Take up to a year to explore RIT's portfolio of science programs before deciding on a major.
Who selected a major within the College of Science
To explore in your first year
Years to graduation
No extended time if you begin in science exploration
An in depth exploration program where you can experience everything from environmental science to bioinformatics to physics to imaging science.
Design a first-year project to explore how science can be applied to modern-day challenges. Recent topics included climate change, concussions in sports, and travel to Mars.
Learn to conduct research using real-world instrumentation and lab skills.
Course work completed in the exploration program is applied to your new program of study.
Do you know that you love science or math, and you know that you want a career in a related discipline but are not sure which area is your favorite, or how to choose a major that will get you to your career goals? You’re not alone. Many prospective students love science and math, but may not have enough information to decide about a major before starting college. For example, do you know the differences between degrees in biotechnology and biochemistry or applied math and computational math? The science exploration option allows students to investigate the various majors in the College of Science and options for multidisciplinary science/math and careers before deciding on a program of study. Students who choose their major within the first year will not lose time toward the completion of their degree.
You will work as a member of a team on a laboratory-based project that requires you to apply many disciplines in the College of Science – and you will gain experience in all of those areas, helping you to find a career path that is right for you. Over two semesters, you will not only learn about the different majors available to you in the college, but you will also learn to work together to solve multidisciplinary problems as part of a team, how to manage a project from start to finish, and develop leadership skills. Together with your team, you will present your year’s work at the annual Imagine RIT event in April.
Plan of study
The science exploration option is a yearlong sequence of courses built around a single project aimed at designing, building, and conducting multidisciplinary research to answer a question that is too complex for a single discipline to conquer. The question will be presented to you on the first day of class. This approach to multidisciplinary technical education emphasizes real-world, hands-on problem solving by student-led teams. It offers participating students a degree of autonomy and responsibility rarely found in first-year curricula.
As a result of this course sequence, students in the science exploration option develop an appreciation for specific fields that interest them, while simultaneously learning about other College of Science majors.
From Science Exploration to Brown University Researcher
This course prepares students within the College of Science for choosing a major through an intensive, team-based research project. The project is selected each year by the faculty and is presented to the class as a goal. The students will self-organize into groups, define group sub-goals, conduct research, communicate their results on a weekly basis, and integrate the modules into a final, complete research paper that is presented at the end of the second term. Students will be graded on their teamwork, individual and group creativity, scientific rigor, thoroughness of supporting research results, and the overall quality of the final research paper. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Science Exploration II
This course continues to prepare students within the College of Science for choosing a major through an intensive, team-based research project. The project is selected each year by the faculty and is presented to the class as a goal. The students will self-organize into groups, define group sub-goals, conduct research, communicate their results on a weekly basis, and integrate the modules into a final, complete research paper that is presented at the end of the third term. Students will be graded on their teamwork, individual and group creativity, scientific rigor, thoroughness of supporting research results, and the overall quality of the final research paper. Students will present a formal project report at the end of the term to faculty and staff. Lecture 3 (Spring).
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
Mathematics or Calculus Sequence
General Education Curriculum
Total Semester Credit Hours
* Please see General Education Framework for more information.
† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
‡ Students must choose one of the following laboratory sequences: General Biology I (BIOL-101), General Biology I Lab (BIOL-103), General Biology II (BIOL-102), and General Biology II Lab (BIOL-104); General and Analytical Chemistry I (CHMG-141), General and Analytical Chemistry I Lab (CHMG-145), General and Analytical Chemistry II (CHMG-142), and General and Analytical Chemistry II Lab (CHMG-146); or University Physics I (PHYS-121) and University Physics II (PHYS-122).
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
3 years of math required; pre-calculus recommended
More than 200 international students began their studies at RIT remotely in fall 2020, including 65 undergraduate students and 159 master’s students. RIT Admissions officials said the students have done remarkably well given the challenging circumstances, and 83 percent of those students are now studying at RIT’s campus in Henrietta.
During his time in the Science Exploration program, Noah Gubernick participated in an experiment that explored the potential formation of amino acids on ancient Mars which helped him discover his passion for chemistry and experimental design.