How Should Nursing Students Pick a Minor?

Charmaine Robinson, MSN-Ed, RN
Updated June 1, 2023
    Curious about how to choose a minor in nursing school? Explore the best minors for specific nursing specialities and discover how to pick the best minor for you.
    Nursing students learning to put on a wrist brace in classCredit: Getty Images
    • Minors in nursing school are not required but can help shape your education and career.
    • Minors are useful for nursing students considering specific settings, specialties, or postgraduate studies.
    • Choosing a minor wisely can expand your knowledge and your professional options.

    Are you interested in choosing a nursing minor? Learn about possible minors in nursing school, including which ones can benefit your training and career journey.

    A nursing degree is already challenging, so consider a minor program wisely. Remember that nursing school is the time to explore your options and choose opportunities that can help you grow academically and professionally.

    Minors in Nursing School

    While a minor is not necessary to graduate or become a nurse, the material you learn can expand your nursing knowledge. It’s also a great way to explore your professional interests and learn about different fields.

    Nursing Specialty Preparation

    A minor can help you prepare for a specific nursing specialty or job function. For example, a minor in nutrition can prepare you to assist patients in developing and following healthy eating plans. This knowledge can be useful anywhere, but it may be especially useful in cardiology or endocrinology, where patients often have a high need for nutritional counseling.

    Nursing Specialties & Minors
    Nursing SpecialtyMinor(s)
    Nursing ManagementBusiness Administration
    Geriatric NursingGerontology or Nutrition
    Psychiatric/Mental Health NursingPsychology or Sociology
    Community Health NursingPublic Health or Health Science
    Nursing ResearchBiology
    Pediatric NursingChild Development
    Nursing WritingCommunications or Journalism
    Legal NursingCriminal Justice or Political Science
    Nurse CoachingNutrition or Sociology
    Nursing InformaticsComputer Science

    Extended Learning Opportunities

    A minor can create opportunities for extended learning. During nursing school, you typically study one specialty per semester or quarter. If you choose a minor related to your desired nursing specialty, you can continue to learn about this field throughout your undergraduate program.

    Some nursing schools offer special learning experiences as part of their minor programs. For example, at the University of Michigan’s school of nursing, students can apply for the population health in a global context minor, which includes study-abroad opportunities and instruction on global health topics.

    Keep in mind that you can choose a minor simply out of curiosity or interest. There’s a good chance it will be valuable at some point. For instance, a sociology minor may not seem relevant to a medical-surgical nurse’s job, but understanding human behavior will surely come in handy when interacting with patients, families, and colleagues.

    Nevertheless, your career aspirations play a primary role as you decide on a minor in nursing school. Consider these five guidelines during your decision-making process.

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    5 Tips on Picking a Minor in Nursing School

    Not sure what nursing minor to pick? Some minors help you learn more about a nursing specialty, while others expand your knowledge in a different field. Consider these pointers when making your decision.

    1 | Broaden Your Knowledge

    Knowledge is power: the more, the better. Many minors expose you to topics like epidemiology, international health, and public safety, which can help you to eventually choose a particular nursing specialty like nursing research or community health nursing.

    2 | Prepare for Graduate School

    If your goal is to further your nursing education and obtain a postgraduate degree, an undergraduate minor can help to prepare you for graduate school. For example, if you want to become a geriatric nurse practitioner, a minor in gerontology during your undergraduate studies can help prepare you for graduate studies.

    3 | Fast-Track Your Nursing Career

    A minor can increase your nursing expertise in a particular field, which can help you advance in your nursing career. The additional knowledge can give you an advantage over other candidates when job hunting or seeking a promotion.

    4 | Learn More About Who You Want to Help

    Do you hope to provide care to older patients? A minor in geriatrics could be the right move. Minors in global health can position you for work with international populations. A minor in nutrition can help you care more effectively for people with anything from cancer to heart disease.

    Figure out where you want to be and who you want to help. Then work backward to find the minor that will put you in the best position to succeed.

    5 | Increase Networking Opportunities

    A minor related to your desired area of work can provide advancement opportunities through networking. In your minor courses, you will meet instructors and other students who can serve as resources, mentors, and points of contact for additional networking opportunities.

    You may also be eligible for internships/externships through your minor program which can lead to even more networking opportunities.