First Steps

Students walking on steps at Wells Library

Step 2: Explore Majors, Minors & Certificates


In University Division (UD), we use the word “Exploratory” to describe a student who has yet to make final decisions about a major, minor, and/or certificate.  Exploring is a smart way to begin because IUB has so much to offer!  University Division encourages all students to explore the many options available at IUB and choose the major and other academic and extracurricular programs that best fit their goals.  Like any other learning experience, exploring takes some work, but it can be fun too!  

Exploratory is more common than you might think. According to national research, each academic year 20-25% of all new college students begin their first term undecided about their major.  Additionally, of the students who enter with a declared major, 50-60% change their major in their first year.  That is, in the United States each year approximately 70-85% of all new college students are, or will become, Exploratory.   Also we know that students who explore before declaring a major are less likely to change their major. 

Planning Your First Year

With planning, you can begin as Exploratory and graduate in the traditional four-year timeframe.  UD advisors can help you choose classes that will allow you to explore your interests while also satisfying degree requirements for the majors you are exploring. 

Follow the steps below to prepare for your orientation advising meeting, and begin your exploration.

1.  Locate the following resources from the UD First Steps webpages:

2.  Look through the list of majors and the list of minors and certificates offered at IUB. 

3.  Select the major, minor, and certificate programs that interest you and make notes on the APW and/or your extra paper. 

  • Write a little about what catches your interest and the questions you want to ask about each major, minor, or certificate. 
  • Find the recommended first courses for each program and read the course descriptions.  List the courses you would like to take. 
  • Since all students regardless of their major must satisfy the IUB General Education requirements, it will be useful to note which of the courses on your list are Arts and Humanities (A&H), Social and Historical Studies (S&H), Natural and Mathematical Sciences (N&M), World Cultures (WC), or World Language (WL).  The course descriptions will tell you if the course is an IUB Gen Ed.  The APW is set up to help you organize courses into these categories. 

4.  Consider taking a course to help you explore!  ASCS-Q 294 Basic Career Development is taught by the Career Development Center at IUB to help first year students explore majors and careers.  Read the course description for ASCS-Q 294 and add this course to your list if you think you might like to take it.

During your first year, your UD advisor will help you explore majors.  If you would like to begin some more in-depth exploration now, go to the Explore Majors website and read about the majors, minors, and certificates you find most interesting.  Notice on this site you can search for majors by interest, alphabetically, or by school.   Keep notes for yourself and write down your questions to discuss with your advisor.  

If you have any questions before you come to Bloomington, please use your IU email account to contact us at