Minor in English

The English Minor

The English minor is an excellent opportunity for Cal Poly students.  Any minor allows you to complement courses in your major with work in another discipline.  When you graduate, your transcript will show that you have completed a minor as well as a major.  A minor allows you to concentrate your electives, learning enough about another discipline so that you can be well educated in two academic areas.

The English minor offers special opportunities for students in technical majors who might otherwise take a scattering of “available” electives without developing a coherent complement to their technical training.  It also offers students in majors close to English—such as Speech and Journalism—a chance to broaden their competence in a related area.  The minor is simple and should not increase the total number of hours you must have for graduation.  You need only to plan your elective courses to include twenty-eight hours of English courses (those established for the minor and listed at the end of this pamphlet).  The English minor is planned to offer satisfaction for you as a student, as well as significant advantages in your career.

Who Can Minor in English?

Anyone can take an English minor.  For students in most majors, taking a minor will be easy.  Often about half the work for the English minor can be accommodated by meeting the general education requirements.  They may be “double-counted.”  That is, they will fulfill the humanities requirements of your major course of study while at the same time completing a large part of the twenty-seven hours, which make up an English minor. 

You probably can use other electives allowed by your major to finish the minor.  If you have already taken English classes at Cal Poly or another university, it is likely that some of them can count toward a minor, even though they are not part of the list of minor courses.

An English minor complements any major, and produces a well-rounded student. The curriculum for the English minor consists primarily of literature courses, and students who graduate with a minor in English are positioned to excel in jobs where critical thinking and writing skills are required. Students interested in pursuing an English minor should meet with the minor advisor, Dr. Debora Schwartz, to review the requirements.

 

English Minor Required Courses (2013-2015 catalog)


 

Advantages of the English Minor

People who choose to study English like to read, and the minor gives them that pleasure, as well as providing a basis of critical understanding for a lifetime of reading. Most English majors are good writers as well; and they choose to study what they enjoy, just as most students in other majors do. Clearly, the minor in English is a pleasure for the people like you, and this pleasure is one of the main advantages of the minor.

It is also a practical choice. With an English minor on your transcript, you will stand out from other candidates when you look for a job. Employers are seeking well-rounded people who understand the world more broadly than a technical major usually allows and who can communicate their understanding to others. They are looking for candidates who can do more than just the immediate job. With training in close reading, precise writing, and critical thinking, you will be better equipped to advance after you are hired. Many studies have shown that people educated in the humanities progress further and faster than those trained only in a technical discipline.

The English minor can improve your long-range job prospects by allowing you to be more flexible. A large percentage of people change careers completely at least once before they retire, and this pattern is increasing. Education in more than one field—especially if your second field is as broadly useful as an English minor is—may allow you wider choices when the time for change comes.

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