Majors and Whatnow? Figuring Out Your Degree Options

Posted by York & U on January 12, 2012


Although your undergraduate studies are directed towards earning a degree, your major (and optional minor) will dictate what that degree looks like. In other words, your major and minor are the muscles to your degree’s skeleton.

While you may decide you want to pursue a Bachelors of Arts, Health, Science or any of the other degrees offered at York, this only gets you halfway there. Your degree will require you to take a certain number of courses in certain areas, but it doesn’t ask for much more. Your major is the part that tells you what those areas will be.

Your major indicates your primary area of study. For example, as an International Development Studies major, most of your courses will be from the International Development program.  To satisfy your major requirements, you will need to take approximately 42 credits (seven full-year courses) from your major area. Your other credits will come from your general education and elective requirements as well as your free choice credits.

These elective and free choice credits can also be used towards other things as well, such as minors and double majors. Minors indicate secondary areas of study, often in separate areas of study. Minors allow you to gain a more interdisciplinary education and a broader perspective on the world. They could also make you more employable. Minors typically include 30 credits (five full-year courses). Double majors allow you to combine two primary areas of study. Although there are some restrictions with double majors, you are still offered the flexibility to combine two areas of study.  You will need to take the required 42 credits in both of your majors, as well as a modified set of other credit requirements.

As mentioned before, certain Faculties place restrictions on what their students can take as minors or double majors. The Schulich School of Business, for example, only allows students to minor or double major within Schulich. Other specialized programs, such as Engineering, have pre-specified group of possible minors and double majors. In any case, it’s also good to speak with an Academic Adviser before declaring a minor or double major.

This might sound like quite a bit to take in at once, but I promise it’s not difficult to work through. Your high-school guidance counselor should also be able to answer any questions about majors, double majors and minors that you may have. Good luck and don’t forget to check your deadlines!