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 exceed the 124-credit-hour maximum. 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 having earned a score of 85 or higher on the New York State Regents examination in a foreign language will also meet the 101-level 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
At least 45 credit hours for the degree must be completed at SUNY Cortland to meet the College’s residency requirement. In addition, one half of the credits for the major, minor and/or concentration must be completed at SUNY Cortland. 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. Liberal arts and sciences (LAS) courses are marked by an asterisk (*) in the course description.
• 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 124 credit hours for the degree.
Programs with external accreditation requirements may or may not need to include free elective credit hours depending on the total number of required credit hours. For example, if the required courses (program and college) comprise 108 to 112 credit hours, inclusive, the program must include a minimum of 12 credit hours of free electives. If the required courses (program and college) comprise 113 to 123 credit hours, inclusive, the program must include free electives sufficient to meet 124 credit hours for the degree (maximum of 11 credit hours; minimum of 1 credit hour). If the required courses (program and college) comprise 124 credit hours or greater, the program does not have to include free electives.
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.
Therefore, an academic major of 30 credit hours of discipline-specific courses with an “embedded” concentration would include a concentration with 12 credit hours plus at least 18 credit hours in the major. An academic major that provides the option of a concentration that can be “added” separately to a major would include a concentration with 12 distinct hours in addition to the 30 credit-hour major for a total of 42 credit hours.
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 for 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. Specialtopics courses cannot be cross listed with an existing course in the curriculum.