Cognates At The University Of Miami

As a top private research university in a vibrant, multicultural city, the University of Miami offers students diverse academic opportunities. One unique option is pursuing cognate courses – classes outside a major that complement core studies. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer on cognates at UM: Cognates allow University of Miami students to specially customize their curriculum by combining courses from multiple disciplines. In this comprehensive article, we’ll define cognates, explain the cognate process at UM, list cognate options by major, highlight sample combinations, and discuss the benefits of pursuing cognates.

By the end, you’ll have a full understanding of how cognates work at the University of Miami and how they can enrich your studies. Let’s explore the interdisciplinary possibilities section-by-section!

Defining Cognates at the University of Miami

At the University of Miami, cognates play an important role in shaping a student’s academic journey. Cognates are courses that are outside of the major, providing students with an opportunity to explore other areas of interest and gain a broader knowledge base.

These courses complement the student’s major and enhance their overall educational experience.

Cognate Courses are Outside the Major

When pursuing a degree at the University of Miami, students are required to select a major. However, in addition to their major courses, students are also encouraged to choose cognate courses. Cognate courses are typically from a different academic department or discipline than the student’s major.

This allows students to delve into subjects they may have a genuine interest in, even if they do not want to pursue it as a major.

For example, a student majoring in Biology may choose a cognate in Creative Writing. This not only allows them to explore their passion for writing but also provides them with a well-rounded education that includes both scientific and creative aspects.

Students Choose a Complementary Subject

When selecting a cognate, students have the freedom to choose a subject that complements their major. This means that the cognate subject should enhance and support their primary area of study. By doing so, students can develop a unique set of skills and knowledge that will benefit them in their future careers.

For instance, a student majoring in Business Administration may opt for a cognate in Psychology. This combination can provide them with a deeper understanding of human behavior and decision-making processes, which can be invaluable in the business world.

Cognates Require 12-18 Credit Hours

In order to complete a cognate at the University of Miami, students are required to earn a specific number of credit hours. Typically, cognates require between 12 and 18 credit hours, depending on the specific program and major requirements.

These credit hours are spread across multiple courses, allowing students to explore various aspects of the cognate subject. This ensures that students receive a comprehensive education in their chosen cognate area.

The Cognate Process for UM Students

When pursuing their degrees at the University of Miami, students have the opportunity to declare cognates. Cognates are a set of courses that complement a student’s major and provide them with a deeper understanding of a specific area of study.

The cognate process allows students to explore their interests and gain a well-rounded education.

Cognates are Declared Mid-Degree

Students at the University of Miami typically declare their cognates in the middle of their degree program. This timing allows students to have a solid foundation in their major coursework before branching out into a cognate area.

By declaring a cognate mid-degree, students are able to enhance their knowledge and skills in a specific field while still focusing on their major requirements.

Advisor and Dean Approval Needed

Before declaring a cognate, students must seek approval from both their academic advisor and the dean of their respective school. This ensures that students are selecting cognate courses that align with their academic goals and meet the requirements set forth by the university.

The advisor and dean provide guidance and support throughout the cognate declaration process, helping students make informed decisions about their academic journey.

Grades Impact Major GPA

The grades earned in cognate courses have an impact on a student’s major GPA. This means that the effort and dedication put into cognate courses can directly affect a student’s academic standing in their major.

It is important for students to approach their cognate courses with the same level of commitment as their major courses to maintain a strong GPA and academic record.

Cognate Options for Each Major at UM

At the University of Miami, students have the opportunity to enhance their education by choosing a cognate, which is a group of courses outside of their major that complements their area of study. Cognates allow students to explore different disciplines and gain a well-rounded education.

Here are some popular cognate options for different majors at UM:

Popular Choices for Biology Majors

Biology majors at UM have a variety of cognate options to choose from. One popular choice is the Psychology cognate, which allows students to explore the intersection between biology and behavior. Another option is the Environmental Science cognate, which focuses on the study of ecosystems and conservation.

Students can also choose to pursue a Chemistry cognate, which provides a strong foundation in the chemical sciences.

Common Combinations with Business

Students majoring in Business at UM often choose cognates that complement their skills in entrepreneurship, finance, or marketing. For example, many students opt for a Communication cognate to improve their communication skills and enhance their ability to effectively convey messages in the business world.

Another popular choice is the Economics cognate, which provides a deeper understanding of the economic forces that drive business decisions. Students can also choose to pursue an International Studies cognate to gain a global perspective on business practices.

Complementary Areas for Engineering

Engineering students at UM can choose from a range of cognates that complement their technical skills and broaden their knowledge base. One common choice is the Computer Science cognate, which equips students with programming and software development skills.

Another option is the Mathematics cognate, which strengthens problem-solving abilities and analytical thinking. Students can also choose a Sustainability cognate, which focuses on sustainable engineering practices and the impact of technology on the environment.

Benefits of Pursuing Cognates at UM

Pursuing cognates at the University of Miami offers numerous benefits for students. Cognates allow students to customize their studies, develop a wider skillset, and strengthen their career qualifications.

These advantages make cognates a valuable option for students looking to enhance their educational experience.

Allows Customization of Studies

One of the significant benefits of pursuing cognates at UM is the ability to customize your studies. Cognates provide students with the opportunity to explore different fields of interest and tailor their education to align with their career goals.

For example, a computer science major may choose to pursue a cognate in business administration to gain a better understanding of the corporate world and increase their employability in the tech industry.

This flexibility allows students to delve into various disciplines and gain a well-rounded education.

Develops a Wider Skillset

Another advantage of pursuing cognates is the development of a wider skillset. By choosing cognates that complement their major, students can acquire knowledge and skills in different areas. This diverse skillset can make them more versatile and adaptable in the job market.

For instance, a psychology major who decides to pursue a cognate in communication studies can enhance their interpersonal and communication skills, which are highly valued in many professions. The ability to bring a unique set of skills to the table can set students apart from their peers and open up new opportunities.

Can Strengthen Career Qualifications

Pursuing cognates can also strengthen students’ career qualifications. By combining their major with relevant cognates, students can demonstrate a broader understanding of their field and showcase their ability to apply knowledge in different contexts.

This can make them more competitive candidates for job opportunities and graduate programs. Employers and admissions committees often value candidates who have a well-rounded education and can bring a diverse perspective to their organization or program.


In summary, cognate courses at UM provide the opportunity to handpick electives in another field, integrating diverse areas of study. While requiring planning and effort, cognates allow customization of your UM education. They broaden perspectives, open new interests, and develop interdisciplinary skills. I hope this guide has clarified the cognate option. Please reach out with any other questions!

Go ‘Canes!

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