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Can you change your major after you transfer to a four-year institution?

I am transferring to a four-year institution this Fall 2018, and I would like to know if I can change my major from one science to another if needed or if I desire.

#transfer #college-transfer #college-major #college-advice #college

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Armine,

I echo Ken's advice - it is important to figure out what you ultimately want to do before you start making changes. The ease with which you can switch from one science major to another likely depends on the school you attend - the best place to start is your academic adviser or a trusted professor.

I think the most pragmatic way to think about your career aspirations is to backwards plan. Identify careers you think you would be interested in and work back to find a program that allows you to pursue multiple career interests. For example, if I think I might want to work at a think tank doing research but also am considering consulting for a professional services firm, I might pursue something like economics or math. Both of those majors would provide tremendous technical skills that are extremely attractive to employers and are well-suited for a wide range of career options. The science program you are in now may fit with some of your career interests or you may find that you do need to investigate the possibility of making a change. It's important to step back and analyze whether you are on the right path.

I linked a career guide below and HIGHLY recommend you read the entire thing. I know it is long, but I can't overstate how beneficial I think it is. Read a section a day and you will finish in no time. The research is very interesting and it's very well written.

Jacob recommends the following next steps:


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Ken’s Answer

You are asking a very important question. However, the fist thing that you need to do is to get to know yourself better to assure that you will be making the best decision for you. Based upon my experience in Human Relations and College Recruiting , this is a very important step that too many students make and therefore end up in jobs that do not match their personalty traits making mismatch. You can change majors, but it is very important to make sure that you do that in a prudent manner.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

Talk to your academic adviser and the counseling departments at your school to arrange to take an interest and aptitude test to determine how your personality traits match with various career areas.
Talk to the Director of Alumni Relations to arrange to talk to graduates in your indicated career area, so that you can get a better idea from them about what you can expect in your chosen career area. Here are some good tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Also, here is a link to my Career Advice blog, which might offer more helpful assistance: Visit My Career Advice Blog for Career Advice for All Ages ## https://medium.com/@careervillage/ken-simmons-career-advice-for-students-on-careervillage-org-61edf0c57217 ## This will provide much helpful information developed from my years in Human Resources, College Recruiting, and Setting up and Running a program to help laid off workers return to work. You can also access this site by doing a Google Search for Ken Simmons Career Advice.

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Eric’s Answer

You should be able to. Depending on your school or department, you should be able to change your academic major.

Now, it may come with second or third order effects. Changing your major, especially if you change departments, may severely impact your academic alignment, meaning you may not graduate on time because you're playing catchup. By changing majors, you may have to take new required courses, and your old ones may end up taking spots as electives. Again, it depends on how deep you are into your studies, but a change of major could range from a neglible change to a radical realignment, or anywhere in between.

Also, another consequence: if you have a scholarship or some grant, you need to check your contract/agreement to see if changing majors or pushing your graduation date violates the terms. It may not, but potentially it could.

That being said, study what you like. It should interest you. Don't pigeonhole yourself into a field of study you hate or one that bores you because you think it's too late. College is there to prepare you for a future career, so study in what best suits you.

I recommend checking with your academic advisor for you're current major and the advisor for your future major (if in a different department). Ask them what a course schedule through graduation looks like (the school should have a general one online). Ask what courses would "transfer" or count towards the new major. If there's outside money involved, check the terms and conditions to make sure you won't violate the agreement. Talk to others in that major to get a feel for it -- make sure it is what you actually want. Then go for it. Make the decision that's best for you.

Hope that helps. Good luck!


Eric recommends the following next steps:

Get the course schedule for your new potential major.
Check with your current and future academic advisors.
Ask the advisors which courses you've taken would transfer to the new major.
(If you have a scholarship or grant) Check the terms and conditions of the agreement to make sure you aren't violating anything.
Talk to students in the major to make sure it's what you want to do. Then do what's best for you!

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Richard’s Answer

Yes, changing a major is common. It is usually easier to transfer to a similar field of study (from biology to biochemistry for example) rather than between disparate departments (from english to engineering).

You may prolong your years of study if you lose too much credit. If that happens consider taking summer school to catch back up

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Rachel’s Answer

Absolutely you can. A change in major from one science degree to another can be relatively seamless. You may have taken one or two classes that are not required for your new major, but that will not hurt you.