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Graduate Bulletin Homepage |Admission and Graduate Policies | Graduate Regulations and Degree Requirements

Graduate Regulations and Degree Requirements


Although the University encourages the widest amount of student responsibility, with a minimum of administrative regulation, it expects students to maintain appropriate standards in their academic and personal life. The University reserves the right to terminate the registration of any student who does not meet the standards acceptable to the University.

The regulations governing graduate study at the University have been established by vote of the General Faculty, the University Senate, the Graduate Academic Council, or their forerunners. They are designed to support the academic standards of the University and the quality and validity of the degrees it confers and to insure fair and equitable treatment of all students engaged in graduate study.

The general regulations apply to all graduate students in the schools and colleges of the University, and the regulations governing master's and doctoral degrees apply equally to all graduate students engaged in programs which lead to these degrees in each of the schools and colleges of the University.

In addition to the University regulations, the schools, colleges, and departments have established various regulations and procedures governing their respective operations.


Directions for registration are distributed each semester in the schedule of classes. While degree seeking students must be advised in order to register, add, or drop courses for a given academic session, the final responsibility for selecting the courses needed for graduation rests with the student. Students in a degree program will be required to furnish proof that they have had contact with their academic advisors for the specific academic session before they will be allowed to register, add, or drop. Thus, a registration for the term will demonstrate that a degree-seeking graduate student has indeed been advised, and will allow the registered students to adjust their program. While some academic programs do not require nondegree students to be advised prior to registration, academic advisement is available for all admitted nondegree students. Academic programs should be consulted for current nondegree advisement policies.

Dates for registration are given in the University calendar. A late charge is made for registration after the date specified.

Unit of Academic Credit

The credit is the unit of academic value and represents one hour of lecture or recitation or a minimum of two hours of laboratory work each week for one session or the equivalent. Where laboratory work is a part of a course, this fact is indicated in the course description.

Significance of Course Numbers

From September 1943 to September 1967 courses numbered 100-199, except those offered by the Graduate School of Public Affairs, were for undergraduates. Courses numbered 200-299 were open to seniors and graduate students. Courses numbered 300 and above were open only to graduate students. From September 1962 to September 1967 courses offered by the Graduate School of Public Affairs numbered 100 and above carried graduate credit. Beginning in September 1967 each course offered by the University was assigned a designation and a number according to a plan outlined below. The specific course designation and number appear in the bulletin directly in front of the course title. Each course designation consists of three separate units: the school designation, the subject or departmental designation, and the course number. The school or college offering the course is identified by the single letters that follow:

College of Arts and Sciences 
B School of Business
I College of Computing and Information
R School of Criminal Justice
E School of Education
G International Studies
C College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
R Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
H School of Public Health
X Regional Cross Registration
R School of Social Welfare
U University

Course Numbers

The subject designation consists of three letters representing an abbreviation for the subject or the department offering the course. The course number is a three-digit number reflecting the general level of the course and the specific number assigned to the course by the department offering the course. The level designations follow:

000-099 Noncredit courses.
100-299 Lower-division courses (courses 200-299 are primarily of interest to sophomores). Undergraduate credit only.
300-499 Upper-division courses (courses 400-499 are primarily of interest to seniors). Undergraduate credit only.
500-599 First-year graduate courses. Open to seniors with appropriate background and consent of major department chairs and the course instructors.
600-699 First-year graduate courses. Open to superior seniors with the approval of their advisers and the written consent of their department chairs and the course instructors.
700+ Advanced graduate courses ordinarily beyond the master's degree.  Open only to graduate students.

Student Responsibility

Graduate students are personally responsible for completing all requirements established for their degree by the University, college and department. It is the students' responsibility to inform themselves of these requirements. Students' advisors may not assume these responsibilities, and the advisors may not substitute, waive, or exempt students from any established requirement or academic standard.

Course Load

Graduate students in full-time study shall ordinarily register for 12 or more credits each semester. Individuals who are employed or engaged in other significant activities are encouraged to adjust their study loads accordingly.

To be certified as in full-time study, graduate students must:

  • be registered for 12 credits, or
  • hold a full assistantship and be enrolled in 9 credits, or
  • be registered for one dissertation load credit (courses numbered 899 only).

Graduate students enrolled for less than 12 credits per semester who are participating in program required full-time field work may also be certifiable as in full-time status, subject to the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Academic Council, based upon the recommendation of the program faculty.

Regulations Governing the Transfer of Credit to a Graduate Program

  1. Courses completed before entering graduate study at this University for which transfer credit is desired should be presented with the application for admission to graduate study.
  2. In order to qualify for transfer credit for graduate courses completed at another institution after entering graduate study at this University, the student's average grade in resident graduate courses taken at this university must be B or better.
  3. Candidates for degrees at this University are requested to receive the approval of their advisors or of the Dean of Graduate Studies before registering for courses at other colleges if they plan later to present them for transfer credit.
  4. Courses presented must be appropriate to the student's graduate program. Professional courses offered for transfer must be consistent with the student's graduate program.
  5. Courses presented must have been given by an accredited institution authorized to grant graduate degrees.
  6. Courses presented must be graduate courses, that is, applicable to a graduate degree at the institution offering them.
  7. Graduate courses presented for transfer credit completed while the student was in undergraduate status shall be eligible for transfer only upon receipt of documentation from the institution certifying that such course work was not used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements at that institution.
  8. Courses presented must be completed with grades of B or better.
  9. An official transcript of the student's record in the course(s) presented for transfer credit should be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies, State University of New York at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12222.
  10. An official description of the course(s) should accompany the request for transfer credit.
  11. Courses accepted for transfer credit are not used in computing the student's academic average.
  12. Of the graduate credits required for a 30-48 credit master's degree, at least 24 must be completed while in resident study at this University. For those graduate programs requiring more than 48 credits, at least 50 percent of the program’s requirements must be completed while in resident study at this University.

Graduate Credit Requirements

To qualify for graduate credit in a course, students must hold a bachelor's degree and have completed as a minimum the equivalent of an undergraduate minor in the field in which the course is offered, except where it has been approved by their advisors as a supporting course in a program for a graduate degree.

Registration in Shared Resource Courses

No graduate student may enroll in the graduate section of a shared resource course if he/she has already completed the undergraduate section of the same course.

Undergraduate-Graduate Study

Seniors of high standing in the University may receive graduate credit for graduate courses taken in excess of undergraduate requirements in the last session of their senior year provided not more than 6 credits are needed to complete the student's undergraduate program. Permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies is required and must be obtained in advance of registration to receive such credit. Seniors who are permitted to take courses for graduate credit in their last session also must make formal application for admission to a graduate program and be accepted before registering for study in the final session.

Program Changes and Withdrawal

  1. Adding a Course: A course may be added with the approval of the student's advisor prior to the close of the fifth day of classes for each session. A course may be added with the approval of the student's advisor and permission of the instructor from Day 6 through Day 10. (This includes changes from audit to credit.) See calendar, separate bulletins, and directions for registration.
  2. Dropping a Course: A course may be dropped with a grade of W (Withdrawn) by a graduate student prior to the close of the ninth week of classes with the approval of the student's advisor. After that date a grade of Z (Failing) is assigned, unless an exception is granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies, in which case a grade of W is assigned. Students who reduce the credits for which they are registered during a particular session and do so before the end of the fourth week of classes are eligible for a partial refund.
  3. Withdrawal: Graduate students who withdraw from the University at the end of the session should notify the Office of Graduate Admissions and their department chairs in writing.

    Students who drop all courses for which they have registered withdraw from the University for the session.
    A graduate student who withdraws officially from coursework within the first nine weeks of a regular session may do so and receive grades W (Withdrawn). Students may not withdraw after the prescribed date unless their withdrawals are approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, in which case they receive grades of W.

    A student who withdraws from a course prior to the end of the program adjustment period shall have the course registration deleted from his/her record.

    A student who withdraws from a course during the program adjustment period and substitutes that course with another course registration will have the dropped course deleted from his/her academic record.
  4. Medical Withdrawal: A graduate student, or where appropriate the student's legal guardian or authorized representative, may initiate the medical withdrawal process by presenting information about a disabling medical condition to the Office of Graduate Studies. A medical withdrawal process may additionally be initiated at the University Health Center, University Counseling Center, or the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.

    Supporting medical documentation for a medical withdrawal will be transferred and stored in the student's medical record in the University Health Center or University Counseling Center, along with the documentation of the withdrawal. At the time of withdrawal the student will be informed in writing of the requirements for reentry.

    Should the University officer reviewing the request for medical withdrawal have questions about the conditions or circumstances, the situation will be referred to the Health or Counseling Center for review by the appropriate licensed practitioner.

    Medical withdrawals effective on or before the mid-semester point may qualify the student for tuition and fees adjustment for the term of withdrawal. However, under current federal regulations, students who receive federal aid and who withdraw prior to the end of the semester, regardless of the reason for the withdrawal, may have some of the aid on their account returned to the federal program, and they may immediately owe repayment of a significant portion of aid they have received for off-campus expenses.

    Students seeking reentry after a medical withdrawal must provide documentation of the reason for withdrawal, treatment outcome, and their preparedness to return to the University. This documentation will be provided to the University Health or Counseling Center by the student, physician, or other licensed health care practitioner or facility. The University’s Health or Counseling Center reserves the right to make an independent evaluation of a student's readiness to return to the University.

Official Leave of Absence from a Graduate Program

A doctoral student shall be eligible to apply for leave of absence prior to reaching doctoral candidacy and/or registering for dissertation credits. A leave may be proposed for an appropriate academic or personal reason and will be subject to approval by the student's department, school or college, and by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Normally, a leave of absence will be granted for a period up to one year. Multiple leaves may be granted up to a combined maximum of four semesters.

The period of authorized leave of absence is not counted as part of the statute of limitations for completion of degree requirements.
Students who are on leave of absence are not entitled use of University facilities and faculty, and other resources exclusively afforded to students.

Auditing Courses

Students may formally audit appropriate courses which will enhance their programs and/or assist them in achieving career and personal objectives. Formal auditors are ones who register as auditors, pay tuition, and receive recognition on their transcripts, as well as other benefits enjoyed by registered students.

The following conditions govern the formal auditing of selected graduate courses:

  1. The student must register for the course as a formal auditor.
  2. The student must pay full tuition and fees based on his/her status as a graduate student.
  3. The course will appear at the end of the session on the student's transcript with a grade of N bearing the number of credits for which the course is offered.
  4. An audited course may not be applied toward satisfying the credit requirements established for any graduate degree or certificate program.
  5. Registration for an audit course must be approved by the student's academic advisor and either the instructor of the course or the chair of the department offering the course and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  6. A student may not change from credit to audit or from audit to credit after the last day to add a course for the particular session.
  7. Once audited, a course cannot be repeated for graduate credit.
  8. The following types of courses may not be formally audited: practicums, internships, research and independent study courses, field courses, clinical courses, workshops, and foreign study programs or courses.
  9. A graduate student who formally audits a course must participate in the course in appropriate ways as determined by the instructor. It will be the student's responsibility to ascertain from the instructor the degree of participation required. As a minimum, such participation should include regular attendance and minimum reading assignments necessary to follow discussion and to keep up with the other students in the class. In addition, instructors may require individual auditors to participate in other class projects. If in the instructors judgment, the student by the mid-session date is not satisfactorily auditing the course, the instructor will report a grade of W and the student will leave the course. There would be no refund of tuition and fees. After the mid- session date a W can be assigned by the Dean of Graduate Studies upon the instructor's recommendation.
  10. Credits taken on a formal audit basis may count toward the student's eligibility to hold an assistantship, fellowship, veterans benefits, scholar incentive, and toward a student's full-time status under the residency requirement.
  11. Exceptions to these policies may be authorized by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Independent Study

  1. Independent study provides students with an opportunity to work in specialized areas of their disciplines or professional fields when no formal, organized courses are offered or when the independent study will provide a richer and more productive experience than a comparable advanced course. A clear determination should be made in advance by students, their advisors, and instructors that it is in the best interest of the students to undertake the courses. It should make a positive contribution to their programs, scholarly development, and intellectual maturity. 

    Independent study is more, rather than less, demanding on the student than formal courses. Not all graduate students have either the experience or necessary intellectual discipline to undertake work of this nature successfully at the time they first enter a program. Students should not, therefore, undertake independent study in the first session of a graduate program, particularly if they have not had previous graduate experience or have not worked within the department or school previously, unless the programs in which they are engaged incorporates independent study as a formal requirement for the degree.

  2. A student must prepare a written proposal summarizing the intended study. As a minimum this should indicate the objectives, nature, and scope of study, the resources needed or to be used, their location and availability. It must also explain why an existing structured course (including seminars) cannot meet the needs of the student. The proposal must also indicate what the expected end product will be (for example, a paper, annotated bibliography, abstract, theatrical productions, painting or sculpture, questionnaire, etc.). The number of credits which are to be assigned must be specified. Any special or unusual time schedule should be indicated, and the proposal must be signed and approved by the student, the advisor, and the instructor. Copies of the agreement are to be distributed as follows: one copy to the student, one copy to the instructor, one copy to the advisor, one copy to the department, and one copy to the student's official folder. Copies of the agreement form may be secured from the department or school.
  3. An independent study course ordinarily should not be used as a substitute for an organized course specified in the student's program description or letter of admission.
  4. An independent study course may not be taken or approved when its purpose or operation is in conflict with University graduate policy or academic regulations and standards. For example, it specifically may not be authorized to provide for study in absentia when the student's academic status or program requires residence study on campus.
  5. An independent study course may not be taken or approved when its purpose is extraneous to the academic requirements for the degree. For example, it should not be used merely to increase the total credits in a registration by one or two credits.
  6. Each year all approved independent study programs must be reviewed by an appropriate department or school committee.
  7. Included in independent study are the following current types of courses: Directed Study, Independent Study, Directed Reading, Independent Reading, Supervised Study, Supervised Reading, Research and Independent Study, Independent Research and Study, Readings in _______, and Independent Research in_______.
  8. Not included under independent study as here defined: Courses such as Independent Reading or Directed Reading when offered for no credit or for load credit, Seminar courses (680) when independent study may or may not be structured part of the course, Thesis or Dissertation Research, Dissertation (load), Student Teaching, Field Courses, Clinical Courses, Internships, Practicums, Workshops, Laboratory Courses.

Faculty and Professional Staff-Conflict of Interest

The University is concerned that a conflict of interest may exist in situations in which employees or students vote on their own degree conferrals, or in which employees or students might exercise a special and undesirable influence on academic decisions directly influencing their own degree programs or the programs of a member of their immediate families.

  1. Only those below the rank of assistant professor or equivalent status and those with administrative positions below the rank of assistant dean (or equivalent) are eligible to be enrolled in a graduate degree program of study within their own school/college. However, faculty members above the rank of instructor or professional employees at or above the level of assistant dean may be enrolled as graduate degree students in a school or college other than the one in which they are employed provided that there is no conflict of interest nor a restriction by the policies stated here. In addition, no faculty members shall hold voting faculty status (as defined in the by-laws of the University and the individual school or college) in a department, college, or school in which they are also enrolled as graduate degree students.
  2. No graduate degree students shall hold or be assigned any administrative post at or above U-Grade 28 or Professional Rank-7 within the State University of New York system in which they are in a position to (a) alter university graduate student records (transcripts) or (b) influence academic and/or financial decisions bearing directly on the department or nondepartmentalized school in which they are enrolled as degree program students.
  3. Members of the immediate family (spouse, parent, child, brother, sister) of a faculty member (a) may not register for graduate credit in a course taught by the faculty member except where a course cannot be obtained otherwise and is a specific requirement for graduation; and (b) may be enrolled in a graduate degree program in the department or nondepartmentalized school in which the faculty member has voting status only with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. This does not prohibit faculty relatives from enrolling in degree programs in other departments within the same school.
  4. Where a full-time employee desires to enter a graduate program, the responsible administrative officer and the Dean of Graduate Studies should be informed by the employee. The student and administrators should reach a common understanding concerning the relationship between job responsibilities and the required academic study.
  5. Individual academic units should develop governance policies and procedures which will prevent graduate students from voting on their own qualifications for a degree.
  6. This policy was made effective for all graduate students June 1, 1972. Graduate students enrolled in a degree program prior to this date shall not be affected by items 1, 2, 3a above.
  7. Exceptions to this policy may be granted only by votes of the Graduate Academic Council or its designee.


Attendance by all graduate students must be regular. Regulations concerning attendance in a particular course are at the discretion of the instructor and are announced in the opening class session. Responsibility for class attendance rests with the student.

In all cases the work missed through absence must be made up. However, permission to make up such work is not automatic and is given at the discretion of the instructor.

The University reserves the right to exclude from a graduate program, course, or final examination students whose attendance in classes is unsatisfactory to their instructors or to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Section 224-a of the Education Law: Students unable because of religious beliefs to attend classes on certain days

  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 religious beliefs, to 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 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 religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirements which he 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 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 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 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 availing himself 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 rights under this section.
  7. As used in this section, the term "institution of higher education" shall mean schools under the control of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York or of the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York or any community college.  

    *This wording is the language of the original and still existing legislation. Until the wording is changed to reflect Title IX provisions, it must be printed in the current form. It should be understood in the above text that masculine pronouns refer equally to female persons.

    +Added L. 1966, c. 826, eff. July 28,1966.

Degree Application

A student who expects to complete requirements for a degree at the end of a particular session must file a Degree Application Request with the Registrar during the final registration period. If for some reason a degree is not awarded after application is made, it is necessary to file another Degree Application Request during the registration of the session when degree requirements are expected to be met.


Unless more rigorous performance standards are otherwise required by a particular program, graduate students who are candidates for a graduate degree or certificate must earn an average of B in all resident graduate courses and credits applicable to their degree completed with grades other than S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) and receive grades of S in all resident graduate courses applicable to their degree which may be graded S/U.

Only courses completed with grades of A, B, C, or S may be applied to graduate course requirements and to credit requirements for graduate degrees.

Undergraduate courses or credits specified as required in conjunction with a graduate program must be completed according to the following academic standards:

  1. A prerequisite course in the subject field central to the graduate program or in the principal teaching field in a program leading to state teacher certification must be completed with a grade of C or better.
  2. A prerequisite in a supporting subject field must be completed with a grade of C or better.

Graduate students in nondegree study are expected to meet and maintain the same academic standards as students in degree programs.

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing during the course of their study; that is, to maintain an academic record consistent with the standard above. A student whose record falls much below those standards or which otherwise indicates a lack of ability or effort needed to succeed in graduate study will be denied permission for further study.

The candidacy of graduate students who receive a grade of U in a required seminar or research course, in a practicum, student teaching course, internship, field course or similar application course, on a thesis, or in a dissertation course, is terminated unless an exception is recommended for compelling reasons by their department or school, and they may not register for further study unless they are later reinstated. Under certain conditions, and with the recommendations of the student's major department, such a student may apply to the Dean of Graduate Studies for reinstatement, but ordinarily at least one session must intervene before a reinstatement.

Graduate students who are not in good standing academically and who have been denied the privilege of further study on those grounds may petition the Graduate Academic Council for reinstatement provided extenuating circumstances were involved which, in their opinion, warrant review.

The term in good standing (satisfactory academic standing) means that a student is eligible or has been allowed to register and take academic coursework at this campus for the current session. Although in some cases students have been warned and advised that their academic average needs improvement in order to qualify for their degree, they are still considered to be in good standing since they are still authorized to continue studying toward their degrees. Only those students officially terminated from their programs of study are considered not to be in good academic standing.

Graduate Grades

Grades in graduate courses are recorded on University records according to the following scale: 

A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
D 1.0 (not applicable to a graduate degree)
E Failure: (academic)
N Audit only: noncredit
NR No grade reported: study in progress
I Incomplete:  A tentative grade given only when the student has nearly completed the course but due to circumstances beyond the student's control the work is not completed on schedule. The date for the completion of the work is specified by the instructor. The date stipulated will not be later than one month before the end of the session following that in which the Incomplete is received. The grade I is automatically changed to E or U unless work is completed as agreed between the student and the instructor.
L Load only:  Noncredit: Used to indicate that a student is engaged in a specified scholarly activity in a particular session.
R Research credit:  Assigned for satisfactory progress in thesis and dissertation research courses. Credits apply to the appropriate degree when the research project is satisfactorily completed and the  thesis or dissertation is accepted by the faculty and Office of Graduate Studies.
S Satisfactory: Awarded in graduate seminars, student teaching, and special courses.
U Unsatisfactory: Awarded in graduate seminars, student teaching, and special courses.
W Withdrawn: Assigned by the appropriate administrative officer for withdrawal from a course or from the University (without penalty).

Failing (penalty grade): Assigned by the appropriate administrative officer for excessive absence, unofficial withdrawal, and like situations.

Grading of Graduate Courses

The evaluation of student performance in most graduate courses requires the awarding of A-E grades. In its totality, graduate instruction here is not conceived, organized, and offered to reflect a general S/U or "pass-fail" pattern of evaluation, even though most graduate degree programs do require one or more appropriate graduate courses graded S/U.

The grading system for all formally organized and structured graduate courses requires the use of the following A-E scale: A; A-; B+; B; B-; C+; C; and E; other grades which may temporarily or permanently be substituted for the above grades are I (incomplete), W (withdrawn), and Z (failure).

The grading system for all graduate courses which by design are unstructured or are organized primarily to provide an independent learning experience are required to be graded on the S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) scale. In this graduate scale S is equivalent to a B or better, and U is equivalent to a B- or lower. The courses which must be graded on the graduate S/U scale include student teaching, seminars, field courses, clinical courses, internships, practicums, workshops, independent study, directed study or reading, research courses, special projects in community-work courses, and special laboratory courses. Theses are also graded S/U. Theses courses for which students register automatically carry a grade of I until notification of the assignment of an S/U grade for the thesis course by the Graduate Office. According to graduate academic standards, only courses completed with grades of A, A-, B+, B, and S may be applied to graduate course requirements and to credit requirements for graduate degrees. These requirements can also be met by courses graded B-, C+, and C only if they are balanced to a B (3.0). (Example: Three credits of B- must be balanced at least by three credits of B+).

Exceptions to the above pattern of grading practices may be authorized by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Requests for exceptions should be submitted to the dean in writing by the department chair or by the instructor of a course with the endorsement of the department chair. The request should be supported by the rationale for changing the grading pattern and should state whether this change is sought on a temporary or permanent basis. Upon review, the Dean of Graduate Studies notifies the department chair officially of the decision regarding the request. The Registrar is also notified about such grading decisions.

Additionally, an instructor may not award simultaneously both A/E grades and S/U grades in the same graduate course; grades assigned in a course must be either all A/E grades or all S/U grades. All undergraduates enrolled in graduate courses are evaluated by the grading system authorized in graduate instruction. An instructor should not make arrangements with students which vary from the authorized grading practices without having received in advance formal approval from the Dean of Graduate Studies for grading on a different pattern.

Standards of Academic Integrity

As a community of scholars, the University at Albany has a special responsibility to integrity and truth. By testing, analyzing, and scrutinizing ideas and assumptions, scholarly inquiry produces the timely and valuable knowledge that guide and inform important and significant decisions, policies, and choices. Our duty to be honest, methodical and careful in the attribution of data and ideas to their sources establishes the foundations of our work. Misrepresenting or falsifying scholarship undermines the essential trust on which our community depends. Every member of the community, including both faculty and students, shares an interest in maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity.

Violations of trust harm everyone. The academic community has to trust that its members do not misrepresent their data, take credit for another's ideas or labor, misrepresent or interfere with the work of other scholars, or present previous work as if it were new. Acts of academic dishonesty undermine the value and credibility of the institution as a whole, and may distract others from important scholarship or divert resources away from critical research. In particular, students who plagiarize or falsify their work have not only failed to adhere to the principles of scholarly inquiry and failed their peers by taking undeserved credit or reward, they have failed to learn.

When the entire University community upholds the principles of academic integrity, it creates an environment where students value their education and embrace experiences of discovery and intellectual growth. In this environment, grades and degrees are awarded and applauded as the recognition of years of achievement, discipline, and hard work. Maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity insures the value and reputation of our degree programs; these standards represent an ethical obligation for faculty intrinsic to their role as educators, as well as a pledge of honor on the part of UAlbany students. If a violation of academic integrity occurs, faculty, deans, and students all share in the responsibility to report it.

These guidelines define a shared context of values to help both students and faculty to make individual and institutional decisions about academic integrity. Every student has the responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at the University. While it is strongly recommended that faculty specify in their syllabi information about academic integrity, as well as a description of the possible responses to violations, claims of ignorance, unintentional error, or personal or academic pressures are not sufficient reasons for violations of academic integrity. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the standards and behaving accordingly, and UAlbany faculty are responsible for teaching, modeling and upholding them. Anything less undermines the worth and value of our intellectual work, and the reputation and credibility of the University at Albany degree.

Resources for Students

The University Libraries offers the following helpful information:

You have access to many research and information literacy resources here at the University at Albany.

Take an information literacy course. These courses will help you to locate and evaluate information effectively —skills that will help you not only with your studies, but also in the workplace. For more information, check the list of courses ( that meet the General Education Information Literacy Requirement. The University Libraries offer two such courses, one targeted towards the sciences. More information is available on both courses at:

Check out helpful tip sheets and other tutorials ( The University Libraries provide a wide array of guides and other instruction to answer your research-related questions. These include help on the research process, citation tip sheets, explanations of types of resources, information on how to locate a wide range of materials and how to evaluate them effectively, and much more. You will also find up to date Internet Tutorials ( that will help make you a pro at searching the Web!

The University Libraries homepage ( will provide you with access to all sorts of resources for doing research, including the online catalog and a wide variety of research databases. You will find links to contact librarians and to ask for help, and a great deal more. Take a look!

Examples of Academic Dishonesty
The following is a list of types of behaviors considered to be academically dishonest and therefore unacceptable. Even the attempt to commit such acts is a breach of integrity and is subject to penalty. No such list can, of course, describe all possible types or degrees of academic dishonesty, so these should be understood as examples rather than as a comprehensive list. Individual faculty members, Deans of Schools and Colleges as appropriate, and the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility will continue to judge each case according to its particular merit.

Plagiarism:   Presenting as one's own work, the work of another person (for example, the words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else). Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment, submission of another student's work as one's own, the purchase of prepared research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else. Failure to indicate accurately the extent and precise nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness, and the consequences for violating University regulations.

Examples of plagiarism include: failure to acknowledge the source(s) of even a few phrases, sentences, or paragraphs; failure to acknowledge a quotation or paraphrase of paragraph-length sections of a paper; failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a major idea or the source(s) for an ordering principle central to the paper's or project's structure; failure to acknowledge the source (quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) of major sections or passages in the paper or project; the unacknowledged use of several major ideas or extensive reliance on another person's data, evidence, or critical method; submitting as one's own work, work borrowed, stolen, or purchased from someone else. For more information concerning plagiarism, see the library’s tutorial on the subject on the library web site. Graduate students will find additional information concerning Academic Integrity, Conduct, and Research Regulations on the Graduate Studies web site.

Cheating on Examinations:  Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include collaboration of any sort during an examination (unless specifically approved by the instructor); collaboration before an examination (when such collaboration is specifically forbidden by the instructor); the use of notes, books, or other aids during an examination (unless permitted by the instructor); arranging for another person to take an examination in one's place; looking upon someone else's examination during the examination period; intentionally allowing another student to look upon one's exam; the unauthorized discussing of the test items during the examination period; and the passing of any examination information to students who have not yet taken the examination. There can be no conversation while an examination is in progress unless specifically authorized by the instructor.

Multiple Submission:  Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without receiving the prior explicit consent of the instructor to whom the material is being submitted the second or subsequent time.

Forgery:  Imitating another person's signature on academic or other official documents.

Sabotage:  Destroying, damaging, or stealing of another's work or working materials (including lab experiments, computer programs, term papers, or projects).

Unauthorized Collaboration:  Collaborating on projects, papers, or other academic exercises when this is regarded as inappropriate by the instructor(s). Although the usual faculty assumption is that work submitted for credit is entirely one's own, standards on appropriate and inappropriate collaboration vary widely among individual faculty and the different disciplines. Students who want to confer or collaborate with one another on work receiving academic credit should make certain of the instructor's expectations and standards.

Falsification:  Misrepresenting material or fabricating information in an academic exercise or assignment (for example, the false or misleading citation of sources, the falsification of experimental or computer data, etc.)

Bribery:  Offering or giving any article of value or service to an instructor in an attempt to receive a grade or other benefits not legitimately earned or not available to other students in the class.

Theft, Damage, or Misuse of Library or IT Resources:  Removing uncharged library materials from the library, defacing or damaging library materials, intentionally displacing or hoarding materials within the library for one's unauthorized private use, or other abuse of reserve-book privileges. Any violation of the University’s Responsible Use of Information Technology policy. This includes, but is not limited to, unauthorized use of the University's or another person's computer accounts, codes, passwords, or facilities; damaging computer equipment or interfering with the operation of the computing system of the University. All students are expected to be familiar with the Responsible Use Policy, which can be viewed at

Penalties and Procedures

The faculty member responsible for educating the student is also responsible for determining when that student has violated academic integrity. When a faculty member determines that a student has violated academic integrity, he or she will inform the student and impose an appropriate sanction. A faculty member may make any one or a combination of the following responses to the infractions of academic dishonesty cited above:

  1. Lowering of a paper or project grade by one full grade or more;
  2. Giving a failing grade on a paper containing plagiarized material;
  3. Giving a failing grade on any examination in which cheating occurred;
  4. Lowering a course grade by one full grade or more; or
  5. Giving a failing grade in a course or other academic exercise.

In addition, faculty members will complete the Violation of Academic Integrity Report, including the sanction they have imposed along with a brief description of the incident, and send it to the Dean of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies, as appropriate. A copy of the report is to be given to the student. The Deans of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies will maintain a copy of such reports for the duration of a student's enrollment at the University.

If a faculty member informs the student that he or she will receive a failing grade in the course or other academic exercise as a result of academic dishonesty, the student receiving such a penalty will not be permitted to withdraw from the course unless the grievance process or Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility rules in favor of the student. Students who feel they have been erroneously penalized for an academic integrity infraction or think that a penalty is inappropriate may grieve these issues through procedures developed for each college, school, program, or department of the University. Copies of the procedures are maintained in the School and College Deans' Offices or on their respective websites. A copy of the disposition of any grievance arising in matters of academic dishonesty will be attached to the Violation of Academic Integrity Report filed in the Offices of the Deans of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies.

Any faculty member or School or College Dean encountering matters of academic dishonesty in a class or academic program for which he or she has responsibility may, in addition to, or in lieu of, the actions cited above,

(6) refer a case to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility.

After considering the case, the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility will recommend to the Dean of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies, as appropriate, the disposition of the case, which can include revoking a student’s scholarship or fellowship, or teaching or research assistantship, as well as or in addition to disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. Students should be aware that violations of academic integrity may cause subsequent difficulties in admission to graduate or professional schools and/or in employment in certain professions.

When a student violates academic integrity in more than one academic exercise, whether those infractions occurred during the same or different periods of time, or in the same or different courses, the University regards the offense as an especially serious subversion of academic integrity. The matter becomes particularly severe when the student has been confronted with the first infraction before the second is committed. Whenever the Offices of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies receive a second Violation of Academic Integrity report on a student, the Dean will request a hearing before the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility.

The Director of Libraries or Chief Information Officer, upon a finding of theft, damage, misuse of facilities or resources, or a violation of University policies, will forward all such cases to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility for review and disposition, which can include suspension or expulsion from the University. The Director of the Libraries or Chief Information Officer may, in individual cases, limit access to the Library or IT resources pending action by the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility. In all other cases of academic dishonesty by students which come to the attention of any staff, faculty, or student, it is expected that the Dean of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies, as appropriate, will be consulted about such infractions.

The Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility was established by the governing bodies of this campus and is administratively the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Success. Any questions about the procedures of the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility may be secured by inquiry to that office.

Exceptions to Regulations

In some instances, students may seek to be excepted from a University, school, college, or departmental regulation or from a program requirement.

Program Requirements:  A request for an exception from the program requirements should be submitted in writing initially to the department chair or an appropriate departmental committee. If the department is not authorized to act on the request, it will refer the request to the official or committee responsible.

Departmental Regulations:  A request for an exception from a departmental regulation should be submitted in writing to the chair or the departmental committee responsible. If the department is not authorized to act on the request, it will refer the request to the committee or official responsible.

School or College Regulations:  A request for an exception from a school or college regulation should be discussed first with the department chair. If the request is within the responsibility of the department, it should then be submitted in writing to the chair or departmental committee responsible. If the department is not authorized to act, the request should be submitted in writing to the dean of the school or college or to the school or college committee responsible. If the school or college is not authorized to act on the request, it will refer the request via the Dean of Graduate Studies to the Graduate Academic Council.

University Regulations:  A request for an exception from a University regulation shall be discussed with the department chair. If the request is within the responsibility of the department, it should then be submitted in writing to the chair or departmental committee responsible. If the department is not authorized to act, the request should be submitted in writing to school or college officials or committees if they are responsible, or to the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Academic Council if they are responsible.

Requests for exceptions to any of the following regulations established for the award of a graduate degree will not be considered:

  1. academic grade standards;
  2. credit requirements;
  3. residence study requirements;
  4. seminar, thesis, research, and field course requirements for a master's degree; field examination for a master's degree;
  5. tool and foreign language requirements;
  6. requirements established for admission to candidacy for a doctoral degree;
  7. dissertation requirements for a doctoral degree.

Procedures for Resolving Academic Grievances

Students who seek to challenge an academic grade or evaluation of their work in a course or seminar, or in research or another educational activity may request a review of the evaluation by filing an academic grievance.

The Graduate Academic Council (GAC) and the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC), through the work of their respective Committees on Admission and Academic Standing (CAAS) are responsible for insuring that approved procedures exist within the schools, colleges, departments (if applicable) and programs of the University for students to file academic grievances. Copies of established grievance procedures shall be filed by each academic unit with the Offices of the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and available to students at each school/college dean’s office.

It is expected that the grounds upon which an academic grievance may be based should be clearly identified. Such grounds may include variance from University grading standards/policies, grade calculation inconsistencies with that announced in published course syllabi, procedural abnormalities, or other factors that are alleged to have denied the student a fair evaluation. It is not expected that grievances will propose that the professional obligation of faculty to fairly evaluate academic material within their field of expertise will be supplanted by alternate means without procedural cause.

A student who seeks to dispute a grade or evaluation must initially pursue the matter directly with the faculty member involved. If not satisfactorily resolved directly with the faculty member, a written grievance may be filed with the program/department, or directly with school/college for units that are not departmentalized.

Should the grievance not be satisfactorily resolved at this initial level of review, students may pursue further consideration of the grievance at the next organizational level until such time as the grievance is considered at the University level by the GAC or UAC CAAS, as appropriate. Action on an academic grievance by the appropriate CAAS, upon acceptance by the GAC or UAC, as appropriate, is final and not subject to further formal review within the University. Only at this final level of grievance determination by the CAAS may a grade or other such evaluation be changed against the will of the faculty member(s) involved. In such rare cases, the Chair of the GAC or UAC, or its respective CAAS, as appropriate, may consult at his/her discretion with departmental faculty and/or appropriate scholars to determine an appropriate grade and authorize its recording by the Registrar.

In reviewing an academic grievance, the CAAS will consider the formal written petition from the student and corresponding written response/comment from the faculty, along with all records of consideration of the matter at prior levels of review. Although rare, the CAAS reserves the right to conduct a hearing with all parties present or it may decide to meet with each party separately. The nature and number of the representatives attending any such meeting will be at the discretion of the CAAS. These procedures adopted are those which the University believes will provide all parties involved the opportunity to present complete and factual information as necessary for the CAAS to render a fair decision.

Academic Termination and Transcripts

Graduate students who are terminated for academic reasons will have placed on their graduate transcripts a notation that they were academically terminated and date of termination. If such students are subsequently readmitted to the program from which they were terminated, their termination notations will be deleted from their transcripts.


A graduate student whose authorization to register for further study has been terminated officially by the Dean of Graduate Studies and who seeks reinstatement should submit a formal request for reinstatement along with a supporting statement to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The Dean of Graduate Studies will refer such a request to the Graduate Academic Council and its Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing for review and action.

Last updated on 5/11/2009