Declaration of an Undergraduate Major

Reference Number: F10-256
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Academic Senate Policy #F10-256



CSU sets guidelines that enable impacted programs to set higher standards for students wishing to declare those majors. Ten majors at SF State are officially considered impacted in 2010-2011, and several more may be designated impacted the upcoming year. However, enrollment management tools for non-impacted majors are not clearly spelled out. Other departments have established internal ad hoc policies for students declaring their major, such as raising GPA requirements in order to declare. Current state laws and policies (i.e. Title V, CSU Enrollment Management Policy forbid these departmental policies. This policy seeks to clarify the university-wide procedures by which non-impacted departments can manage enrollment. This policy aims to keep SFSU open and accessible to all students, while also providing departments flexibility and some autonomy in managing their enrollment.



Impacted Majors
Both lower-division and upper-division students requesting a change of major to an impacted program must meet the supplemental requirements required for that major. Requests to declare impacted majors must be received by the end of the initial filing period for the term for which new majors are being accepted. Continuing students who have earned 96 units or more may not apply to an impacted major.

When the campus declares impaction, major departments may restrict declaration of and change of major requests to the same period that new students are allowed to apply to the university.

Non-Impacted Majors
The change of major time period for all non-impacted majors shall be August 1 - October 1 for the Fall semester and January 1 - March 1 for the Spring semester.

With the exception of impacted programs, departments must accept changes of major for continuing lower-division students who have a minimum 2.0 grade point average for all college-level work attempted, all SF State work attempted, all work attempted in the major, and a minimum grade of C in specified pre-requisite courses.

For upper-division students, only two methods may be employed by non-impacted departments to control change of major requests.. Only programs that have been formally designated impacted can limit access to the major through more demanding academic requirements (e.g., grades higher than a C) or other procedural restrictions. Any requirement changes must be approved by the College Dean—with consultation of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies--and publicized across campus to ensure that students and those who advise students receive the information in a timely manner. The two methods available to non-impacted departments are:


1. The department may determine a number of units that must be completed with a minimum grade of C for the upper-division student to declare.


2. The department may specify (normally lower division) courses that must be completed with minimum grades of C for the upper-division student to declare. The department not limit enrollment in such courses to majors only.


Appendix 1


CSU information on impaction:


• From :


“An undergraduate major or campus is designated as impacted when the number of applications received during the initial filing period exceeds the number of available spaces. Such majors or campuses are authorized to use supplementary admission criteria to screen applications. … Major impaction means that the number of applications from fully eligible students to a designated major on a CSU campus during the initial filing period far exceeds the number of spaces available in that major. However, students can still be admitted to the campus in an alternate major, or they may eventually be admitted to the oversubscribed major if they meet the supplementary admission criteria.”


• From EO 563 (from ): “Currently enrolled students seeking access to an impacted enrollment category must follow campus- defined application procedures established to ensure equitable consideration for both currently enrolled students and new applicants.”

• From CSU Enrollment Management Policy and Practices ( ):Campuses approved by the chancellor to implement supplemental admission criteria shall provide public notice to all students who may be affected by these criteria, parents/families, and appropriate education agencies twelve months prior to the term in which the supplemental admission criteria take effect.”

• From the section entitled “Enrollment Management Options that May be Utilized at Campus Discretion”:


Establish prerequisites for admission to upper-division status, e.g., to gain access to upper-division courses, an applicant may be required to have completed a minimum of 60 rather than 56 transferable units with grades of C or better, 39 semester units of courses equivalent to general education requirements, pass a required lower-division prerequisite course with a grade of C or better, and have completed an additional 6 to 9 units of prerequisite courses with grades of C or better. This option may be used if a program or campus is not impacted because a quantitative requirement is being imposed (e.g., completing a minimum number of units with a grade of C or better which is the minimum grade average needed to qualify for graduation) rather than a qualitative standard (e.g., requiring grades higher than C) which is permitted only if the program or campus is impacted.”


“Example 6: Require Completion of Prerequisites for Enrollment in Courses with Excess Demand to Avoid Major or Program Impaction

A campus may require that students complete satisfactorily specified prerequisites for enrollment in courses that may be entry level courses in a major or program that has excess demand. For example, a campus may require, prior to enrollment, (1) that a student has completed with a grade of C or better one or more prerequisite courses, (2) satisfactory completion of a placement examination appropriate to the course (e.g., foreign language, science), and/or (3) appropriate certification or licensure.”

***Approved by the Academic Senate on October 19, 2010***


Endorsed by SF State President Robert A. Corrigan