Student Planning

It should take four years to complete your General Education requirements.

The General Education Program at the University at Albany is conceived as extending throughout the four years of undergraduate study. While a majority of General Education courses are at the 100 and 200 level, and many are taken in a student’s freshman and sophomore years, there are also many General Education courses available at the 300 level. Some of these more specialized courses would be best attempted with a solid academic foundation, and some have prerequisites.

Because so many lower level courses at the University satisfy some element of the General Education program, it is likely that students will satisfy some General Education requirements in their freshman year, simply by choosing classes that interest them. While the General Education program can be thought of as a foundation for a student’s education at University at Albany, the primary goal of the curriculum is to expose students to essential aspects of a liberal arts education throughout their four years on campus.

Satisfying the Foreign Language requirement.

Obtaining a grade of 85 or higher on the New York State Regents exam in a language; completing three or more years of a foreign language in high school with a course grade in the third year of 85 (B), or better; or earning a score of 530 or better on an SAT II Subject Test in a foreign language will satisfy the University requirement. Transfer students will need to document these facts on their own, by obtaining a copy of their high school transcript or other appropriate documentation. Students who attended a high school outside of New York State or who have developed proficiency in a language in another manner, may also be able to document sufficient expertise to satisfy the language requirement. If you believe you have sufficient background in a language to satisfy the requirement, and you are currently advised in the Advising Services Center, you should discuss this with your academic advisor. If you are currently a student in a declared degree program, you should contact the Office of Undergraduate Education, LC 30, about ways to document proficiency.

Students who plan to study abroad should note that you can meet the language requirement with one semester of language study on a study abroad program in a country where that is the native language.

Students interested in being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa are required to complete language courses at a more advanced level than is required by the University’s General Education program. This is also the case for students interested in a Teacher Education program.

Preregister for classes as soon as your appointment allows.

Taking advantage of the preregistration process and registering in a timely manner will make getting into classes, including General Education classes, more likely. This attention to your preregistration opportunity goes hand in hand with good academic planning. If you are interested in a specific class that hasn’t remained open to you in past semesters, your registration status will improve every semester, making it more likely that you can include a desired class.

Inform yourself about the specific math and statistics requirements of the programs that might interest you as a major. Some majors require specific courses among those available to satisfy the Math and Statistics requirement.

A number of majors and degree programs require a very specific course in math and statistics. As you are planning to satisfy this requirement, examine the specific requirements of majors that might interest you. Some of the distinctions between the math and statistics offerings are explained on the Advisement Services Center New Freshmen Advisement web page.

Design a General Education Program plan that fits your interests and your situation.

If you are exploring a range of academic interests general education coursework will expose you to new ways of thinking and provide a good foundation for a diverse range of coursework and disciplines.

If you have a good idea of what your major or minor might be or even the general area of your major – something in the Sciences, or in the Arts – begin to plan how these interests would fit in satisfying a portion of your General Education requirements. Many introductory courses are part of the General Education program; these courses can count for your major or minor AND General Education. Most academic departments, and many of the introductory requirements for specific majors, also make important contributions to the General Education program. This allows you to jump into your areas of interest and begin to satisfy requirements.

For example, a student expecting to major in the Sciences should plan to satisfy the course in that General Education category and in their Math and Statistics requirement in the course of that study. If you expect to major in a discipline associated with the Arts or Humanities, examine the range of courses in those areas that fit into the General Education program.

To explore the courses that are part of the General Education program, use the General Education Lookup to look at the range of possibilities available in different categories like Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, etc. It is very likely that more than one of your General Education requirements can be met in the context of your major and minor.

Finally, some academic programs require very specific advance planning with regards to General Education and their coursework more broadly. For example, if you are interested in 3+3 program with Albany Law, or the 3-2 engineering program available through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Clarkson University, you should discuss your academic plans with your advisor.

General Education courses can provide welcome balance to a senior’s schedule of intensive work in the major. But remember students with senior status cannot preregister for 100 level courses.

There are several courses that are offered at the 200 or 300 level, and many students save a General Education program requirement for their senior year, especially one that represents a departure from their work in the major and minor. If you are planning to do this, save a General Education requirement that is flexible, with many options – NOT your language requirement. You may be juggling this final General Education category with specific requirements in your major and minor. General Education requirements are never waived, even for graduating seniors. And some requirements, like the Foreign Language requirement, are difficult to complete in your senior year.