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Exploratory Studies Program

What’s it all about?

Each year hundreds of students are admitted to South Dakota State University (SDSU) without having identified a major field of study, so you are not alone. To assist you in selecting a major, SDSU has developed an exploratory studies program for academic and career success (ACS).

Exploratory Studies is designed for students who:

  • Are uncertain about their choice of major.
  • Want an opportunity to explore the academic opportunities SDSU has to offer before deciding on a field of study.

“Exploratory” truly defines the essence of the student who wants and needs to explore his or her options for a baccalaureate program that best suits their values, interests and goals.

How does it work?

SDSU has identified five tracks of introductory coursework listed below that will help you explore degrees within the major fields of study offered at our institution. When you apply to SDSU, you select a track of your choice during the application process. Each track exposes you to specific insights about careers and opportunities within specific fields of study.

Exploratory Studies Program Tracks:

  • Education, social sciences and management.
  • Humanities, fine arts and design.
  • Health sciences.
  • Engineering, technology and math.
  • Agriculture and natural sciences.

In the first semester within a program track, you will participate in a first-year seminar course that assists with transition to the university as well as a careers course that introduces you to the academic expectations and career opportunities specific to your track. The tracks provide a certain degree of freedom in selecting additional courses to provide more in-depth exposure to possible majors. While in a track, you will continue to make forward progress on general education requirements as well as gain a greater understanding of major specific fields of study.

SDSU feels that a sense of community is an important aspect of a university education. To help you connect to this community, each track builds a learning community by scheduling its students in sections of courses that all students are required to take as system general education courses.

Exploratory Studies Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Based on interests, abilities, values and goals, make educated decisions regarding course selection and degree program.
  2. Select a major no later than the end of the second term of study or by the time 30 credits are earned and know the degree requirements for the selected major field of study.
  3. Pursue a balanced and thought-provoking education both in and out of the classroom.
  4. Be an active and self-directed learner who challenges oneself.