Declaring/Changing Major

The Justice Studies Department majors, Justice Studies and Forensic Science (both concentrations), are impacted majors, which means that there are additional admissions criteria to declare one of these as your major. There are two open application periods each year for matriculated students who wish to change their major to Justice Studies or Forensic Science. The open application periods are October 15 to October 31 and March 1 to March 15

HOW TO APPLY

If you will have met the minimum criteria by the end of the semester during which you are applying for the major, prepare and submit an application packet.  The following is required in your packet. All paperwork must be filled out completely and should be turned in at the Justice Studies Department Office in MacQuarrie Hall room 524. Electronic portfolios in pdf format may be sent to Justice-Studies@sjsu.edu.

The packet MUST include the following 4 items:

  1. Change of Major Form (the form is the same if you are declaring your major for the first time as well. It can be found at the Registrar’s webpage)
  2. Copies of unofficial transcripts (all colleges, i.e. community college, other universities, SJSU)
  3. Letter of Intent (usually about a page explaining your reason for declaring or changing your major to Justice Studies or Forensic Science)
  4. Personalized Graduation Plan
    1. Students with fewer than 90 units of coursework must turn in an informal personalized plan to graduate. This must be a semester-by-semester plan showing how many courses will be taken and in what areas, and identifying all required courses, until completion of the degree.  (Here is a sample graduation plan.)
    2. Students with more than 90 units of coursework must complete a major contract (e.g., Justice Studies Graduation Form, Forensic Science-Biology Graduation Form, Forensic Science-Chemistry Graduation Form) detailing specific courses that will be applied toward graduation in the major and in which semesters those courses will be taken. If accepted into the major, the student will be required to apply to graduate.

Justice Studies Admission Criteria

Take the following qualifying and support courses, and pass them with a C or better:

Qualifying courses:

  1. Under 50 units: 6 units of GE Basic Skills. Over 50 units: also pass the WST
  2. 6 units of GE Area D, “Social Science″

Support courses:

  1. JS 10 “Introduction to Justice Studies”, JS 12 “Introduction to Legal Studies, or JS 25 “Introduction to Human Rights”
  2. JS 15 or Stat 95--GE Area B4, Statistics

Each Fall and Spring, the number of open spaces in the Justice Studies major will be determined (usually November and March). Applicants will be ranked by GPA and admitted until the number of open slots at the time is filled, or all qualified students are taken. Students with an overall GPA below the Impaction GPA will need to show outstanding promise of success in the major to qualify.

Admission into Justice Studies is competitive.  A rule of thumb for a target GPA is 3.0.  In other words, you should strive for an overall GPA of 3.0 to have a strong chance of qualifying to declare Justice Studies as your major.

Have a back-up plan.  Look for a second field, outside of Justice Studies, that really interests you, and start taking courses in that field (think of it as pursuing the field as a minor). If you do not qualify for Justice Studies, you may be able to switch to that field as your major. You can still minor in Justice Studies. Your major and minor, then, will make a good combination, with good career potential.

Forensic Science Admission Criteria

Take the following qualifying and support courses, and pass them with a C or better:

  1. Under 50 units: 3 units of GE Basic Skills. Over 50 units: also pass the WST
  2. FS 11"Survey of Forensic Science"
  3. JS 15 or STAT 95--GE Area B4, Statistics
  4. BIOL 30 or CHEM 001A

Each Fall and Spring, the number of open spaces in the Forensic Science majors will be determined (usually November and March). Applicants will be ranked by GPA and admitted until the number of open slots at the time is filled, or all qualified students are taken. Students with an overall GPA below the Impaction GPA will need to show outstanding promise of success in the major to qualify.

Admission into Forensic Science is competitive.  A rule of thumb for a target GPA is 3.0.  In other words, you should strive for an overall GPA of 3.0 to have a strong chance of qualifying to declare a Forensic Science concentration as your major.

Have a back-up plan.  Look for a second field, such as chemistry or biology, outside of Forensic Science, that really interests you, and start taking courses in that field (think of it as pursuing the field as a minor). If you do not qualify for Forensic Science, you may be able to switch to that field as your major. You can still minor in Forensic Studies. Your major and minor, then, will make a good combination, with good career potential.