Choosing a major plays a critical role in your academic and career paths. Many students feel pressured into selecting a major and then feel trapped when they decide they would like to change it. One option that you have in determining your educational experience is to switch your major. When I was a sophomore at Rutgers, I changed my original major from Marine Science to Biological Sciences. As a first-year student, I discovered that I did not enjoy the marine science program as much as I had thought I would. After meeting with an undergraduate advisor in the Biology Department, I realized that the Biological Sciences major fit me better as a student and provided me with a better foundation for the type of career I wanted to have after college.

In order to decide what major you may switch to, consider the following pros and cons of changing majors while in college.

The Pros

  • Changing majors allows you to explore other majors and options. Another major will help you gain new perspectives about different fields and subjects.
  • A different major could open up the doors for you to experience greater opportunities.

The Cons

  • Through the process of changing majors you may lose credits.
  • It could extend your time spent in college due to the loss of credits or taking additional courses needed for your new major.
  • You could end up spending more money than you anticipated on college education.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What interests me about this new major?
  • What are the benefits and hindrances of majoring in this field?
  • What difficulties could I experience with this major?
  • Will I lose any credits by transferring into this major?
  • What are the requirements and enrollment restrictions regarding switching to this major?
  • How will this major apply to the professional field or industry I want to work in?

Important Steps to Take and Helpful Resources

Visit Degree Navigator to explore what other majors exist at Rutgers and the requirements needed to fulfill the major/program. Many schools at Rutgers require you to fill out and submit an application form to request a change of major or to double major.

Visit the website of the academic department of the major(s) you are interested in to find details like course requirements. Visit the department on campus to speak with faculty and staff members about the major.

Meet with an academic coach who can help you reflect on your academic experience, skills, and interests. You may learn about strengths and abilities you didn't realize you had before. These factors can guide you in which direction to take when choosing a major. 

Schedule an appointment with an academic advisor to discuss the concerns you have with your current major. If you want to remain in that major, an academic advisor can offer a new perspective about how to handle your concerns and help you develop a plan of action to stick with the major. If you are leaning towards changing majors, then the advisor can explain what steps need to be taken in order to officially declare a new major and/or transfer into a new Rutgers school.

Talk through your options with people you trust. Don't feel like you need to make this decision on your own. Discuss the pros and cons of each possible major with friends and family who support you. These conversations can help you get a clearer picture of what your goals are and how to achieve them. 

Hopefully, these suggestions will enable you to find out as much information as possible to make the best decision about whether or not to switch majors.

Sari Katzen, Lead Academic Coach