Academic Exploration

Don’t rush into a major when you have time to explore

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Alfred University has over thirty majors. What if you're not sure which one (or ones) you want to pursue yet? Then you are right where you should be!


Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY


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Maybe a better question is “why not explore?” Through your general education classes, you will learn about a variety of majors and careers, some of which you may not even know about yet. What you are really doing through this process is exploring yourself. What kinds of activities do you find enriching? What do you think your purpose in life will be? Exploring options for your future is just the process of discovering what you want to get out of life and what way of making a living will help you achieve that larger purpose.

There are lots of ways to explore your options and to learn about majors (and careers):

  • Your general education classes will introduce you to various fields and help you find your strengths and interests.
  • Conversations with your teachers and classmates will clue you into different career paths.
  • The Career Development Center has resources for you to learn what web developers or actuarial scientists or hydrologists or public policy analysts (or people in lots of other careers) do.
  • Attending career fairs or panels about different professions will provide you even more information (and probably some good connections, too).
  • An internship after your first year of college can expose you to the work world in a career you have started to consider.

Remember that you are not falling behind as you are exploring: the CLAS curriculum is designed so that most of your classes in those first several semesters satisfy one of the CLAS general education requirements. That means you are moving toward graduation each semester even as you think about which major you would like to declare.

Faculty Advising for all Academic Explorers

The main thing faculty advisors can do is help you explore. Students who are Academic Explorers have a faculty advisor who has been trained to help you choose classes that can teach you about a particular major. They can suggest good classes for students who are weighing their options. There are a few majors that want you to get started early; your faculty advisor knows which ones those are and can give you a heads-up if you want to keep a particular option open.

Extra Mentoring for First-Year Academic Explorers

We list lots of ways to explore majors and careers above, but some of those things might be intimidating or confusing when you start your college career. If you are a first-year student entering Alfred as an Academic Explorer, we'll help you get the most out of your exploration by connecting you with graduate student mentors. Through individual mentoring sessions and group workshops, these graduate students (who have recently been through the college experience themselves) will help you through the process of self-reflection, connect you to resources available at Alfred University, and assist you in matching your interests to a major.

Students who have declared a major can switch to Academic Exploration! Many students realize after a semester or two that the major they originally declared is not for them. If you are experiencing that, you should take a little time to explore! Fill out this form and declare Academic Exploration to replace your current major. Later, once you have discovered your real interest, you can fill out that same form to declare your new major (or double major) officially.

There is a dedicated webpage for each of our majors where you can learn about:

  • Courses offered in that major
  • Requirements for earning that major
  • Careers that can come out of that field of study

Keep in mind that a liberal education is designed to prepare you to grow and learn even after graduation. Many of our graduates use the fundamental skills they’ve learned in their CLAS classes to go into a field that’s different from their major. That kind of flexibility is not an accident: it’s one of the key features of a strong liberal education.


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