Three students and a dog sit on a rock edge looking out over a lake with a boat driving by

Exploratory Studies

Exploratory Studies is just what it sounds: This is a place you can explore majors and their concentrations as a CSU student before declaring a major. There’s always time to explore!

At a glance

About one in five students in each incoming class has not yet declared at major at CSU. These students are part of Exploratory Studies, which is not a major but what we call an “advising track.” 

Exploratory Studies is also for students who have not yet been admitted to a competitive major and are working to either complete requirements or explore their options.

All Exploratory Studies students are supported by staff members dedicated to helping you find the right fit for your goals and skills.

Benefits of Exploratory Studies

Academic advising

Exploratory Studies students are supported by professional advisors.

Exploring majors class

Students can take the one-credit Exploring Major Tracks class to learn about academic and career options within the various major tracks at CSU and explore how those options align with their interests, values, skills, and identities.

Full admission

Exploratory Studies students are fully admitted, degree-seeking students with access to financial aid and scholarships.

Access to classes

Students can take introductory-level courses in different areas of interest, different majors, and different academic colleges to explore programs while earning credits toward graduation requirements.

Limitations of Exploratory Studies

Not declaring a major best serves students at the freshman or sophomore level with fewer than 60 college credits complete. If you have more than 45 credits in transfer or test out credit (AP, IB, CLEP, etc.), you are strongly encouraged to visit with an advisor before you choose Exploratory Studies.

Course restrictions

Exploratory Studies students can’t register for courses that are restricted to students in specific majors. For example, Exploratory Studies students can’t register for courses exclusively for Engineering majors.

Core curriculum

Exploratory Studies students focus on completing core curriculum requirements until they have selected a major. While Exploratory Studies students have lots of choices for classes, some classes are only for students who have chosen a particular major. For example, a civil engineering class that is is only open to students with a civil engineering major.

How to join Exploratory Studies

Select Exploratory Studies within your application for admission or contact your admissions counselor to request this designation after you’ve been admitted and before you enroll. You can be in Exploratory Studies with or without being affiliated with one of the major tracks outlined below. Major tracks are CSU majors and concentrations grouped by themes.

Arts, Humanities, and Design

The borders of your notes are always covered in sketches and ideas. It’s not that you can’t keep your mind on what you’re doing — it’s that you can’t keep it off what you haven’t yet created.

Education and Teaching

You love how someone’s eyes light up when they learn something new, and love the idea of inspiring a new generation. You’re ready to explore your academic interests on a path that also prepares you to teach them.

Environmental and Natural Resources

Rolling down the car window and getting lost in the landscape is your favorite part of any trip. The natural world has always been your classroom, and learning how all life fits together, your inspiration.

Global and Social Sciences

You’re a people watcher. You see a story in every person and want to dig deeper, learning more about the history, culture, and circumstance that led to the very moment you’re sharing.

Health, Life and Food Sciences

You see science intertwined in every part of a person’s life and this unique vision spurs you to improve people’s lives by taking proven ideas to the next level.

Land, Plant and Animal Sciences

You were the first to notice the tadpoles in the pond and the bird’s nest in the tree behind your house. But, more importantly, you always questioned how they got there — and how to protect them.

Math, Physical Sciences and Engineering

Your world is a jigsaw puzzle and you’re busy assembling the pieces. Your favorite question is: “But, how?” You never shy away from the big issues and find a thrill in the opportunity a problem presents.

Organization, Management and Enterprise

You see the invisible lines between people and their environments. You’re always thinking about the next step in the process and bringing people together to help achieve a common goal.

Where you’ll learn

Tour and info session options

Tours may be available as part of Admissions tours and info sessions, offered throughout the year.

For additional opportunities, please reach out.

Exploratory Studies is pleased to offer both in-person and virtual appointments. Appointments are highly recommended, but students and guests also may drop in Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m.

Call us at (970) 491-7095 to schedule an appointment. Our in-person visits are held at Canvas Stadium, 1415 Meridian Avenue, in Fort Collins.

academic Info and Tips

Explore even more

Want a more in-depth look at Exploratory Studies? Take a look at the program website to learn more.