Seamless Transfer Policy
Frequently Asked Questions
The following list of responses to frequently asked questions regarding seamless transfer policy implementation are intended to be informational only, and is not an official SUNY policy document. Official SUNY policies regarding seamless transfer can be viewed and downloaded at the Student Mobility Page.
Transfer Path Courses (courses in the major)
- Has SUNY-GER changed with the latest resolution?
- No. As with previous policy, SUNY-GER consists of:
- At least 30 credits of approved SUNY-GER courses
- A minimum of 7 of 10 areas:
- Mathematics (required)
- Basic Communication (required)
- Natural Science (strongly encouraged)
- Social Science (strongly encouraged)
- Humanities (strongly encouraged)
- American History
- Western Civilization
- Other World Civilizations
- The Arts
- Foreign Language
- Completion of 2 competencies:
- Critical Thinking
- Information Management
- What degrees need to require SUNY-GER?
- SUNY-GER must be completed in the first 60 credits of AA, AS and bachelor’s degrees.
- How do local gen ed (a.k.a. ‘local graduation requirements’) apply to transfer students?
- Campuses can require additional or different local graduation requirements so long as they do not exceed the credit caps for programs and do not require transfer students to exceed the total number of credits to graduation required of native students in the same program.
- Can transfer path courses be approved for SUNY-GER?
- Yes. In fact, many transfer path courses are already approved for gen ed.
- Where can I find a list of approved SUNY-GER courses?
- How does a campus submit general education courses for review and approval?
- After local approval, campuses submit GER courses to SUNY via an online application, the Course Submission and Evaluation System. CourSES is designed to allow campuses to look up existing SUNY-Approved GER courses, submit GER courses for approval, check on the status of pending approvals, and communicate with reviewers in the Office of the Provost. Approved courses are automatically integrated with SUNY warehouse data. Access CourSES here: https://suny.edu/courses/
- Is double dipping allowed (using the same course to satisfy multiple categories)?
- System policy on double dipping defers to local campus policies at both sending and receiving campuses, as long as local policies do not require the transfer student to exceed the number of credits to graduation that are required of students who began their college education at the same institution.
- What is the grading policy for transfer of gen ed courses?
- A passing grade counts as successful completion for the SUNY-GER category.
- A grade of C or better guarantees transfer credit.
- Campus discretion can be used about whether a course grade satisfies graduation requirements outside SUNY-GER (e.g. in the major), as long as native and transfer students are treated the same.
- Pass/Fail may be accepted, but are not guaranteed by policy.
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Transfer Path Courses (courses in the major)
- What is a transfer path course (aka mobility course)?
- SUNY Transfer Paths are
- Core lower division coursework (foundational major and associated cognate courses) to achieve junior status after two years of full-time study.
- Cognate courses are taken outside the discipline or department, yet relate directly to the student’s field of study (e.g., mathematics for natural science majors).
- SUNY faculty disciplinary committees of 2-year and 4-year faculty identified core courses in each discipline and created generic descriptions for each course.
- Nearly 900 faculty were involved in the latest round of Transfer Path discussions.
- 52 Transfer Paths have been created, covering over 95% of all transfer students within SUNY.
- Where are the Transfer Path courses located?
- The Student Mobility dashboard (campus view)
Public view: Core Course Finder
- What is the process for adding, deleting, or changing Transfer Path courses?
- Email requests to the Student Mobility Project Coordinator.
Reviewers in the Office of Academic Programs & Planning will review the courses. Upon approval, you will be notified via email and the courses will be posted to the Student Mobility Dashboard.
- Are Transfer Path courses guaranteed to transfer, and what is the grading policy?
- Approved SUNY Transfer Path courses are guaranteed to transfer as courses in the major or required cognates (not just as electives) at all SUNY campuses if completed with the grade of C or better.
- Transfer campuses can choose to accept a passing grade lower than C.
- If a program requires a grade higher than C of native students, this standard can apply to transfer students as well.
- Pass/Fail courses may be accepted at the discretion of the campus, but transfer is not guaranteed.
- If a Transfer Path course is equivalent to or replaces a prerequisite course at the incoming campus that course shall fulfill the local prerequisite and the student can move into the higher level course at the receiving campus.
- What is the plan for review and redesign for the transfer paths?
- The Office of the Provost, in collaboration with the Faculty Governance, will develop a cycle of review for the SUNY Transfer Paths. Disciplinary committees of 2-year and 4-year faculty will review the Transfer Paths and recommend possible changes. The Transfer Paths are expected to evolve over time and will be maintained online at the Provost website.
- What if a Transfer Path does not exist for a program? Do campuses have to create them?
- No. Campuses should ensure that students complete a sufficient number of courses in their area of interest to achieve true junior status after two years of full-time study or the equivalent. However, any SUNY campus may submit requests to the Student Mobility Project Coordinator for the consideration of a new Transfer Path. The SUNY Provost, in consultation with the Faculty Council of Community Colleges and the University Faculty Senate, will convene a faculty disciplinary committee to consider and recommend to the SUNY Provost the appropriate SUNY Transfer Path courses.
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- Does every program have to be re-registered by SUNY and SED?
- No. Only changes resulting in a cumulative change of one-third or more of the minimum credits required for the award since last program registration; adding or deleting tracks or concentrations; and any change involving licensure-related courses. Note: Substitutions of courses only count once (e.g. substituting a three credit course for another three credit course = a three credit change).
- Do the transfer guarantees have to be honored if they conflict with residency requirements?
- Yes. In order to protect students from excessive credits, the SUNY Board of Trustee Seamless Transfer Resolution regarding the guaranteed transfer of SUNY-GER and Transfer Path courses must be honored.
- How can residency requirement conflicts be resolved?
- The policy does not dictate one particular method. Options include campus waivers for individual students, adjustments in minimum credit requirements, or working with the sending campus to facilitate reverse transfer.
- Can individual components of programs receive waivers?
- Yes. With compelling justification, programs can receive waivers for all requirements, or each component individually (SUNY-GER, courses in the major, credit caps).
- What are the credit caps?
- Associate programs are capped at 64 credits. Baccalaureate programs are capped at 126 credits.
- Are all associate degree programs and baccalaureate degree programs covered by the credit caps?
- Yes. Resolved clause # 7 of the SUNY Board of Trustees Resolution on Seamless Transfer Requirements states: “Associate degree programs shall generally require no more than 64 credits that can normally be completed within two years of full-time study or the equivalent, and bachelor’s degree programs shall require no more than 126 credits that can normally be completed within four years of full-time study or the equivalent, unless there is a compelling justification.” Therefore, all associate and baccalaureate degrees fall under the credit caps, unless they receive waivers.
- Do Liberal Arts and Sciences and General Studies programs leading to an AA or AS degree have to require Transfer Paths?
- Yes. Liberal Arts & Sciences and General Studies associate degree programs are designed to prepare students for seamless transfer into a four-year program, if they so choose. As such, these programs must prepare students for true junior standing by fulfilling requirements for at least one Transfer Path. In cases where there is no SUNY Transfer Path in the disciplinary area of interest, students should complete a sufficient number of courses in their area of interest to achieve true junior status after two years of full-time study or the equivalent.
- Do Individual Studies programs have to require Transfer Paths?
- No. These associate programs are intended to allow students maximum flexibility in designing a unique degree program, under the guidance and approval of an academic advisor. These programs are not required to offer students a Transfer Path. However, when appropriate, students are encouraged to identify a compatible Transfer Path that aligns with the Individual Study curriculum.
Note: Individual Studies programs should not be used as umbrella programs to permit the offering of fully-developed, but not separately registered, curriculum in specific fields. New areas can emerge as a campus tests student interest, but the expectation is that once the area develops an identity of its own, that curriculum will be submitted for separate registration.
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- What is the current status of the waiver request process?
- Successful waivers are submitted judiciously, with completed and accurate curriculum charts alongside detailed compelling justifications.
Campuses can respond to a request for redesign in one of several ways:
- Provide the waiver committee with more information to bolster their case as designed;
- Redesign the program to come into compliance with the policy;
- Make changes to the program and based on those changes request another waiver; or,
- If the campus is unable to come to an agreement with the waiver review committee, they can appeal to the Provost.
- What is the process for a waiver request?
- Waiver Review Flowchart
- Are there examples of things that would be viewed favorably as a reason for approving a waiver request?
- The waiver review committee reviews each individual request on its own merits so it's very difficult to make generalizations. It may be helpful to know that the committee did develop a set of guiding principles that represent things they consider as part of every review.
- SUNY Board of Trustee policies
- Local campus policies are subject to Board policies (§ 351-355, 6303)
- New York State regulations:
- Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (§ 50-52)
- Education Law regarding the Licensed Professions
- Rules of the Board of Regents (Parts 3.47-3.50)
- External standards
- Accreditation standards
- Standards within the discipline
- Similar programs within New York State
- Similar programs nationally
- Advisory boards or other in-field external constituencies
- Additional considerations
- Human life and safety (e.g. CPR courses)
- Financial aid impact
- Alignment with SUNY strategic goals
- What is the process to appeal a waiver committee decision?
- Please include the following information in an appeal: (1) cover letter to the Provost that includes the reason for the appeal; (2) waiver committee decision letter; and, (3) additional supporting information making the case for the appeal. Email to email@example.com. If the Provost determines that more information is needed, it will be requested as appropriate during the review of the appeal.
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