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Can I Choose a Second/Alternative Major?

When filling out an application (or Common App supplement) for a given university, you are almost always asked to list your intended major and/or the school within a larger university where you intend to study. Admissions officers will then evaluate you against other applicants to this particular academic program, with some majors being more competitive than others. However, some schools also give you the option to list a second, alternative major on your application. In these instances, if the school is unable to admit you to your stated first-choice major/college, they will then consider you for your alternative major. Knowing these school-specific policies is essential when formulating your admissions strategy.

In the list that follows, you will find the 2022-23 second/alternative major policies for 250 of the top colleges and universities in the United States. In the first column, you will see whether or not a given university allows you to select an alternate major, whether they consider you for admission into an alternate major, and whether or not the choice of major is very important—meaning that college with a “Yes” in this column weighs the choice of major heavily in their admissions decision-making process.

*A note regarding this table's last column. It is likely that all institution's consider a student's choice of major or, at the very least, his/her indicated academic interests when making admission decisions. However, some institutions factor choice of major more heavily into the admissions process, These schools have a value of "Yes" in the final column. 

InstitutionAllows a second/alternate major (on application)Considers students for an alternate major (if not admissible to first choice)Is Choice of Major Very Important?
Agnes Scott CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
American UniversityYesNoYes
Amherst CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Appalachian State UniversityNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Arizona State University-TempeYesYesYes
Auburn UniversityNoNo
Babson CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Bard CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Barnard CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
CUNY Bernard M Baruch CollegeNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Bates CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Baylor UniversityYesYes
Bentley UniversityNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Binghamton UniversityNoNoYes
Boston CollegeNoNoYes
Boston UniversityNoNoYes
Bowdoin CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Brandeis UniversityYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Brigham Young University-ProvoNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Brown UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Bryn Mawr CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Bucknell UniversityYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
YesAdmitted into institute, not major
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis ObispoYesYes (if space is available within alternate major)Yes
Carleton CollegeYesYes
Carnegie Mellon UniversityYes (Regular Decision)Yes, but admission into second choice is rareYes
Case Western Reserve UniversityYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Centre CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Chapman UniversityYesYes
Claremont McKenna CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Clark UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Clarkson UniversityNoNo
Clemson UniversityYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
Colby CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Colgate UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
College of CharlestonYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
College of the Holy CrossYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
College of William and MaryYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Colorado CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Colorado School of MinesNo
Colorado State University-Fort CollinsNoYes (admitted applicants not eligible for major assigned to Exploratory Studies)
Columbia University in the City of New YorkYes (within their selected school)Admitted into university rather than a particular majorYes
Connecticut CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Cornell UniversityYes (only Arts and Sciences)Yes (only Arts and Sciences AND if space available)Yes
Creighton UniversityNoNoYes
Dartmouth CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Davidson CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Denison UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
DePauw UniversityYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Dickinson CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Drexel UniversityYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
Duke UniversityYesAdmitted into school (Trinity or Pratt), not major
Elon UniversityNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Emerson CollegeNoNoYes
Emory UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Fairfield UniversityNoNo
Florida State UniversityNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Fordham UniversityNoNoYes
Franklin and Marshall CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Franklin W Olin College of EngineeringNoAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Furman UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
George Mason UniversityNoNo
George Washington UniversityYesYes
Georgetown UniversityNoNoYes
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular majorYes
Gettysburg CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Gonzaga UniversityYesYesYes
Grinnell CollegeNoAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Hamilton CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Harvard UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Harvey Mudd CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Haverford CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Hobart William Smith CollegesYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Hofstra UniversityNoNo
Howard UniversityYesYes
Illinois Institute of TechnologyYesYesYes
Indiana University-BloomingtonNoYes (admitted applicants not eligible for major assigned to University Division)Yes
Iowa State UniversityNoNo
Ithaca CollegeYesYesYes
James Madison UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Johns Hopkins UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Juniata CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Kalamazoo CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Kansas State UniversityNoYes (for pathway/pre-major program)
Kenyon CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Lafayette CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular majorYes
Lawrence UniversityYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Lehigh UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Lewis & Clark CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Louisiana State UniversityYesYes
Loyola Marymount UniversityYesYesYes
Loyola University MarylandYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Macalester CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Marist CollegeNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Marquette UniversityYesYesYes
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyYesAdmitted into institute rather than a particular major
Miami University-OxfordYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)
Michigan State UniversityNoYes
Middlebury CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Mount Holyoke CollegeYesAdmitted to college, not major
New College of FloridaYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
New York UniversityYesYesYes
North Carolina State University at RaleighYesYesYes
Northeastern UniversityYes (another subject in addition to their chosen major)NoYes
Northwestern UniversityNoNoYes
Oberlin CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Occidental CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Ohio University-Main CampusNoYesYes
Oregon State UniversityNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusNo (but can request different major if denied)NoYes
Pepperdine UniversityNoAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Pitzer CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Pomona CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Princeton UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Providence CollegeNoNoYes
Purdue University-Main CampusYesYesYes
Quinnipiac UniversityYesYesYes
Reed CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteNoNoYes
Rhodes CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Rice UniversityYesNo
Rochester Institute of TechnologyYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)
Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Rutgers University-New BrunswickYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
Saint Louis UniversityYesYesYes
San Diego State UniversityNoNoYes
Santa Clara UniversityNoNoYes
Sarah Lawrence CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Scripps CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Seattle UniversityNoYes (students not admitted into their major can be granted general admission)Yes
The University of the SouthYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Skidmore CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Smith CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Southern Methodist UniversityYesYes
Spelman CollegeNoAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
St Lawrence UniversityYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
St. Mary's College of MarylandYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
St Olaf CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Stanford UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Stevens Institute of TechnologyYesYesYes
Stony Brook UniversityNoNo (but will be considered for admission into a pre-major program)Yes
Swarthmore CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Syracuse UniversityYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
Temple UniversityNoYes (students not admitted into their desired major may be admitted as "undecided")Yes
Texas A & M University-College StationYesYesYes
Texas Christian UniversityNoYes (students not admitted into their desired major may be admitted as "undecided")
The College of New JerseyYesYes
The College of WoosterYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and ArtNoNoYes
Ohio State University-Main CampusNoIf not admitted into major, considered for Exploration ProgramYes
The University of Texas at AustinYesYes (but only in rare cases)Yes
Trinity CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Trinity UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Tufts UniversityYesAdmitted into school (within university), not major
Tulane University of LouisianaYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Union CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
SUNY at AlbanyNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University at BuffaloYesYes
The University of AlabamaNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of Alabama at BirminghamNoNo
University of ArizonaNoYes
University of ArkansasNoNo
University of California-BerkeleyNoNoYes
University of California-DavisYesYes (but only in rare cases)Yes
University of California-IrvineYesYesYes
University of California-Los AngelesYesYes (but only in rare cases)Yes
University of California-RiversideYesYesYes
University of California-San DiegoYesYes (but only in rare cases)Yes
University of California-Santa BarbaraYesYesYes
University of California-Santa CruzYesYesYes
University of Central FloridaNoNoYes
University of ChicagoYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of Cincinnati-Main CampusYesYes (if they indicate an alternate major on their app)Yes
University of Colorado BoulderNoYes (for admission into Exploratory Studies)Yes
University of ConnecticutYesYesYes
University of DelawareYesYesYes
University of DenverNoNoYes
University of FloridaNoNoYes
University of GeorgiaNoNo
University of HoustonYesYes
University of Illinois at ChicagoYesYesYes
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignYesYesYes
University of IowaYesYesYes
University of KansasNoYesYes
University of KentuckyYesYesYes
University of Maryland-Baltimore CountyYesAdmitted to university rather than major
University of Maryland-College ParkYesYes (for admission into Letters & Science)Yes
University of Massachusetts-AmherstYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
University of MiamiYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
University of Michigan-Ann ArborNoNoYes
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesYesYes (if alternate major indicated on application)Yes
University of MississippiNoYes (for admission into Freshman Studies)
University of Missouri-ColumbiaNoAdmitted to university, not major
University of New Hampshire-Main CampusYesYesYes
University of North Carolina at AshevilleNoAdmitted to university, not major
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillYesAdmitted to university, not major
University of Notre DameMendoza onlyYes (Mendoza only)Yes
University of Oklahoma-Norman CampusNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of OregonNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYes
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusNoNo (If not admitted, applicant can ask to be reconsidered for different major.)Yes
University of Rhode IslandNoYes
University of RichmondYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of RochesterYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of San DiegoYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of San FranciscoYes (only Engineering and Nursing)Yes (for students not admitted into Engineering or Nursing)
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaYesYes (if they indicate an alternate major on their app)Yes
University of South Florida-Main CampusNoYesYes
University of Southern CaliforniaYesYesYes
The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleYesYesYes
University of UtahNoAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
University of VermontYesNoYes
University of Virginia-Main CampusYes (within their selected school)Yes (within their selected school)Yes
University of Washington-Seattle CampusYesYes (for second choice or admission into a pre-major)Yes
University of Wisconsin-MadisonYesYesYes
Vanderbilt UniversityOnly for Blair (music) applicantsOnly for Blair (music) applicantsYes
Vassar CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Villanova UniversityNoNo
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityNoYesYes
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityNoNoYes
Wake Forest UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Washington and Lee UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Washington State UniversityYesAdmitted into university rather than a particular major
Washington University in St LouisYes (within chosen school)Yes (only within chosen school)Yes
Wellesley CollegeYesAdmited to college, not major
Wesleyan UniversityYesAdmited to college, not major
Whitman CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Willamette UniversityYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Williams CollegeYesAdmitted into college rather than a particular major
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteNoAdmitted into institute, not major
Yale UniversityYaleAdmitted into university rather than a particular major

 

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