Entrance to Major

When first-semester baccalaureate degree students are admitted to the University, most are enrolled in either a specific college that offers majors of interest or in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Typically, students do not enter a specific major within the college until sometime between their third and fifth semesters.

Minimum Academic Requirements

All Penn State majors have entrance requirements. Students are eligible to enter a major once they have satisfied the following minimum academic requirements:

  1. Meet the admissions entrance requirements of the college the student wishes to enter.
  2. Demonstrate at least a C (2.00) cumulative average for all courses taken at the University subject to the conditions of Senate Policy 51-50.
  3. Satisfy any additional academic requirements that have been proposed by the college or the major and approved by the dean of the college and the University Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education and/or the Central Enrollment Management Group.
  4. Apply no more than 91 credits of previous work toward a degree in the new college.

Please note, some majors have more restrictive academic requirements and/or administrative enrollment controls. The criteria students must meet for entry to all majors are available on the “How to Get In” tab of each program in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Students who meet the entry-to-major criteria for their choice of major can apply for entrance to that major by using LionPATH “Update Academics.”

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ENTRANCE TO MAJOR

Criteria

Entrance-to-Major Criteria are determined for every entering class within an academic year (summer, fall, and spring). Students who meet a major’s entry criteria are guaranteed entry to the major. The criteria students must meet for entry to all majors are available at Entrance to Major Requirements on each program page. When deemed academically appropriate, the dean of the college may approve exceptions for individual students. For additional information, contact the appropriate advising center

Procedures

Students who meet entry-to-major criteria may apply using LionPATH’s "Update Academics" function. A student who wishes to enter a major with Administrative Enrollment Controls will use LionPATH’s "Update Academics" to request entrance to the major. To participate in this process, students will actively request entrance to administratively controlled majors when they are within an established credit window, have completed specified courses, and have earned the stated grade-point average.

Students with questions about entering a major should contact the appropriate advising center.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

READ SENATE POLICY 54-56: DROPS BY COLLEGE

Administrative Enrollment Controls

Administrative Enrollment Controls are initiated when limitations of space, faculty, or other resources in a major prevent accommodating all students who request them. Due to changing resources and demands, administrative enrollment controls are approved annually by the Office of Undergraduate Education. Examples include Accounting and Advertising/Public Relations. Entrance-to-Major Criteria must be met and Entrance-to-Major Procedures must be followed, as described in the following two paragraphs.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Entrance to Majors with Administrative Controls

Course Work

Certain courses may be required for entry to a major with administrative controls. A specific grade-point average may be required in some or all of these courses. Generally, students must complete specified courses by the end of their fourth semester of enrollment.

Performance

Applicants are considered for entrance to a controlled major on the basis of their cumulative Penn State grade-point average (GPA) at the end of the fall semester prior to their pool semester (typically the spring semester of their sophomore year). Generally, students who have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 or higher cannot be denied entry to the major provided that all of the other requirements for entrance have been met. However, certain controlled majors have approval for higher GPA guarantees. After all of these students have been accommodated, if there is still space, selections are made from the remaining students in the pool of applicants, starting with the highest GPA, until the approved maximum number of students to enter the major is reached. No student with less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA is accepted.

College of Enrollment

Students who apply for entrance to a controlled major must be enrolled in the college offering that major or in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). Students who want to be considered for controlled majors in more than one college should enroll in DUS to be eligible for consideration.

Exceptions

Exceptions may be considered based on the individual student's situation. Students who have concerns about entry to a major should speak to an adviser in the appropriate college or campus academic advising and information center.

Enrollment Process

If accepted for a major, the student is enrolled in that major; no additional processing is required. If rejected from all the choices that were listed on the application to major form, the student must explore other alternatives. For assistance in this process, the student may confer with advisers in appropriate academic advising centers or the Division of Undergraduate Studies.