Exploratory Studies

Why exploratory studies?

Exploratory studies is designed to engage students in active exploration of Augustana’s academic programs so they can formulate personalized educational goals and maintain their degree progress.

  • Approximately 14% of first-year students start classes while still exploring major and career opportunities.​
  • Exploring students select courses that help them progress toward completing ​AU's core​ requirements and allow them to try out areas of study that interest them.
  • The program is structured to involve the classroom, campus activities and the broader Sioux Falls community in the search for the right major and career.
Exploratory Studies

Academics at AU

Whether you are new to AU or a returning student looking to change majors, this program benefits students who have the foresight to identify they need time to engage in any of the following:

  • Explore several possibilities and assess the ways their values, interests and skills align with their options or the needs of their communities
  • Examine the careers that align with their existing academic interests
  • Decide between two competing majors that cannot be combined
  • Blend their diverse interests and leverage multiple talents in potential double majors or an interdisciplinary major
  • Consider new degree programs that differ from their current major
  • Confirm their current major(s) or minor(s) through immediate experiential learning
  • Design parallel paths that complement their interests and enable them to pursue competitive degree programs


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Exploratory studies integrates major selection with career exploration. In this program, students examine their professional interests and align them with AU degrees. Advisors also assure certification and licensing requirements for a profession are met in academic training through a major.

Students benefit from integrated career and academic advising, hands-on shadowing experience or volunteering, courses designed to amplify interests and community support.

Hands-On Learning

Students’ exploring advisors connect them with:

  • Opportunities in the community that preview professions of interest
  • Volunteering or shadowing
  • Faculty mentorship in the academic areas of interest

Courses & Organizations

During their first semester, students enroll in a first-year seminar course (FYS 110) that is taught by a professor within students’ interest areas. This course often introduces students to their academic division and classmates who share their academic interests. Some students pair this course with a career exploration course (GENL 100), which also falls under the well-being area of the core curriculum.

Students can choose to study these concentrations:

  • Education, Communication Disorders and Sign language Interpreting
  • Business Administration, Sports Management and Economics
  • Government, History, International Studies, Psychology or Sociology
  • Fine Arts, Languages and the Humanities (Anthropology, Communication Studies, English, Environmental Studies, Media Studies, Philosophy, Religion)
  • Health Sciences and Natural Science (This includes pre-professional concentration, such as medicine or allied health.)
  • Engineering, Data Science, Technology, and Math

Exploring students engage in integrated career and academic advising. This advisor is familiar with all of AU’s degree programs and specializes in choosing a major as a certified career counselor and coach. Many students elect to connect with this Student Success Center advisor prior to the start of their first semester.