Resources for Students

Student Planning

The General Education Program is designed so that students may complete all 30 credits of coursework in the 10 required categories during their first two years of full-time study.

Students will also complete the required Advanced Academic Competencies of Advanced Writing, Oral Discourse, Critical Reasoning and Information Literacy as they complete coursework in their majors up to graduation.

Thus the General Education program serves both as a liberal arts foundation for a University at Albany education and as an extended opportunity to develop essential skills that will contribute to lifelong learning.

Here is some guidance to help you plan your coursework:

Preregister for classes as soon as your appointment allows

Taking advantage of the advance registration process and registering in a timely manner will make getting into classes, including General Education classes, more likely.

This attention to your advance registration opportunity goes hand in hand with good academic planning. If you are interested in a specific class that has not been open to you in past semesters, your registration status will improve every semester, making it more likely that you can obtain a place in a desired class.

Register for classes.

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, for example, 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, students expecting to major in the Sciences should plan to satisfy the General Education requirements in Natural Sciences and Scientific Reasoning, and Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning, in the course of completing their major.

If you expect to major in a discipline associated with the Arts or Humanities, examine the range of General Education courses in those areas that also satisfy your major requirements.

Finally, some academic programs require very specific advance planning with regards to General Education and major coursework. For example, if you are interested in pre-professional programs, such as pre-law, pre-health, or teaching certification, you should discuss your academic plans with your advisor. Contact your advisor.

General Education courses in the ten required categories should be completed during the first two years of full-time study. Although not ideal, in some cases students may still need to complete a General Education requirement later in their academic careers. But be aware: students with senior status cannot preregister for 100-level courses, and delaying completion of General Education risks delaying graduation. 

In accordance with SUNY and University at Albany policies, General Education requirements are never waived, even for graduating seniors. And some requirements, like the Languages Other Than English requirement, can be difficult to complete during the senior year.

Transfer Course Policies

Transfer students who have earned an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) degree from a SUNY state-operated campus or SUNY community college shall be considered to have completed University at Albany General Education requirements in the ten categories. These students will, like all UAlbany students, complete the Advanced Competencies in the course of completing their majors for the bachelor’s degree.

In accordance with SUNY Board of Trustees’ policies, if a student from a SUNY state-operated campus or SUNY community college has fulfilled, as determined by the policies of the other SUNY campus, one or more of the Trustees-mandated general educational categories, the University at Albany will also consider the student to have fulfilled that category or those categories. This is true even if:

  1. UAlbany requires more credits or courses for the given category;

  2. The requirement is fulfilled by a course whose UAlbany equivalent does not fulfill the same requirement;

  3. The student received a non-transferable but minimally passing grade in the course;

  4. Due to limits on total transferable credits, the student is unable to include that course among those transferred to UAlbany;

  5. the student was waived from the requirement based on high school achievement or other standards different from those employed by UAlbany; or

  6. The student was covered by a blanket waiver of the requirement by the SUNY Provost because the other SUNY campus was not yet able to implement the given requirement.

The same principle of reciprocity applies to students who transfer from institutions outside SUNY. If a course approved for transfer from a non-SUNY school is deemed to be equivalent to a University at Albany course that meets a general education requirement, the student shall be considered to have fulfilled the UAlbany general education category represented by that course. This is true even if

  1. UAlbany requires more credits or courses for the given category;

  2. The student receives a non-transferable but minimally passing grade in the course; or

  3. Due to limits on total transferable credits, the student is unable to include that course among those transferred to UAlbany.

Students may present credit for courses the University deems equivalent to these requirements, but a transfer course fulfilling the Writing and Critical Inquiry requirement must be completed with a grade of C or better, or S.

Students who feel they have not been appropriately accorded General Education equivalence for any given course or courses are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor. If the academic advisor determines that the student has not been awarded appropriate equivalency, the student or the advisor may then appeal the decision through established procedures. Students who believe their transfer work or academic circumstances may justify a waiver or substitution for general education requirements may appeal to the General Education Committee through the Office of the Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. For information on appealing how transfer work has been applied to the General Education requirements, review the General Education Substitution Request Form.

Transfer Credit D Grades: Except for the University’s Writing and Critical Inquiry requirement, for which a grade of C or higher, or S is required, either pre- or post-matriculation transfer work graded D+, D or D- in a course that applies to one or more of the University’s General Education requirements may be applied toward fulfilling the requirements, even if the student receives no graduation credit for the course.

Additional Guidance

Please be aware of the following:

  • 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 Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

  • Students can satisfy the Language Other Than English category in several ways.

  • Some courses satisfy more than one category and will count for both; however students are required to take a minimum of 30 total credits in General Education. There is an important exception to double counting for courses that satisfy both Arts and Humanities: courses designated as fulfilling both of these categories can only be used to satisfy one or the other.

  • A course can count as a General Education category and satisfy a requirement in a major or minor.

  • General Education requirements are the same, regardless of which major a student declares.

  • A minimally passed General Education course will count in the designated category, with the following exceptions: students must satisfactorily complete Writing and Critical Inquiry courses with grades C or higher, or an S, in order for them to meet this category.