A Guide for Students Applying to CUNY BA
The colleges of The City University of New York have provided a path to personal and professional success for generations of New Yorkers. In 1971, the University established an individualized CUNY baccalaureate (then known as the CUNY Baccalaureate Program), whereby the University, not the individual CUNY colleges, would award the B.A. and B.S. degrees. Today, this exceptional program has helped over 7,500 students earn their degrees in unique and interdisciplinary courses of study.
Working with faculty mentors, CUNY Baccalaureate students tailor areas of concentration to meet their individualized academic and career goals. They may register for courses at any CUNY senior college and are thus able to take advantage of the enormous range of CUNY’s academic offerings; qualified students may also take graduate courses for undergraduate credit at the CUNY senior colleges and at The Graduate Center. In addition, students are encouraged to explore a variety of learning opportunities, such as independent study, fieldwork, internships, senior projects, honors seminars, online courses, and study-abroad. CUNY Baccalaureate students can also earn credit-by-examination and for life experience.
CUNY Baccalaureate is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and by the Board of Regents of The University of The State of New York, under the auspices of the CUNY Graduate School and University Center.
Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for admission*. Applicants must:
- have completed at least 12 credits at an accredited college with a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.80 (this includes AP, IB, and College Now credits). Students without accredited coursework who have graded courses from conservatories, religious schools, professional schools, etc. may also apply for consideration. Candidates with GPAs below 2.80 will be considered, if their recent work is over 2.80. The GPA in completed courses related to the planned area of concentration will also be reviewed.
- propose a single or dual area(s) of concentration in a unique or interdisciplinary field(s) of study.
- present a well-written personal statement articulating their personal, academic, and career goals as they relate to their proposed area(s) of concentration and application to the program.
- be matriculated (enrolled as a degree- seeking student) at a CUNY community or senior college. Students may apply to the program while simultaneously applying for matriculation in CUNY. Students with an associate’s degree or 68 total credits of prior academic history must matriculate at a senior CUNY college.
- Be deemed proficient in English (reading and writing) and math by the University. For more information go to Testing – The City University of New York
*These are minimum criteria and do not guarantee admission to CUNY BA. The program reserves the right to request additional documents that may assist evaluating the application. An admissions appointment is also required of all applicants.
*Please note: (1) CUNY BA cannot serve students who want degrees in Nursing or Engineering.
(2) Students interested in careers in Education are not encouraged to apply because this degree does not lead to New York State Teacher Certification. Students interested, however, in taking Education courses as electives or who plan to complete Education requirements in graduate school may propose a Liberal Arts and Science area of concentration. (3) CUNY BA students are limited to taking 3 upper-level courses in Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business. Please see the policy on taking courses in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. (4) Candidates seeking second degrees should explain their reasons for doing so in the required Personal Statement.
- Minimum credits required: 120
- Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) credits required: A minimum of 60 for the BS; 90 for the BA. Of the 60/90 LAS credits, students must complete Pathways, the CUNY general education requirement (10 courses/30 credits), as outlined below.
- Area(s) of Concentration: Corresponds to a major. Students may do one or two. See below.
- Residency Requirement: A minimum of 30 CUNY credits while enrolled in CUNY BA.
- Non-College Credits: A maximum of 30 credits is possible; these include credits-by-exam (i.e., AP, IB, CLEP), ACE-recommended credits, National College Credit Recommendations Service (NCCRS), and up to 15 credits for life experience.
- Grade Point Average: Students must maintain at least a 2.50 GPA overall and in their area(s) of concentration.
Pathways—General Education Requirements
All CUNY students must follow the University-wide, 30-credit common core (general education requirements) known as Pathways. CUNY BA students, therefore, must complete a total of 10 Pathways courses in these categories (each course must bear a minimum of 3 credits):
Required Core, Four Courses
English Composition I and II (2 courses) Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning (1 course) Life and Physical Sciences (1 course)
Flexible Core, Six Courses
(one course in each category and a second in any one of the categories)
World Cultures and Global Issues
U.S. Experience in Its Diversity
Individual and Society
CUNY BA will assess the entering student’s academic record to identify as many courses as possible to fulfill Pathways categories. All CUNY and non-CUNY courses shall be considered, including Advanced Placement Exams (AP), International Baccalaureate Exams (IB), College Board College-Level Exams (CLEP), American Council on Education Courses (ACE), National College Credit Recommended Courses (NCCRS), and the like.
Note that: (1) Students who enter CUNY BA as second bachelor’s degree candidates or who have completed A.A. or A.S. degrees prior to CUNY BA admission are considered to have completed the Pathways curriculum. (2) CUNY BA students are not required to complete College Option courses at their home colleges
Area(s) of Concentration Requirements
Students must complete:
For a Single Area: At least 8 courses/24 credits (both minimums must be met) of coursework at the upper (intermediate or advanced) level. No more than two independent studies or internships may be included.
For Dual Areas: At least 6 courses/18 credits (both minimums must be met) of coursework at the upper (intermediate or advanced) level in each area. One independent study or internship may be included in each area.
All courses taken for an area of concentration must:
- be approved by a CUNY faculty mentor and CUNY Baccalaureate’s academic director;
- be taken for a letter grade; and
- be taken at a senior college offering a bachelor’s degree in the related field.
At least 50% of an area of concentration must be completed in CUNY as a CUNY Baccalaureate student.
The Gathering and Submission of Requested Application Materials
Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. Applications are reviewed as soon as the following materials are received: Application Form; Personal Statement; Area of Concentration Proposal(s); and all Transcripts, official or unofficial. In the case of providing unofficial transcripts, official transcripts will be required before the student can be formally admitted. Note: applicants do not need to submit CUNY transcripts unless requested to do so by the program.
Students with questions about completing the application should contact the program office at 212.817.8220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All materials become the property of CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies and cannot be released to the student or to other institutions.
CUNY Baccalaureate accepts applications throughout the year. Students are encouraged to apply as far in advance of the desired semester of entry as possible. Students applying approximately two weeks before the start of classes, may not be able to be considered for that semester.
Notification of Receipt of Application
An email is sent to the student indicating the application status; therefore, you must provide an active email address on your application. Please allow one to two weeks for this notification.
Evaluation and Transfer of Credits
- CUNY BA evaluates all courses previously taken and can accept up to a total of 90 credits. The maximum allowed for community college credits is 68.
- All credits earned within CUNY are recognized.
- Courses taken at other accredited institutions (outside of CUNY) in which students received grades of at least full “C” are eligible for transfer.
- Remedial and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) credits are not accepted for transfer.
- Credits from universities outside the U.S. must be evaluated by the student’s CUNY college of matriculation (home college) OR by an approved independent agency (see our Transfer Credit Policies for more details).
- CUNY BA can grant credit for Advanced Placement (AP) exams passed with grades of 3 or higher and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams passed with grades of 5 or higher.
- CUNY BA can award up to 30 noncollegiate credits toward the degree. Noncollegiate credit includes credits evaluated by ACE (e.g., U.S. military credits), credits evaluated and recommended by NCCRS, credit-by-examination, and life experience credits. Credit for life experience is evaluated after admission to the program.
The Admissions Appointment
Academically qualified applicants are contacted by phone or email to schedule an admissions appointment with their academic advisor to review their transfer evaluation, program structure, and degree requirements.
Applicant Checklist and Detailed Instructions
- The Application Form, which includes your Area(s) of Concentration Proposal
- Personal Statement
- Official Transcripts
- Currently matriculated or applying to CUNY
- Have passed or been exempted from the CUNY Assessment Tests or expect to meet proficiency by the first day of classes
Indicate every post-secondary (after high school) institution you have attended. Failure to do so constitutes fraud; see the statement on Fraudulent Admissions Documents at the end of this document.
List all college credit you have earned via credit-by-exam and/or non-collegiate credit awarded by non-traditional accrediting institutions.
Area(s) of Concentration Proposal
Give the title(s) of your proposed area(s) of concentration and list the courses you believe are appropriate, following the directions on the application form. For course offerings, look at CUNYfirst Course Catalog online. The program regards this outline as a draft. Once you are enrolled, the faculty mentor you choose will play a vital role in helping you refine and finalize the courses in your area(s) of concentration. While you are not required to have chosen a faculty mentor prior to admission, it is highly recommended that applicants with over 68 transfer credits begin identifying a mentor as soon as possible. How to find and work with a mentor will be discussed at the program’s orientation for new students; guidance is also available on our website.
Personal Statement: Your personal statement, which must be typewritten and one to two pages (250 to 500 words), should explain your reasons for seeking admission and give details about your academic, personal, and career goals and their relation to your proposed area of concentration.
Official Transcripts: Applicants do not need to send CUNY transcripts. If you sent your non-CUNY transcripts to the University Application Processing Center (UAPC), we can access those in many (but not all) instances.
We will need you to submit official sealed college transcripts in the following instances:
- If you submitted your non-CUNY transcripts directly to one of the CUNY colleges.
- If you applied to CUNY and submitted your non- CUNY transcript(s) to UAPC while you had coursework in progress (even if you already submitted a finalized copy to one of the CUNY colleges).
- For credits completed at domestic colleges other than CUNY: Request an official transcript from every college you have attended to be mailed to CUNY Baccalaureate, 365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6412, New York, NY 10016 or have official electronic transcripts sent to email@example.com.
- For post-secondary institutions outside the U.S.: Credits from universities outside the U.S. must be evaluated by the student’s CUNY college of matriculation (home college) OR by a course-by- course evaluation by one of the following agencies prior to applying: World Education Services, Evaluation Service, Inc., Josef Silny & Associates, or Transcript Research. Note: You cannot elect to use a different type of foreign credit evaluation after your CUNY BA admission is finalized.
- For other types of credit earned: CLEP, military service, police department credits, etc., may be accepted towards the CUNY BA degree. Official documentation must be provided during the application process. CUNY BA can accept AP credit directly from a CUNY college transcript or from an official, sealed College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) transcript. The CEEB code for CUNY BA is 3988. CUNY BA can also accept IB credit directly from a CUNY college transcript, electronically from the International Baccalaureate, or from an official, sealed IB transcript. CUNY BA can accept military transcripts electronically or by hard copy in official sealed envelopes.
- For credits in progress: If you are currently registered for courses outside of CUNY enclose a copy of your registration information.
Matriculation in a CUNY College
For all currently matriculated CUNY students: Proof of matriculation is indicated on your current CUNY transcript.
Apply as a College Student Elsewhere
Students not currently enrolled in a CUNY college must apply for matriculation using CUNY’s online transfer application. If you were previously enrolled in CUNY but are no longer and want to attend the same home college, see that college directly about readmission. If you are currently enrolled and you want to change home colleges, you must use the online CUNY transfer application.
Apply as a CUNY Community College Student
For CUNY community college students: CUNY BA students can be matriculated at a CUNY community college until they reach 68 credits.
Upon approaching this limit, you must begin the transfer process to a senior college using CUNY’s online transfer application. Students interested in completing their associate’s degree before transferring to a senior college must get prior approval from CUNY Baccalaureate’s academic director if they will exceed 68 credits.
Note that no more than 68 community college credits can be applied to your CUNY Baccalaureate degree.
Students can apply to CUNY BA before they have matriculated into CUNY; they will be required to submit documentation of their matriculation before the start of the semester to be formally admitted.
CUNY Proficiency in English and Math
All students must by deemed proficient in English and math by their CUNY home college to be eligible to be admitted to CUNY BA. Students can apply to the program while simultaneously being in the process of meeting CUNY proficiency in English and math through completing remedial or corequisite coursework, taking the exams, or obtaining an exemption from their home college.
Please see the CUNY Policy on admissions application fraud.
The submission of documents in support of applications for admission such as transcripts, diplomas, test scores, references, or the applications themselves, that are forged, fraudulent, altered from the original, materially incomplete, obtained under false pretenses, or otherwise deceptive—collectively referred to as fraudulent documents—is prohibited by The City University of New York and may be punishable by a bar on applying for admission, suspension, and/or expulsion. The term "applications for admission" includes transfer applications.
Materially incomplete applications include applications that fail to include all prior post-high school college-level courses, regardless of whether: a) the courses were taken at a postsecondary institution in the U.S. or outside the U.S. b) the applicant received a degree at the postsecondary institution c) the applicant is seeking credit for such courses d) the applicant is changing majors/careers.