I am a physics major and had declared a 'Minor in Computer Science (Expected)' on my US graduate school (PhD) applications. I have been accepted by a couple of programs but I am currently still one course short of completing the number of required courses for the minor. I am currently enrolled in this last course (a theoretical Computer Science course) in my current (last) semester. The course is not very relevant to the programs I have applied to (Physics and Data Science) -- more 'relevant'/applied courses that I have an interest in were unavailable. The course is quite time consuming and is affecting my performance in other courses I am enrolled in (physics graduate electives and statistics). I would very much like to withdraw the course, however, if I do so, I would only have completed 4 of the 5 required CSE courses counting toward a minor and will not get a minor.

I am concerned about how the graduate program I decide to attend will view this. My ultimate worry, of course, is whether my acceptance could actually be rescinded for not having completed the minor. (I have still completed 16 of the 20 required credits, so I still have courses in Computer Science, I would just not receive this tag of a 'Minor in CSE'.)

  • 1
    I'm not voting to close this because it seems like an interesting question on a general issue that an experienced academic could likely make a reasonable estimation about. That said, for your specific situation, it might just be easiest to email programs that've accepted you to ask if their acceptance is contingent upon completion of the minor. You may want to include that you're asking because, while you're on-track to complete it, you'd prefer to drop one of the classes to better focus on material that you think is more important (so they don't think you fudged it in the application).
    – Nat
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


I...declared a 'Minor in Computer Science (Expected)' on my US graduate school (PhD) applications. I have been accepted by a couple of programs...[C]ould [acceptance] be rescinded for not [achieving that qualification].

It depends on the offer. If an offer is conditional on the basis of you achieving a minor, then, yes, that offer can be rescinded. Otherwise (the offer is unconditional), it cannot. (Conditionality of an offer may be buried in the fine print.) Albeit, we're in legal territory and INAL.

For practical purposes, I suggest that you contact the universities that have made offers and discuss your situation with them.

  • 1
    This is what I would have said too (+1), but I wonder if it is technically correct. My grad school admission letter (only 1-2 decades ago) was just a two-pager with no conditions and no fine print, but I expect it would have been rescinded if I hadn't earned my BS as expected, or maybe even if my GPA had tanked.
    – cag51
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 15:58
  • @cag51 That's for the lawyers to fight over
    – user2768
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 16:16
  • well, sure, but I imagine OP would rather avoid litigation!
    – cag51
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 16:29
  • I don't think the OP can know definitively without a lawyer. That said, I'm not suggesting the OP should seek one.
    – user2768
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 16:30

They "can" do whatever they want but it is unlikely they would. For what it's worth, I had similar issue arise with job offers and I asked them. All were fine with dropping the extra degree as long as primary one completed.

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