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Change Majors in MS after admission and Arrival to US? ECE to CS?

The way it works in India and maybe few other countries is, once you take up a Major (or Branch) in Bachelors, it is very hard to change that Major.  You do not see many schools encouraging changing of majors unless you are in a flexible top notch school. Unlike, in America it works differently…Let me share few thoughts on this.

Can you change Majors in MS after Admission and Visa stamping?

Short answer, yes you can!  Let me share an example, let’s say you have studied Electronics and Communications (ECE) in Bachelors (B.Tech) and you applied to Engineering for Graduate School in US and got accepted to Electronics program and got your visa and came to US….after coming to US, you realize that you need to change major because you feel like changing career to Computer Sciences. What do you do then?

How Does the Change of major works in MS in USA ?

Well, most of the times, you would talk to the Academic adviser or admissions coordinator for that Departments both you plan to switch and your current. You get their advice and then apply to that department. The good part is, because you are already a student and Graduate school has all the paperwork …you would just apply and  to that program, they would review your application and tell you the admission decision. Most of the times, you should be fine to get an admission unless it is very competitive. If you are transferring majors within same school ( ECE and CS belong to same Engineering school) it is much easier because the admission committee would be mostly same. But, if you are applying to major in different schools like MS in Computer Sciences to MA in English (that’s quite a change 😉 ) then it would take more process. End of the day, change of majors is a simple thing, provided you have the credentials to get admission…

You transferred Majors, what next ? Additional Classes? Cost ? Time?

You got the change of majors done, if you notice your admission comes with a set of requirements i.e. Pre-requisites or Foundation classes that you have to do before you begin the program. The reality is, they want you to have enough background and knowledge to study Graduate school. You may get anywhere from 3 to 5 classes or even more….In reality, you may get few of them waived(if you have a similar class in Undergrad), but most of the times, they will not waive core ones and you would have to do it. What it means for you is, as a student (if you do not have any funding), it is additional cost to your MS and additional time for graduation. But, the good part is you are doing MS in what you want to do rather than doing one thing and then realizing it was waste of time…

Bottom line, in US you can change majors, it is possible….just takes more time depending on Foundations. Most common major changes are from Electronics to Computer Sciences, Computer Sciences to MIS, Computer Sciences to Software Engineering, Mechanical to Computer Sciences, Electrical to Computer Sciences, MIS to MBA, etc.

Did you ever change a Major in US? What are your experiences ?

You may read Apply to Different Major for MS in USA 

Image Credit : http://blogs.payscale.com/photos/uncategorized/change_careers_03.jpg


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  1. hi sir,

    I got admission to an MS in Business Analytics, after getting the visa can I change my major to MS CS and a different university, not the same university?

    is it possible to change to a major and university they will accept? please guide me…

    • Venkat,
      Well, you can do it after you enter the US and if you secure the admission in other major. If you already know you would be changing, get admission and then apply for visa based on the same admission to have it clear from the beginning.

  2. I accidentally applied for MS in Computer Engineering instead of MS in Computer Science in CSULB and got an admit.

    Is it possible to change form computer engineering to computer science after I join the university given that I have Btech in computer science?

    Both computer engineering and computer science are under the same computer engineering department of csulb.

    • Shashank,
      Yes, you can. Reach out to the school now, immediately and apply for the new program too…You can also do that after you go there, but it is better to apply now and start the process.

  3. Hii I want to pursue my career in planetary science So can I switch from BTech CS with specialization in bioinformatics to planetary science for my Majors in USA after GRE and TOEFL. If yes what kind of prerequisite courses should I go for?

    • You can. The prerequisites depend on the school you plan to apply to. So, need to check with your prospective Universities that you plan to apply.

  4. Hello sir, I have completed my grad. in Electrical engineering, can I change my major into Computer science for master’s? or does it differ from university to university.

    • You can change it. It is pretty standard across most of the schools. You need to probably explain your passion to change majors in SOP, when you apply. You can write to the school and clarity, but it is pretty standard, you can just apply for the program of your choice. You will probably need to do some pre-requisites, thats about it.

  5. Hello sir…
    I have just completed my 12th Grade…
    I wanted to pursue a Btech i Chemical Engineering from ICT Mumbai but my results are less than the expected cutoff and it is likely that I will have to settle for a branch with a lower cutoff….
    My only other option is to drop a year
    My ultimate goal was to pursue an MS in Environmental Engineering in the USA
    Will it be possible to pursue an MS in Environmental engineering even if i am from a different branch such as polymers or surface coating technology…

    • You can, that is definitely possible. You will probably be asked to do some foundation courses when you change majors, that’s about it. It is very common to change majors.

  6. I got an admission in Fall 18 in Masters of Engineering in Civil Engineering.
    What are the chances to change my branch from Civil to Computer science after I go there?

  7. Hey, I want to pursue masters in CS but my undergraduate is Mechanical. My counselor says that it is difficult to change branch once you enter the US.
    What are possibilities of universities accepting if apply for CS?

    • Your counselor is wrong ! You can change your branch anytime. All you need is to make sure you have a good SOP to justify your change in degree. I know many who have changed their degree majors in in US. If you are passionate about CS, you should apply for CS. You just need to make sure you have a good SOP to justify that.

      • I am planning to apply for masters in industrial in the USA. Is it possible for me to change the branch from Industrial to Computer science after I go there?
        Is it like I have to apply for CS now only?

        My undergraduate is in Mechanical. But I want to pursue masters in CS.
        I have a GRE score of 312. what are the possibilities of universities accepting me for CS?
        Of course, it depends on relevant projects and SOP. But being mechanical I haven’t taken many prerequisites courses, so what are my chances?
        Can you suggest any good universities?

        • Vishnu,
          If your passion is to do CS, you should do it now. I see no reason to apply for Industrial and then change after you go. We do not advise on schools, you will need to research your own schools. One good way to look at is the average scores that they accept to get an idea.
          You do not need to have taken pre-requisites to be eligible for the change of the major, you will be asked to do the same once you get the admission.

  8. Hi i am currently pursuing my bachelors in Mining Engineering at IIT-BHU but i want to apply for ms in computer science or in maths in US.Is it possible and if yes how should i build my profile for it.

    • Yes, it is possible. Your SOP should reflect your passion for change in major and should articulate your reasons for change in major. It is very common, many change majors in US, should not be an issue. You may be asked to take some pre-requisites.

  9. I have completed my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. I got an admit in Industrial and System Engineering but would like to pursue Electrical and Computer Engineering in the same University. What are the chances of switching my stream after going to the US? Or should I ask the advisor before going about my switch in program ? Please advise

    • It all depends on the school’s policies…some want applicants to re-apply as fresh application, some give option to do easy switch.
      If I were you, I would go to US and then speak to advisor and get it sorted out. You can even take common courses for both degrees in first semester to make your life easy for switch, if not possible in first semester.

  10. I pursed my B.E in chemical. I want to change my majors after coming to USA, So that there will be no Visa problems. Will they allow to transfer to different university with CS i20? I planned to get 2 i20’s for chemical and CS when I am in India itself. And get my stamping done on chem i20.

    • Mounica,
      I do not think it will really matter for visa interview as long as you can articulate your passion for the change.
      As far as your question goes, technically you can transfer to other school after one semester, of course, you need to work with the school for smooth transfer.

  11. Hi, I want to pursue Masters in mechanical engineering but also want to take courses in accounting and economics at foundation level.
    Is that possible ?
    please help.

  12. Hello,I am Abhishek , I am interested in doing Computer Engineering at ASU ,What if I apply EE (as in ASU getting CE is very difficult ),and if I get an admit ,can I change it ,and will they allow.

    • Abhishek,
      Well, it is always the decision of the department. You may or may not get the admission and option to switch after you go there. If your profile is a fit, they will take you now itself.

    • harshal,
      Well, technically a University cannot really deny you a transfer as they are just transfering SEVIS records and it is student right. The other school that you are transferring to need to grant you admission for transfer.

    • chandu,
      You may need to speak to the graduate school and the department to see if they can do a direct change to CS without further evaluation, if they can. If the school says, you need to send another application or more documents, then you may have to do that. It totally depends on the school.

  13. Hello! I’m in 3rd Year Civil Engineering Degree from Mumbai University. Can I apply for Masters of Science in Computer Science in the United States? Please guide me! Thank you!

  14. My profile is very much suitable for the change of the program. But what if the seats are filled up or is there even a case like that …..pls suggest

  15. Please help me.
    I have Completed my Bachelors degree in B.Com(Computers)-(3 year degree) in 2014. I want to do MS in CS because I love programming. Please suggest me some universities which will accept me for Masters program in computer science.I want to apply for fall 2016 and currently I am working in MNC accounts related job.


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