Starting with the Fall 2020 semester, The College of New Jersey will offer an Undeclared–General Major to entering first-year students who are interested in exploring different academic areas of interest.
What is the Undeclared–General Major?
The Undeclared–General Major allows students not ready to commit to a major or academic school to explore possibilities across TCNJ (as opposed to Undeclared within an academic school). Undeclared–General students will be part of a small cohort and have an academic advisor in the Center for Student Success. Like all TCNJ students, Undeclared–General students will take an orientation course to support an exploratory path leading to the future selection of a major, a decision made during the sophomore year.
What is the difference between the Undeclared–General Major and the Undeclared option within an academic school?
When selecting a major in TCNJ’s application, students can apply to TCNJ in three different ways:
- When students fill out the common application, many of them select the specific major into which they’d like to be accepted. If accepted, that becomes their major and they are assigned a faculty advisor within that department.
- Five of our seven academic schools offer an “undeclared” option within their school. This major is for students who can identify a desired academic school but cannot commit to a specific major within that academic school. The School of Arts and Communication, School of Business, School of Education, School of Engineering, and School of Humanities and Social Sciences each have an “undeclared” major that is housed within their school. For example, if a student is accepted as an undeclared Business student, their major would be “Undeclared Business.” The schools’ orientation courses and advising help the student decide on a specific major within that school. If a student is leaning toward any of the schools that offer an undeclared major, it would be best to apply directly to those schools’ undeclared programs.
- If a student is still unsure as to where their academic passion lies, they can apply to be an Undeclared–General major. This major is not affiliated with a specific academic school. The Undeclared–General student’s courses will help them explore which academic school and available program is right for them.
Who will advise the Undeclared–General students?
Undeclared–General students will be advised by an academic advisor from the Center for Student Success. Serving as an advisor, mentor, and coach, this professional will work one-on-one to provide tailored guidance and support during the first full year and until the student declares an academic major.
When do Undeclared–General students declare an academic major?
Like all incoming students, the Undeclared–General student will take a First Year Seminar (FYS) course and Orientation course. Additional courses will be added to their schedule that allow exploration while also fulfilling graduation requirements. In consultation with their Center for Student Success advisor, the Undeclared–General student will choose courses that will eventually result in the declaration of an academic major as early as the end of their second semester. It is recommended that students choose an academic major by the beginning of their sophomore year with the goal of entering a major by the end of their sophomore year.
Who should not enter TCNJ as an Undeclared–General Major?
Students interested in majors with highly structured curriculum and limited capacity should apply directly for acceptance into these academic majors. If students are leaning toward an academic major within the Schools of Arts and Communication, Business, Education, Engineering, or Humanities and Social Sciences but cannot fully commit to a specific major within the school, they should apply to the Undeclared option within that academic school. In short, some majors are more difficult to transfer into than others. Thus, applying directly to these majors based on even a modest degree of interest will prove the most practical approach. See the second question above for more specifics on this option.
Which TCNJ majors are highly structured with limited capacity?
The following majors are highly structured and currently have limited capacity: biology, chemistry, physics, nursing, computer science, accounting, finance, speech pathology, special education, psychology (including Education dual majors with psychology), mechanical engineering, and civil engineering. Students interested in these majors should apply directly for acceptance into these academic majors.
Can I major in any area at TCNJ?
Most majors are available but acceptance into any major is NOT guaranteed. Some majors have highly structured curriculum and limited capacity (see above). Like all TCNJ students, Undeclared–General students will have to meet the prerequisites for their desired major, typically demonstrating success with a required course early in the curriculum. The exploration stage will prove helpful in developing an Undeclared–General student’s interest and competencies. Under the guidance of their Center for Student Success advisor, the Undeclared–General student will have a path forward into a major.
Am I able to graduate in 4 years?
TCNJ ranks among the highest public institutions in the nation in terms of four- and six-year graduation rates. Graduating in four years is the expectation for all entering TCNJ students. Entering as an Undeclared–General student does not change that expectation. The difference for the Undeclared–General student is the need to learn during the exploratory period and choose a major in a timely fashion. Again, majors with highly structured curriculum and limited capacity are not recommended for the Undeclared–General student and could lengthen the time to graduation. Choosing a major by the start of the second year should provide a four-year path to graduation. Situations can vary by student based on academic performance and other factors.
Can a current student change their major to the Undeclared-General major?
The Undeclared-General major is only open to entering first-year students; unfortunately, after a student enters TCNJ they cannot transfer into the Undeclared-General major (we call this process the internal transfer process). Advisors in the Center for Student Success can supplement a student’s advising and help them decide on a new major, but students would keep their original major (and advisor) until they change majors. If you’re an incoming first-year student and want to change your intended major to Undeclared before the fall semester begins, contact the Office of Admissions to see if that’s a possibility.