What is a Degree Concentration?

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Category: Going Back to School

By Matt Rowley
Posted on

When you’re researching colleges and universities, chances are good that you’re paying attention to what kinds of degree programs each school offers. In the Online College Students Report 2023 published by EducationDynamics, survey respondents cited “availability of online programs” and “school offers programs that match my career goals,” as the second and third most important factors in their enrollment decisions, respectively.

While browsing college websites, you’ll probably encounter one or all three of these terms:

  1. Major.
  2. Minor.
  3. Concentration.

Knowing about majors and minors is common knowledge – being asked about your major even happens during job interviews – but conversations about degree concentrations are less common. In this article, we define degree concentrations and explore their value for college students.

Degree Concentration Meaning

A degree concentration is a subset of your degree program’s overall focus.

Concentration vs. Major

Is a concentration the same as a major? The difference between a concentration and a degree is that a degree is an overall field of study – business, for example – while a concentration falls under that subject area and is more specific. So, in this example, a student majoring in business may select a concentration in a subject like marketing.

Here at Columbia Southern University, a student enrolled in our bachelor’s degree program in business administration with a concentration in marketing would take courses that every business major takes – like economics and leadership – while also taking courses designed specifically for marketing students – like advertising and marketing research.

Concentration vs. Minor

People sometimes conflate concentrations with minors. Not all schools offer concentrations, and not all schools offer minors, but here are the typical differences between concentrations and minors when you come across them in your college search.

A minor is a separate field of study and subject area from your major, but a concentration is a subset of your major. So, a student majoring in business may also add a minor in criminal justice. Criminal justice isn’t necessarily a subset of business, so schools wouldn’t typically offer it as a concentration for a business degree; therefore, in this case, it would be a minor for this student, offering them an opportunity to explore another discipline.

What is the Value of a Concentration?

One benefit of a degree concentration is that it enables you to study a subject you’re passionate about in great depth, leading to a better understanding of your chosen topic. Although the value of education is often linked to how it can set up graduates for career growth, the concentrated study of your favorite subjects can also bring you enrichment and enjoyment.

Another benefit is – like a minor – a degree concentration can be a valuable addition to your resume. For example, if you have a degree in occupational safety and health, listing your degree concentration in construction safety can give you an advantage when applying for safety officer positions in the construction industry.


When making decisions about degree programs, it’s vital to explore your options and find a college that fits your needs and goals. Here at CSU, we offer a broad range of online degree programs, many of which include concentrations.

To learn more about our online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, visit our website.

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes. CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

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