Change of Major

All Cal Poly students seeking a change of major should begin by carefully reviewing the university’s Change of Major policy.

Minimum Time at Cal Poly

The university’s change of major policy specifies that all students must complete at least one quarter at Cal Poly before requesting a change of major.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

The Architecture Department’s change of major policy contains requirements specific to students seeking to change majors to Architecture (ARCH) and enter the five-year program leading to the Bachelor of Architecture (BARCH). The basic criteria are as follows:

  • Student eligibility for the major.  Students applying to Cal Poly as first-time freshmen receive a ranking known as the Multi-Criteria Admissions (MCA) score. First-time freshmen seeking a change of major to ARCH must have a score that is at or above the minimum for equivalent first-time freshmen originally admitted to Cal Poly as ARCH majors. 
  • College academic record. Students seeking a change of major to ARCH must have an academic record, both in terms of GPA and courses successfully completed, that predicts success in the BARCH program. Specifically, students who have not started calculus or are not ready to start calculus are not eligible for a change of major.
  • Remaining coursework. Students should be able to complete the BARCH curriculum with no more than 24 excess units beyond the 225 required for graduation. Because of this requirement, new transfer students are unlikely to qualify for a change of major.

Requesting a Change of Major

Students requesting a change of major to ARCH should meet with the Department Head to discuss their interests and the above criteria.  To schedule an appointment with the Department Head, please see advising link here

Students should understand that the BARCH curriculum includes a five-year sequence of design and communication courses, which can only be entered in Fall Quarter. Because of this sequence, students seeking a change of major should meet as early as possible with the Associate Department Head. Non-majors will not be added to ARCH design courses after the first week of the quarter.

Two options based on Eligibility:

Students meeting the basic eligibility criteria for a change of major may be permitted to enroll in ARCH courses if space is available.

Students who do not meet the basic eligibility criteria have the option of taking articulated semester equivalents of the first-year design courses — ARCH 131, 132, and 133 — at Cuesta or another community college. They must remain enrolled at Cal Poly or re-apply as a transfer student.

After successfully completing these courses, students enrolled at Cal Poly may request a change of major by submitting a portfolio of their community-college work. They should follow the directions for portfolio format and content provided on the Prospective Transfer Students webpage. The deadline for submitting a portfolio is the Monday before the beginning of Fall Quarter classes.

Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA)

For students who meet the basic criteria, the Architecture Department prepares the Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA), which describes the conditions that must be met, usually over two quarters, before students are admitted to the ARCH major. These conditions are as follows:

  • A maximum of three specified courses or 12 units in the target major.  This is some combination of design, calculus, and physics as specified in the BARCH flowchart. Minimum grades are B for design and C- for calculus and physics.
  • Additional supporting courses and/or units to allow the student to meet minimum progress standards and complete degree applicable units in both majors. Students must take all necessary prerequisites for the three specified courses. Students must also take additional ARCH, support, and GE courses to make expected academic progress as specified by the BARCH flowchart.
  • GPA requirements. There is no initial GPA requirement. During the ICMA, however, students must maintain a 2.0 or better in their term GPA. By the end of the ICMA, students must also have a 2.0 or better in their CPSLO and higher-ed GPA. This will ensure that they are in good academic standing, i.e., not on academic probation, when they change majors.
  • If applicable, specific steps to resume good academic status. These depend on the individual student’s academic history.

Finally, all students completing the ICMA must revise their PolyPlanner to reflect the BARCH curriculum.

Updated BG 10.01.15

Related Content