Biology Department photograph montage

Changing your major

In 2009, SF State changed its policy on changing your major or adding a second major after you have earned 96 units.  In 2011, SF State also updated the procedures for changing the major.  This document summarizes some important points:

  • if you are a new admit wishing to change your major to Biology B.A./B.S.
  • if you are changing your major to a non-impacted major (Biology is currently an impacted major)
  • if you are a lower division student (less than 60 units) wishing to change your major to Biology
  • if you are an upper division student (60 units or more) wishing to change your major to Biology

Critically, the Department of Biology will accept your Change of Major forms only during the following dates for each semester:  Fall term --> August 1-October 1; for Spring term --> January 1-March 1.

Please note these requirements below for changing your major to ANY BIOLOGY MAJOR.

As of Fall 2014, the Department of Biology has declared IMPACTION status.  As a result, a student who wishes to change their major to any of the Biology major options (B.A. or B.S) must complete the appropriate SFSU Change of Major form along with a Department of Biology Change of Major Supplemental Application (Degree Completion Plan).  Also, due to the impaction status, the Minor in Biology has been suspended.

Please review the information on this CHANGING TO A BIOLOGY MAJOR table to determine the appropriate procedure for changing your major to a Biology Major.  The table provides an explanation for how to change to a Biology major, if you are:

  • a continuing student (Biology or declared non-Biology major)
  • a FIRST-TIME FRESHMAN in Fall 2014 (Undeclared with an Interest in Biology, or a declared non-Biology major)
  • an entering TRANSFER STUDENT as of Fall 2014 (Biology major or a declared non-Biology major)

Undeclared with an Interest in Biology:  Entering Freshman (FTF Fall 2014) are not Biology majors, but are Undeclared with an Interest in Biology.  These students should meet with their target Biology Major advisor for advising purposes, and should plan on submitting their Change of Major form (and supplemental form/supporting documents) by November of their Sophomore year.

Your SFSU GPA must be a minimum 2.0 in order to change your major or add a second major or add a minor.

The relevant change of major forms are:

Changing your major with less than 96 units completed:  To change your major you must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in your current major. You must meet with the appropriate Biology Advisor for the new major, and take to this meeting the following paperwork:

During your meeting with your new Biology Major Advisor, you will

1) fill out the GRADUATION CHECKLIST indicating WHICH COURSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED and WHICH COURSES REMAIN TO BE TAKEN (AND WHEN THEY WILL BE TAKEN).

2) In addition, ALL TRANSFER COURSES to meet major requirements must be approved by the advisor (EQUIVALENCY FORM).

3) Fill out the Department of Biology Change of Major Supplemental Application (Degree Completion Plan), and obtain advisor approval.

After the advisor approves the Change of Major form, the form must be turned in with this GRADUATION CHECKLIST and the EQUIVALENCY FORMS to the Department of Biology (HH534)  for final approval (along with the transcripts/DARS/ASE forms and non-SFSU transcripts).  Change of Major forms missing ANY of these documents will be returned without approval.  The student does not meet with the Chair of the Department.  The student will will check in with the Department Office staff to follow up on the status of the Change of Major application.  The student may be required to pick up the Department-approved change of major form and submit it to the One Stop Center in the Student Services Building in order to submit the form to the Registrar's Office.

Changing your major with 96 units or more units completed:  To change your major you must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in your current major. You must meet with the appropriate Biology Advisor for the new major, and take to this meeting the following paperwork:

During your meeting with your new Biology Major Advisor, you will

1) fill out the GRADUATION CHECKLIST indicating WHICH COURSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED and WHICH COURSES REMAIN TO BE TAKEN (AND WHEN THEY WILL BE TAKEN).

2) In addition, ALL TRANSFER COURSES to meet major requirements must be approved by the advisor (EQUIVALENCY FORM).

3) Fill out the Department of Biology Change of Major Supplemental Application (Degree Completion Plan), and obtain advisor approval.

After the advisor approves the Change of Major form, the form must be turned in with this GRADUATION CHECKLIST and the EQUIVALENCY FORMS to the Department of Biology (HH534)  for final approval (along with the transcripts/DARS/ASE forms and non-SFSU transcripts).  Change of Major forms missing ANY of these documents will be returned without approval.  The student does not meet with the Chair of the Department.  The student will will check in with the Department Office staff to follow up on the status of the Change of Major application.  The student may be required to pick up the Department-approved change of major form and submit it to the One Stop Center in the Student Services Building in order to submit the form to the Registrar's Office.

Adding a second major before or after accruing  96 units:  To add your second major you must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in your first current major.  You must be able to complete the second major within the 120 - 132 unit minimum required to graduate.  You must meet with your primary Major Advisor to have your course plan for the remaining course work for your primary major approved.  Then, you must meet with the appropriate Biology Advisor for the new major, and take to this meeting the following paperwork:

During your meeting with your new Biology Major Advisor, you will

1) fill out the GRADUATION CHECKLIST indicating WHICH COURSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED and WHICH COURSES REMAIN TO BE TAKEN (AND WHEN THEY WILL BE TAKEN).

2) In addition, ALL TRANSFER COURSES to meet major requirements must be approved by the advisor (EQUIVALENCY FORM).

3) Fill out the Department of Biology Change of Major Supplemental Application (Degree Completion Plan), and obtain advisor approval.

After the advisor approves the Add Second Major form, the form must be turned in with this GRADUATION CHECKLIST and the EQUIVALENCY FORMS to the Department of Biology (HH534)  for final approval (along with the transcripts/DARS/ASE forms and non-SFSU transcripts).  Add Second Major forms missing ANY of these documents will be returned without approval.  The student does not meet with the Chair of the Department.  The student will will check in with the Department Office staff to follow up on the status of the Change of Major application.  The student may be required to pick up the Department-approved change of major form and submit it to the One Stop Center in the Student Services Building in order to submit the form to the Registrar's Office.

ATTENTION UNDECLARED STUDENTS who wish to change their major to a Biology degree but are interested in the B.S. in Nursing

Please be certain that the Biology major is the appropriate major for YOU. One option to consider is to select your new major based on the degree requirements that overlap with the Nursing major. Please consider the fact that the Nursing major is an impacted major (more students apply than can be accepted). A better strategy to obtain your degree in a reasonable time may be to select a major that will accept the Nursing-related courses for credit towards the major, so that you will not have to start from scratch with with a new major if you are not accepted into the Nursing degree program. This is particularly important if you have already taken Biol. 210/211 and Biol212/213--these courses are NOT accepted for Biology major credit. The following majors do accept some of these courses for the major:

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