A proposal submitted by the Faculty Committee on the Course of Study to allow for academic minors was approved by faculty on April 25, according to a University statement.
Whereas the University’s existing certificate programs are required to be interdisciplinary, a formal minors program will allow existing departments to propose a body of stand-alone coursework. The program will also allow current certificates to be converted into minors.
According to Dean of the College Jill Dolan, “establishing a formal minors program and inviting certificate programs to align with the new model will bring more coherence to the landscape of secondary studies at Princeton, since current certificates vary in terms of coursework and requirements.”
The proposal expects that departments will begin to propose minors in the next academic year and that some will be approved by the 2023–2024 academic year. Students in the Class of 2025, the Class of 2026, and the Class of 2027 will then be able to begin earning minors that have been proposed and approved by the faculty.
“A number of departments have expressed interest in establishing a minor, but we don’t expect all of them to do so right away. This is an initiative that will unfold over the next several years,” Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.
“Although it’s not possible to say exactly how many will be offered, we expect that most of the current certificate programs would be converted into minors relatively easily,” he added.
Currently, the University offers 54 interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate programs that function similarly to minors.
“The requirements for a minor will be very similar to the requirements for most current certificate programs,” Hotchkiss wrote. “The process of review and reorganization into minors will mean that certificate programs will be invited to review their requirements with the new minors framework in mind.”
At this time, the University does not expect that any undergraduate certificates will be eliminated.
“Students will have the opportunity to earn a combination of minors and certificates, since the process of review and conversion will take several years,” Hotchkiss wrote.
The faculty also approved a change from the nomenclature of “concentrations” to “majors” in order to align with other institutions in higher education. This change will take effect beginning in the 2023–24 academic year.
“One of the issues with our ‘concentrations’ and ‘certificates’ is that although they’re unique in our landscape, and people learn what they mean, they don’t translate well outside of Princeton,” Dolan said.
Graduate School certificate programs will maintain their current form.
Lia Opperman is an Assistant News Editor who often covers University affairs, student life, and local news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Instagram @liamariaaaa, or on Twitter @oppermanlia.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Faculty Committee on the Course of Study approved the minors program and the change in name from 'concentrations' to 'majors' on April 25, when it was the faculty that approved this. The proposal was submitted by the Faculty Committee on the Course of Study. The 'Prince' regrets this error.