Office of General Studies

Nondegree Status

Each year more than 1,500 adults register for undergraduate credit courses through the Office of General Studies. The Office of General Studies offers extraordinary educational value: access for nondegree students, especially working adults, to almost all undergraduate courses offered at the University for academic credit.

Student Profile

General Studies students are nondegree (nonmatriculated) students. That is, they have not been officially accepted into the University. General Studies students come to the University to begin or resume college study that might eventually lead to a baccalaureate degree; to qualify for graduate or professional school; to launch, advance, or change their careers; or simply to enjoy the learning experience.

General Studies students have the option of attending both evening and day courses on a full- or part-time basis. Students of varying ages register at the University through General Studies, although the majority fall within the 21Ė40 age group. Traditionally oriented to the adult student the Office of General Studies also recognizes that recent high school graduates under the age of 21 may also want to pursue University study on a part-time nondegree basis.

Individuals may audit undergraduate credit courses formally or informally on a space available basis through General Studies. Persons over 60 are especially encouraged to audit courses at the University through the General Studies office. (Please see the Undergraduate Regulations section of this publication for restrictions on auditing courses.)

Eligibility for Study

General Studies applicants must be high school graduates or have a high school equivalency diploma and must be in good academic standing for any college work done during the 12 months prior to registration. Any student formerly matriculated at the University at Albany who has not received a baccalaureate degree is not permitted to register through General Studies and should refer to the section in this bulletin on Readmission Procedures. General Studies students must be either American citizens or permanent residents. Nonresident aliens may register with authorization from the Office of International Student Services.

Individuals who already have a baccalaureate or higher degree may also register in undergraduate credit courses as nondegree students through the Office of General Studies.

All course prerequisites and any other special criteria or restrictions for course registration apply to General Studies students. Evidence of previous course work may be required for registration.

A General Studies student who fails to complete the courses in which he/she is enrolled and to maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average each semester may be subject to dismissal.

After a student has accrued or attempted nine or more credits as a General Studies student, the University reserves the right to rescind continued enrollment privileges for failure to maintain sufficient academic progress which shall be defined as falling below a 2.0 cumulative grade point average or not completing course work enrolled for. Continued enrollment may be permitted on the basis of submission of an academic plan provided by the student and approved by either the Director of General Studies or the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Registration Information

Recognizing that many adults are unable to visit the campus during regular business hours, the Office of General Studies schedules extended registration hours during advisement and registration periods. Initial registration normally involves a campus visit to complete a simple application and registration process and to have an adviser approve the program of study. In general, students do not have to provide documentation of previous study until they decide to apply formally for admission to the University. Telephone registration is also available to continuing students and to students who already hold a bachelorís or higher degree and who seek to enroll in undergraduate course work on a casual basis.

There are two academic semesters (fall and spring) each year, and a summer session. Students are encouraged to early register for the coming term Interested students should call the Office of General Studies for registration periods, which begin as early as March for summer sessions and fall semester, and October for the spring semester. A rolling admissions process is used for entry into General Studies. Admission is conducted on a first come basis and enrollment is limited.

Course Load

Depending on their academic record, General Studies students who do not hold a bachelorís degree may register for a maximum of three courses per semester with the permission of a General Studies adviser. Students who wish to register for more than three courses must petition the Director of the Office of General Studies. Those holding a bachelorís degree are not limited in the number of courses they may take.


The Office of General Studies staff advises and registers students; assists with withdrawals; conveys and interprets University policies, regulations, and procedures; encourages and works with nonmatriculated students in applying for degree status; and refers students to other University offices and services. The General Studies advising staff is strongly committed to the needs and concerns of nontraditional students. They provide comprehensive educational planning and academic advisement services for both prospective and current General Studies students. Counselors serve as the academic advisers for all registered General Studies students and are available for phone and in-person consultation at convenient times throughout the year. Extended hours and services are announced in the General Studies newsletters and publications. General Studies students are encouraged to contact a General Studies adviser to discuss their academic goals and plans.

All General Studies students obtain a University identification card and are entitled to many of the same privileges as other University students, including use of libraries, athletic facilities, and campus services.


The Advisement Office of General Studies is located on the Universityís main campus in Li 85, just down the hall from the Career Development Center, which is at the base of the stairwell between the Library and Business Administration Building. Most classes are held on the Universityís main campus at 1400 Washington Avenue.

For more information interested persons may visit, write, or call the Office of General Studies, State University of New York at Albany, LI 85, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222. (518) 442-5140. FAX: (518) 442-5149. E-mail address:

Matriculation to Degree Status

Each year, many General Studies students apply for admission to degree programs and are accepted by the Undergraduate Admissions Office. Credits earned as nonmatriculated students may be applied toward graduation requirements for specific majors. Admission criteria and guidelines for matriculation into the University are flexible and responsive to the special situations of adult students. Requirements for admission to specific majors vary from department to department (see appropriate academic department listings in this bulletin).

Applicants must apply to the University formally through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in accordance with procedures outlined in the Admissions section of this bulletin. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all other colleges previously attended. Standardized admission test scores are not required. Minimum requirements for admission include a high school or equivalency diploma and at least two units of academic mathematics (see Transfer Admissions section in this bulletin).

Visiting Students

The Office of General Studies admits and advises visiting students to nonmatriculated status. Students within this nonmatriculated enrollment category are expected to return to their home college or university to complete their degree program. It is the visiting studentsí responsibility to ensure that course work pursued at the University at Albany will be credited to their degree program at their home institution. The Office of General Studies will provide verification of visitor status to officials at the studentsí home institution in order to assist them in the credit approval or financial aid certification.

These nonmatriculated students are expected to return to their college or university to complete their degree program.

Undergraduate Bulletin — Table of Contents
University at Albany
State University of New York