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Undeclared at TCNJ – Frequently Asked Questions

Starting with the Fall 2020 semester, The College of New Jersey will offer an Undeclared Major to entering first-year students who are interested in exploring different academic areas of interest. 

What is the Undeclared Major?

The Undeclared Major allows students not ready to commit to a major to explore possibilities. Undeclared students will be part of a small cohort and have an academic advisor in the Center for Student Success. Like all TCNJ students, undeclared 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.

Who will advise the Undeclared students?

During this exploratory year, Undeclared students will be advised by an academic advisor from the Center for Student Success (CSS).  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 a major.

When do Undeclared students declare a major?

An Undeclared student initially enrolls in a curriculum without a degree program. The first two semesters consist of a First Seminar Program (FSP) course, Orientation course, and addition courses that allow exploration while also fulfilling graduation requirements. In consultation with the advisor, the Undeclared student will choose courses that allow exploration and eventually result in the declaration of a major as early as the end of their second semester. It is recommended that students choose a major by the beginning of their sophomore year with the goal of entering a major by the end of their sophomore year. All students earning a degree from The College of New Jersey must declare a major.

Who should not enter TCNJ as an Undeclared Major?

Students interested in but not yet fully committed to majors with highly structured curriculum and limited capacity (such as biology, chemistry, physics, nursing, computer science, psychology, and accounting) should apply for acceptance into these majors. If in the first three semesters a student finds they cannot commit to the major of initial interest they will be advised in the transfer process to a new major. In short, some majors are easier transfer away from than to transfer in to. Thus, entering these majors based on even a modest degree of interest will prove the most practical approach.

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 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 have proved helpful in developing an Undeclared student’s interest and competencies. Under the guidance of an advisor, the Undeclared student will have a path forward into a major.

Time to graduation? 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 student does not change that expectation. The difference for the Undeclared 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 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.

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