Three students seated around a table browse pamphlets for different majors and career options

Exploratory Studies

When you begin your Widener experience in the Exploratory Studies program, you open yourself up to the expansive possibilities that college has to offer. Find the resources you need to succeed in your exploration here.

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Keep Exploring

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Consider Your Degree Options

While you're exploring your major options, you'll also be introduced to Widener's signature degree specializations and program options. From ROTC to pre-professional pathways in fields like medicine and law to Widener's 4+1 program—which allows you to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in just five years—there's so much to discover.

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Get to Know Your Personal Interests, Skills & Career Goals

Finding a career that fits you best begins with intentional exploration. The Career Design & Development team provides resources to help you explore not only careers and their outlooks, but your personality, abilities, values, and interests to help you pair your unique qualities with a fulfilling career.

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Get the Support You Need to Succeed

From personalized academic coaching and tutoring to the math and writing centers, we're here to help. Academic success resources are available to all students regardless of whether you've declared a major. Accessibility resources—including academic, residential, and emotional support animal accommodations—are also available to you throughout your Widener career.


As an exploratory studies student, you'll have access to professional academic advising and peer mentoring. But with so many options, who do you turn to for help?

  • The Exploratory Studies team is here to guide you through the entire process of exploring your major! When you don't know where to go to, you can always start with us. Never hesitate to get in touch.
  • Your academic advisor is the person you'll meet with prior to registration to select courses and the person who can release your academic holds. Your academic advisor is specially trained to advise undecided students and is knowledgeable in curriculum ladders across the university. You can see who your advisor is by going to myWidener > My Advisor. Go to them for all things registration, grades, and academic holds, as well as review our academic FAQs.
  • Other faculty/deans can be amazing resources to help you dive into the content of various academic subjects you're considering majoring in. They're involved in the major declaration process. Go to them for questions regarding what majoring in their subject would be like.
  • The Career Design & Development team works closely with the ES team to support you throughout your time in this program. Go to them for career support to help discovering your career passions, working on resume building and interview skills, and job & internship exploration.
  • The Student Success team supports all students regardless of major excel in their field. Go to them to find tutoring and coaching services and other resources to support your academics.

We're here to keep you on track to meet your goals and graduate on time. While many students declare a major after their first year at Widener, you can remain in Exploratory Studies for up to four semesters.

In most cases, provided that you've shared all academic interests with your advisors, and successfully followed your curriculum ladder, you should be able to graduate in four years.

When you're ready to declare, you'll want to do the following:

  • Make an appointment with your academic advisor to make sure you meet all the requirements to declare.
  • Make an appointment with the assistant/associate dean or director's office of the department you're declaring in. Your advisors will help you determine who that person is.
  • During your meeting with your new academic department, the Application for Change of Major/Minor form will be started. You'll need the appropriate signatures from your new academic department and the Associate Director of Advising on behalf of ES.
  • Once the form is complete, it will be submitted to Enrollment Services, and you will complete a brief exit survey about your time in Exploratory Studies.
  • Make an appointment with your new academic advisor. You can find who that is on your change form or by going to My Widener > My Advisor.

Congratulations, you just declared your major! Be sure to make an appointment with your new academic advisor to learn all about what your major has to offer. You can also declare a minor at this time.

You can declare a minor at the same time or after you declare your major. However, if you do have an idea of what you'd like your minor to be before you declare a major, you can review the minor requirements in the course catalog and work those into your schedule when you register for classes.

With so many options to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to know how to register for courses. Thankfully, you have a lot of people to help you with this process!

Most students take 15-16 credits per semester, meaning typically 5 courses per semester plus a lab or physical education requirement possibly. The range of credits for a full-time student is 12-18. Students wishing to take over 18 credits will need approval and may require additional tuition.

Your academic advisor will help you decide what courses to take based on university requirements (ENGL 101, ASC 101, Math proficiency, PE) and distribution requirements (9 credits in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Math/Science) as well as introductory courses of majors you may be interested in.

To register for classes, you'll complete a few simple steps:

  • Complete your advising prep by checking MyWidener to see you have any academic holds, reviewing the course catalog, and mapping out your schedule in Student Planning. Make sure you know your assigned date and time to register.
  • First-semester students need to complete a FOCUS2 assessment and career exploration log, and attend a FOCUS2 interpretation session.
  • Attend a pre-advising day meeting with the ES team and then your academic advisor to discuss your options for the upcoming semester.
  • After your advisor approves your schedule, you'll register at the appropriate time for the courses you want

Learn more about the advising, registration, and student planning process on the academic success page.

Yes! Study abroad opportunities vary widely from weeklong excursions to full semesters away. Like any significant academic decision, your advisors will help you determine the best program and timeline for you. 

Visit the study abroad page to find out more about the cross-cultural experiences we offer.