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How easy is it to switch courses once I’m at university?

It is possible to switch courses at uni, but not always straightforward. You’re better off putting the time in now to ensure you get your choice right…

Oh, and don’t bother taking a course as a ruse to get on to a more competitive one – it’s just not worth the risk…

If you’re asking this question, you should probably also be questioning how committed you are to your course in the first place. Have you researched and explored it in enough depth? Is it something that you’re really interested in doing for the next few years?

Some students see switching courses once they are at university as a way of sneaking on to really popular courses such as medicine. Two words: don’t bother! These courses wised up to that one years ago.

But back to the question. Let’s say you end up really not liking the course you’re doing. Can you switch? We asked a few universities to see how they deal with this.

Switching within a university

It will depend on the programme that they wish to change to as to whether this is possible, as well as whether space allows.
It is usually possible to switch programmes within a department as there will often be some commonality in modules. Switching to an entirely different subject, though, usually requires students to re-commence the degree programme in the first year. There is no guarantee that this will be possible as they will be considered alongside Ucas applicants. University College London

Switching to a different university?

Generally we are open to transfers from either within the university, or from outside the university during the first year, subject to spaces being available and the applicant meeting the standard entry requirements for that particular course. As we run on a semester basis rather than in terms, the timing of transfers can be quite delicate as students will need to present a certain number of credits by the start of the semester. University Of Chichester

What this might mean is that if you haven’t done enough work in the semester (equivalent to half an academic year), you might not be able to transfer. So do your work – even if you’re not enjoying your studies.

Don’t rely on the possibility of switching

Our general advice to students tends to be to not to rely on being able to do so. Most universities do their best to accommodate transfers but this isn't always possible - particularly where the transfer would take the student onto a very competitive programme already full to capacity. For example, it would be unusual for someone to secure a transfer into medicine.
Where transfers can be accommodated, the general rule is the earlier the better - there is obviously a point beyond which too much teaching has been missed. University Of Bristol


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