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Six Points to Consider If You Plan a Degree Change

Six Points to Consider If You Plan a Degree Change

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By Amanda Riggs
Academic Advising Quality Control & Training Specialist at APUS

The decision to request a degree change can be exciting. It’s fun to think about jumping into a different program and registering for new, exciting classes.

Before you take the leap, however, it’s important to consider the possible consequences of a degree change. Here are six things you should know prior to submitting your request.

1. Eligibility Information — Undergraduate students in associate or bachelor’s degrees are eligible to request a program change after completing six semester hours (equivalent to two three-credit courses). Subsequent requests can be made only after you complete an additional six credits.

Graduate students and students in standalone certificate programs should contact their academic advising team for information on their eligibility for a degree change. It’s important to note that you will make the most progress toward degree completion when you stay in a program. It is best not to change degree programs unless there is an academic or career-related reason for a change.

2. Degree Requirements — You will come under the current catalog’s requirements as a result of your degree change. After the change is completed, your new Academic Plan will be visible to you in the ecampus and will list the courses that you have completed with us. Any transfer credit you received will disappear temporarily while it is being re-evaluated toward your new degree.

Additionally, certain programs have admission requirements or prerequisites to complete prior to entry into the new program. Some of our programs also have specific general education courses that are required. Your academic advisor will ensure you are well informed of additional admission requirements needed in your new program.

3. GPA Restrictions — Students on academic risk or probation are not eligible for degree changes. Further, if you received failing grades in courses, you may not retake them in the new program. Your academic advisor will help you understand how this limit will affect your specific request to change your degree program.

4. Transfer Credit Policies — Through transfer credit evaluations (TCE), we award academic credit toward your program of study. When you change your program, you will need another TCE so that we can re-evaluate your transfer credit toward your new program.

As a result of the degree change, transfer credit may be lost (unable to be awarded toward the new program when it was previously posted on your Academic Plan) or gained (able to be awarded toward the new program when it was not previously posted on the Academic Plan). There are also guidelines regarding the maximum award of credit you can receive.

5. Funding Limitations — Certain payment types affect degree change eligibility. If you’re using Federal Student Aid, for example, you have two eligibility windows for a program change per academic year.

It is also possible for you to lose or gain funding as a result of a degree change. We recommend that you check with your funding provider to ensure that your funding will not be affected.

6. Program Length — The length of time that you have to complete your degree varies by program type. Your program deadline may change if you are moving to a degree with a shorter or longer program deadline.

Now that you know some of the things that could happen as a result of a degree change, contact your academic advising team at counseling@apus.edu to tell us more about your specific situation. We look forward to assisting you.

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About the Author

Amanda Riggs has worked for the academic advising department since 2009. She has held several roles, including Academic Advisor, First Year Advising Manager and Training Manager. Amanda has a bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College and a master of business and a master of arts in management from APU.