Parallel Planning: What is it and why is it important?


While most CSE students get into their first-choice major, it is helpful to identify a back-up plan or a “parallel plan” should you change your mind or if you are not able to get into your first-choice major.

Simply put, a parallel plan is a back-up plan. CSE encourages all pre-major students to identify and create a parallel plan to their first-choice major, regardless of if they will be applying to a historically space limited major or not. Parallel planning helps students more easily pivot majors while limiting stress. All sophomore year pre-major students will create a parallel plan during their required fall registration workshop; however, it’s never too early to start brainstorming!

When developing a parallel plan:

  • Compare the Four-Year Plans for your current major and your parallel plan to identify which courses you have already fulfilled on your parallel plan. Many CSE majors share coursework within the first 2-3 semesters; therefore, you may be able to switch majors without adding more time to graduation, although this is not guaranteed.
  • Make note of what courses you still need to complete for the parallel plan, including courses required for admission to the major. If you have not yet taken them, when are they available? When would you be eligible to apply to your parallel plan?
  • Lastly, should you decide to switch to your parallel plan, or if you need help in developing your parallel plan, please connect with your academic advisor. They are here to support you throughout your time in CSE!

Helpful Resources:

CSE Four-Year Plans

What can I do with a major in…?

CSE Academic Advising

CSE Career Services

Center for Academic Planning and Exploration

Historical Technical GPA Cut Off Points by Major