Entrance to and Changes in College/Major

Identifying a Major

MajorQuest helps students identify and learn about majors that match their selected interest areas. The College Information Chart provides major-related information organized by college. Advisers in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) assist students who are exploring majors.

First-Year Admission

When students are admitted to the University, most are enrolled in either a college or DUS. Typically students enter majors between their third and fifth semesters.  A small number of beginning first-year students enter direct-admission majors.

Direct-Admission Majors

The following are direct-admission programs at University Park: Architecture, the Golf Management option in Recreation and Park Management, Landscape Architecture, the School of Music, the College of Nursing, the six- or seven-year Premedical-Medical major, the five-year Science B.S./M.B.A. program, the School of Theatre, the School of Visual Arts, and Workforce Education and Development. Other Penn State campuses offer direct-admission programs. For more information, contact Undergraduate Admissions. Students who have not been admitted to one of these programs may explore the possibility of enrolling by contacting the appropriate department or the appropriate academic advising center.

Admission to a College or the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

First-semester baccalaureate students who do not enter a direct-admission major (listed above) are admitted to one of the following:

  • the college that offers majors of interest (for example, students interested in a Journalism major would enroll in the College of Communications)
  • the Division of Undergraduate Studies

Students who want to change their major or college prior to New Student Orientation (NSO) are evaluated and, if appropriate, processed by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. At NSO the appropriateness of a student’s choice of college is reassessed in consultation with a DUS academic adviser and, if appropriate, a change can be made. Students who want to make a change of college after NSO should contact the advising center in the college of interest.

Changes in College or Major

Changes after enrolling in a first semester/session can be made if a student meets the college or major entrance requirements. Available online, these requirements are also typically provided to a student before he/she enrolls as a degree candidate. To make a change of college or to enter a major, students must:

Most majors require a minimum 2.00 CGPA and third-semester classification for entrance. Examples include Journalism and Biobehavioral Health. However, some majors have other requirements or controls for entry:

Academic Entrance and Retention Requirements for entrance to a college or major (or retention) are approved by the University Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs subcommittee on Retention and Transfer when it determines that students are not likely to be successful in a particular college/major without meeting specified standards. For example, entry to the Eberly College of Science requires a grade of C or higher in MATH 140; the Turfgrass Science major requires a C or better in CHEM 101 or 110 for entry.

Teacher preparation majors have specific entrance criteria based on Pennsylvania certification requirements.

Administrative Enrollment Controls are initiated when limitations of space, faculty, or other resources in a major prevent accommodating all students who request them. Due to changing resources and demands, administrative enrollment controls are approved annually by the Office of Undergraduate Education. Examples include Accounting and Advertising/Public Relations. Entrance-to-Major Criteria must be met and Entrance-to-Major Procedures must be followed, as described in the following two paragraphs.

Entrance-to-Major Criteria are determined for every entering class within an academic year (summer, fall, and spring). Students who meet a major’s entry criteria are guaranteed entry to the major. The criteria students must meet for entry to all majors are available at Entrance to Major Requirements. When deemed academically appropriate, the dean of the college may approve exceptions for individual students. For additional information, contact the appropriate advising center.

Entrance-to-Major Procedures

First-year students entering the University before summer 2015 who want a major that has administrative enrollment controls must follow the eLion Entrance-to-Major (ETM) Procedures. Students who want a major that does not have administrative enrollment controls can request entrance after meeting Entrance-to-Major Requirements by: 1) contacting the appropriate department or the appropriate academic advising center, or 2) following eLion ETM procedures.

First-year students admitted summer 2015 and after will be able to enter any major after meeting the specified criteria and then using a new online process currently in development through Project LionPATH. The new LionPATH Entrance-to-Major application will be available summer 2016, at which time a student who wishes to enter a major with Administrative Enrollment Controls will use LionPATH’s “Update Academics” to request entrance to the major. To participate in this process, students will actively request entrance to administratively controlled majors when they are within an established credit window, have completed specified courses, and have earned the stated grade-point average.

Prior to the availability of the LionPath online process, a student who meets criteria for entry to a major that does not have administrative controls may enter the major by contacting the appropriate advising center.

Reference(s): Senate Policies 37-30, 54-56
                        Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, P-5

Last Update: May 2015