Changing course

Last year, the SU Advice Team supported 23 undergraduate and PGT students who wanted to change course. Based on their experience, here are 10 steps we'd recommend following.

You can ask us for advice at any time.

8 minute read

Step 1. Confirm why you want to change course

Answer these four questions:
  • 1. What are your reasons for wanting to change course?
  • 2. What were your expectations and why aren’t they being matched?
  • 3. Have you given the issue enough time to be resolved?
  • 4. Is there anything that might be affecting your judgement?

If you’re unhappy with the quality of your experience, this link explains how to contact a Students' Union (SU) Advisor to ask for impartial advice on how to resolve the issue.

If you want to explore ways to feel more comfortable and confident with life at University, this link explains how to speak to a University Wellbeing Advisor.

Step 2. Identify the course you want to transfer to

The link will help you check the UCAS entry requirements for a course. Try to speak to someone on the course or follow this link to find and speak to an Academic Rep to check the course is what you’re looking for. Think about these questions:
  • 1. How long will the course last?
  • 2. Do I have the entry grades?
  • 3. What if the course is full for this year and I need to apply for 2023/24 entry?
  • 4. How might this affect any funding you are receiving?

Step 3. Arrange a meeting with your Personal Tutor

Tell your Personal Tutor you're thinking about changing course. They will probably have supported someone else in the same position and will be able to suggest options based on the academic details of your course. It’s important you don’t ask to leave your current course until you’ve confirmed another course will accept you. 

It's up to you if you want to speak to your current Director of Studies at this point, as they might be able to help resolve any issues. You can ask an SU Advisor if you're unsure and would like a second opinion on whether to speak to your Director of Studies now or later.

Step 4. Email the Director of Studies of the course you want to transfer to

Explain your situation by covering three points:
  1. Briefly explain which course you want to transfer to and why.
  2. Confirm you meet the entry requirements. If you don’t, include your A-Level results (or equivalent) and ask if they would still consider you.
  3. Ask if it is possible to transfer to the course this year. The answer will depend on the numbers of students already on the course and if it’s possible to catch up with the work.

This link will help you find the name of a Director of Studies.

"I switched courses after my first year from maths to politics with economics. It was a difficult decision but worked out really well and I love my degree now. Talking to the Director of Studies for my prospective degree subject helped me assess my options and gave me the confidence I was making the right choice." 
- Blake Walker, SU Community Officer 2022/23

Step 5. Prepare for the Director of Studies decision

The Director of Studies (for the course you want to transfer to) will consider your situation and practical information about the course to decide:


What to do next

You can transfer this year

Ask for written confirmation (e.g. an email) you will be accepted on to your course and follow Steps 6-9 before you ask to leave your current course.

You can transfer next year

Ask for written confirmation and details of how you should formally apply to the course. Meet your Personal Tutor to ask about your situation before the new course begins. Follow Steps 6-9 before you ask to leave your current course.

You can’t transfer

Ask the Director of Studies if you should apply for the following year. If this isn’t possible, ask if there any similar courses at Bath (or another University) they would recommend instead. This is a good time to speak to a Careers Adviser for expert advice on your options (see Step 6).

If you’re unsure about the outcome from the Director of Studies, you can ask an SU Advisor for impartial advice on what to do next.

Step 6. Arrange a meeting with a University Careers Adviser

Even if you have been accepted on to a new course, it’s wise to use this link to contact and arrange a meeting with a Careers Adviser . You can ask what other students on the course have done after graduating and ideas for things you can do while studying, to ensure you are in the best position to find an enjoyable and satisfying career.

Step 7. Check your housing situation

If there’s a break between your courses and you need to move out, you can end your tenancy by:

Type of accommodation

What to do next

University halls

Follow this link to complete an online request to end your accommodation contract early.

Private accommodation with a live-in landlord

Check your licence agreement (contract) to see when and how you need to hand in your notice. This is usually linked to the frequency you pay your rent (e.g. if you pay monthly you usually need to give one months’ notice).

Private accommodation in a shared house or self-contained flat

Check your assured shorthold tenancy (contract) to see if it’s a joint contract with your housemates or an individual contract. Most assured shorthold tenancy contracts are fixed term and usually can’t be ended early. To be released from your contract, speak to your landlord and find a replacement tenant to take over your tenancy.

If you’re unsure what your contract means, you can ask an SU Advisor by emailing your contract to

Make a note of the date when you need to find a new house:

Situation when you return

When to apply

You’re returning as a first-year student

You can apply to live in halls in but places aren’t usually guaranteed until closer to the start of the academic year.

You want to rent private accommodation

Most students will start to look for private accommodation in November-December and sign contracts in the spring.


Step 8. Check your financial situation

Use this link to arrange a meeting with the Student Money Advice Team to check the financial implications of changing course (including tuition fees) and what information you might need to send to the Student Loans Company (or equivalent if you have a bursary or grant).

Step 9. Check your visa situation

If you’re an International Student or are sponsored, use this link to arrange a meeting with the Student Immigration Service to check if there are any implications for your visa or terms and conditions attached to your sponsorship which might affect your ability to change course.

Step 10. Email the Director of Studies of your current course

Write to the Director of Studies to confirm you wish to leave your course. This is the final step which you should only take when you’ve considered all the points above. Briefly explain why you have chosen to leave and the course you are transferring to.  This link will help you find the name of a Director of Studies.


Item Explanation
UCAS entry requirements A mix of qualifications, subjects or exam grades that are essential to study a course. Follow this link to find the entry requirements for a course at Bath: Courses (
Licence agreement A type of housing contract when you rent a room in a house with a live-in landlord.
Assured shorthold tenancy A type of housing contract when you rent an entire apartment or a room in a house with multiple tenants (the landlord does not live there).


Person Location Role
Students' Union Advisor Students' Union SU Advisors can give non-judgemental, practical advice on how to change course and support you to make a well-considered decision. 
Academic Rep Students' Union Students who represent everyone on their course and share feedback with the SU and University. Each year group of a course has at least two Reps who could tell you what a course is like or help you resolve issues with your current course. This link explains their role and how to contact them: Academic Representation (
Wellbeing Advisor University Student Support When you're looking for support with your mental health, Wellbeing Advisors are the first people to speak to. Follow this link to discover more about the Wellbeing Service (
Careers Adviser University Student Support Careers Advisers offer 20-minute appointments to discuss your career plans and next steps. This link explains What to expect from a Careers Service appointment and how to prepare (
Money Adviser University Student Support Money Advisers offer appointments to discuss your financial situation and advice to support you. This link has information about Making an appointment or attending a drop-in session with Student Money Advice (
Personal Tutor Academic Department An academic in your Department who acts as your personal point of contact, supporting your academic and personal development. This link explains more about Personal tutoring ( and what to expect from your Personal Tutor.
Director of Studies Academic Department A senior academic in your Department who is responsible for managing the teaching, offering advice to students and making decisions in line with University policies. Follow this link to find a List of Directors of Studies by Department (
Student Immigration Adviser University Admissions and Outreach Immigration Advisers help students apply for and maintain their visas. Follow this link to find out how to contact the Student Immigration Service (

Last updated September 2022.