Double Majors and Minors

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Adding Majors/Minors to Your Degree Program

Thinking About Adding a Second Major?

Some students choose to pursue a secondary major alongside their primary major.  Double majoring should first be discussed with your current advisor.  Think about your reasons for double majoring.  Is this expanding skill sets relevant to my desired career goals?  Is this a special passion or interest I really want to pursue?  

Adding a double major requires additional work, which may alter your intended timeline for graduation.  Always visit with a representative of the program you plan to double major in after you discuss the possibility with your current advisor.  They can explain the degree requirements to you, so you can better understand how it will fit in with your current degree program.  You may want to develop a more detailed semester-by-semester plan when thinking about double majoring, or run some “What if?” degree audits in AccessPlus.  

Double majors cannot be declared until your second semester at Iowa State if you came direct from high school, while transfer students can declare the first day of classes.  To formally declare a double major, start with your current advisor and completing the “Multiple Curricula or Multiple Degrees” form.  As part of the process, you will declare which major is primary, and which is secondary.  You will have an advisor assigned from both majors to assist with degree planning.  

The following majors are common pairings with the Biology major at Iowa State:

Thinking About Adding a Minor?

The process of adding a minor is similar to adding a double major.  Discuss the possibility of adding a minor with your current advisor, and think about that “why” question.  Visit with the department or program offering the minor so you understand what is expected of you for obtaining it.  Minors at Iowa State generally require the completion of 15 credits.  Of those 15 credits, 9 credits must count only for the minor and cannot be used to satisfy any other university, college, or major requirements.  

It is often a good idea to wait until later in your program of study to declare a minor, in part because of this 9-credit rule, and also because of the nature of the minor form.  The “Minor, Request for/Cancellation” form requires you to fill out exactly what courses you will be taking, as well as which ones will count only for the minor.  Filling out the form in your senior year makes it less likely you will have to file a revision to your minor due to unforeseen scheduling or course availability issues.  

The following minors are common choices for Biology majors, and a complete list of minors is available in the Iowa State Catalog:

  • Animal Ecology
  • Animal Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Foreign Language
  • Genetics
  • Music
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology

I’d like to minor in Biology!

Awesome!  Stop by our Student Services office in 103 Bessey Hall for our guide sheet and to talk with one of our advisors about what is required.  You can also check out the requirements for our minor at this page here.