Changing a Major

A change in your plan can occur for a variety of reasons. You may have been denied admission to your intended major or dropped from your current major. Or, simply, you may have discovered that your current major is not right for you. 

It may not be practical to change your major if you are a junior or senior in a major, especially if the new major will significantly lengthen the time it will take you to complete your degree. Two policies you need to consider include the following:


  • Why Change?
  • Transferable Skills
  • Plan and Apply

Common Reasons Students Change Their Plans

A Change in Career Focus or Learning About a New Career Option

If you are interested in pursuing a different career, talk with a Career Counselor or Academic Advisor about ways you can work toward your career goals. Questions to ask include:

  • Is there a way to pursue my new goal by...
    • adding a minor?
    • changing sequences within my major?
    • obtaining an internship?
    • developing transferable skills?
    • going on to a graduate program of study?
  • Is a change of major an option for me at this point?

A Desired Major May Not Admit a Student

Because majors have limited space, you may not gain admission to a desired major. While that is disappointing, it may lead to finding a major that better suits your strengths and which you will enjoy. Take a look at more options.

Some students choose to work to improve their credentials and then reapply to the major they would like to enter, but there are no guarantees that a reapplication will lead to a different result.

Not Being Able to Progress in Their Current Major

Students who do not meet requirements to continue in their majors or who are dismissed from a major should carefully consider their situations and explore their options.

While it may be possible to reapply to a previous major, in some cases reapplication will not be an option. If you don't know whether or not you could reapply to your previous major, talk with your departmental academic advisor. If readmission to that major is not a possibility, it's time to look at other options.

If you are on academic probation, Project Success is designed to help you. As one part of the process, you will meet with your Academic Advisor, who can help you assess your current situation and your options.

Transferable Skills

A transferable skill is a skill or ability acquired during any activity in life – jobs, classes, projects, hobbies, sports, internships, volunteer work, virtually anything that can be utilized in a different setting or while participating in a different activity.

Your transferable skills can be utilized to help you obtain the job you want in a field outside your major. Thus it is important that you be able to articulate the real world applications of your college experience, including the activities and the classes you have taken. Complete this activity for assistance on identifying your transferable skills.

As you approach your job search, be aware of the skills and qualities employers seek as listed below.

Skills Employers in All Industries Seek

  • Analytical/problem solving/critical thinking skills
  • Flexibility/versatility skills
  • Communication/interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-starting/initiative skills
  • Teamwork/team player
  • Honesty/integrity/strong work ethic
  • Organizational/planning skills
  • Time management skills
  • Enthusiasm/motivation
  • Also important ... reading, writing, math, speaking, and listening skills

Top 10 Skills and Qualities Employers Seek

  • Communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Honesty/integrity
  • Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
  • Motivation/initiative
  • Computer skills
  • Detail-oriented

Plan a Major Change

Want to know what would happen if you changed your major? Plan a Major Change can help.

By reviewing these plans, you can discover what courses you would need if you changed your major. Log into and click Plan a Major Change on the Academics tab.

Here are some tips for reviewing this information:

  • What you see in "Plan a Major Change" includes major course requirements ONLY. "Progress Towards My Degree" contains all the information you need regarding additional graduation requirements and general education requirements.
  • Many majors block courses for students who have been accepted into the department/school. You may not be able to take the courses in an area if you are not accepted into that specific degree program.
  • This information is meant to be a general guideline for you. Courses listed may have prerequisite requirements or need to be taken in a specific sequence. Make sure to meet with your academic advisor to determine your timeline to graduation based upon course sequencing as well as if you need a prerequisite course.

Apply to a New Major

  1. Log into to access our major/minor application change form.
  2. Click the "Academics" tab.
  3. Click the "Apply to My Program" link.

Keep in mind that each major at Illinois State has its own unique application process and deadlines.