Deciding on a Major

Transfer students who apply to UCLA must apply to a major, but some majors are significantly more selective than others. What major should you choose?

How Selecting a Major Impacts You

UCLA offers more than 125 undergraduate majors in seven academic divisions, each with specific major preparation requirements that MUST be completed by the end of spring prior to transfer. Before you select your major, there are a few things you should know as a transfer applicant.

If you think your undergraduate major will lock you into a future career, think again. Most undergraduate majors are broad and theoretical, providing you with the keys to unlock any number of career paths, including higher education opportunities.

If you’re interested in medicine, law or business school, your undergraduate major makes very little difference. For instance, only 54% of students who enrolled in medical school in 2018 majored in biological sciences.* Law and business schools, as well, give little or no preference to specific undergraduate majors.

So, go ahead and explore those subjects that interest you most. You’ll probably enjoy the coursework and earn higher grades, which will ultimately provide you with a more competitive record for graduate school and employment.

And remember, transfer admission at UCLA is dependent on the successful completion of major-specific preparatory coursework and a competitive GPA. Take a look at the following chart showing some of our more popular majors and their admission rates.

* Reported by Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Major Preparation Requirements

As a transfer applicant, you should aim to complete most or all of the preparatory coursework for your desired major. Students must complete their major preparation requirements by the end of spring prior to transfer.

Explore the College and the professional schools to see the preparatory classes for your intended major.

Things to Consider When Deciding on a Major

In general, the liberal arts degrees you’ll find at UCLA are not geared toward particular careers. With any of our majors, you’ll gain fundamental and marketable skills in critical thinking, writing, problem solving and communication that are valued by employers in every field.

Consider majors that are intellectually rewarding to you, regardless of whether you think they are the “right” majors for your graduate studies or future career goals. You can also supplement your major with one or more minors in other subjects that might interest you.

Don’t ignore outside influences like your family or community, but make sure you have your own reasons for choosing a specific major. And remember, there are multiple pathways to achieving your future goals.

Explore the characteristics and requirements of the various departments and majors you’re considering, keeping in mind your optimal learning style (lectures vs. seminars vs. labs, etc.). If you hope to take electives in various subjects, remember that some majors are more flexible than others.

Highly Selective Majors Compared with Alternative Majors

Some majors at UCLA are far more competitive than others; the demand for these majors significantly exceeds the space available. But there are multiple pathways to achieving your goals.

Explore different options, and if you choose to apply to a less selective major, consider supplementing your academic experience with a minor. Minors can be declared after students enroll at UCLA.

For a complete list of transfer statistics by major with detailed information, please review the Admitted Transfer Student Profile.

2020 Highly Selective Majors* in the UCLA College
SELECTIVE MAJOR APPLIED ADMITTED ALTERNATIVE MAJORS RELATED MINOR
Biochemistry 382 37% Math/Applied Science; Biophysics Public Health
Biology 956 21% Computational and Systems Biology; Anthropology B.S. Biomedical Research
Business Economics 2,077 12% Applied Mathematics; Asian Studies Entrepreneurship
Communication 1,189 9% Linguistics, Comparative Literature Digital Humanities
Economics 1,271 17% Math/Economics, African and Middle Eastern Studies Accounting
Human Biology and Society B.S. 136 17% Psychobiology; Anthropology B.A. Public Health
Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics 216 27% Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology; Physiological Science Biomedical Research
Political Science 1,377 39% History; Philosophy Public Affairs
Psychology 2,243 19% Cognitive Science; Linguistics and Psychology Applied Developmental Psychology
Sociology 1,658 38% Gender Studies; African American Studies LGBTQ Studies

* The demand for the major significantly exceeds the space available. This list does not include all highly selective majors. Majors within our specialty schools are considered highly selective and some require supplemental applications and/or auditions/interviews.

Adding a Minor

Although some majors at UCLA are significantly more competitive than others, there are multiple pathways to achieving your goals. Explore different options, and if you choose to apply to a less selective major, consider supplementing your academic experience with a minor. You can declare a minor after you’re enrolled at UCLA. To see the many options available, explore our minors.

View a list of all majors and minors in the Transfer Admission Guide (PDF) to get an idea of the many directions your studies can take.

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely. Many transfer students double major. Your course load will be heavier as a result, but you can do it.

You must discuss changing majors with a counselor once you arrive at UCLA. In most cases, the decision to change your major is dependent on a variety of factors, such as whether you have taken the preparatory courses needed for that field of study and whether that department has room available for an additional student. You will have the opportunity to discuss your situation with a counselor at New Student Orientation. You can also contact the department you wish to transfer to directly.

Major choice is extremely important for all transfer applicants. Our evaluation of transfer applications is based largely on students’ preparation for the major they select and their GPAs in completed preparatory courses. We give preference to applicants with strong academic records who will be ready to begin upper division coursework in their major when they enter UCLA.

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