Change of Major Policy
Because of the impaction of the campus and its programs, Cal Poly students must declare their major at the time of application. After making this decision, some students may find that their interests and abilities lead them in a different direction. The university must then offer a transparent and timely process for students to change majors and successfully complete a degree program.
Entering students are encouraged to make careful and informed decisions about their major. All majors at Cal Poly are impacted, and it may be difficult to change majors despite students' best efforts. If students decide to change majors, doing so early in their academic career will help students make degree progress in a timely manner. This is likely to be a greater challenge for upper-division students (more than 90 quarter units completed), including transfer students, who have fewer remaining degree requirements. Furthermore, students need to be aware that not all departments can accommodate an upper-division change of major.
Policy Standards — Policy Process
Minimum Time at Cal Poly
Students must complete at least one quarter at Cal Poly before requesting a change of major. The major exploration process can begin in their first quarter, but no official change of major may be initiated at that time.
In determining standards for major changes, a department representative may consider the following criteria when considering students' requests:
- Eligibility for the intended (or "target") major at the time of admission.
- Academic record (e.g., GPA, coursework, etc.).
- Ability to complete degree requirements in the new major in a timely manner.
If students meet the basic criteria for the intended major, an Individualized Change of Major (ICMA) may be initiated by a department representative of the intended major.
One Request Per Major
Students who enter into a change of major agreement and do not complete the agreement's requirements, either by failing to complete the terms or by opting out due to a change of plan or interest, will not be eligible to request that same major again later in their career at Cal Poly.
A change of major agreement can be initiated while students are on Academic Probation (AP), if the department offering the intended major believes that the AP status is due to students being in a less suitable major and that the new major represents a viable path toward good academic standing. A change of major agreement will be void if the students are academically disqualified prior to the completion of the agreement.
Requesting a Change of Major
To begin the formal change of major process, students must log into the Change of Major portlet located on their Academics tab at my.calpoly.edu. More information is available on the Academic Advising "Change of Major" page.
Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA)
- The change of major may be approved immediately, completed within one quarter, or completed within a maximum of two quarters.
- The ICMA includes the following conditions:
- Students cannot be required to take courses before the ICMA begins;
- Students cannot be required to take courses that are outside of the ICMA;
- Students cannot be required to enroll in more than three specified courses or 12 quarter units in the new major curriculum during the ICMA process;
- Students should balance their schedule with General Education (GE) or other courses that may apply to both majors;
- Students' GPA requirements may include minimum GPA in courses specified in the ICMA, Term GPA, Cal Poly SLO GPA, or Higher Ed GPA.
- Students' GPA expectation(s) established by the department representative must be attainable.
Academic Senate Resolution: AS-817-16 "Resolution to Revise Change of Major Policy" (PDF). Adopted 31 May 2016.
Cal Poly Catalog: "Change of Major".
Cal Poly Catalog: "Academic Standards".
Last updated: 7/7/2023