Entrance to Major

When first-semester baccalaureate degree students are admitted to the University, most are enrolled in either a specific college 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. Students are encouraged to explore majors of interest to you by discussing alternative majors with your academic adviser and by accessing the Undergraduate Bulletin.


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 page 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.”

Students who have successfully completed all requirements for the requested major will be informed through student self-service when they have been granted entrance to that major. Students currently enrolled in entrance-to-major courses will be informed that they will be granted conditional entrance to the major for the upcoming semester. Students must successfully complete the entrance requirements and maintain GPA requirements in order to be granted entrance to the major. Students who do not successfully complete entrance requirements or maintain GPA requirements will not be granted entrance to the major.

Students who are declared ineligible for their requested majors will be informed as to why they were denied entrance.

Administrative Enrollment Controls

The University's goal is to adjust to shifting student interests and to accommodate all qualified students in the undergraduate majors of their choice. When limitations of space, faculty, or other resources make this goal unattainable, the college dean responsible for the major may request administrative enrollment controls.

Entrance to controlled majors is determined according to the policy on Administrative Enrollment Controls for Undergraduate Majors (policy P-5). In accordance with the policy, eligible students with the approved grade-point average and other entrance-to-major requirements are guaranteed entrance to controlled majors.

Students who want to be considered for a major with administrative enrollment controls (policy 37-30) must apply through the LionPATH "Update Academics" function. A list of the programs approved for administrative enrollment controls are available. Advisers and students should contact the appropriate college, academic advising centers at University Park or academic advising and information centers at locations other than University Park for information.

Entrance to Majors with Administrative Enrollment 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) and being within the established credit window.

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 denied in Update Academics, 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.