Open Major Transfer Tips

Up to 20 percent of new students entering the university each year haven’t made a final choice about their major or their career. These students usually enroll in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, declaring their major as “open major.” They plan to choose a major after taking courses in the General Education Core Program or elective courses in fields of possible interest.

Students choosing the Open Major fall into many categories, among them:

  • Students who know they want to earn a four-year degree at Iowa but are unsure in what area of study
  • Students who have a particular career in mind but are unsure of which major to chose in order to work toward their vocational goal.
  • Students who intend to pursue admission to a competitive entry major and are completing prerequisite coursework.

Here are some important things to know about the Open Major:

The Open Major is not a degree granting major.

This means that you will have to declare another major, and complete the requirements for that major, in order to earn a degree from the University.

A student must declare a major or be admitted to a selective or limited access major or program by the time 72 semester hours have been earned.

Students are encouraged to work closely with their Academic Advisor so that the student may gain a better understanding of his or her unique academic goals and requirements.

Students may change their major at any time and as often as they would like.

It is important to note that while many majors at the University of Iowa have major course work requirements that may be completed in four semesters, some majors have course sequences that require a full eight semesters of coursework.  It is important for students to discuss their academic interests with their advisor early and often, especially if a student’s goal is a four-year graduation.

  • Complete the College of Liberal Arts and Science General Education CORE Requirements. Transfer students with an AA degree from a community college in Iowa or Illinois will enter the university having fulfilled all of the General Education CORE requirements (except World Language and Diversity & Inclusion) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 
  • Complete, or begin to complete, four semesters of the same world language (fourth-level proficiency) as needed for Iowa’s General Education Program. The requirement may be fulfilled by the appropriate high school work.
  • Review composition of a liberal arts degree.

Prospective transfer students should contact the University of Iowa Office of Admissions, 319-335-1566, for information about applying.

These resources can help facilitate your transfer to Iowa: