Skip to main content

For information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit:

The Graduate College Handbook

for students, faculty and staff – August 2019

Chapter 4: Policy for Graduate Minors

A. Brief Description

The purpose of this proposal is to establish guidelines under which units may seek Senate approval of a graduate minor to be acknowledged on the student's official University transcript.

B. Background

Graduate programs offer a range of curricular possibilities, including options, tracks, concentrations, specializations, minors, and cognate fields. Graduate minors require approval as described below, and are noted on the student's transcript.

Minors are a coherent set of courses defined by one or more units outside the student's enrolling program. A minor encourages and recognizes expertise gained in a particular area. This expertise could be completely outside the usual degree requirements or it could significantly extend knowledge in an area closely related to, but still outside, a particular degree program. For some students, completing a minor will be both appealing and advisable. The spirit of a minor is the development of additional academic strengths. For this reason, credit used toward the completion of one minor may not be applied toward another minor but it is at the discretion of the major degree department to determine which, if any, of the courses used to fulfill the minor will also be used to fulfill the requirements of the graduate major degree. Some minors may require that a member of the unit(s) offering the minor serve on the student’s master’s or doctoral committee.

C. Guidelines

A minor should constitute a coherent program of study requiring some depth in the subject, but not as extensive a program as the major. The minor should consist of at least 12 graduate hours of course work in the sponsoring department(s). At least 8 to 12 graduate hours of the minor should be courses at the 500-level.

  1. Any academic department or unit with the approval of its disciplinary college may initiate a proposal for a graduate minor. The proposal should comply with the guidelines below and follow the format of the Standard Graduate Minor Approval Form.
  2. Minors approved by the Graduate College will be forwarded to the Senate for approval. 
  3. All graduate minors must receive disciplinary college, Graduate College, Senate, and Board of Trustees approval in order to be officially recognized by the campus and listed on the transcript.
  4. The Banner system displays degree, major, concentration, and minor designations. The University of Illinois at Urbana academic transcript will reflect completion of all Senate-approved graduate minors earned by the student.
  5. Students must apply to the sponsoring department for admission to the minor. It is up to the sponsoring department to determine the appropriate enrollment, to establish criteria and timelines for admission to the minor.
  6. A student's application to pursue a graduate minor must also be approved by the student's adviser and graduate program director prior to beginning to fulfill the minor requirements.
  7. A minor may request that a member of the unit(s) offering the minor serve on the student's master's or doctoral committee.
  8. The sponsoring department must identify an adviser for each minor. It is the minor adviser's responsibility to advise students on minor requirements.
  9. When a student indicates an intention to graduate with a minor, the sponsoring department will confirm whether the minor course of study has been completed and certify successful completion of the minor.
  10. Because of the nature of most graduate programs, master's students generally would not complete more than one minor. Doctoral students generally would not complete more than two minors.

Approved by the Urbana-Champaign Senate December 8, 2003. Revised April 2013. Revised April 2015.