Welcome to the Program in Exploratory Studies (PES) family. PES is the starting point for many students at CU Boulder who are exploring all of the academic opportunities available to them. As your student begins their CU Boulder journey, we hope to partner with our Buff families along the way. Below you will find information on some of our most questions from families. We look forward to connecting with you!
Frequently Asked Questions
View some of our most common questions from families below. If you don’t see your answer here, be sure check out our student FAQs.
Program in Exploratory Studies (PES) Overview
Every student in PES will be assigned to an academic advisor. PES advisors are specially trained and can help your student navigate the multitude of academic opportunities available at CU Boulder. Advisors will work with your student to connect their interests and career goals to majors, minors and certificates offered through the seven colleges, schools and programs at CU. Advisors will also help connect your student to non-academic opportunities like clubs and organizations or volunteer experiences that can help guide them towards defining their interests and connecting them to academic degrees.
In addition to benefiting from specific exploratory advising techniques, PES students also have access to courses specific to Exploratory Studies including an academic/career exploration seminar (FYXP 1000), an academic skills seminar taught by an academic coach (FYXP 1100) and other academic courses specifically designed to engage and empower first year students in charting their academic journey (certain sections of FYSM 1000, WRTG 1150, etc.). Learn more about PES specialized courses.
The types of courses your student will take while in Exploratory Studies is largely determined by their interests and goals. If your student already has a specific course of study in mind, then their advisor will guide them in taking the courses required to apply to that particular major through the Intra-University Transfer (IUT) process. If your student is exploring their academic options, then their advisor will engage them in intentional dialogue to determine which subjects/areas they are interested in exploring and will then make strategic course recommendations based on your students’ interests and needs.
All first semester Exploratory Studies students also take FYXP 1500 (1 credit): First Year Success Seminar, which is designed to assist first-year students with their successful transition to the University of Colorado Boulder.
Intra-University Transfer (IUT)
The Intra-University Transfer (IUT) process is the process through which students declare their official major. For example, if your student wants to pursue a business major, they will need to meet the specific IUT requirements for Leeds School of Business. Once your student meets these requirements, they can officially complete an IUT.
Your student’s Intra-University Transfer timeline can depend on multiple factors. Generally speaking though, if your student is able to start at the recommended course levels, and earns the grades/GPA required for their specific IUT goals, many students are able to successfully IUT after two semesters in Exploratory Studies.
Again, many factors can impact this timeline. For example, if your student wants to pursue engineering, and places into pre-calculus on the math placement test, this could lengthen their IUT timeline (as engineering requires calculus 1 and 2 to be completed in order to IUT). For the most accurate answer to this question for your student’s specific situation, be sure to have your student connect directly with their academic advisor.
Every student has their own specific journey. Generally speaking though, most students who start in Exploratory Studies are still on track to graduate in four years as long as they are able to successfully transfer into their desired program after their first year. Planning to take summer courses can also greatly assist students who are concerned about falling behind. Please have your student speak directly with their advisor early on to inquire about their specific Intra-University Transfer (IUT) timeline and what this means for their projected graduation date.
- How does my student get in contact with their academic advisor or academic coach?
- How does my student gain access to an academic coach?
- What is the difference between an academic advisor and an academic coach?
- Will my student’s academic advisor in the Program in Exploratory Studies be their advisor for all four years?
To make an appointment with their academic advisor, students can go to Buff Portal Advising and log in with their identikey and password. Once logged in, students can click on their advisor’s photograph on the left-hand side of the screen to schedule an appointment. If your student is having difficulty navigating the appointment system, or can’t find available appointment times, they should email their academic advisor. If your student can’t remember their advisor’s name, encourage them to check their CU Boulder email. Their advisor sends them weekly emails so your student should be able to find their advisor’s name and contact information in their inbox as well.
Accessing an academic coach can depend on multiple factors and varies by college/program. In Exploratory Studies, our coaches primarily work with students who are experiencing academic difficulty (GPA below 2.00), but at times may have the capacity to work with interested students who are not yet experiencing academic difficulty. If this sounds like a resource your student is interested in, encourage them to speak with their academic advisor for more information on current academic coach availability.
An academic advisor will work with your student(s) to explore major options, understand degree requirements, navigate university policies and select appropriate classes. Academic coaches on the other hand, focus on working with students to maximize their academic strengths, begin GPA recovery and improve on skills such as time management, test preparation, metacognition, college/life balance and notetaking.
No. All students will eventually declare a major outside of the Program in Exploratory Studies (PES). Once your student declares their major, they will be assigned an advisor who is an expert in that specific content area.