Students sitting in chairs around a tree talking

Exploratory Studies

Augie_Campus_Fall 2021

What are the objectives of this program?
Many students arrive at Augustana with diverse academic interests or uncertainty about their major. Others are interested in constructing their own degree program through Augustana’s interdisciplinary degree program. Exploratory Studies is a program designed to engage students in active exploration of Augustana’s academic programs so they can formulate personalized educational goals and maintain their degree progress.

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

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

How do students benefit from this program?
From the classroom to campus activities and the broader Sioux Falls community, this program enables students to actively explore their options. 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 also 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 advisor prior to the start of their first term at AU.

Others benefit from routine conversations during their first semester. Students’ exploring advisors also connect them to opportunities in the community, such as volunteering or shadowing, that permit them to preview the professions that interest them. Students are also introduced to and meet individually with the faculty in the academic areas that they find appealing. Working closely with the professors in these areas, they confirm if and how it is possible to blend their interests in whatever majors, minors, and concentrations interest them.

What is the difference between choosing a major and selecting a career?

Exploratory Studies include both major selection and career exploration. Both are too important to leave to chance. When students explore majors, they examine the ways their personal and/or professional interests align with program admission or degree requirements. As students choose careers, they identify satisfying occupations they intend to pursue after graduation. Given the certification and licensing requirements of many professional fields, which often stipulate specific academic training, this
program integrates both objectives.

How does this program help me explore my options?
To engage students immediately in the potential majors that interest them and enhance their navigation of the many degrees available at Augustana, we have designed the six pathways listed below. Each area includes courses aligned with the diverse disciplines that fall under these tracks. When students register, they will note Exploratory Studies as their major and select a designated concentration. Each concentration aligns with the degree progress with the possible plan of studies published by academic departments. You also have some freedom to choose additional courses within AU’s core curriculum.


  • 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

Questions? Contact Billie Streufert ( or 605.274.4123).