Degree Requirements

The college designates the five types of area of study undergraduate degrees by

  1. the amount of credit in the degree program and
  2. the educational content of the degree program.
Degree Total Credits Required Minimum Credits to be Earned at ESC Minimum Liberal Arts and Sciences Credits Required Minimum General Education Credits Minimum Advanced-level Credit in Concentration Minimum Advanced-level Credits in Degree Program
A.A. 64 24 48 30 - -
A.S. 64 24 32 30 - -
B.A. 124 31 94 30 24 45
B.S. 124 31 62 30 24 45
B.S.N. 124 31 62 30 41 45
B.P.S. 124 31 32 30 24 45

Learning Goals

(For details, please see the College Learning Goals Policy.)

Growing out of SUNY Empire State College’s unique mission, the learning goals outlined below serve as a vital link between the college’s historical mission, the current context of rapid educational change, and the future of our institution in a global society where knowledge and learning remain urgently important. These statements encapsulate the values that we bring to our work with students, and they articulate our hopes for our graduates. We also believe it is our responsibility as educators to enter into collaborative relationships with future students, which requires transparency about our goals and values. Finally, by clearly stating these goals, we will be able to both reflect upon our students’ and our own success through a creative, collaborative and iterative assessment process that extends across multiple institutional levels.

Graduates of SUNY Empire State College will demonstrate competence in the following areas of learning, appropriate to their degree levels. At the graduate level, these goals will be incorporated as appropriate to the program of study.

  • Active Learning – assess and build upon previous learning and experiences to pursue new learning, independently and in collaboration with others.
  • Breadth and Depth of Knowledge – cultivate a broad, interdisciplinary understanding in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as expertise in a particular field.
  • Social Responsibility – engage in ethical reasoning, and reflect on issues such as democratic citizenship, diversity, social justice and environmental sustainability, both locally and globally.
  • Communication – express and receive ideas effectively, in multiple contexts and through multiple strategies.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving – evaluate, analyze, synthesize and critique key concepts and experiences, and apply diverse perspectives to find creative solutions to problems concerning human behavior, society and the natural world.
  • Quantitative Literacy – read, interpret, use and present quantitative information effectively.
  • Information and Digital Media Literacy – critically access, evaluate, understand, create and share information using a range of collaborative technologies to advance learning, as well as personal and professional development.

Educational Planning

Educational planning is the core undergraduate degree requirement at SUNY Empire State College, and students must complete from 4 to 8 college credits in this topic. Through this course, or series of courses, the student creates a degree program proposal that is tailored to her/his own background, goals and learning needs. Within the educational planning course, the primary mentor guides the student through substantive academic work, including reading, research and writing assignments that relate directly to the program design itself and to broader professional and intellectual issues.

Associate Degree Programs

To earn an associate degree you need 64 credits, with at least 24 credits earned at SUNY Empire State College. You may include up to 40 credits for learning that occurred before you enrolled at SUNY Empire State College.

An Associate in Arts degree requires at least 48 liberal arts and sciences credits and an Associate in Science degree requires at least 32 liberal arts and sciences credits. Advanced-level studies are not required for associate degrees, but you may include them.

To satisfy SUNY General Education Requirements, all associate degrees include 30 credits across seven of the 10 general education knowledge and skill areas.

Planning for Transfer Within SUNY

If you plan to begin at Empire State College and later transfer to another SUNY campus, SUNY Transfer Paths will help you identify core coursework that will prepare you for multiple SUNY campuses. Transfer Paths summarize the common lower division requirements shared by all SUNY campuses for similar majors within most disciplines. Just select the Transfer Path discipline that is closest to your area of study and work with your mentor to plan and follow the core course sequence designed to ensure a seamless transfer. This is especially important for students pursuing an associate degree who wish to transfer to another SUNY campus to complete a bachelor’s degree in one of the Transfer Paths. For full details on the Transfer Paths and guaranteed transfer courses, please go to the SUNY Transfer Paths web page

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

To earn a bachelor’s degree you need a minimum of 124 credits, with at least 31 credits earned at Empire State College.

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires at least 94 liberal arts and sciences credits, a Bachelor of Science degree requires at least 62 liberal arts and sciences credits, and a Bachelor of Professional Studies requires at least 32 liberal arts and sciences credits. All of the bachelor’s degrees require a minimum of 45 advanced-level credits with a minimum of 24 of them in the concentration.

To satisfy SUNY General Education Requirements, all bachelor’s degrees require a minimum of 30 credit hours distributed among at least seven of the 10 knowledge and skills areas.