The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

New year, new major: Changing degrees from one quarter to the next

Maya Oclassen

With the abundance of programs at DePaul, it’s no surprise that students often switch between majors or colleges. In the New Year, students are experimenting with new careers, majors and ways of securing a stable future more than ever. 

Community-centered, accessible and personalized work environments are increasing in need and popularity, causing shifts in how jobs function and how to find a path there. According to the National Center for Education, around 80% of students will change their major at least once. Students looking to redefine their academic path may feel hesitation, but changing majors at DePaul is common and supported. 

Experimenting with majors can mean adapting to physical and mental needs rather than the student’s initial choice being incorrect. Sam Smith, a sophomore at DePaul, recently changed out of their Theatre Technologies major to reshape his education. Smith says,

“During my first quarter of classes, I could tell my level of excitement was not on par with my peers. It became apparent that Theatre Technologies had a stricter curriculum than I had imagined, which didn’t align with my interests.”  

Now, Smith is pursuing a Theatre Arts major that gives them the freedom to design a path suited to his interests. 

Though common, students must self-advocate if they want to switch majors, double major, minor or both. Jeanne Williams, Academic Advisor of The Theatre School, said, “I always let students know that making choices can be very challenging, and the fact that they are looking at their options shows they are in control of their future.” 

Williams adds that students are welcome to take a leave of absence to take a year off or attend another college to reassess their needs and get a fresh perspective.

“I want to be sure that students understand all of their options so they can make the choice that is best for them. Not for their parents, or their peers, or even me, but for them.” 

So, where should students begin? 

First, review DePaul’s list of programs and pick out ones that spark interest. Once the options have narrowed, access the Degree Progress Report (DPR) in Campus Connect. Experiment with the “What if?” tool by adding each major option. The popup will list what Liberal Studies courses, specific College Core classes, and major requirements would still be needed.

Consider adding the major as a double major instead of replacing it; DePaul is designed to allow students to double major or minor using their open credits.

“Once students have looked at the “What-if” I recommend they schedule a meeting with their academic advisor,” Williams said “They’d discuss course sharing: when a student takes a class that fulfills a major requirement and a course in the double major or minor. 50% of a double major can be course shared with the major”.

Alannah Delany, a marketing student, decided to add business analytics as a double major, an interest sparked by an introductory course.

“I loved the material, and it paired well with my current course load,” Delany said “Now that I’m a double major, I’m looking forward to showcasing my range of skills to employers.”

A concern of students is staying on or close to a four-year track to graduation with a major change or addition. Though not always necessary, Williams says, “For some students, to stay on a four-year path, they may want to take a summer or December Session class. For other students, changing majors may mean an additional quarter or more.” 

To plan for the remaining quarters and to stay as close to four years as possible, students can continue to utilize the DPR “What if?” tool. Copy down the classes needed for each major option in a document, then click on the requirement and “View Course List.” A chart will show what quarter during the year the class is available. Create a chart by dividing classes into their available quarters and in order of prerequisites. 

Seeing a visual and comprehensive chart of academic life over the next few years can be overwhelming, but use this emotion as a guide. When comparing different paths to take, students should pay attention to how they feel when looking at their requirements. Which option brings excitement? Which feels relieving? Which is motivating? What clubs at DePaul align with this major to get a head start on experience? Hopefully, there will be an overlap in these answers. 

Though putting in this effort to pick which majors are right can feel daunting at first, students who get creative and trust their gut will head towards the path that guarantees an intersection between passion and stability.  

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