Many of Clarkson's brightest students begin college without a specific major because they have broad abilities and a wide range of interests.

If you are this kind of person, University Studies may be the perfect program for you. University Studies allows you to investigate options during your first year. You take foundation courses from all four of our academic areas: business, engineering, liberal arts, and science. At the end of two semesters, you can enroll in any major and still earn your bachelor's degree in four years. A majority of our student declare a major by the end of their first year.

Clarkson offers over 50 programs of study from the Coulter School of Engineering, Reh School of BusinessSchool of Arts & Sciences and Institute for a Sustainable Environment. Our historic strengths in business, engineering, arts, sciences, education and health sciences remain at the core of the curriculum. But these programs have also been combined into cross-disciplinary majors, such as engineering and management, environmental science and policy, and digital arts and sciences.

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What is University Studies?

The University Studies program is designed so that you can start your first year of college at Clarkson without making an initial commitment to a major field of study. Many of our students begin their studies without declaring a major. This first-year program allows you the freedom to experience and familiarize yourself with degree programs and departments based on your individual interests and career goals. The program is structured and designed to assist you in making a sound, educated and thoughtful decision about an appropriate major. 

What kind of guidance and advising will you receive?

At Clarkson, we take great pride in our student advising and opportunities for personalized attention. During the summer before you arrive at Clarkson, you will be contacted by the director of University Studies (who will also be your academic advisor) to discuss the courses you will be enrolled in during your first semester. Also, within the first two weeks of classes, you will meet again, individually, with the director to receive extensive personalized advising to better understand your career and academic interests. The staff in the Student Success Center, Student Achievement Services and the Career Center will also assist in answering any of your day-to-day questions. 

Who is University Studies for?

Starting in the University Studies program at Clarkson allows you to investigate all the possibilities that our vast and flexible academic programs have to offer. It's for students who:

  • are unsure of what they are interested in studying.
  • are having trouble deciding between many of the different majors.
  • have a career plan in mind but aren't sure how to get there.
  • would like more time to explore options.
  • would like assistance in finding the right career path.
What types of courses can you take?

In the first year, you are placed in as many of the core curriculum requirements as possible, such as math, science, First-Year Seminar and the Clarkson Seminar. This includes coursework from all of our academic schools (business, arts & sciences, engineering). Typically, by the end of the first year, you will have selected a program of study that is best suited to your educational, career and personal interests.

How We Help You Decide on a Major

Step 1: Majors Fair

You're encouraged to attend our Exploring Academic Majors Fair, which involves each of the schools and programs on campus and covers a wide variety of topics related to career goals, educational curricula and campus activities.

Step 2: Career Counseling

To gain additional perspectives on career options, you will have an opportunity to network with prospective employers, alumni, current students and individuals from the Career Center while investigating co-ops, internships and study abroad options.

Step 3: Campus Involvement

Being undecided is a great way to learn and explore academic programs while being active in research, sports, SPEED teams, pre-health sciences and extracurricular activities. Participation allows you to interact with undergraduate students from all majors, get a sense of what you like (or don't like) and hear about thee experiences of your peers in their respective programs.

Spotlight On: Cathy Avadikian, University Studies Advisor

The University Studies program has been led by Cathy Avadikian for nearly 20 years. In that time, Cathy has mentored and coached hundreds of University Studies students, helping them find their way to choosing the perfect academic path to suit their goals and aspirations.

Cathy Avadikian serves at Clarkson's Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising Operations and Resources and University Studies Advisor

Over the years, Cathy has formed strong connections with many of her students. "If not for Cathy's diligence, knowledge, and dedication to each of her advisees, I can honestly say that I am not sure where I would have ended up," says Liam Martin '19, a recent alumnus who current works for Veritas Prime as a software consultant. "Thanks to her, I left her office not only with a plan for the next three years, but also a plan for beyond college with different career options worth exploring."

Fellow alumnus Elijah Gorton '19, currently a production engineer at Norsk Titanium, has similar sentiments. "I remember being wary of my first meeting with my new advisor, when really, I met one of my greatest supporters. She listened to where I was coming from and my fears because she knew this was overwhelming. I went to and kept coming back to Mrs. Avadikian because she genuinely cared about my success and me as a person. I do not believe I would have been as successful as I was at Clarkson without the program and Mrs. Avadikian. As an alumnus, I will continue to ask for her guidance, not as an advisor, but as a friend."

Currently, Cathy also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising Operations and Resources through the Office of University Advising. 

What's your purpose? Achieve it here.