Arts & Sciences

Making a ‘minor’ decision 

Choosing a minor can be a major decision, but the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences offers a unique selection that prepares students for postgraduate professional life.

There are seemingly endless decisions that students make during their college journeys. How many credits should I take this semester? Should I minor in something? When it comes to the latter, the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences has over 50 interesting subjects to pick from. Here are just a few that stand out.

Asian studies

A minor in Asian studies can give you an edge in your field, especially if your profession involves traveling abroad. International affairs, international business and political science are commonly paired with a minor in Asian studies.

“I’m a big believer in minors. It gives an HR department a quick and easy way to identify an applicant’s interests,” says Dr. Michael Wert, associate professor of history and director of Asian studies.

Over the years, Wert has seen some interesting pairings, such as a biomedical sciences student who set herself apart from other medical school applicants by minoring in Asian studies.

“I’m not saying she was accepted into med school because she minored in Asian studies, but it couldn’t have hurt,” Wert says.

If you’ve studied abroad in Asia, it’s likely you can also apply those credits toward an Asian studies minor.

Peace studies

Chris Jeske is the associate director of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking. He says students with majors in arts and sciences, nursing and business commonly minor in peace studies.

“At Marquette, our peace studies program focuses on addressing systemic change domestically and working for environmental justice,” Jeske says.

Marquette’s program is on trend with where the field of peace studies is heading.

“It increases empathy and compassion, understanding ranges of human perspectives, being able to communicate with people different from yourself and resolving conflict in productive ways,” Jeske says.

Spanish for the professions

Spanish for the professions is the second most popular minor offered at Marquette.

Dr. Eugenia Afinoguénova, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures says there are two tracks for students to pick from: Spanish for the professions and Spanish for health care.

This minor meets the needs of a variety of Spanish speakers regardless whether they are, as Afinoguénov says, “learners of Spanish as a second language, heritage speakers who speak Spanish at home and native speakers who studied in Spanish-speaking countries.”

Biomedical sciences major Priya Ahuja shared her experience with this minor.

“Classes in this minor and the opportunities that have followed have strengthened my commitment and inspired my passion for practicing medicine with diverse and underserved populations,” Ahuja says.

Medieval studies

The medieval studies minor has been offered at Marquette for nearly half a century.

Dr. Lezlie Knox, director of medieval studies and associate professor and chair of the Department of History, believes the minor can benefit job applicants.

Knox expressed that medievalists develop great contextualization skills.

“And we have interesting anecdotes to share in interviews,” Knox says.

The most common type of major paired with medieval studies is a humanities major. However, students in varying areas of study have opted for the minor.

“Both the similarities with and differences from the medieval world help us develop perspective and empathy toward different cultures,” Knox says.

Medieval studies cover a broad range of courses, as seen in a recent semester’s offerings: monster myths, Viking archaeology and samurai history.

Taking six courses out of the 29 available will complete the requirements for a medieval studies minor.

Public policy

One of the college’s newest minors is public policy, which teaches essential skills for many Marquette alumni. Some of the most important decisions in business, science, technology and health care are rooted in public policy.

Dr. Philip Rocco, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Political Science, argues that any major pairs nicely with a public policy minor.

“The minor draws on the strengths of our colleagues, whose work focuses on how political institutions, ideas and interests shape policymaking, both in the United States and around the world and on issues as diverse as health care, the environment and national security,” Rocco says.

In addition, the experience of learning ethics in a Jesuit institution is truly unique.

“The most important societal dilemmas cut to the core of what it means to care for our common world and demand the kind of engaged problem solving a Jesuit education and the study of public policy can deliver on,” Rocco says.


An ethics minor allows students to explore the moral dimensions of human life and to develop the ability for critical ethical analysis in their personal and professional lives.

Ethics can enhance any career. Some fields that pair well with an ethics minor are finance, human resources and social welfare and justice.

Dr. Joseph Ogbonnaya, associate professor of theology, offers insight on the ethics minor.

“A minor in ethics gives students values and discipline to meet the challenges of workplace environments,” Ogbonnaya says. “As well as the perseverance to succeed in the careers of their choice.”

Ogbonnaya says that an understanding in ethics, “prepares graduates not only for the modern workplace, but for the world in its most urgent and deepest complexity.”