Biology Department photograph montage

Changing your major

In 2011, SF State updated the procedures for changing the major or adding a second major before or after you have earned 96 units.  This document (updated Jan 2015) summarizes some important points:

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

Continuing students who have earned 96 units or more may not apply to Biology because it is an impacted program. 

Apply to become a Biology major by November 1 of the Fall semester (decision is made in Spring semester, for advancement into the Biology program in following Fall semester).

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) who wish to major in Biology are not entering 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 1 of their Sophomore year. Freshman who are non-Biology majors should meet with their target Biology Major advisor to change their major to "Undeclared with an Interest in Biology" (bring supplemental form/supporting documents).

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 (you may need to download the form first, instead of viewing the PDF in your browser.  On a Mac platform, you can hold down the "control button" when you click on the file, to download it to your computer):

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, SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION, and the EQUIVALENCY FORMS to the Department of Biology (HH534) for final approval (along with the transcripts/DARS/ASE/DPR 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 or more units completed:  It is University policy that continuing students who have earned 96 units or more may not apply to an impacted major program.  As of Fall 2014, Biology is an impacted program.  

Adding a second major before 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.  If you have completed 96 units, the University policy is that you cannot apply to an impacted major.  You must submit to the University the Petition to Add a Second Major.  You must meet with an advisor at the Advising Center (ADM 211) or your College Student Resource Center or your major department's GE advisor to have Part II of your petition approved.  You must meet with your primary Major Advisor to have your course plan for the remaining course work for your primary major approved (Part I on petition).  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.

4) Fill out the REQUESTED SECOND MAJOR portion in Part I of the Petition to Add a Second Major, and obtain the advisor approval.

After the advisor approves the Petition to Add Second Major, the form must be turned in with this GRADUATION CHECKLIST, SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION, and the EQUIVALENCY FORMS to the Department of Biology (HH534)  for final approval (along with the transcripts/DARS/ASE/DPR forms and non-SFSU transcripts).  Add Second Major petitions 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, Biol 212/213, or Biol 220--these courses are NOT accepted for Biology major credit. The following majors do accept some of these courses for the major (NOTE that these are all IMPACTED majors):

In addition, you may review information on "Steps to Become a California Registered Nurse" here:

http://www.rn.ca.gov/careers/steps.shtml

or review information for FUTURE NURSES here:

http://www.rn.ca.gov/careers/futurern.shtml

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