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Make a well informed decision when deciding (or re-deciding) on a college major. University Studies offers a step by step, systematic process for students to learn about themselves and their options for a major at RIT. This takes time and effort and a bit of energy and enthusiasm, but the results will be worth it.

Start your exploration now by clicking on the topics below.

Individualized Advising

University Studies students are assigned an advisor who will assist them every step of the way through the exploration process. This advisor will know his or her students personally as they transition through college and discover their final major.

Role of the Academic Advisor:

  • Effectively communicate major/program requirements and direct students to print and online resources for this information.
  • Encourage students to assume responsibility for their educational plans and decision making.
  • Create an environment where mutual respect and trust allow students to define and develop realistic personal, academic and professional goals.
  • Monitor and accurately document students’ progress toward meeting these goals.
  • Serve as a teacher/mentor in providing students with guidance, support and advocacy.
  • Be accessible for meeting with students in person or through telephone or e-mail.
  • Provide students with information about and strategies for utilizing campus services and resources.
  • Uphold the integrity of the RIT degree by enforcing institute policies.

Role of the Student Advisees:

  • Schedule an appointment with their academic advisor at least once each term.
  • Come prepared to their appointments with questions or issues for discussion.
  • Ask questions if they do not understand an issue or have a specific concern.
  • Organize official documents in a way that enables students to access them when needed (Advising Portfolio)
  • Complete all assignments or recommendations from their advisor.
  • Clarify goals and provide accurate information regarding their interests and abilities.
  • Become knowledgeable about institute programs, policies, and procedures.
  • Read their RIT e-mails frequently.
  • Accept responsibility for their decisions and actions (or inactions) that affect their educational progress.
Career Exploration Seminar

This required, one-credit hour course focuses on individual/personal assessment. Students explore their interests, values and skills through career inventories including the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, as well as other self-guided worksheets on personal values and skills analysis.

Through class led discussions, reflective activities, and individual appointments, students use their assessment findings to research potential RIT majors and career fields.

Sample Course Syllabus:

Class # Date Topic Location Assignment Due USP Content
1 Aug. 26 Introduction to Course and Participants EAS 1310   Intro and Information Grid
2 Sept. 2 Values EAS 1310 Journal 1-Career AutobiographyRead Work chapter by  Kent NerburnRead “A Life Beyond Do What You Love” Advising Syllabus and Expectations
3 Sept. 9 Career InterestsStrong Interpretation EAS 1310 Journal 2-Values20 Things I like to DoInterests-More ways to Identify Them Exploration StepsAcademic Issues
4 Sept. 16 Personality and Myers-Briggs Interpretation EAS 1310 Journal 3-Interests Bulletin and Holland Codes
5 Sept. 23 Occupational Research Bausch and Lomb, A190 Journal 4-Myers-Briggs COS and CHST
6 Sept. 30 Occupational Research On-line Library 3650, Bib Lab Occupational Research Worksheets CAST and KGCOE
7 Oct. 7 Skills and Abilities EAS 1310 Occupational  Websites Research Activity COLA and CIAS
  Oct. 14 No Class      
8 Oct. 21 Informational InterviewingIntegrating occupational information and personal information EAS 1310 Journal 5-Skills and Abilities GCCIS, SCB, NTID
9 Oct. 28 The Changing World of WorkPreparing an Elevator Speech EAS 1310 Journal 6-IntegrationMy Profile Summary   Sheet Exploration Resources and Departmental Meetings
10 Nov. 4 Decision Making and Goal Setting EAS 1310 Draft of Elevator Speech Major Application Process
11 Nov. 11 Elevator Speech and Planned Happenstance EAS 1310 2 Informational InterviewsElevator Speech Bumps in the Road
12 Nov. 18 Culmination Class EAS 1310 Final Papers and 5 minute oral reports Transitioning


Sampling Courses

One of the most important components of deciding on a major is experiencing the major or a content area through "sample courses". Here is what a sample schedule of an exploring University Studies student looking at programs across three colleges might look like and why.

Sampling three majors that span three colleges:

  • Engineering (Kate Gleason College of Engineering),
  • Packaging Science (College of Applied Science and Technology) and
  • Psychology (College of Liberal Arts)

Possible Sample Options:

  • Project Based Calculus I - Using the Math Placement Exam scores, students are placed in the highest level math for the most mobility across majors at RIT.
  • Intro to Psychology - Provides a look into psychology and fulfills a perspectives-general education requirement if student doesn't change into Psychology.
  • Principles of Packaging - Recommended sample course for Packaging Science.
  • Writing Seminar - Required 1st year general education requirement.
  • Engineering Exploration Seminar - Recommended sample course which reviews all the engineering majors in that college.

University Studies advisors get to know their student advisees well and this one-on-one relationship helps the advisors select sample courses that best fit their advisees’ interests.  Many sample courses also satisfy university general education requirements.

Finding an RIT Major

Once students translate their career assessments into possible RIT majors, students will start their major research by identifying majors of interest in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Completing a "Pros/Cons" worksheet for top three majors of interest helps guide a student through a process of exploring what they may like and dislike about a program, often leading to a list of questions for a department chairperson such as "What type of job will I have with a degree in Motion Picture Science or Environmental Sustainability, Health and Safety?"

Meeting with an RIT Department

Once students have narrowed down their interests, identified a few programs of study, and completed a Pros/Cons or Department Meeting Prep Sheet, meeting with departments will help clarify and validate interests. This referral to a department gives students the opportunity to ask questions about careers, program requirements, and the process for changing into that college major.

Change of Program

In most cases, when students are ready to apply to a major it involves completing one simple form, a change of program form, which they then submit directly to their academic advisor in University Studies.  There are a few majors that do require supplemental application materials or they may have artistic portfolio requirements as well.  A very small number of majors may also mandate fall starts.  The advisors in University Studies are all aware of these details and effectively communicate them to their student advisees.  It should be noted that students are also advised to research a “Plan B” major should they not be qualified for and accepted into their first choice major.