Choosing your major/ switching majors…


Over the past couple of months I have learned a few things about changing majors second hand. My girlfriend, Nicole, is a junior in plastics engineering, and she has had a change of heart about her major. She decided early into this semester that she wanted to study psychology instead of engineering. Being in her junior year, we both assumed that a change of major would set her back a couple of semesters or so. However, it turns out that she can still graduate the same semester she had initially planned. Here is why:


Psychology has about half the core classes that plastics engineering, or any engineering, requires for a bachelor’s degree. You will still need at least 120 credits to graduate, so the rest of the space is filled in with free electives. If you are an engineering major like I am, you may be a little unsure what a free elective is, do not be alarmed. A free elective is exactly what it sounds like; it is any class you want to take. So in Nicole’s case, she can use the classes she had taken in engineering as free electives towards psychology. This fills in approximately ˝ the courses in the junior and senior year of psych.


Another helpful step is that her math and science courses can also transfer over. Since she has taken calculus, physics, and chemistry courses, she can use these credits toward a degree in psychology. Psychology, like many other majors, requires that students take math courses, and science with lab courses. Most students in these majors would take college algebra or quantitative reasoning since higher level math courses are not required. They would also probably take life science or exploring the universe for their science requirements. However, these courses leaves the options open to the students, if they wanted to take physics or calculus instead.


This is a one-way street however, if Nicole had wanted to switch from psychology to plastics, and it would probably take an extra 3-4 semesters to graduate. So the point is, if you are undecided about your major, or you are drawn between two choices, look at the program of study. The program of study lays out exactly what courses you need to take to graduate, and when you should take them. Start with the major that is more demanding, and more precise about what courses are needed. Then move to the major that is less demanding.


The bottom line is this; study something that you are interested in. If you do not like the major you are in, it may not be too late to switch. Good luck, and thanks for reading.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon, Guthrie W published on October 27, 2009 7:48 AM.

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