An Exploration is a program of elective study organized around a specific theme or topic. Students complete a cluster of courses related to that theme or topic. Clusters are designated by academic departments or programs
Each Exploration requires at least 3 units from a list of electives. At least 2 of these electives must be outside a student's other programs of study, including the INQ/HNRS curriculum and a student’s major, minor, or concentration.
Completing the designated cluster of elective courses demonstrates the you’ve pursued an interest area beyond your chosen major(s) or minor(s) or concentration(s). It's a way of distinguishing yourself as you head into a career and a way of enriching your own life.
Submit a declaration to the relevant department or program chair using the form linked on this page.
Students who complete an Exploration will receive a letter of completion awarded by the department or program in charge of the Exploration. You can add a line to your resumé noting your completion of the Exploration’s theme and then be prepared to share it with future employers.
Consider an Exploration that adds some depth or breadth to your current courses of study, or contributes to your career goals, or enriches your life interests. For instance, if you’ve enjoyed meeting your language requirement, consider an Exploration that will build upon that language experience. If you enjoyed taking an INQ course taught by a particular professor, perhaps that professor can point you in the direction of an Exploration that includes that course on its list of electives. If you liked a 100-level introductory course in art history or music or other area, your advisor can help you look for an Exploration that includes that course or see what else might interest you. See the menu to the left of this page for a list of all available Explorations.
Yes, members of the faculty will be aware of this opportunity and might suggest an Exploration based on the courses you’ve taken or plan to take—do ask your advisor for more information or speak to a professor in a favorite class about what’s available for additional study!
The specific requirements for each Exploration are established by the academic department or program responsible for administering that Exploration. Requirements will include total units needed, elective (or substitution) course options, and whether or not a minimum GPA is required. See the description of each Exploration for details.
No. An Exploration is not intended to represent a credential or certification of any kind. You will not be able to rely on an Exploration's limited number of courses to gain admission to graduate school or get a job in that field—without additional, structured course work. However, including the Exploration on your resumé can indicate that you pursued a particular area of elective study during your college years. Your advisor can help you understand if the Exploration is right for you or if it would be better for you to investigate the related major or minor or concentration.
How does the unit requirements work? What does it mean to require “at least 3 units, and at least 2 of the units offered must be outside of the INQ/HNRS curriculum and one’s major, minor, or concentration”?
This seeks to clarify how “double-counting” courses in more than one program of study can work. Two examples of double-counting might help. First, perhaps you’re majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology and want to pursue an Exploration in Religion: you could take two of the elective RELG courses and 1 of the relevant INQ courses listed instead of a third RELG course. Second example: if you’re majoring in Philosophy and want to pursue an Exploration in Ethics, you could count 1 Philosophy course or 1 INQ/HNRS course toward the exploration, but the additional two courses would have to come from disciplines other than your Philosophy major or the INQ/HNRS curriculum.
There’s some flexibility: a course (no more than 1 unit) taken prior to attending Roanoke College may count towards an Exploration. Also, since courses taken abroad (e.g., May term or semester abroad) will appear on your RC transcript, these course can be counted towards the Exploration’s requirements.