Exploratory Studies Explore. Discover. Decide

Mission, Vision, and Values

What is Exploratory Studies?

In 2024, we were excited to celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the Exploratory Studies Program at Purdue University! Our program helps students discover the major that best reflects their interests and ambitions.  Students are given the space and time to explore balanced with professional guidance intended to encourage students' proactive career research and reflection. Some key features of our program include:

  • Each student is assigned an experienced academic advisor who is familiar with all Purdue schools and degree programs.  Our advisor to student ratio is kept at 1:150 (or less), so that advisors have time to really get to know their advisees!
  • A unique course schedule is created for each student specifically tailored to their interests and ambitions.  We strive for a balance of University Core Curriculum requirements and available major courses.  
  • Exploring students take our EDPS 10500 course, Academic and Career Planning, in the Fall.  This is a full-semester, 3-credit course that allows students to "try on" and evaluate majors and careers before having to commit to one.  It is updated each year and taught by our Exploratory Studies advisors.  Assisting us in teaching EDPS 10500 are student services staff members from all over the University. 
  • Students can remain in Exploratory Studies for up to four semesters (two Fall-Spring school years) - but can declare their major any time during that period! 

Our vision for Exploratory Studies to "be an exemplary advising program in the nation for exploratory students" has remained unchanged over the program's 27-year history.  The program has seen great success in fulfilling its mission "to assist and empower students."  It is viewed by many as a model program for how to successfully support undecided students throughout their journey.


Our History

In April 1995, the Purdue University Senate approved a three-year pilot program for beginning, exploratory, undecided freshmen students. This pilot, called the Undergraduate Studies Program (USP), was modeled after a program at The Pennsylvania State University. In August 1996, 212 students started with USP. In February 1999, the Purdue University Senate approved USP as a permanent program for entering freshmen students effective August 1999.

In June 2001, the University Division of the Office of the Dean of Students was merged with USP, adding reentry, readmit, and change of degree objective continuing students to the population served by USP.

In 2013, USP changed its name to Exploratory Studies.

Our Mission and Values

The mission of Exploratory Studies at Purdue University is to assist and empower students to:

  • IDENTIFY strengths, interests, and values
  • EXPLORE academic and career possibilities
  • REFLECT on the intersection of self-discovery and future career goals

We value:

  • Affirming the uniqueness of individual students
  • Relationship-building and open conversations
  • Curiosity and open-mindedness
  • Fostering a growth mindset
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Diversity in our community

Purdue's Statement of Values

Exploratory Studies is committed to fostering an environment in which students, faculty, and staff are able to realize the promise of Purdue's Values:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Honor
  • Inclusion
  • Innovation
  • Growth
"Looking back I am so glad I started in EXPL. My advisor was so welcoming, understanding, and supportive of any major I considered (and I considered a ton!). The program gave me the time and resources to figure out the correct path for me." -Meredith S