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Exploratory Studies

Exploratory Studies

A great place to land for your first-year at USM!

There are several reasons why you may feel that you should be in Exploratory Studies your first year at Southern Miss. The most common and obvious reason is that you are truly undecided about which major is right for you!
Exploratory Studies guides first-year students in both course and major selection. Our ultimate goal is helping students declare their academic major and graduate in a timely manner.
As an Exploratory Studies student you will have the opportunity to:
  • complete the University general education curriculum.
  • explore introductory major courses and general electives.
  • learn information about University majors and degrees.
  • complete assessments to guide you in your major research.
  • communicate with departments about potential majors.
  • find an academic balance that leads to success.

Students should declare their major once they have completed 30-credit hours of college courses or prior to entering their sophomore year. If for any reason students are unable to do so, an academic advisor can help discuss and navigate options. Transfer students with more than 30-hours should consult with their academic advisor.

Steps Towards Declaring a Major

There are several main areas that must be addressed when exploring majors and choosing the one that is right for you. These areas will be addressed more fully during academic advisement.

  • Personal Career Assessment: You will learn more about yourself through taking the online Focus Assessment through Career Services. This assessment will help you identify possible majors that you should investigate further based on your personality and career goals.
  • Degree Program Research: Southern Miss offers more than 140 distinct undergraduate majors. You will explore your possibilities by researching department websites, curriculum requirements, and through informational interviews with department faculty.
  • Degree Evaluation: It is important that you identify a major that will allow you to graduate in a timely manner. Thus, part of your advisement is to evaluate the credits that you have already earned (in residence and transfer) and how they may be applied toward the major(s) that you are considering.

Academic Majors at Southern Miss

The University of Southern Mississippi offers more than 140 distinct undergraduate majors through its six academic colleges. You can search these majors by the following:

Explore Majors


Getting Started

To get started, contact the Exploratory Studies advisor in the University Advising Center.

Advising Center


Contact Us

School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

110 Elizabeth Harkins Hall (EHH)
118 College Dr. #5112
Hattiesburg, MS 39406


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