NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Changing Majors Doesn’t Have to Be A Major Thing

Feature Story
Posted on Jan, 27 2012

Changing majors is a common experience many college students share. Even with great thought and preparation before coming to college and completing a semester or two of classes, some students decide a career in their current major no longer interests them. Like many other students, NDSU sophomore Mason Magle shared these feelings, and made the decision to change his major before he got too far into his college career, which, for many, can be a time and cost-saving move. To do this, he completed two general education requirement courses online through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education during the summer semester in order to leave room in his fall semester schedule to stay on track with the plan of study for his new major.


Magle entered college seeking a degree in biomedical engineering and was enrolled in many courses geared towards this, including an electrical engineering class. However, Magle had not had a lot of experience in electrical engineering prior to coming to college. He found that of his classes, the electrical engineering course was personally not as enjoyable for him as he had hoped, which was problematic since the foundation of bioengineering lies in electrical engineering. After completing a semester, Magle knew he wanted to stay in the field of medical discovery but, through a different route. He decided to job-shadow a pharmacist. He really enjoyed his time in the pharmacy and decided this was the right major for him.

Though the courses he completed in previous semesters will benefit him in the long run, there are specific courses that need to be completed for the pre-pharmacy plan of study in order to apply to the professional program on time. Therefore, Magle decided to take a few classes during the summer in order to have the ability to take the necessary pre-pharmacy courses during the suggested semesters. Magle completed History 103: History of the U.S. to 1877 and Music 108: Roots of American Popular Music online through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education, which are two classes that fulfill general education requirements. Now Magle will be able to take courses that need to be taken in sequential order, such as Organic Chemistry I and II or take fewer credits during a semester in order to focus on a particularly difficult course if necessary. Magle is happy with his decision to change to a different major and enjoyed taking the online classes from home on his own time. The following tips may be beneficial for any undecided college students:
• If you are unsure of what you want to major in when starting college, enroll in general courses that will fulfill requirements for multiple majors until you decide on one.
• Job-shadowing or summer internships are a great way to see what a job is actually like and what professionals in the field majored in. Talk with campus resources or contact a business or organization yourself and see if these opportunities are available.
• Change majors sooner than later. If you are having second thoughts about your major, meet with your academic advisor as soon as possible in order to determine if a change in major is necessary and determine what courses need to be taken in order to stay on track to graduate.

Along with these tips, remember to talk with an academic advisor to learn what courses will be a good fit for your plan of study. Check the NDSU web site for more information about how to contact advisors or faculty from various majors, and if you have any questions about online courses, contact our office at 701.231.7015 or visit our web site http://www.ndsu.edu/dce