Skip to main content

Change of Major/Change of Level

Change of Major

F-1 and J-1 students are admitted to the U.S. to work towards “the attainment of a specific education or professional objective,” as stated in U.S. Federal Regulations. As such, students in F-1 and J-1 student status must always have an I-20 or DS-2019 that accurately reflects their educational program.

Your I-20/DS-2019 shows your major(s) and the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code assigned to your major(s). If your major changes, you will need an updated document. Once the major is updated in YES, ISSS will update your I-20/DS-2019.

Students in J-1 status whose document was issued by a third-party organization (such as Fulbright) must contact their program sponsor before changing their major.

Change of Level /Matriculation

Similar to major changes, a change in educational level requires an updated document. Students who complete an academic program at Vanderbilt and then decide to begin a new academic program at Vanderbilt must request an updated I-20/DS-2019. The process is called “change of level” for students in F-1 status and “matriculation” for students in J-1 status. An example of this is completing a Bachelor’s degree and then beginning a Master’s degree at the same institution.

Like a change of major, a change of academic degree level does not require government adjudication. Again, you are responsible for maintaining an accurate, updated document. If you have been admitted to a new academic program at Vanderbilt, you must inform your ISSS advisor and submit a Change of Educational Level request on the ISSS Portal.

The change of level request must be submitted and processed no later than the end of your grace period.

Special considerations for students in J-1 status:

  • Students in J-1 status whose document was issued by a third-party sponsor (i.e., Fulbright) should consult with their program sponsor.
  • J-1 students cannot “reverse matriculate” – for example, students in J-1 status cannot go from a Master’s degree to a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Students in the Non-Degree category cannot matriculate to a degree-seeking program; likewise, degree-seeking students cannot matriculate to a non-degree program. Consult with your ISSS advisor if you are in this situation.

If you have any questions about these processes, please contact your ISSS advisor.