Welcome to The Exploratory Track in Natural Sciences

The Natural Sciences Exploratory Track is ideal for students who enjoy experimental sciences and testing theories. Students on the exploratory track can explore the life and physical sciences, as well as applications in areas such as the natural environment, the built environment, agriculture, and medical and health care professions. Students exploring the natural sciences are curious investigators and data analyzers, whether they are investigating microbes or mathematics; food safety or ecosystems; galaxies or human and animal brains and behavior; molecules or geological strata and climates.

The College of Natural Sciences (CNS) houses many sciences under one umbrella. All majors in the college are available for Exploratory Track students to declare when they feel ready to commit to a focus. Students can begin exploring the College's majors now. If an Exploratory Track student develops an interest outside of CNS, changing into open majors in colleges and schools across the university is easily accomplished. CNS advisors help students understand how to declare majors.

Finding and Exploring Majors

The Exploratory Track Program assists students with their consideration and ultimate declaration of a major based on their interests, eligibility, and academic proficiency.


Exploratory Track students benefit from working closely with academic advisors to explore potential majors within the college and across campus. Students have access to one-on-one advising to assist with course selection and major exploration as well as general questions about acclimating to college life, finding resources on campus, and getting involved in campus life. Exploratory Track students are required to meet with an advisor prior to registration for each semester. Individualized advising also occurs during New Students Orientation (NSO) in the summer prior to students’ first semester at UMass Amherst. Students are guided in their course selections by advisors using information about their specific background, interests, and placement test scores.

Current UMass Students

Your Advisor:

Erin Battistoni (she, her, hers) 

Email: Exploratory@cns.umass.edu

Make Advising Appointment: 

Spring 2023 Drop-In Zoom Advising Hours

All current CNS students are welcome to drop in for quick questions related to exploring majors, how minors work, how to declare a major, add a second major, or minor etc. from across the University. 

Drop-in advising is great for quick questions, if it turns out you need more time, we will assist you with making an appointment

Drop-In Advising: 3/8/2023 through 3/30/2023

Weekly drop-in advising has ended for the semester as pre-registration advising is in full swing.  Advising appointments can be made by following the instructions above via Navigate.

Drop-In Advising for Registration troubleshooting and questions (Note-this is not for advising to have your hold removed)

Thursday, 4/27/2023: 9am-10am and 1pm-4:30pm via Zoom https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/98599090251 

Friday, 4/28/2023: 9am-11am  and 1pm-3pm via Zoom https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/98599090251 

Additional academic programming

  • All first-year students enroll in a first-year seminar with 19 or fewer students. Seminars are organized within colleges and engage students with a topic that serves as a way to begin honing skills in critical thinking, application of the scientific method, and exploration of a scholarly subject. Seminars also include some common curricula, offering information to assist students in making a successful transition to college.
  • Workshops, fairs, and information sessions will provide detailed information about majors within CNS. Information sessions for students wishing to apply to the colleges of Information and Computer Science (CICS) or Engineering are also offered.

Other Resources

Like all students at UMass Amherst, Exploratory Track students have access to a wide variety of academic resources and campus resources. In addition, students may find their academic passion partly through participation in related cocurricular activities. There are more than 500 registered student organizations on campus to feed student interests.