2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 17, 2024  
2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Policies



Enrollment Management Office
Miller Building, Room 404
(607) 753-2206

Student Responsibility and Academic Integrity

The College expects those who are admitted to undertake their responsibilities as students so that their work is a credit to themselves and to the College. Guides to student conduct are outlined in College handbooks. The College reserves the right to place on probation or to terminate the enrollment of any student whose conduct or academic record is unacceptable.

As an academic community with the mission of promoting scholarship through the acquisition, preservation and transmission of knowledge, the College is dedicated to the promotion of academic integrity. In a college setting all members of the institution have an obligation to uphold high intellectual and ethical standards.

SUNY Cortland's policy on academic integrity is published in the College Handbook and in the Code of Student Conduct and Related Policies. The introduction to the policy reads, in part:

"Students must recognize that their role in their education is active; they are responsible for their own learning. Specifically, it is the responsibility of students to protect their own work from inappropriate use by others and to protect the work of other people by providing proper citation of ideas and research findings to the appropriate source. This includes the obligation to preserve all educational resources, thereby permitting full and equal access to knowledge ... ."


An orientation program for new students is conducted several times during the summer, usually in July, and immediately before the start of classes. Questions should be referred to the Advisement and Transition Office.


New students are assigned to academic advisors early in the fall semester. For students who are undecided about what they eventually will choose for a major, the College has a Pre-Major Program with special advisement. Advisors for the Pre-Major Program are assigned through the Advisement and Transition Office.

Advisement Guidelines

Mission Statement

SUNY Cortland views academic advisement as serving the educational needs and ambitions of SUNY Cortland students. Its purpose is to assist students to develop meaningful educational plans that are compatible with their life goals. In this spirit the advisement process also helps students to satisfy immediate, short-term needs for selecting courses, scheduling and registration. Students come to Cortland with differing academic experiences, varying needs and diverse backgrounds. Advisement plays a crucial role in helping students move toward becoming "independent learners living enriched lives," which is one of the major goals of the College's mission. Students and advisors have important responsibilities in this process. Students must seek guidance, be knowledgeable about their programs and assume responsibility for degree completion. Advisors must provide sufficient time for advisement, have a comprehensive understanding of students' course of study and College policies, and be ready to guide the development of students academically and as related to potential careers.


In order to fulfill the expectations of academic advising, both the advisee and the advisor have certain responsibilities.

The responsibilities of the advisee are:

  • to recognize that the student is ultimately responsible for knowing and fulfilling all degree requirements. The student is also responsible for being aware of and meeting academic deadlines and financial obligations.
  • to commit a reasonable amount of time both on his/her own and with the academic advisor, planning and implementing the academic program.
  • to initiate contact with the academic advisor and to formulate - in consultation with the academic advisor - an academic program consistent with the student's interests and plans for the future. The student is responsible for reading the department advisement manual (where available), the College catalog, and other college/department advisement materials. The student should come to scheduled meetings with the advisor prepared with necessary registration materials, suggestions for courses to be completed, and a plan for meeting graduation requirements.
  • to seek out the advisor or department chairperson for assistance, in negotiating difficulties or changes in academic program plans.

The responsibilities of the advisor are:

  • to work with each student advisee to achieve an academic program consistent with the student's academic preparation, interests, and plans for the future (to the extent that the student is able to articulate his/her interests and plans).
  • to be familiar with College and departmental requirements as well as know about campus resources, such as the Counseling Center, the Academic Support and Achievement Program and Career Services.
  • to commit a reasonable amount of time assisting the student in examining options and identifying College resources.
  • to schedule sufficient time in the office during critical periods such as registration and drop/add to assist with academic advisement problems of students. At other times, advisors are expected to be available by appointment and during regularly scheduled office hours to meet with students for academic advisement.

Enrollment Procedures

All students are expected to register by the final registration date specified in the College calendar. Exceptions to this procedure are rare and can be granted only by the associate dean of the appropriate school. A late fee will be charged.

Change of Major

Qualified students who meet the academic criteria published in the College Catalog may apply for a new major. In addition to establishing academic criteria, such as grade point averages and standards to be met in prerequisite courses, some departments limit acceptances. Students who do not meet the criteria or who are not accepted due to a limited number of openings must select another major. Caution: Students remaining on a waiting list or as premajors after their sophomore year will jeopardize their eligibility for financial aid and potentially their time to degree completion.

Undergraduate Change of Major forms are available in department offices and require the signed approval of the accepting department chair. Students should file all change of major forms in the department of the new major before the established deadline each semester (October and March) to ensure the ability to register for courses in the new major during the registration period.

Changes in Degree Requirements

While the curriculum at Cortland undergoes frequent review and new courses are established, students are assured that requirements for graduation at the time of initial enrollment will remain unchanged for those who complete their undergraduate programs within the same major without interruption. A change of major, the addition of a new minor or concentration may result in a change of catalog term and additional required course work for the new major and/or the need to meet certain grade point criteria as determined by the new department's published requirements at the time of the change of major. An official leave of absence is not considered an interruption of enrollment.

The College reserves the right to change the College calendar, fees and requirements other than those for degrees. Such changes become effective when adopted.

Fees and Assessments

All fees and assessments are due as indicated on tuition and fee statements. Other accrued debts owed to the College or to any agency thereof must be paid prior to registration. SUNY Cortland students who are not in good standing and owe outstanding tuition and fees will be removed from the College class rosters for failure to meet their financial obligations.

The College reserves the right to charge a service fee in cases when students fail to meet certain administrative appointments important to the conduct of College business or to abide by publicly announced College deadlines.

Change of Name and Address

Students are responsible for informing the Registrar promptly of any change of address. All students are required to provide the College with an accurate local address immediately upon change, and confirm such at the beginning of each semester. Students may update their local address on Banner Web.

Name changes will be recorded on request and upon receipt of evidence showing the name has officially changed, such as a court order, a marriage certificate, or a dissolution decree reflecting the new name.

Academic Records

Grades are reported to the Registrar's Office, from which transcripts are issued. Students are entitled to one free transcript, mailed with the diploma after graduation. Additional copies may be purchased for $5 each and payment must accompany the written request.

The Registrar's Office is responsible for all undergraduate registration activity, the official college drop and add period the first full week of each semester, enrollment verifications, Curriculum Advising and Program Planning (CAPP), Cortland's degree requirement compliance and developing the comprehensive schedule of course offerings each semester.

The Buckley Amendment and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Notification of Rights under FERPA:
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.
    A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
    A student who wishes to ask the university to amend a record should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested, the university will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student's right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
    The university discloses education records without a student's prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff ); a person or company with whom the university has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using university employees or officials, such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent; a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
    A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the university. Upon request, an institution may also disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

Matriculation Guidelines


Class Year

Students are identified by class year in accordance with the number of credit hours earned toward graduation as follows:

  0-25.5 credit hours
90 or more

Credit from Other Colleges

SUNY Cortland students must complete at least 45 credit hours for the degree at SUNY Cortland to meet the College's residency requirement. In addition, one half the credits for the major, minor and/or concentration must be completed at SUNY Cortland. Students matriculated at the College can receive credit for course work taken at other colleges if they receive prior approval from the appropriate associate dean. Cortland transfer students may receive up to 64 hours of transfer credit from two-year colleges. This maximum credit total includes any 100- or 200- level courses, Advanced Placement, College Level Examination Program, College Proficiency or International Baccalaureate credits.

Any school of the College may designate special requirements that may not be taken elsewhere.

College Credit Hour System

The basic unit of credit in College courses is the "credit hour" — one hour of credit for a 16-week semester. Students are expected to study a minimum of three hours outside of class for each credit hour. Thus a student should plan on a 45-hour study week for an academic load of 15 credit hours.

The full-time undergraduate student semester credit hour load varies from 12 to 18 hours a semester, depending on the program. Credit workloads in excess of 18 credit hours must be approved by the associate dean of the school of the student's major.

Full-time Status

To be eligible for full-time federal and state financial assistance or Veterans' benefits an undergraduate student must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours a semester. Students who retake courses should check provisions of their financial aid awards to avoid jeopardizing their receipt of aid. Refer to the Entering SUNY Cortland section of this catalog for details.

Any undergraduate student who receives New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funds must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours during the fall and/or spring semesters. To qualify for TAP during the summer, a student must register for at least six credit hours of study during either summer session or for three credit hours in each summer session. An undergraduate student is limited to a maximum of six credit hours of study during each summer session. Loads in excess of six credit hours must be approved by the appropriate associate dean.

Class Attendance

It is the policy of the College that regular class attendance is a basic requirement of all courses. However, as long as absences are not excessive, it shall be the students' performance and not their attendance record which shall determine their course grade. The policy does not exclude class participation and/or performance as a factor in determining course grades.

Other than the restrictions stated in this policy, the taking of attendance and attendance requirements are at the discretion of the individual instructor. In determining the student's grade, the instructor may consider excessive absences. Instructors shall state in the course syllabus, and emphasize to the class at the first meeting, the attendance requirement for the course. Instructors should make clear to their classes what they consider to be valid reasons for missing class, and what penalties will be assessed for excessive absences.

Penalties for excessive absences, as determined by the instructor's policy, shall not exceed one-third of a letter grade per class hour of absence.

Students are responsible for all work missed. Instructors shall establish procedures to allow students who have been absent for valid reasons to make up missed class work. If students anticipate having to miss class, it is their responsibility to inform the instructor ahead of time.

Students who miss a final examination will receive an E for that course unless they have obtained an excuse for their absence from the associate dean of their school.

Absences due to participation in approved College activities shall be considered valid absences. The provost and vice president for academic affairs shall determine what College activities are approved as valid for students to be absent from classes.

Nonattendance does not mean a student has dropped a course. Students who have not attended class and have not officially dropped or withdrawn from the course will receive a grade of E.

Reporting Absences and Illness

If students are not in Cortland and are going to be absent from campus because of emergencies such as surgery, accidents involving lengthy absences from campus, or extenuating circumstances, they should notify the associate dean of the school in which they are majoring. The associate dean will notify students' instructors.

Classes and examinations are scheduled according to the academic calendar which is adopted by the College each year. The fall semester usually begins late in August or early in September and ends in the third week of December. The spring semester usually begins in mid to late January and ends in the third or fourth week of May.

Religious Beliefs and Class Attendance

Section 224-a of the New York State Education Law reads as follows:

  1. No person shall be expelled from or be refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to register or attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on a particular day or days.
  2. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days shall, because of such absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.
  3. It shall be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.
  4. If registration, classes, examinations, study or work requirements are held on Friday after four o'clock post meridian or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, study or work requirements or opportunity to register shall be made available on other days, where it is possible and practicable to do so. No special fees shall be charged to the student for these classes, examinations, study or work requirements or registration held on other days.
  5. In effectuating the provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to exercise the fullest measure of good faith. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section.
  6. Any student, who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative officials to comply in good faith with the provisions of this section, shall be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the county in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of his or her rights under this section.
    6-a. It shall be the responsibility of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to give written notice to students of their rights under this section, informing them that each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, must be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to such student such equivalent opportunity.
  7. As used in this section, the term "institution of higher education" shall mean any institution of higher education, recognized and approved by the regents of the university of the state of New York, which provides a course of study leading to the granting of a post-secondary degree or diploma. Such term shall not include any institution which is operated, supervised or controlled by a church or by a religious or denominational organization whose educational programs are principally designed for the purpose of training ministers or other religious functionaries or for the purpose of propagating religious doctrines. As used in this section, the term "religious belief " shall mean beliefs associated with any corporation organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, which is not disqualified for tax exemption under section 501 of the United States Code.

Schedule Changes

Students wishing to make adjustments to their academic class schedule may do so during the official College drop/add period. For full semester courses, the drop/add period is the first full week of the semester. Classes may be dropped and added without penalty during this period only. Second- and fourth-quarter courses have a designated two-day drop/add period in October and March, respectively. Refer to the College calendar and the registrar's dates and deadlines for specific dates.

Students who do not attend a class are not dropped automatically and will receive a grade of E.

All drop/add transactions made after the official drop/add period are subject to late fees. After the official drop/add period students must withdraw from a class and must have the approval of the respective associate dean.

Auditing Courses

Auditing of courses is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Auditors may be accepted into classes only with the consent of the instructor of record and will be denied admission to classes that have reached the maximum number of students.
  2. Course auditors normally will not be charged any tuition but will pay all laboratory fees and other charges connected with a course.
  3. Course auditors will not be enrolled or listed on an official class roster. They will attend without credit or formal recognition. They do not need to meet the requirements of the course.
  4. Course auditors may not subsequently request credit for the course even if they complete the course requirements.

Seniors Taking 500-Level as Graduate Courses

Seniors in their final semester of undergraduate study may request permission to register for 500-level courses for graduate credit. However, a 500-level course taken for graduate credit will not be included in fulfilling any undergraduate requirement. Subsequently, a 500-level course taken for undergraduate credit will not be included to fulfill any graduate requirement. A form for the same purpose is available from the respective associate dean. Approval must be obtained from the school's associate dean for the student's major. The total course load, including undergraduate and graduate credit, may not exceed 16 credit hours during the semester or six credit hours during a five-week summer session. Students are cautioned that graduate credits thus earned may not be transferred toward meeting the requirements for the master's degree at another institution.

Retaking Courses

When a student retakes a Cortland course, all grades received will remain on the official transcript, but only the last grade received will be included in the quality and grade point average and hours toward graduation. Students who have taken course work prior to 2000 must file a retake of course form with the Registrar's Office to ensure accuracy of their cumulative grade point average and official transcript. The grade excluded from the cumulative totals will be annotated with an "E" on the transcript. The grade included in the cumulative totals will be annotated with an "I." The retaken course, which is defined by the same course prefix and course number, must be repeated at SUNY Cortland under the same grading system in order to be eligible for this policy. Therefore, courses previously taken and earned as transfer credit are not eligible to be retaken.

Students receiving financial aid are encouraged to check with the Financial Advisement Office and with the Bursar/Student Accounts Office to avoid losing an award, especially when retaking a previously passed course. Forms for retaking a course are available in the Registrar's Office.

Field Experiences: Student Teaching, Fieldwork, Co-Op Programs, Internships, Practica



Certain programs in the School of Professional Studies and the School of Education, as well as the following programs in the School of Arts and Sciences: adolescence English, adolescence foreign language, adolescence mathematics, adolescence sciences, and adolescence social studies, have additional eligibility requirements, which are fully explained under appropriate department sections of this catalog.

To be eligible for student teaching, fieldwork or practica, undergraduate students must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average while graduate students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average; no students may have incompletes on their records and/or be on any form of probation, and no students may have any serious judicial record. Internships require a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average. Students should consult individual academic departments for additional prerequisites and policies.

Housing and Transportation

Placements are often at some distance from campus, and relocation from the Cortland area may be necessary during the field experience. Therefore, students should exercise caution in signing leases for the academic year during which student teaching, fieldwork, etc., will occur. Having a local lease will not aid a student in gaining a local placement. Additionally, other commitments, such as jobs, bear no influence on the location of placements. Arrangements for housing and transportation during all field experiences are the responsibility of the students.

Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience

All teacher-education students are required to complete the NYSED-mandated 100 clock hours of fieldwork prior to the student teaching experience. The 100-hour fieldwork component is attached to specific courses. Certain programs require more than the mandated 100 hours of fieldwork. Placements are often a distance from campus; therefore, students are responsible for transportation. The Field Placement Office must receive the required student application for a pre-student teaching placement by the designated deadline to ensure a placement.

Enrollment in Course Work

Students may not be enrolled in any course work unrelated to student teaching at SUNY Cortland or at any other institution while engaged in student teaching.

Placements for Student Teaching and for Pre-Student Teaching Field Experiences

The Field Placement Office staff will facilitate all student teaching and fieldwork placements. The office will consider suggestions for placements from students. It is to be understood that the Field Placement Office staff will make placements to the best of their knowledge, such that the placements will not be affected by conflict of interest. Requests cannot be guaranteed. Students should not secure their own placement.

Even after placements have been confirmed, contingent upon the student's final eligibility to student teach, they may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances within the public schools such as unexpected teacher retirements, unpredicted changes in teaching assignments, etc. Should confirmed placements be cancelled by the public schools, the Field Placement Office will make every effort to locate an alternate placement, the location and scheduling of which will depend upon those placements which are available within the specific discipline, at the specific grade level(s) required by New York State mandate and in accordance with all NYSED and SUNY regulations.

Credit for Student Teaching

Credit for student teaching cannot be transferred to SUNY Cortland from any other institution. All SUNY Cortland student teachers must be supervised by SUNY Cortland supervisors.



Standards of Performance

Instructors are expected to inform students of course requirements and grading procedures by the end of the first full week of classes. To be included are policies on examinations and other evaluation procedures, exemptions from examinations and make-up examinations.

Examination Policy

Final examinations are required. However, in cases where the nature of the course makes such action undesirable or an adequate series of other evaluation procedures is substituted, a department chair may permit an exception from the policy. In certain cases an instructor may exempt students from final examinations if the students meet specified criteria filed beforehand with the department chair. Instructors are required to inform students during the first week of classes of their examination policies.

Final examinations or last examinations of the course are given during final examination week - except for examinations in quarter courses which end in the middle of the semester. No examinations, quizzes or tests of any type are permitted during the last week of classes prior to the published final examination week unless approved in advance by the appropriate department chair and school dean.

Adjustments may be requested in the final examination schedule for students having two examinations scheduled at the same time, more than two examinations in any one day, or a verified illness or other emergency. Requests for adjustments follow procedures established and published by the registrar.

Missed Examinations

It is the student's responsibility to arrange with the instructor for make-up examinations. Students who miss final examinations will receive an E for those courses unless they are granted an excuse for their absence by the associate dean of their school. Make-up examinations must be taken after the regularly scheduled examination and will be given at the convenience of the instructor.

Reporting of Grades

At both the mid-semester point and again at the end of the semester, students may access and review their estimates and/or final grades on the Web. Students also are notified when, as a result of academic deficiencies, they are being placed on academic probation.

Change of Grade Time Line

A change of grade due to instructor error or student appeal must be submitted by the end of the following semester, i.e., a grade submitted in the fall semester must be changed by the end of the spring semester. Grade changes submitted more than one semester after the initial semester in which the grade was issued will not be accepted. Once a student's degree is conferred, the academic record is frozen and no further grade adjustments will be made.

Student status decisions that are pending due to academic tribunal action, grievance or appeal activity, will supercede any time line.

Quality Points/Grade Point Average

A student's level of scholarship is determined by the following system of quality points per credit hour:


A+ = 4.3
B+ = 3.3
C+ = 2.3
D+ = 1.3
E = 0.0

  A = 4.0
B = 3.0
C = 2.0
D = 1.0
  A- = 3.7
B- = 2.7
C- = 1.7
D- = .7

Grade point averages are determined by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of credit hours for which a student has been graded. For example, a grade of C in a three-credit-hour course is equivalent to six quality points. If a student completes 17 credit hours of course work and accumulates 38 quality points, the grade point average will be 2.235. Although it is possible to attain a 4.3 grade point average, the College considers the method a 4.0 grading system.

In courses where grades are listed as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or Pass/No Credit neither grade is used in determining the student's grade point average. A Satisfactory or Pass grade is credited toward graduation, however.

Dean's List

Dean's List, the highest ranking for undergraduate students in their respective academic areas of the College, is earned with a 3.3 semester grade point average. In addition to the 3.3 grade point average, students must meet the following criteria:

a) be enrolled in a full-time, 12 credit hour course load; and
b) at least eight of the 12 credit hours must be taken for a standard letter grade. Dean's list is announced at the end of each semester.

President's List

President's List is a College-wide honor given to students based on their academic performance for each semester. Students who achieve grades of A- or better in each of their courses for a given semester will be designated a member of the President's List. In addition to achieving the stipulated grades, students must meet the following criteria:

a) be enrolled as a full-time student with a minimum of 12 credit hours;
b) at least eight of the 12 credit hours must be taken for a standard letter grade;
c) have no grades lower than "Satisfactory" in courses being taken for other than standard letter grade; and
d) receive no "Incomplete" grades for the semester. President's List designees are named at the end of each semester.

Part-time Student Award for Academic Achievement

The Part-time Student Award for Academic Achievement recognizes academic excellence among part-time undergraduate students. To earn this award, students must meet the following criteria:

a) have earned at least 12 credit hours of cumulative standard grade course work at SUNY Cortland;
b) have a 3.3 cumulative grade point average;
c) have a 3.3 semester grade point average;
d) be enrolled at part-time status throughout the semester, with a minimum of three credit hours of standard letter grade; and
e) receive no "Incomplete" grades for the semester.

Pass/No Credit Option

The Pass/No Credit grading option encourages juniors and seniors to enroll in challenging courses outside their major or minor, adding breadth to their academic work while not incurring the penalty of a low grade. Only juniors or seniors with a grade point average of at least 2.0 cumulative and in the major may petition to receive Pass/No Credit grades in elective courses with the approval of the student's major department chair. Courses that cannot be taken for Pass/No Credit include:

  1. Courses in the major, minor or concentration;
  2. Courses required for the General Education or All-College requirements — composition and quantitative skills as well as Writing-Intensive (WI) courses and foreign language courses required for the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science; and
  3. Graduate courses.

    Only one course per semester, for a total of four, may be taken for Pass/No Credit. Any exception for an additional course during a semester requires the associate dean's approval. Departments may set additional limits, but cannot grant exceptions to the above stipulations.

    Forms are available in department offices and must be completed, approved and submitted to the registrar during the first three weeks, for a semester course, or the first week, for a quarter or modular course. Once approved and submitted, this petition is binding and cannot be reversed.

Academic Standards Policy

SUNY Cortland's academic standards policy is dependent upon the student's grade point average achievement in each semester – semester by semester – rather than a cumulative grade point average. The same standards apply to all undergraduates except those designated as Education Opportunity Program (EOP) students.

Levels of Academic Standing

  1. Academic Probation: All SUNY Cortland students with a cumulative grade point average between 1.01 and 1.99 will be placed on academic probation. They will receive a notice of academic probation from the associate dean of their school along with an academic contract notifying them of the semester grade point average needed to regain good academic standing of 2.00 cumulative grade point average, limiting their course load to no more than 15 credit hours and providing other recommendations. Students on academic probation will be advised to curtail any activity which is detrimental to regaining good academic standing, such as on and off-campus employment, fraternity/sorority, resident assistant activities.
    SUNY Cortland students whose semester grade point average is less than 1.01 but whose cumulative grade point average is greater than 2.00 will be placed on academic warning and advised to improve their academic performance.
  2. Academic Suspension: Students who fail to meet their academic contract will be subject to academic suspension. Suspension mandates two semesters away from campus (two summer sessions equal one semester). During that time, students are required to take full-time course work at another accredited college earning an overall 2.75 or higher grade point average, or be employed full time with an excellent employment record, or have an honorable record of military service. Students whose semester grade point average is less than 1.01 will be automatically suspended. Students placed on academic suspension have the right of appeal to the Academic Standing Committee. Students who are reinstated after appeal or upon return from suspension will be placed on academic probation with an academic contract.
    First-semester freshmen and first-semester transfer students with a cumulative grade point average of less than 1.01 will be automatically suspended but will be eligible for expedited appeal through their respective associate dean. Those students reinstated following expedited appeal of suspension will be placed on academic probation with an academic contract. They must meet expectations outlined above for students on probation.
  3. Academic Dismissal: Students who are reinstated following academic suspension and fail to meet their academic contract will be subject to academic dismissal, with the right of appeal to the Academic Standing Committee. Students who are academically dismissed are ineligible to apply for readmission for a minimum of three years.

    Note: Any academic contract, whether signed by the student or not, will be in effect for the term in question and will supersede other probation and suspension policies. Grounds for appeal will be mitigating circumstances such as death in the family, injury or illness requiring hospitalization and other special circumstances.

    Academic contracts are targeted for students to achieve good academic standing (2.00 cumulative grade point average). Attaining this grade point average, however, may not be sufficient to allow entry into some majors. Students should check with their department for specific cumulative grade point average entry requirements. Full-time students are permitted a maximum of one and one half times the normal length of time to complete their degree for financial aid purposes. For students attending on less than a full-time basis, the scale will be adjusted accordingly. Any student who is not in good academic standing should always check with the Financial Advisement Office to determine their individual financial status. (See the financial aid section of the this Catalog for an explanation of financial aid implications.)
    An Academic Standing Committee will consider student appeals to academic suspension and dismissal. Since granting of an appeal is not automatic, it is intended only to accommodate extraordinary or unusual situations. The Committee will convene in January, June and August of each academic year to consider student appeals and review pertinent documentation of mitigating circumstances provided by the student. The student must also provide the Committee with a written plan for achieving academic success.
    Decisions of the Academic Standing Committee are final. If the Academic Standing Committee grants the appeal, the student will be allowed to return for the next semester on academic probation. Students are only eligible for one appeal as an undergraduate student.

Transfer Credit Policies


See the Entering SUNY Cortland section of this catalog for transfer application procedures and criteria and transfer of credit policies.



Withdrawal from College

Students withdrawing from the College will be assigned a grade of W. It is the student's responsibility to clear all records and obligations to receive official separation. The official withdrawal record form and procedure may be obtained from the associate dean in the student's major school.

Students who decide not to return to Cortland are responsible for notifying the Registrar's Office in writing to avoid tuition and fee liability problems and to release seats to fellow students. Nonattendance does not constitute a withdrawal. If the College is in session, the withdrawal form should be completed with the associate dean. Failure to do so will delay any refunds the student may be eligible to receive.

Students who have withdrawn after midterm ordinarily will not be considered for readmission until the passage of a full academic year.

Leave of Absence

Leave of absence for a specific period of time may be granted to a student in good academic standing — not subject to academic dismissal or on academic probation. A student applying for a leave of absence must give a definite date for return to the College and must register within one academic year of the date of leaving the College.

A student not returning to register within a specified time will be classified as an official withdrawal.

Application for leave of absence must be made to the associate dean of the school in which the student is enrolled.


Candidates matriculated for undergraduate degrees who interrupt their education at SUNY Cortland and later wish to return must be formally readmitted. An official leave of absence is not considered an interruption in enrollment.

Students who have been dismissed for academic reasons ordinarily will not be eligible for readmission until at least three years have passed since their dismissal. Previous academic achievement at the College, grades received for college work completed elsewhere, transcripts from other institutions attended must be included with application, and the circumstances under which the student left Cortland are all considered in the readmission process. Also considered may be length of time away from Cortland, military service, and/or employment experience. A condition of readmission may be "successful academic performance" (2.75 cumulative grade point average) at another regionally accredited institution and mandatory summer school attendance at Cortland.

Readmitted students re-enter SUNY Cortland under the catalog at the time of readmission and are, therefore, responsible for all College, SUNY Cortland and SUNY General Education requirements, and major requirements in effect at the time of readmission. Students readmitted to Cortland are not eligible to waive general education requirements.

Upon formal readmission, the student's former academic course work at SUNY Cortland will be reviewed in light of current requirements for the major, and determination of transferability of former courses to the new program will be approved by the associate dean of the school in consultation with the chair of the department offering the degree program.

Readmission forms are available from the Registrar's Office at SUNY Cortland. Applicants for readmission to the College must complete and file a readmission form directly to the Registrar's Office, no later than July 15 for fall readmission, Nov. 15 for spring readmission, and April 15 for summer readmission.

In addition, readmitted students who require on-campus housing must inform the Residential Services Office of their intent to return. Students requiring financial aid should notify the Financial Advisement Office.

Withdrawal from a Course After Official Change of Schedule Period

College policy: The letter X indicates official withdrawal from a College course without academic penalty. Grades of X will not be awarded for courses that are dropped during the official drop and add period, the first full week of the semester for semester courses or before the second class meeting of modular or quarter courses.

Students are not allowed to withdraw from classes the last three weeks of semester courses (after Nov. 15 in the fall and April 15 in the spring) or the last week of quarter or modular courses. Due to fluctuating dates, withdrawal deadlines for Summer and Winter Sessions will be established prior to the term.

Note: A student who has been found in violation of the academic dishonesty code loses the opportunity to withdraw from the course in which the violation occurred.

Impact of X Grades on Financial Aid: Grades of X are considered attempted but not completed for the purpose of calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility. The policies regarding SAP for State and Federal Financial Aid are detailed in this catalog. The most common financial aid impact from course withdrawal in a single semester is a loss of TAP eligibility for the following semester. However, a pattern of withdrawal and/or failure across more than one semester may result in the loss of all future aid eligibility, including student loans. It is strongly recommended that students consult with a financial aid advisor if withdrawal will reduce the total completed credit hours for the current semester to less than 12.

Additional Recognition of Academic Excellence


SUNY Cortland encourages, nurtures and recognizes academic excellence in its students in several ways:

All-College Honors Program

The Honors Program is designed for students with high ability and unusual motivation. It brings together accomplished teachers and achieving students in a program that provides challenging opportunities for students of outstanding ability and interests. See the Honors Program for further details.

Honors Convocation

The College recognizes students for their academic achievements at the annual Honors Convocation. Awards and scholarships are presented at this solemn, yet festive ceremony. The Honors Convocation is the College's affirmation of its commitment to excellence.

Scholars' Day

Scholars' Day is a day-long series of presentations highlighting faculty, staff and student scholarship. This annual celebration of research and inquiry aims to increase students' understanding and appreciation of the College's scholarly work.

Honors Programs within the Academic Disciplines

Several academic disciplines, such as English, history and psychology, offer honors programs for high-achieving students. For more information, see the various departmental listings in this catalog.

Academic Honor Societies

The following academic honor societies have chapters at Cortland:

  Alpha Kappa Delta, Sociology
Beta Beta Beta, Biology
Eta Sigma Gamma, Health
Kappa Delta Pi, Childhood/Early ChildhoodEducation
Omicron Delta Epsilon, Economics
Phi Alpha Theta, History
Pi Delta Phi, French
Pi Sigma Alpha, Political Science
Psi Chi, Psychology
Rho Phi Lambda, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Sigma Delta Pi, Spanish
Sigma Phi Omega, Gerontology
Sigma Pi Sigma, Physics
Sigma Tau Delta, English

Alpha Sigma Lambda

An honor society that celebrates the scholarship and leadership of adult students in higher education.

Phi Beta Delta

A national honor society dedicated to recognizing academic achievement, teaching and learning, and service with respect to SUNY Cortland's international mission and commitment. The SUNY Cortland chapter was chartered in 2006.

Phi Eta Sigma

An honor society whose goal is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning.

Phi Kappa Phi

An academic honor society that recognizes and encourages superior scholarship in all academic disciplines. Outstanding academic achievement is also recognized through grants and other honors.

Tau Sigma

An academic honor society specifically designed to recognize and promote excellence and involvement of transfer students.



Graduation with Honors

Honors at graduation are awarded to students whose grade point averages meet the following standards: summa cum laude, 3.75 and above; magna cum laude, 3.5 to 3.749; cum laude, 3.2 to 3.499. Honors at the graduation ceremony are designated by using the cumulative grade point average recorded as of February 1 of the commencement year. The diploma and permanent record will only reflect honors as designated when all course work has been completed and the degree has been conferred.

Graduation Procedure

To receive a degree and diploma from SUNY Cortland, all students must apply to graduate. Potential bachelor's degree recipients who have earned 85 or more credit hours are eligible to apply online. Degree, diploma and Commencement information is mailed to potential bachelor's degree recipients in October, and all candidates for the bachelor's degree should file on the Web using the online degree application by the end of the fall semester prior to the year in which the degree will be received. This applies to May, August and December candidates. Those filing after the deadline may jeopardize the chance of being listed in the Commencement program and may experience other delays in receiving certificates, diplomas and verifications of graduation.

Transcripts of Record

Graduating students receive one free transcript which is mailed with the diploma after graduation.

Requests for transcripts must be in writing and accompanied by a payment of $5 for each transcript. Checks should be made payable to SUNY Cortland and mailed to the Registrar's Office.

The written request must include name, address, social security number, dates of attendance, any degrees received, and all name changes if applicable. Transcript service will not be provided if the student has any outstanding obligations to the College. Transcript requests will be returned if student has a "HOLD" on their record, or if the incorrect payment is forwarded with the request. Written requests can be forwarded to the Registrar's Office, SUNY Cortland, P.O. Box 2000, Cortland, N.Y. 13045. Transcript service is normally provided within two to three business days. Only complete transcripts are sent.

Grading System


Quality Points Awarded

Definition and Special Characteristics or Considerations


  Superior performance


  Good performance


  Fair performance


  Minimally acceptable performance


  Failure of a course



Incomplete, which automatically becomes an E if work is not made up by end of the following semester.

Exceptions may be granted only upon petition to the instructor and the associate dean of the school in which the course is offered. In setting time periods for finishing incompleted courses, the instructor must give the student adequate time in which to complete the course. Factors to be considered include deadlines for making up other incompletes and the student's schedule in the semester the incomplete is to be made up. The associate dean consults with the instructor involved before granting an extension of time in which to make up the incomplete. Student does not re-register for the same class to make up an incomplete.



  Pass, for courses taken on Pass/No credit basis.


  Late Grade, final grade was not submitted when the end-of-term
processes were run or the transcript was printed.


  No credit, for courses taken on Pass/No credit basis.


  Indicates that the annotated Cortland course has been repeated and has been excluded (E) from the grade point average calculation and cumulative totals. All grades remain on the transcript, but only the last grade is included (I) in the grade point average and cumulative totals. Students repeating courses must file a form with the Registrar during the period in which the course is retaken at Cortland


  Indicates official withdrawal from a College course without academic penalty. Such withdrawal must be approved by the instructor, advisor and the associate dean of the school in which the student is majoring.


  Student registered for course but never attended. If student does not officially drop the course by the 12th week of the semester, the N grade will be changed to an NE, identifying failure due to nonattendance.


  Withdrawal from College


  Waiver (course requirements were met through Advanced Placement or
Proficiency Examination). No credit is granted for such courses.








  Applicable to certain courses that do not lend themselves to the use of a full range of grades to measure the student's achievement.

SUNY Cortland employs a plus and minus grading system ranging from A+ to D- which is the lowest grade for which college credit is awarded. Failure of a course is indicated by E. The above letter grades and notations are used by the registrar.