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Choosing a Major

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We know some students are certain of the major they wish to pursue, while others are less sure or are undecided.  Students who are unsure or undecided are encouraged to be proactive, learn about various majors and career options, utilize the many resources that are available, and develop a plan for affiliation.  With that in mind, Engineering Advising offers several suggestions: 

1. Read the Major Descriptions provided by each department.

2. Check out these references:

3. Use the many resources available, both in and out of the College of Engineering, to explore interests, majors, and career possibilities.  Check out "See Also" links to the left for additional resources and opportunities.

Applying for a Major (Affiliation)

Students must be accepted into an Engineering major (i.e., affiliate) prior to the start of their fifth semester of enrollment (i.e., beginning of junior year for most students).  Students who are not successfully affiliated by this time are withdrawn from the College and often times the University, as well.  Each Engineering Major has specific affiliation requirements that students must meet in order to be accepted into the major.  The Engineering Handbook includes the affiliation requirements for each entering class for every major.

Students are encouraged to apply to their intended major during their third semester (i.e., fall of sophomore year for most students). Students will either be accepted or denied.  Students who are accepted to their major will be accepted "fully" or "conditionally."  If accepted "conditionally," students must meet specific requirements set forth by the department in order to continue in the major following the upcoming semester. 

Students who are denied affiliation have several options: Continue to pursue their primary major of interest, consider another major in Engineering, explore a major in a different College at Cornell, or consider transferring to another institution.  Often, departments that deny students will provide feedback on why the student was denied affiliation and what, if anything, can be done to remedy the situation and allow the student to successfully affiliate with the major following another semester of coursework.  This feedback is important and will help the student develop a realistic plan and assess how best to proceed for the upcoming semester.  Students may need to adjust their intended course schedule in order to increase the likelihood of successfully affiliating or prepare for another option at Cornell.  In addition to talking with the departments within Engineering, students who are denied affiliation are strongly encouraged to visit with Engineering Advising to discuss options and plan their course schedule carefully.

To officially apply for affiliation, complete an application form available from one of three places: