Change of an Undergraduate Major (CURRENT)

Reference Number: S18-256
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Presidential Approval Date: 
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Policy #:                       S18-256

                                                                                                Supersedes:                 F10-256

Senate Approval:         04/17/2018

Presidential Approval: 04/24/2018

Effective:                     Fall 2018

                                                                                                Last Review:                Spring/2018

                                                                                                Next Review:               Spring 2021


Change of an Undergraduate Major/EMC



CSU sets guidelines that enable impacted programs to set higher standards for students wishing to declare those majors (Executive Order 563). Current state laws and policies (i.e. Title V, CSU Enrollment Management Policy forbid certain departmental policies around enrollment management. 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.

Key Words: (three to five subject tags)

Change, Major, impaction



Executive Committee/ Enrollment Management Committee


Responsible Unit

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, AVP Enrollment Management, Registrar








  • Appendix containing details on impaction deleted
  • Change of majors open to any time of the year.
  • Summary of revision (section reference)










Changes of major are processed by the Office of the Registrar after approval by a department chair/program director or designee. All relevant forms and information can be found on the website of the Office of Registrar. Students who change their major while students at SF State are held to the requirements specified in the Bulletin in effect the year in which their major changed. All students must consult with their proposed department or program before a change of major request is processed. This policy covers declaration of a major by an undeclared student, as well as a change between two declared majors; declaration of a minor; and declaration of a second major.


Change of major requests into majors that are not impacted may be submitted at any time. Impacted majors must follow the guidelines below.

First-time Freshmen (FTF)

The online CSU application form, Cal State Apply, requires applicants to choose a major at the point of application. Applicants may choose to enter undeclared, but must change their major from undeclared before completing 70 units at SF State.

Impacted Majors

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 (e.g. supplemental applications). 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.

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

Students may apply to change their major at any time, but must have approval of a department chair/program director or designee.  

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 major courses, 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. The two methods available to non- impacted departments are:

1. The department may a specify the number of units that must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.0 for an upper-division student to declare.

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

Changing a Major for Seniors With 96 or More Units 

Continuing students who have earned 96 units or more may not apply to an impacted major. Students with 96 or more units can change to a non-impacted major, but advisors should determine the additional time such a change will add to a student’s degree before they approve the application, and should make the estimated graduation date clear to the student.  

Adding a Second Major 

A student can add a second major using the same process as a change of major. Advisors should consider the number of additional semesters that they will have to complete upon addition of the second major before they approve the application, and should make the estimated graduation date clear to the student.

Adding a Minor 

Students may elect to complete a minor to complement their major course of study. Like a major, the minor is a focused area of study; however, a minor does not require as many units. Currently, at SF State, only the Journalism major requires a minor to earn a bachelor's degree.