academic unit wishing to establish a minor should submit a Proposal to Establish a Minor to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee. The proposal must include:

  1. a justification for the minor;
  2. the copy which will be used in the catalog to describe the minor, including the total number of hours, any specified courses, and, if applicable, the minimum performance standard for courses taken to fulfill the minor;
  3. signatures certifying approval of the proposal by the Curriculum Committee of the academic unit proposing the minor, the Department Chair, the College Curriculum Committee, and College Dean.

If courses included in the minor, or prerequisites for courses included in the minor, are taught by units other than that submitting the proposal, letters of support from the unit(s) offering such courses must be appended to the proposal. Letters of support should certify that the unit offering the courses included in the minor proposal (a) can accommodate additional demand for the course(s) that might be anticipated because of the availability of the minor; and (b) will offer the course(s) on a regular and predictable basis to assure students’ ability to complete minor requirements in a timely fashion. It is expected that interdisciplinary minors will be managed by a single academic unit willing and able to take ongoing responsibility for answering student/advisor questions and for assuring that courses included in the minor are taught on a regular basis.

The Senate Curriculum Committee will review the Proposal to Establish a Minor and make its recommendation to the Associate Provost for Academic Programs. The Associate Provost will notify the proposing unit of the final decision, and will forward information about approved minors to all Colleges offering undergraduate degrees.

Established: 5/12/97
Updated: 9/12/02