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Academic Overview

We support our students in their learning, from educational philosophy to thoughtful advising.

The Exploratory Program invites students like you to do just that—explore. You may take up to 60 credits, including those you bring with you from high school or another college, to sample courses that spark your interest and discover the major that’s right for you.

All Ithaca College students participate in the Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC), which encourages you to study a topic from multiple perspectives by taking theme-related courses across the college. All the schools at Ithaca College share this common academic foundation which helps to ensure that you stay on track for graduation. Exploratory students may also take advantage of extra advising support and priority registration for many first-year courses.

Exploring the Options: Finding Purpose and a Path in College

A one-credit seminar in which 15 students study competing philosophies of the purpose of a college education; learn methods for choosing a major and minor; and engage in structured discussions and assignments to articulate core beliefs that help them make authentic academic and co-curricular choices. Offered primarily in the fall with one section in the spring.

Advising Support: Choose as much or as little structure as you need.

As an exploratory student, each semester you will formally meet with your faculty advisor before registering for the upcoming semester. Such meetings help ensure you make progress towards your goals. You will also have many opportunities throughout the ac

During the summer before you arrive at IC, you can expect to receive informational e-mails and a weekly Exploratory Program newsletter. These will contain downloadable, step-by-step guides to summer registration as well as links to helpful campus resources.

During the week that registration for first-year students opens you will also have the opportunity to meet with an Exploratory Program representative. These preliminary meetings will give you the chance to review your initial Fall 2021 course schedule and talk with a community member about your choices.

Worried about making a mistake? Never fear! When you arrive on campus for Fall Orientation, you will again have the opportunity to meet with Exploratory Peer Ambassadors & Leaders (PALs) to review your schedule. During these sessions, we will help you finalize your weekly plan to make sure you are ready for the first day of classes. 

Everyone knows a journey is more enjoyable with knowledgeable guides, and the Exploratory Program supports you with various kinds of advisors who understand and appreciate where you are and where you hope to go.

  • Your faculty advisor—a professor in one of your first-semester courses—will get to know you as a student and a person so s/he can help you choose courses in the future.
  • Current and former exploratory students serve as peer mentors and host weekly conversation hours. Some of these will be in person, and some may be virtual, depending on needs and availability of individuals.
  • Prof. Maria DiFrancesco, Director of the Exploratory Program, organizes weekly office hours and events just for exploratory students.
  • Dean Amy O'Dowd, Associate Dean for Student Services, helps exploratory students navigate transfers between majors, departments and schools.

Once you select a major (whether that is during your first semester or your fourth semester), you will transfer to a faculty advisor who is an expert in your chosen field. Until then, welcome home! We are proud to have you as a member of our community!

Having an advisor work with me one-on-one really helped make the transition to the college academic world a lot easier. I feel the Exploratory Program fostered a sense of support and guidance and, at the same time, independence.

Alana Murphy, occupational science/occupational therapy major