Exploratory Students

Example Image of First Year Advisor advising a student

Deciding on your major can be difficult, but don't forget that you have people, resources, and guidance to help you!

Why choose the exploratory pathway?

Many students begin college uncertain of what they want to study. This is completely normal! One of the ways that UAA helps support these students is the exploratory pathway. If you are unsure what major you want to choose, or if you simply wish to consider all of your options, the exploratory pathway may be right for you.

  • What is the exploratory pathway?
    Grapic listing the top 4 pathways incoming freshman choose at UAA

    Title: Top 4 Pathways for Incoming Bachelor Degree-Seeking Students:

    Health Sciences
    Natural Sciences
    Social Sciences



    The exploratory pathway prepares students to stay on track for on-time graduation by getting students started on key general education requirements (GERs), but provides students with the flexibility to explore majors and careers before committing to a specific academic pathway and declaring a major. Many students choose to start with the exploratory pathway every year!


  • Is this the right path for me?
    Unsure of which major is best for you? Take a deep breath and relax, because it is perfectly normal not to know what you want to study in college. You may not have all the information you need to choose a major, or maybe you just need time to learn about your interests, strengths, and values. While you are an exploratory student, you can work with a First Year Advisor to support you through the exploratory process. Exploratory advising helps students learn about their options and hone in on their interests and create their own rewarding educational experience. The Exploratory Pathway give students the flexibility to explore which academic program best fits their education and career goals.
  • Why choose the exploratory pathway?

    Below are some reasons why you might choose the exploratory pathway:

    • You have no idea what you want to study.
    • You want to study everything.
    • You declared a major that you no longer want to pursue.
    • You want to explore all of your options first.
    • You were not initially admitted to your major.
  • How is Exploratory different from Non-Degree?

    There is a difference between students in the exploratory pathway and non-degree-seeking students. If you are trying to decide which is the best option for you, take a look at this comparison.


    • Students are enrolled in a degree-seeking program and are able to get started on their General Education Requirements (GERs) while also exploring majors/careers.
    • Students are eligible to have any transfer credits from previous institutions evaluated and applied.
    • Students do qualify for federal and state financial aid to assist in paying for classes.

    Non-Degree Seeking

    • Students who wish to take classes for general interest or professional/personal development but do not wish to earn a certificate or degree may register for classes by completing a non-degree seeking application.
    • Non-degree-seeking students are NOT eligible to have transfer credits evaluated or applied.
    • Non-degree-seeking students do NOT qualify for federal or state financial aid.

    To see if you qualify for the non-degree seeking option and to learn more, visit the Non-Degree-Seeking Applications page in the UAA Academic Catalog. 

Thinking about Choosing Exploratory?

UAA has all kinds of resources available to help you make your decision! Below you can explore some helpful links and handouts.

Self-Exploration Activities (Coming Soon!)


Process for the Exploratory Major

  • Explore Business
  • Explore STEM
  • Explore Health Sciences, Services, and Social Sciences
  • Explore Humanities and Art
  • Explore Undecided


If you have any questions during or after your application process, there are people at UAA to help you! You will contact different people depending on whether or not you have already applied for admission at UAA.