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 Indiana University Bloomington (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 co-curricular 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 data for undergraduates starting at IUB between 2004-2013, 41% of students who entered with a declared major changed their major in the first year. So when you meet students during orientation who seem sure of their major, keep in mind that about a 40% of them will change their major in the first year.  Our data also shows that 16% of students entered IUB without declaring a major. That is, at IUB nearly 60% of first year students are, or will become, Exploratory. 

Students who explore before declaring a major are less likely to change their major.  And students who explore early during their first year will be more likely to follow their four-year plan to graduation with a degree that is enhanced with co-curricular and involvement experiences.

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. Look through the list of majors and the list of minors and certificates offered at IUB, or browse majors, minors, and certificates by interest area

2. Select the major, minor, and certificate programs that interest you.  

3. When you click on your major and minor interests, you will be linked to a page that recommends some first year courses you can take to learn more.

  • Take notes about what catches your interest and the questions you want to ask about each major, minor, or certificate. 
  • Read course descriptions on the Interactive Graduate Planning System (iGPS) Course Search.
  • 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

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.

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