The Discovery Program

For first-year students to explore and choose their major

With its unique specializations in the arts, communication, and the liberal arts, Emerson College offers a range of options within and across those fields. Many students come with an interest in one or more of them, and the desire to learn more about these areas before declaring their major. 

The Emerson College Discovery Program is designed to help Undeclared first-year students further explore and understand the various academic options across the College, while establishing a foundation in communication skills and earning credit. The Discovery Program students have the unique opportunity to take classes in subjects spanning many of the College’s academic departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders, Communication Studies, Journalism, Marketing Communication, Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and Creative Writing. 

During the first semester, Undeclared students will be enrolled in SOC100: Discovery Lab, a specially-designed foundation course where they will experience classes in each department, meet with faculty, and learn about major current trends and practices in communication and the arts. This exploratory course will be taken alongside other first-year foundational liberal arts requirements. Then in the spring semester, students will choose from a variety of introductory major courses, which will give the opportunity to delve deeper into select topics. 

The Discovery Program offers a unique opportunity for students to learn more about curricular options at Emerson College and at the same time about their own future ambitions and aspirations. Our dedicated team of faculty and professional academic advisors provide expert guidance throughout each student’s journey in the Discovery Program so that they may enter their sophomore year prepared to declare the major—and maybe even a minor—that is right for them!

Note: Majors within the Performing Arts, Comedic Arts, and Visual and Media Arts departments are by application only and due at the end of the first semester pending eligibility requirements and program space availability. Please be advised that acceptance into these competitive majors is not guaranteed for current Emerson students (and not permitted for BFA Musical Theatre and BFA Acting).

The Discovery Program Course Description

SOC 100: Discovery Lab

The Discovery Lab will introduce students to major current trends in various communication-based fields and practices. Through interactive and dynamic explorations of practices and learning spaces across the many programs at Emerson, students will have the chance to experience classes in each department, meet faculty, learn about the exciting opportunities available in each of the departments, and engage with contemporary ideas and technologies that guide the future of communication practice. The Lab will help Discovery students better understand the relationship between community, society, and equity, and how these mindsets are essential to robust careers in communication-based fields. 

The Discovery Program Departmental Courses

During the second semester of the Discovery Program, students may take any combination of up to two (2) of the following introductory major classes (pending seat availability):

Business of Creative Enterprises

  • BC 111: Creative Collaboration Seminar

Communication Studies

  • CC 203: Intercultural Communication
  • CC 263: Argument and Advocacy

Communication Sciences and Disorders

  • CD 162: American Sign Language I
  • CD 193: Introduction to Communication Disorders


  • JR 101: Discovering Journalism

Marketing Communication

  • MK 120: Communication, Media, and Society
  • MK 121: Marketing and Marketing Communication

Political Communication

  • CC 221: Global Political Communication

Public Relations

  • CC 250: Introduction to Public Relations

Sports Communication

  • CC 235: Sports Communication 
  • CC 236: Sports Public Relations

Writing, Literature, and Publishing or BFA Creative Writing

  • LI1 20: Introduction to Literary Studies
  • WR 211: Introduction to Creative Writing, Fiction  
  • WR 212: Introduction to Creative Writing, Poetry 
  • WR 216: Introduction to Creative Writing, Nonfiction 
  • PB 207: Introduction to Magazine Writing