Can I Change My Major When Earning My Degree Online?

Many students considering whether or not to enter into an online program find themselves wondering if they can change their major when they earn their degree online. While there are variables to this question, knowing if you can change your major is one of the top things to know about online education and the answer lies below.

School Entry Requirements

Online schools tend to have different entry requirements for majors, especially at the undergraduate level. Most universities will require that you declare a major upon registration, with some even offering cohort accelerated programs. Other universities require a major declaration which can be changed later on. Since most bachelor’s degrees work on the basis that students must complete general education requirements first, changing a major before your junior year, when specialized education starts, can be done.

Freshman or Transfer

Students who enter into an online program either do so as freshmen or transfer students. The distinction is important for online degrees because changing a major is usually done within the first two years of a bachelor’s degree; it can become more difficult as time goes on. If you are freshman, changing your major can be relatively easy. If you are a transfer student, the process is a little difficult because transfer students often enter online programs with around 60 credits, which is equal to two years of study. This means you probably applied directly to an online program and changing it can be costly or, in some cases, would require reapplying and re-registering for a separate program.

Traditional or Cohort

Online programs are taught in two different ways: traditional and cohort. Traditional programs allow you to spend two years working on your general education requirements and then you move into your major. This means that like other traditional programs, it is a simple matter of having a major change approved by the dean in order to make the switch. Cohort programs, on the other hand, are accelerated programs that team you with the same class as you progress through your major. Cohort programs rarely allow for a major change precisely because the curriculum has been created in order for you to advance quickly through the courses. You must then be certain the major you have chosen for your cohort is correct for you.

Consequences of Waiting Too Long

It is always possible to appeal to the school for a major change; however, the longer you wait to make the switch to a new program, the costlier and longer the process will take. Students who decide to switch to a new major during their junior and senior years will find that they will have to spend a long time at school to complete the new requirements as well as pay for the additional courses for the new major that was not offered in the old one. Prerequisites for STEM subjects will also incur additional fees if you are moving to this kind of major from a liberal arts or business background.

Students are learning that online education is a viable alternative to traditional campuses, particularly if they have work or have family obligations. While it can be difficult to choose and stick with a major, it is possible to make the decision at a later date, depending on the school and the program. For now, the question of whether you can change your major when earning your degree online has been answered; all that’s left to do is pick a major to start a career.

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