Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Exploratory (Undeclared) major?


At UAA, undecided students are recommended to select exploratory/undeclared  as their major. It is a temporary  major declaration status which provides  the opportunity to explore who you are, investigate academic programs, and examine the link between majors and careers with the support of a Senior Professional Advisor who has the expertise in helping you choose the right major.

Note: It is not required to have a specific declared major to obtain federal financial aid.

What are the benefits in selecting the Exploratory (Undeclared) major?

  • You will receive guidance and resources from skilled academic advisors who specialize in helping you select a major and explore careers.
  • The selection of your major will likely be an informed decision compatible with your  interests, values, personality, strengths and abilities.
  • It is unlikely you will experience the frustration of frequently changing your major.
  • You will learn the process of effective decision making which will also help you in other areas of your life.
  • You will be encouraged to make connections to departmental advisors, faculty, internships, volunteering, and leadership opportunities to assist you in the exploration process.

Will the classes I take with an Exploratory (Undeclared) major count towards my new major?

Yes. UAA requires all undergraduate students to meet General Education Requirements (GERs), which are courses designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge, skills, and values necessary to be critical and creative thinkers, ethical decision-makers, effective communicators, and collaborative and engaged global citizens.

We recommend students with Exploratory (Undeclared) majors  enroll in GER courses as a way to “test drive” majors of interest to them. Often, courses that students take to meet GERs also fulfill requirements in certain majors.

Can I graduate on time if I begin college with an Exploratory (Undeclared) major?


Yes. It is possible to complete degree requirements in four years when partnering with your Senior Professional Academic Advisor (for Exploratory [Undeclared] majors) to carefully select courses. Keep in mind, the time it takes you to complete your degree also depends on when you declare, what you declare and how much time and effort you put forth in selecting the right major.

When should I declare my major?

Each student is unique and explores their options in different ways and within a timeframe that meets their individual needs and responsibilities. UAA wants you to declare a major at a pace that is right for you. However in order to promote timely degree completion, we encourage you to choose your major by the time you reach 45 credit hours for a bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind, associate degrees will require you to choose more quickly since you typically only need 15 credits of GERs before launching into your major requirements.

It is also important to note, UAA’s Financial Aid Office enforces maximum time limits for students to complete their degree and receive certain types of aid. Working with your academic advisor for exploratory/undeclared majors will help you stay on track. 

Will the major I’m considering lead me to a career?

It is important to recognize that all majors prepare students with required skills and qualities wanted by employers such as oral & written communication skills, teamwork orientation, critical thinking and the ability to problem solve, analyze, research and organize information.

Of course there are some careers which require specific educational training such as fields in engineering, or nursing. UAA’s Career Services Center, faculty & advisors are excellent resources that can help you identify possible career options for your desired degree.

I’m an upperclassman and I’m rethinking my major choice. What can I do?

Although changing your major later in your college career can be challenging, it is not impossible. It is important to acknowledge that your choice of a major should interest you and keep you engaged. Exploring your interests further is a great idea if you are in a favorable position. However, changing your major in your junior or senior year can delay your graduation and have added costs associated with it, such as additional semesters and living costs as well as financial aid implications.

Depending on how close to graduation you are, another feasible option might be to complete your current degree and pursue new interests through a minor, a second undergraduate degree or in a master’s program. Our Academic Advisors are happy to meet with you to discuss these options.

How do I change my major?

Meet with a departmental academic advisor of your chosen major to make sure you meet program admission requirements and to clarify the process and paperwork required in declaring your major. Students wishing to change their degree (i.e. Baccalaureate to Associate, Baccalaureate to Baccalaureate or Associate to Associate) will use a change of major form to declare their major. When submitting a change of major form, complete part one of the form and submit form to the academic advisor of your chosen major to secure required departmental completion of part 2 of form.  In most cases, the department will submit the authorized form to enrollment services on behalf of the student for processing however student should gain clarification of submission process.  Students wishing to change from an Associate to Baccalaureate degree must apply for admission.  Be aware that changes to degree level may impact financial aid.


Adapted from: Exploratory Major FAQs. (2011) The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 20 Aug. 2013. Retrieved from UNCG website: