I am currently an undergraduate physics student in the fall semester of my junior year. Until recently, I thought I would have to stay an extra semester to complete my undergraduate physics degree, but after looking over my scheduling possibilities for the next three semesters, I've realized I will be able to graduate on time (spring semester of my senior year).

My dilemma arises from the fact that I am also trying to meet the requirements for two minors (one in computer science and one in math). The two possibilities I see are as follows:

  1. If I choose to graduate on time, my curriculum for the next three semesters will consist of 9 physics courses, 2 computer science courses, and 1 general education. I would finish with my bachelor's in physics and a minor in computer science.

  2. If I choose to stay an extra semester, I will be able to complete the requirements for both a computer science minor and a math minor, and I will be able to spread out my physics classes a little more. Additionally, I may be able to take one or two extra elective classes in either math or physics.

My plan is to go to graduate school after my bachelor's , so given my circumstance, is it worth it to stay that extra semester just for the minor in math? Will the additional time to graduate or the extra credential make any difference when it comes to physics graduate school admissions?

  • 4
    Will the additional time to graduate or the extra credential make any difference when it comes to physics graduate school admissions? — The extra credential? No. The extra time? It depends. If you use that time to build a stronger case for your potential for research excellence, then yes, definitely. If you use it just to take some more undergrad-level classes, then no, probably not.
    – JeffE
    Oct 5, 2014 at 23:08

2 Answers 2


Basically, a second minor doesn't really convey any additional benefits to you in terms of admission. It just means you've done enough courses in a specific area to be recognized by your specific school as having completed a "minor." Some schools in the US (and most foreign schools) do not offer minors, so it won't make a big difference.

Also to consider—if you are planning to do graduate school after your bachelor's degree, taking an extra semester in the US likely means that you will have to wait a full year before starting graduate school. This can have significant impacts, as you will then need to find something to do in what would have been your spring semester. There is also the possibility that, because you will be out of school for a while, you may need to start repayment on any student loans you have. (Usually you're allowed a six-month grace period before repayment starts.)


Will the additional time make any difference in admissions? I don't think so, since you are pursuing more credits, it's natural that it takes more time.

Will the extra credits count? Since you're enrolling a post-graduate degree that is also your major, I don't think it matters much. If you're doing a master on Math, it probably matters. Don't forget you can always consult the admission office.

It sounds like you enjoy (or at least don't dislike) university life anyway, so if financial support is not a problem for you, I'd encourage you to take an extra semester. Besides earning the extra minor, you'll also benefit from a more relaxed schedule, which should improve your grades.

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