Minors and Cognates

Some degree programs require or permit academic work outside of the major field of study, which may be called a minor, (at least nine credit hours), or a cognate, (at least six credit hours). Credit hours earned towards a previously awarded degree or certificate cannot apply to a minor or cognate.

A minor is a concentrated study in a specific supporting field at the graduate level. A minor must be titled and identified on the student’s program of study and be approved by a Graduate Faculty member of the minor department/program. The minor will be listed on the student’s transcript, only if the minor has been approved by the State Board of Higher Education. Only courses approved for graduate credit may be included in a minor. If the student is doing a non-thesis option, the Graduate Director of the minor department must sign and approve the program of study. For students writing a thesis or dissertation, one of the student’s advisory committee members must be from the minor department.

A cognate is a selection of courses providing broad support to the major. All courses numbered 300 or above listed in this catalog, including those offered by departments or fields that do not offer graduate courses or graduate degrees, may be included in the cognate. Exceptions may apply to language courses where lower level courses may be allowed to fulfill cognate requirements. (Note: advanced approval of the program and graduate dean is required.) Courses should be taken in two or three departments or fields. A cognate area will not be titled and will not be listed on a student’s transcript. Courses from the student’s major cannot be used as a cognate area. Students wishing to pursue a cognate must fulfill all degree requirements for their program. Courses that are not approved for graduate credit cannot count towards the degree requirements, but may satisfy the cognate requirements.

NOTE: When a graduate student elects to take a 300 or 400 level course that has been approved for graduate credit or a 300 or 400 level course as part of their cognate, it is understood that the student will be required to do additional work of greater complexity, over and above that typically required of undergraduates. Usually, such work is of an independent nature.