Common questions from new-to-CSE students



As an new incoming student, we know you probably have many questions about your upcoming experience in CSE. We answer many common questions here for you.
Welcome to the University of Minnesota, and the College of Science and Engineering! We are excited you have chosen to join us this upcoming semester, and know that as you prepare to start your first year with us, it is likely you have a number of questions, especially regarding your major and how long it will take you to graduate. Here, we have addressed common questions incoming first-year and transfer students contact us with. We hope they are helpful in your transition to CSE!

What does it mean when I am admitted as a pre-major into CSE? How or when do I change from a pre-major student to an upper division student?
When you come to the U as a first-year student or a transfer student who has some introductory courses not yet complete, you are considered pre-major. This means you are planning to pursue a certain major (i.e. Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, etc.), but have not yet completed the coursework required to be admitted officially to the major and department. CSE has a secondary admission-to-the major process that students go through while they are typically in the sophomore fall coursework on the Four-Year Plan for their major. Upon successful acceptance to the major, you will then be considered an upper division student, no longer pre-major. Students will talk with their advisor about this process closer to the time for their application.

What if I want to change my major?
If you are considering changing your major, it is important to speak with your advisor. They can discuss how that may impact your graduation timeline, if it will, as well as course planning moving forward. They can also speak with you about the goals you have for your change of major, and help you reflect on if it is a good fit for you.

How easy is it to change my CSE major?
Depending on where you are in your college journey, it can be relatively easy to change majors, or a little more of a challenge because it may add time to your graduation goals. If you are considering changing your major, speak with your advisor to discuss how the change may impact your graduation timeline, as well as what coursework you may have to make up, if any.

If you transferred into CSE from another college at the U or institution, you were admitted to pursue a specific major. Changing majors is not likely an option. Please speak with your CSE advisor about your intentions, and steps moving forward.

Is it possible to graduate with a CSE degree in four years?
Yes! Even without bringing in any outside credit (i.e. PSEO, AP, IB, etc.), a student can still complete a CSE degree in four years.

Can I graduate in four years if I am pursuing two CSE degrees?
While it is possible to potentially graduate in four years with two CSE degrees, it is important to discuss your interest with your advisor early on to plan your time moving forward, as well as any other implications for pursuing two degrees. Due to the availability of some courses (i.e. courses that are only available in the fall or spring), students who are hoping to complete two CSE degrees should be aware that it is possible it may take longer than four years.

How do I add a minor, major or additional degree?
To add additional majors, minors, or degrees, first speak with your college advisor to discuss your plans. Your advisor can then assist you in making those plans, or refer you to the appropriate office. Please note that adding a second CSE degree is different than applying for a second degree in a college other than CSE.

More information on changing or adding majors or minors can be found on the
One Stop website.

Can I fit study abroad in and also graduate with a CSE degree in four years?
Study abroad IS possible with a CSE degree, and potentially still graduate in four years. CSE and the University of Minnesota have a wide variety of abroad options, both in terms of location and length of travel. You might participate in a full semester, a break program, or a summer program, depending on your interests and goals. It is important to discuss your interest in studying abroad early with your advisor so they can speak with you about a best time to go depending on your major, and connect you with the appropriate offices for review your options.

You can also find questions to additional frequently asked questions by visiting our FAQs webpage and reading other posts in this blog. If you have further questions, please contact your advisor or the CSE Advising Office.