Changing/Choosing a Major
Cal Poly provides for the possibility that students may decide to change to a major other than the one to which they were originally admitted. The change of major process may not be initiated until a student has completed at least one quarter of instruction at Cal Poly. Each academic department has its own set of criteria students must satisfy prior to being accepted into the major. Until such time as a student has been accepted into a new major, s/he is responsible for continuing to satisfy degree progress requirements for her/his current major.
Any student wishing to change his/her major who meets the minimum application requirements and for whom a change of major appears feasible, after consultation with the department chair in the target major, may enter into an Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) with the department. By university policy, any student who enters into an ICMA with a major will be allowed a maximum of two quarters to satisfy the ICMA requirements, after which the agreement expires. Students who fail to complete ICMA requirements within the two quarter timeframe cannot subsequently re-apply to the major.
Students interested in CHANGING their major into or within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences should do the following:
I. Requesting a Change of Major into the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
- Meet with your 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.
- Meet with the department head/chair or designee in the target major to determine the likelihood of success in the new major. Click here for contact information.
- Review the curriculum requirements for the target major.
- If the target major is not a good fit for you, then you will be advised to look at other options.
- If you receive a positive assessment and it is clear that you can complete degree requirements in the new major within the unit maximum (unit maximum is 24 units above program requirements), then at the discretion of the target department, either you will be allowed to change to the new major immediately, or an ICMA will be developed (see below).
II. 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:
- Maximum of three specified courses or 12 units in the target major.
- 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).
- GPA requirements, as determined by the department (e.g., overall/term GPA, GPA in major-specified courses, GPA in past two quarters).
- If applicable, specific steps to be met to resume good academic standing status.
Change of major requirements per majors in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences
Click on the following links to review the change-of-major policy for the major in which you are interested.
Agribusiness (AGB) Department
Agricultural Business (AGB)
Animal Science (ASCI) Department
Animal Science (ASCI)
Horticulture & Crop Science (HCS) Department
Agricultural Environmental Plant Sciences (AEPS)
Wine & Viticulture (WVIT)
Interdisciplinary program between three departments:
Enology Concentration - Food Science & Nutrition Dept.
Viticulture Concentration - Hort. & Crop Science Dept.
Wine Marketing Concentration - Agribusiness Dept.
Dairy Science (DSCI) Department
Dairy Science (DSCI)
Natural Resources Management & Environmental Sciences (NRES) Department
Earth Sciences (ERSC)
Environmental Management & Protection (ENVM)
Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR)
Soil Science Soil Science (SS)
Recreation Parks & Tourism Administration (RPTA) Department
Recreation Parks & Tourism Administration (RPTA)
CHOOSING your Major
As a Cal Poly student, you were required to choose a major when you applied. After giving your major a try, you may be rethinking your initial decision. But how do you go about testing whether you have made the right decision for you? And if you haven't, what can you do to make a better decision this next time?
Are you in the right major for you?
Sometimes students give up on their major before they have given themselves a chance to test it out. During your first quarter, you are adjusting to college life, new roommates, the increased amount of studying, and many other things. It is like a roller coaster ride----lots of ups and downs, plenty of quick turns, numerous adrenaline rushes, and no time to reflect on what is happening.
It is important to sort out your thoughts about your major from these other adjustment issues. Don't assume that because you didn't do as well as you should academically, or because you thought your first major class was difficult, that this major is not for you. Many other factors could be affecting your performance.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Even if I didn't do well in my major class(es), did I like the subject material? Was I interested in learning about it?
- When I look through my curriculum, are there many classes that I am excited about taking? Do they look interesting? Are there career options with my major for which I am particularly suited?
If you answered "Yes" to these questions then you are probably in the right major, but just need help in other areas---like study skills, time management, procrastination, etc. Talk with an advisor to address what is causing your difficulty.
If you answered "No" to these questions, you probably want to research other majors. What is the best way to do this? Here are some suggestions:
- Spend time researching various careers. Career Services has a very comprehensive web page to help you with career exploration.
- Choose a major based on interest. If there is a subject or area that you have always liked or been good at, this is an indication that you have an aptitude in that area. You don't always have to start with a career first and then work back to the appropriate major. Sometimes it makes sense to start from what you like to do and then, as you become involved in the subject, the career direction will become more obvious.
- Read the descriptions of all the majors in the Cal Poly catalog. As you read up on the majors that Cal Poly offers, there will probably be several that appeal to you and that you want to find out more about. Once you have your short list of possible majors, you can focus your attention on finding out more about them.