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How hard is it to switch majors?

BubblePandaBubblePanda Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
I know many people have asked this, but I need a more clearer answer, if you know what I mean...
So I got in as a computer science major. I'm really happy about this since this is the major I want to do, but I'm scared. Like, even though I'm a hard worker and everything, what if computer science is just not something I can do? Then, I'd need to switch majors.

However, I heard that switching majors is nearly "impossible", as some students so say. I'm worried about this and this is what is making me hesitate to SIR this school...

For example, my backup major, I am thinking of bioengineering. So, for example, let's say I really can't do CS anymore and I want to switch to bioengineering...
Will that be easy? Or are your chances of not getting in there, higher than getting in?

Thanks if you can help me!

Replies to: How hard is it to switch majors?

  • OsakaDadOsakaDad Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    Do the SIR. It is neither impossible nor rare for people to change majors at Cal Poly. In fact, it happens all the time. My kid did it. He changed from GENE to ME and it was a breeze. It is discouraged because changing majors can slow you down and at one time it really was hard but not anymore. I think that is where the reputation came from. The procedures are on the school web site for all to see and it is a transparent process.

    The general rules are that changing major within a college such as GENE to ME is easier than between colleges such as Business to BioMed. But as long as you keep your grades up after the first quarter you are free to attempt a change.

    Anyway, you asked for details! Here are all the details!!

    Change of Major Policy

    This policy goes into effect beginning with students admitted for Fall 2010. Students admitted before Fall 2010 may use either this policy or the previous change of major policy.

    Applies to matriculated undergraduate students at Cal Poly wishing to change major. The "target" major is the major into which a student wishes to transfer.

    Policy Statement

    Cal Poly students are required to declare a major at the time of application. Some students find that their interests and abilities lead them in a different direction. The university must offer a transparent and timely process for all students who seek to change majors.


    I. General Guidelines

    A. Minimum Time at Cal Poly

    Students must complete at least one quarter at Cal Poly before requesting a change of major.

    B. Basic Criteria that may be used in advising for determining Target Major Options

    All academic departments should give careful consideration when determining target major options. The following criteria may be considered:
    • The majors for which the student was eligible at time of admission,
    • College academic record (e.g., GPA, coursework, etc.), and
    • Remaining coursework and the student's ability to complete degree requirements in the new major within the published unit maximums for that major.

    C. One Chance to be Accepted

    Students who enter into an individualized change of major agreement (ICMA) and do not complete the ICMA requirements will not be eligible to request that major again later in their career at Cal Poly.

    D. Completion of Change of Major

    The change of major will be approved once the student has successfully met all of the requirements of the ICMA.

    E. Timeframe

    The ICMA must be feasible to complete and be completed in no more than two quarters.

    F. Publication of Change of Major Criteria

    As applicable, department's web sites should post the minimum criteria required of all students to change major into their program including timelines.

    G. Impaction Constraints

    Per the Office of the Chancellor's The California State University Enrollment Management Policy and Practices, other admissions requirements for all transfer students (internal and external) entering the target majors on impacted campuses must be the same (e.g., portfolios, auditions, etc.).

    H. Academic Standing

    A change of major agreement will be void if a student is academically disqualified prior to the completion of the agreement.

    II. Requesting a Change of Major
    1. Meet with current adviser to review major options and talk about career paths. Consider, also, consulting with Career Services, other advisers, and faculty and/or department heads/chairs in both current and target majors.
    2. Meet with the department head/chair or designee in the target major to determine the likelihood of success in the new major.
    3. Review the curriculum requirements for the target major.
    4. If the target major is not a good fit for the student, the student will be advised to look at other options.
    5. If the student receives a positive assessment based on consideration of the basic criteria outlined in Section I-B (above), and it is clear that he/she can complete degree requirements in the new major within the unit maximum (unit maximum is 24 units above program requirements), then an ICMA will be developed (see below).

    III. Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA)

    The change of major will be approved once the student has successfully met all of the requirements of the ICMA. The ICMA will cover no more than two quarters. The ICMA may include the following components:
    1. Maximum of three specified courses or 12 units in the target major.
    2. Additional courses and/or units to allow the student to meet minimum progress standards and complete degree applicable units in both majors, whenever possible (e.g., GE courses or electives a student could use to meet degree requirements in both current and target majors).
    3. GPA requirements, as determined by the department (e.g., overall/term GPA, GPA in major-specified courses, GPA in past two quarters).
    4. If applicable, specific steps to be met to resume good academic standing status.

    General Information

    As much as possible, entering students are encouraged to make careful and informed decisions about the initial application to their declared majors. All majors at Cal Poly are impacted and it will be difficult to change into some majors despite a student's best efforts. Nevertheless, sometimes students will find that their interests, abilities, or talents will take them in a different direction than they had identified when they originally applied to Cal Poly and they may seek to change to a different major. Depending on the degree of impaction of the target major (i.e., the relationship between the number of applicants to the major and the number of places available), there might only be a few spaces available for change of majors, or no spaces at all. Students who are unable to change into their desired majors might also need to consider applying to another university in the major of their choice.

    If a student makes the decision to change major, doing so early in the academic career will better allow a student to make degree progress in a timely manner and stay within the university's minimum progress to degree standards; major changes late in the academic career will be restricted by the university's minimum progress standards, including the unit maximum.

    All students, whether lower division (those with fewer than 90 Cal Poly units) or upper division (those with more than 90 Cal Poly units or 90 transfer units), intending to change majors must demonstrate that they can complete the new major within the minimum progress standards and the unit maximum set forth by the university. This is likely to be a greater challenge for upper division students, who will have fewer remaining degree requirements. Further, students need to be aware that not all departments can accommodate upper division change of majors.
  • BubblePandaBubblePanda Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    Oh, thank you so much! This helps a lot :D
This discussion has been closed.