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SUNY Cortland    
 
    
 
  Oct 18, 2017
 
2017-18 Undergraduate Catalog

Bachelor's Degree Requirements


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The bachelor's degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours for all majors. Programs that are not externally accredited can require no more than 124 credit hours. Programs that are externally accredited may not exceed 126 credit hours. These credit hours are obtained by meeting various College requirements:

English Composition

All students must successfully complete with a minimum grade of C- six to eight credit hours in English composition. Additionally, at least six credit hours, applicable to other graduation requirements, of work in Writing-Intensive (WI) courses must be completed. The writing intensive requirement must be fulfilled by taking course work at SUNY Cortland. At least three credit hours of Writing-Intensive course work must be in the major.

Foreign Language

All students must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language through the 101 level to fulfill Category Nine of the Cortland General Education requirement.

Students earning a final grade of 85 or higher in their third year of high school foreign languge study or passing any subsequent year of high school foreign language study or scoring an 85 or higher on a Foreign Language Regents Exam or a local exam aligned with a discontinued Regents Exam (Checkpoint B Exam) fulfill the GE Category Nine language requirement.

Proficiency through the 101 level is also required for all students enrolled in teacher education programs leading to a B.S.Ed. (health education, physical education). In addition, all students in teacher education programs leading to a B.S. (other than Speech and Language Disabilities) must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language through the 102 level. All students earning a B.A., including those in a teacher education program leading to a B.A., must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language through the 202 level. This requirement also applies to all students earning a B.S. in Speech and Language Disabilities.

Activity and Participation

No more than eight credit hours of combined activity and/or participation courses may be applied toward meeting graduation requirements except as department major requirements specify additional activity and/or participation credits.

General Education

All students must complete the Cortland General Education program requirements which also include composition, foreign language, writing-intensive and presentation skills course requirements.

Academic Major 

All students must complete a major with a minimum of 30 credit hours of discipline-specific courses. Majors must have a minimum of 15 credit hours of discipline-specific courses at the upper level — 300 or above.

Residency Requirement

One half of the credit hours for the major, minor and/or concentration must be completed at SUNY Cortland. In addition, SUNY Cortland students must complete at least 30 credit hours for the degree at SUNY Cortland to meet the College's residency requirement. Special requirements may be designated by each school of the College.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses

All students must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of liberal arts and sciences courses in B.A. and B.F.A programs, or a minimum of 60 credit hours of liberal arts and sciences courses in B.S. or B.S.Ed. programs.

Free Electives

All programs must include a minimum of 12 credit hours of free electives. Programs which must meet external accreditation requirements, for example, teacher education, speech pathology, recreation, may require fewer than 12 credit hours of free electives. Programs without external accreditation requirements must include 12 credit hours of free electives to meet a minimum of 120 credit hours or a maximum of 126 credit hours for the degree.

During curriculum review, any department seeking an exemption from the 12-credit hour, free-elective rule must sufficiently demonstrate how the prescribed courses meet requirements imposed by the external accrediting agency. Free electives do not include general education, composition, quantitative skills, writing-intensive, foreign language or major requirements.

Grade Point Average

Cortland students must earn a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average both overall and in the major, as well as in all minors and concentrations. Students who complete the minor or concentration with a 2.0 or higher cumulative average will have the minor or concentration recorded on their official transcript. A grade point average higher than 2.0 may be required by some degree programs.

Completion Status

Completion of all course work, that is, no incompletes.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirement Definitions and Clarifications:


1. Use of Course to Fulfill Multiple Degree Requirements


A single course may be used to satisfy more than one degree requirement, e.g., general education, writing-intensive, quantitative skills, foreign language, major requirement. However, a single course may not fulfill more than one major requirement.

2. Activity and Participation Course Restrictions


No more than eight hours of combined activity and/or participation courses may be applied toward meeting graduation requirements except as department major requirements specify additional activity and/or participation credits.

3. Definition of Lower- and Upper-Division Undergraduate Courses and Graduate Courses


Lower-division courses are taught at the 100 or 200 level.
Upper-division courses are taught at the 300 or 400 level.
Graduate courses are taught at the 500 or 600 level.

4. Definition of Minor


A minor is an approved program of study, not leading to a degree, in an area outside the major. A minor comprises a minimum of 15 credit hours; half of these credit hours must be taken at SUNY Cortland.

Students cannot earn a minor in the same area as the major or concentration. Likewise, students cannot earn a concentration in the same area as the minor.

5. Definition of Concentration


A concentration is an approved program of study that provides a particular set of options within a given major or minor.

Concentrations may be embedded as part of the requirements of a major, or added as a separate option to a major. A concentration must have a minimum of 12 hours that are independent and distinct from the major requirements, that is, the credit hours used in the concentration cannot be used to fulfill the requirements in the major core, and likewise those courses used in the major core cannot be used to fulfill the requirements in the concentration. Half of the credit hours in the concentration must be taken at SUNY Cortland.


Students cannot earn a minor in the same area as the major or concentration. Likewise, students cannot earn a concentration in the same area as the minor. Majors, minors and concentrations are not listed on diplomas but are recorded on official College transcripts.

6. Definition of Equivalent and Overlapping Courses


Equivalent courses have the same course content but are cross listed under two or more course prefixes. Catalog descriptions for equivalent courses are the same and must include an “Also listed as …” statement. If a required course in a program is equivalent, then any of the equivalent courses may be used to satisfy the requirement.

Overlapping courses are those having sufficient content similarities such that a department may choose to place enrollment restrictions on them. Catalog descriptions for overlapping courses must include a “Not open to students with credit for …” statement.

Equivalent and overlapping courses must be approved through the college curriculum review process.

7. Definition of Special-Topics Courses


Special-topics courses may be topical or experimental in nature and generally reflect a content area not covered by an existing course. Special-topics courses are numbered 129, 229, 329, 429, 529, or 629, depending on the course level. A special-topics course may be offered a maximum of three times. Prior to the third offering, a special-topics course must be submitted through the curriculum review process as a new course if it is to be offered again.

Special-topics courses may be used to fulfill only a general elective or an elective requirement in a major. A special-topics course from one discipline may be cross listed with an equivalent special-topics course from a different discipline. Cross listing such courses requires approval of department chairs, or coordinators, from both disciplines. Special-topics courses cannot be cross listed with an existing course in the curriculum.

8. Definition of Capstone Courses and Capstone Experiences


Programs may create and offer capstone courses and experiences. These courses and experiences serve to integrate a student's learning in a program of study. Generally, capstone courses or experiences should comprise one or more 400-level courses taken in the final semesters of a student's program of study. Programs may allow more than one course to fulfill a capstone requirement, and they may allow capstone courses or experiences to fulfill other requirements in the program of study.

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