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Can I change my major to engineering after admission?

Each admission cycle, our staff are flooded with questions about major selection and whether one's choice of study has influence on their admission prospects. At some institutions, the answer is yes, especially if the student wishes to pursue an engineering-related field.

The following table is a must-read for students with the desire but not quite the credentials to earn direct admission into an engineering major at their college of choice. It should help readers decide (1) whether to apply as an engineering major and (2) whether to enroll at a college where they have been admitted but where entrance into an engineering program isn't guaranteed.  Colleges assigned a difficulty level of Easy allow for free movement between majors and provide all students the opportunity to embark on an engineering track. Students applying to colleges with an Easy rating mustn't indicate engineering as their intended major if other fields prove equally appealing or provide for a more compelling application. Colleges categorized as Moderate require that students meet certain GPA and course requirements before switching into engineering. These requirements aren't terribly strict but do prevent some from entry into an engineering major. Aspiring engineers who enroll at colleges labeled Moderate would be wise to indicate an engineering major on their application and should be prepared to spend an extra semester (or two) and "jump through a few hoops" if they are only offered admission into a less competitive major. Finally, colleges with a difficulty level of Difficult impose very competitive admission requirements on current students who seek to change their major. Some programs, particularly in the areas of computer and biomedical engineering, do not allow for any internal transfers. Students applying to these institutions and who are seriously considering engineering should indicate an engineering major on their application.

Institution (Click the links for policy)Difficulty LevelNotes
Arizona State UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course credit requirements.
Auburn UniversityEasyStudents can easily switch to a pre-engineering program but must then meet minimum GPA and course requirements to declare an engineering major.
Boston UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Brown UniversityEasyStudents declare an engineering concentration/major toward the end of their fourth semester.
Bucknell UniversityDifficultDue to limited spaces and a strict curriculum, internal transfers are accepted into the College of Engineering on an extremely limited basis.
Cal Poly--San Luis ObispoModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements. Computer science is currently not accepting internal transfers.
California Institute of TechnologyEasyStudents must declare a major at the end of their freshman year.
Carnegie Mellon UniversityModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements. Electrical and Computer Engineering is usually filled and rarely accepts internal transfers.
Case Western Reserve UniversityEasyStudents declare a major before their junior year.
Clemson UniversityModerate/EasyStudents can easily switch to a General Engineering pre-major but must then meet minimum GPA and course requirements to declare an engineering major. Given the length of the GE program, internal transfers may lose some time toward degree.
Colorado State UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Columbia UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Cornell UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Dartmouth CollegeModerate/EasyStudents must complete course pre-requisites and a math placement test before declaring an engineering major.
Drexel UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Duke UniversityEasyStudents transfer into Pratt as an Undeclared major and then fulfill course requirements to declare an engineering major.
George Washington UniversityModerate/EasyStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Georgia Institute of TechnologyEasyIncoming students are allowed one unrestricted change of major. A request may be submitted, at the earliest, after the "drop/add" period in the student's first semester.
Harvard UniversityEasyStudents declare a concentration/major must declare a major in the second semester of their sophomore year.
Harvey Mudd CollegeEasyStudents declare a major in their sophomore year.
Iowa State UniversityEasyStudents can declare an engineering major after completing 27 credits of general education and engineering-related coursework.
Johns Hopkins UniversityEasyStudents can easily change their majors to any field except Biomedical Engineering. BME students must indicate BME at the time of application. Transferring into the program after matriculation is extremely rare.
Lafayette CollegeEasyStudents can declare an engineering major during their sophomore year.
Lehigh UniversityModerate/EasyStudents must complete 23 credits and be in good academic standing before moving into the College of Engineering.
Loyola Marymount UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyEasyStudents declare a major during the spring term of their freshman year.
Michigan State UniversityEasyStudents can easily switch to a pre-engineering program but must then meet minimum GPA and course requirements to declare an engineering major.
North Carolina State UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Northeastern UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Northwestern UniversityModerate/EasyStudents must sign an agreement to complete pre-engineering courses with a "C" or better.
Ohio State UniversityModerate/EasyStudents first apply for entrance into OSU's pre-major in engineering and then apply to a particular major after completing prerequisites.
Oregon State UniversityEasyStudents can easily switch to a pre-engineering program but must then meet minimum GPA and course requirements to declare an engineering major.
Penn State UniversityModerateStudents first apply for entrance into PSU's pre-engineering program and then apply to a specific engineering major after completing 40 credits.
Princeton UniversityEasyAdmitted A.B. students wishing to change to B.S.E. program should take first-year courses matching those taken by current B.S.E. students.
Purdue UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements. Student can only apply to enter the First-Year Engineering Program, which means they may lose significant time to degree.
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteEasy
Rice UniversityEasyStudents do not declare a major until the second semester of their sophomore year.
Rutgers UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Santa Clara UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Smith CollegeEasyStudents must declare an engineering major by their sophomore year.
Stanford UniversityEasyStudents must declare a major by junior year.
Stony Brook UniversityModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA (3.2 or higher) and course requirements.
Swarthmore CollegeEasyStudents must declare an engineering major by their sophomore year.
Syracuse UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Texas A&M UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements, which vary by engineering major.
Trinity CollegeEasyStudents declare a major in their sophomore year.
Trinity UniversityEasyStudents declare a major in their sophomore year.
Tufts UniversityModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Tulane UniversityEasyStudents declare a major in their sophomore year.
Union CollegeEasyIn order to graduate within four years, students should declare a major and take relevant coursework beginning in their freshman year.
University at Buffalo--SUNYModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of ArizonaEasyStudents can easily switch to a pre-engineering program but must then meet minimum GPA and course requirements to declare an engineering major.
University of California, BerkeleyDifficultUCB notes that admission into engineering via internal transfer is "highly unlikely and students should not count on admission through this method."
University of California, DavisModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of California, IrvineModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of California, Los AngelesDifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA (3.5 for most engineering majors) and course requirements.
University of California, San DiegoDifficultA 3.5 GPA is typically needed to prove competitive.
University of California, Santa BarbaraDifficultFrom UCSB: "Due to the current demand for engineering majors, students are cautioned that it is a very competitive process and not all applicants will be able to change their majors due to limited space availability."
University of California, San DiegoDifficultInternal transfer to engineering is "highly competitive" with admission rates averaging 60% and as low as 20% in some years.
University of California, Santa CruzModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements in order to earn Proposed Major status. After earning Proposed Major status, student have to meet an additional set of requirements to declare an engineering major.
University of Colorado BoulderModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of ConnecticutModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA (3.4 or above for several programs) and course requirements.
University of DelawareModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of FloridaModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of Maryland, College ParkModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of Massachusetts AmherstModerate/EasyStudents can easily switch to a pre-engineering program but must then meet minimum GPA and course requirements to declare an engineering major.
University of MichiganModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of MinnesotaModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements. Most applicants need at least a 3.2 GPA in technical (i.e. engineering-relevant) courses to prove competitive.
University of Notre DameEasyStudents move into a major during their sophomore year after completing first-year academic requirements.
University of PennsylvaniaModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of PittsburghModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of RochesterEasyStudents should declare an engineering major by the end of their sophomore year.
University of Southern CaliforniaModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of Texas at AustinModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course credit requirements (28 minimum).
University of VirginiaModerateStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
University of WashingtonDifficultUW notes: "Applicants with a strong interest in engineering and who are not admitted directly to the college may want to consider other institutions to pursue their goals."
University of Wisconsin - MadisonModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements. Some majors are especially competitive.
Vanderbilt UniversityModerate/EasyNon-engineering students can move into engineering after two semesters of study and as long as they are in good academic standing.
Villanova UniversityModerateStudents are evaluated on the basis of their college performance (in all courses) and high school performance (if seeking a change during their freshman year).
Virginia TechModerate/DifficultStudents must meet minimum GPA and course requirements.
Washington University in St. LouisEasyStudent not initially admitted into the SEAS can move into an engineering major after completing one semester of coursework.
Yale UniversityEasyStudents should declare an engineering major by the fall of their sophomore year.

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