It can take time to settle in to your course and university life, and sometimes, students feel they want to transfer to another course, or a different university or college – or they might not want to study any more at all. There's a lot to consider when making your decision, and there are different options you can explore.
If you think the course you’re studying isn’t quite right for you, it is possible to transfer onto a different course – either at the same university, or to a course at a different university or college.
The process of transferring varies by uni or college, and from course to course. You will normally have to fill in some paperwork, which could be a declaration to say you want to change, or a full application form. You may also be required to attend an interview or produce some additional work before your request can be considered. It can take anything from a couple of days to several weeks to finalise.
The first thing to do is speak to your department office or course tutor. They will be able to look at your options with you – whether it’s to get support in place to help you succeed on your current course, or to explain what you need to do to transfer to another course – and advise on next steps.
Things to consider
- Why do you want to switch courses? You'll need to give your reasons and show you’re taking your studies seriously.
- Can you change modules on your current course? This will depend on which modules you’d like to change, as there will be a number of mandatory modules you need to complete to gain your qualification. You might be able to change to other modules, but if a module is oversubscribed, you may not be able to.
- Is there a course in a similar subject, or in the same department, you want to transfer to? Or are you interested in completely different courses? Do your research before you speak to your tutor or department office, so you know what might be available and what you're interested in.
- Additional work – if you're able to transfer to a new course, you may need to catch up on work you’ve missed for the course you transfer to.
- Credit transfer – you may be able to transfer any course credits you’ve already gained, but if the course you want to transfer to is very different, this may not be possible, and you may need to start the new course at the very beginning. This could mean another year of tuition fees, accommodation, and other expenses.
- Student loan – changing course could affect the level of student loan you’re entitled to. If you're transferring course at the end of the academic year, you'll need to see if you can get additional funding for an extra year. It’s important to let the relevant student finance company know as soon as possible. For more information, visit your country's website:
- England – Student Finance England
- Wales – Student Finance Wales
- Scotland – Student Awards Agency Scotland
- Northern Ireland – Student Finance Northern Ireland
Transferring to a different course at the same university or college
It may be possible to transfer to a different course at the same university or college. You'll need to research an alternative course, and find answers to the following questions:
- Are there spaces on the new course? If there aren't, are there other related courses you might want to consider transferring to? Try to find out more about the courses on offer in the department you're interested in.
- Do you meet the entry requirements for the course you want to transfer to? Even if you've already completed some study at the university or college, there may also be some specific subject knowledge requirements you'll need to meet (such as an A level in a certain subject).
- Would the departments involved agree to you transferring? You'll need to discuss your new course choice with the course tutor to make sure it's appropriate for you. You may also need to attend a formal interview.
- When can you transfer? Some universities and colleges allow students to switch their course in the first term, but you may have to wait until the next academic year.
Transferring to a course at a different university or college
If you’re not happy, or your circumstances have changed, you may be able to transfer to a different university or college to complete your studies. There are a number of things you'll need to research and consider first:
- Will the university or college you’re interested in accept transfers? Are there spaces on the course you want to join? You should contact the university or college you're interested in to find out if they accept transfers. You may need to reapply through UCAS.
- Do you meet the entry requirements for the course you want to transfer to? Even if you've already completed some study at another university or college, there may also be some specific subject knowledge requirements you'll need to meet (such as an A level in a certain subject).
- Will you be able to start in the second or third year of a different course? You may be able to transfer directly into the second or third year of a degree course (sometimes referred to as 'advanced standing'), if you've studied enough similar content elsewhere. This is not always possible, and you'll need to check with the university or college. If you want to join the second or third year, you'll need to enter this on your UCAS application as the point of entry.
- You'll need to provide details of all the modules you've already studied, and any marks you received – even if you haven't completed the year, or have not done as well as you expected.
- There is no guarantee you'll be able to switch to another course at a different course provider, even if the courses are very similar – even if you apply to start in the second or third year, you may be made an offer to start in the first year. You may still have to complete your year at your previous university or college, as you could be made a conditional offer based on you achieving a certain percentage or grade in your modules.
Leaving your studies
If you decide uni life isn't right for you, or if your circumstances change and you're no longer able to continue your studies, you'll need to speak to your university or college directly.
This is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Your university or college may be able to provide you with the support you need to continue with your studies, whether that's changing to a part-time course, or transferring to a university closer to home. Whatever your reasons, allow the university or college to help you explore your options.