Frequently Asked Questions

General Application Questions
Areas of Concentration
Faculty Mentors
Transfer Credits
The Home College
Tuition and Fees
As a CUNY BA Student/Earning the Degree

General Application Questions

Am I required to attend an Informational Session?
No, but it is recommended. After you finish this page, you can sign up here

Do I have to finish my associate’s degree before I apply to CUNY BA?

I’m a first-semester freshman – can I apply?
Yes you can apply, if you will have 12 credits completed by the end of the semester (and that can include AP and College Now credits).

I am in (or applying to) the CUNY Macaulay Honors College. Can I also be in CUNY BA?
Yes. We grant a joint CUNY BA-Macaulay degree.

Do I need a letter of recommendation?
We are not requiring letters of recommendation, however, if you believe that it is important or necessary (for example, if your GPA is close to the minimum 2.8) you can have your professor email us one from their “.edu” email to We will also accept letters of recommendation on official letterhead in a sealed envelope.

Do I have to know what I want to major in to apply?
Yes, applicants need to have a good idea of what their individualized-study will be in order to apply.

What should my personal statement say?
Tell us about your background and your goals, in 1-2 pages. Your statement should support your proposed area of concentration, explaining how it will meet your academic, personal, and professional ideals. There is no strict word limit, and yes, you may include a resume if you’d like, although that is not required.

Do I need to have a faculty mentor in order to apply?

Do I have to wait to hear if I am admitted to a CUNY college before I submit my CUNY Baccalaureate application?
No. You can apply to both CUNY BA and CUNY Colleges at the same time. It’s two separate applications.

Where do I send my CUNY BA application to?
You can send completed applications and personal statements to:
You can bring it (during office hours) or mail it to:
CUNY BA – Admissions, 365 5th Ave, Ste 6412, New York, NY 10016

Note: All materials that are submitted become the property of CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies and cannot be released to the student or to other institutions.

I don’t know yet if I’ve been exempted from the CUNY entrance exams. Do I have to wait to apply?
You do not need to wait. If we are unable to confirm your status, we will contact you.

Do I have to have all of the program’s general education courses, called Pathways, completed before I apply?

What’s the deadline to apply?
CUNY BA accepts applications year-round. We encouraged you to apply as far in advance of the semester you want to start in as possible.

If you are not enrolled in a CUNY college, you must also apply by February 1 for fall admissions and September 15 for spring admissions; applications to CUNY after those dates are processed on a space-available basis. You can apply to CUNY colleges HERE

Do I need to have a specific career in mind in order to apply?

What majors does CUNY Baccalaureate offer?
The program does not offer any majors. Students design their own majors (“areas of concentration AOC”) in consultation with CUNY faculty mentors. There are a few limited majors that require New York State certification (such as Nursing) that students cannot complete in CUNY BA; otherwise, a student’s area of concentration is created by his or her interests, the mentor’s guidance, and course availability. Areas do not have to be structured similarly to departmental majors at the colleges.

I am interested in a field that requires certification. Can I still be in CUNY BA?
CUNY BA cannot assist students seeking certification in Nursing, Architecture, or Engineering. For other fields where certification is required (i.e., Accounting, Dietetics, etc.), students have been able to complete the certification requirements within the CUNY BA degree structure. CUNY BA does not offer advising on certification requirements; students must obtain that information on their own.

I only have a vague notion of what I want to study. Do you have an academic or career advisor I can consult?
You can run your general ideas by our Admissions Coordinator, but don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit unsure at first. Take the time you need to research your interests and develop your proposed concentration.

The application says a 2.80 GPA is required. Mine is 2.42, but I have an idea for a specialized major. Can I still apply?
Yes. CUNY BA considers every application individually and holistically; that is, we pay careful attention to your most recent grades, grades in courses related to your proposed concentration, your personal statement, your area of concentration outline, and your letter of recommendation. In cases where these indicators are strong but the overall GPA is not, candidates still have a good chance of being accepted, although CUNY BA may wait until any courses in progress are graded before a decision is made OR may ask you to complete 6-12 additional credits for further consideration.

Students who have concerns about their GPAs may wish to address the reasons for their averages in their personal statements, and/or may wish to provide a second letter of recommendation.

I have more than 90 credits. Does it still make sense for me to apply? How will you choose which credits to accept?
Applicants to CUNY BA often have more than 90 credits; it makes sense to pursue this degree route if it will lead to the specialized degree you want to earn.

I already have a bachelor’s degree; can I apply to CUNY BA for a second degree?
Yes. However, we can’t admit students who have already earned a CUNY BA degree.

How will my GPA be calculated? Does it change if I’m accepted into the program?
In assessing your readiness for this individualized degree route, the program will review all of your grades from all of your colleges and compute an overall GPA. Once in the program, your GPA will reflect CUNY grades only.

Does CUNY BA offer only the Bachelor of Arts degree? What if I want a Bachelor of Science degree?
CUNY BA offers both the B.A. and the B.S. (CUNY BA is short for CUNY Baccalaureate)

I’m at a CUNY Community College now and want to apply for the Guttman Transfer Scholarship. Can I apply for that if I’m applying to CUNY BA?

Is there an application fee for this program?
No, however, students not currently enrolled in CUNY pay a fee to file a City University of New York transfer application.

Areas of Concentration

Where can I find a list of CUNY courses so that I can prepare my area of concentration outline?
Go to the CUNYfirst course catalog. You’ll be able to search by college, then by department: within each department, you can view multiple course descriptions at a time.

Will my area of concentration outline be my actual plan in the program?
The outline is a first draft. Once you are admitted and working with a faculty mentor, you will submit a refined, official area of concentration form, which, when approved by the Academic Director, becomes your academic plan.

I want to be Pre-Med (or Pre-Law, Pre-Dental, Pre-Pharmacy, etc.).  Can that be my area of concentration?
The courses necessary for admission to medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, etc., are typically general science and math courses, covering introductory biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. As such, a CUNY BA area of concentration cannot be constructed solely of these professional school prerequisites. Students who want to enter CUNY BA must propose and pursue a unique, in-depth area of concentration consisting of intermediate and/or advanced level coursework; they can take the necessary introductory level courses for medical school, dental school, etc. courses as electives.

As for Pre-Law students, the best preparation for law school admission is typically completing a liberal arts-based area of concentration, i.e., connected to philosophy, English, history, etc.

I’ve already taken some courses in my area. What portion of my area of concentration credits can I transfer in?
Specific courses for your area will be determined by you and your faculty mentor; no more than half of the courses you have already completed will be counted toward your area of concentration.

Where can I find more guidance on proposing my Area of Concentration courses:

Faculty Mentors

Do I need to have a faculty mentor in order to apply?

Is there a deadline for finding my mentor?
Yes. Students are asked to choose a mentor and submit a completed AOC form to the program office by the end of their first semester in CUNY BA.

How will I find a faculty mentor?
Finding a mentor will be covered at Orientation. Before that, you can read:

Does my faculty mentor have to be from my home college?
No, although having your mentor at the college where you plan to take most of your area of concentration courses is usually practical.

What are the requirements to be a faculty mentor?
CUNY BA faculty mentors must be full-time professors at CUNY.

Transfer Credits

I’m a student at a CUNY college now. I’m interested in CUNY BA, but concerned I’ll have do the Pathways curriculum if I transfer. What can you tell me about that?
CUNY students transferring in to CUNY BA since the establishment of Pathways in Fall 2013 have had a very smooth transition. Pathways has presented no obstacles and should not deter you from applying to CUNY BA if you think this program can help you meet your academic goals.

I’ve already applied to CUNY (or, I’m already a CUNY student) and I have had a transfer credit evaluation already; do I have to send official transcripts to CUNY BA with my application?
CUNY BA does a new transfer credit evaluation as part of its admissions process. The program can access transcripts from all CUNY colleges. You do not need to send us any CUNY transcripts. Additionally, if you have sent your non-CUNY transcripts to the University Application Processing Center (UAPC), we can access a scanned copy of your transcript in many (but not all) instances. We are unable, however, to access transcripts submitted directly to individual CUNY colleges.

In the following cases you will need to submit an official sealed college transcript:

  • 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 the UAPC while you had coursework in progress. An official copy of your updated transcript(s) that includes your final grades must be submitted to CUNY BA (even if you already submitted an updated copy at one of the CUNY colleges.)

I have college credits that are quite old. What is the time limit for transfer of credits?
There is no time limit.

What portion of my Liberal Arts & Sciences or Pathways credits can I transfer into the program?
It is possible to enter CUNY BA with all your Liberal Arts and Sciences credits and Pathways already completed, but that is not required.

I’m already in CUNY, and my home college has evaluated and transferred in my credits from other schools. Do I have to provide transcripts from those other colleges to CUNY BA?
Yes. CUNY BA does its own evaluation and transfers courses in differently than the home colleges do.

My college will not issue me an official transcript to include with my application. What should I do?
CUNY BA will accept college-sealed student copies, and will treat them as official.

I have credits from outside the United States. What should I do?
Those credits can only be accepted if they are either transcribed by a CUNY college or by WES (see – a “course by course” evaluation is needed).

When will I know what my transfer evaluation is?
Students know their transfer evaluation and their remaining degree requirements on “day one,” when they come for their admissions interview with their assigned Academic Advisor. Each student signs an individualized “Degree Contract,” which reflects the transfer evaluation and gives the guidelines for the remaining degree requirements.

Can I apply for Life Experience credits during the admissions process?
Life Experience credits are handled after admission.

The Home College

Does it matter which CUNY college I enroll in to get accepted to CUNY BA?
Students entering from a community college must become matriculated in a senior college when they have completed 68 total credits (that includes any senior college credits). Individual arrangements may be made for students who want to complete their Associate’s degree while in CUNY BA. Otherwise, the choice of home college is up to you.

Can I be enrolled at a CUNY community college and be in CUNY BA?
Yes, until you reach 68 total credits (drawn from any combination of colleges); then you must transfer to a CUNY senior college. Individual arrangements can be made for students who want to complete their Associate’s degree while in the program.

I’m at a CUNY Community College now and want to apply for the Guttman Transfer Scholarship. Can I apply for that if I’m applying to CUNY BA?

I am/was a community college student.  What do I need to know in order to transfer to a CUNY senior college?
If you have graduated from a CUNY community college and would like to apply to a CUNY four-year college, you must complete the online CUNY Transfer Admission Application. Admission to a CUNY four-year college is guaranteed, although not necessarily to your first-choice college, if you meet the following conditions: 1) you earned an AA, AS or AAS degree with an overall 2.0 GPA or higher and 2) you completed at least one college-level course in mathematics and one in English with grades of “C” or better.

If you did not graduate with a degree from the CUNY community college, you may still apply for transfer and will be allocated on a space-available basis.  Transfer applicants to the CUNY senior four-year colleges must have completed at least one college-level course in mathematics and English with a grade of “C” or better. If you have not taken a math course, you should do so prior to transferring, and aim for a grade of “C” or better; you will also be considered for transfer to a senior college if you demonstrate proficiency in mathematics via an exemption (SAT/ACT or New York State Regents scores and coursework or COMPASS test score).

I am on enrolled in a CUNY college but not taking classes this semester; is there anything I need to know or do?
Some colleges cancel your matriculation status when you are not registered for classes. Contact your college’s admissions office to confirm your status; you may need to file a re-application. That process generally involves a one-page form and a nominal fee.

I previously attended a CUNY college but am no longer matriculated there.  What should I do?
Contact that college’s admissions office directly; in most cases, you will not need to file an online CUNY transfer application, you will simply be re-admitted. That process generally involves a one-page form and a nominal fee.

How will my home college know I am in CUNY BA?
Our Registrar communicates that to your home college.

Can I be enrolled in my home college’s honors program and participate in CUNY BA?
Yes, with the single exception being the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at Hunter College – students invited to be Thomas Hunter Honors students would have to choose between being CUNY BA students and being in that program.

Can I complete an undergraduate degree at a CUNY senior college while also doing the CUNY BA degree at the same time?
No, CUNY BA has different degree requirements. (See the next question, please.)

I’ve been accepted now to a CUNY college and to CUNY BA. I’m coming to the CUNY BA Orientation, but do I have to go to my home college’s orientation?
It is important that you attend your home college’s orientation. Even though as a CUNY BA student you will be following CUNY BA’s degree requirements and be guided in registration solely by your CUNY BA academic advisor (not the advisors of your home college), you still need to attend your campus’ orientation to learn about campus-based policies, procedures, and personnel and receive registration information. In addition, you will likely be blocked from registration unless you attend your home college’s orientation.

Will my degree be from my home college?
No. Your degree will be awarded by The City University of New York, under the auspices of The CUNY Graduate School and University Center. You will receive alumni privileges at your home college, and you will also be able to participate in your home college’s graduation ceremony.

Tuition and Fees

Is there an application fee for this program?
There is no fee to apply. All transfer applicants to CUNY, however, must pay a fee to file a City University of New York transfer application.

Do I pay a different tuition rate if I am a CUNY BA student?
No, you pay tuition (at your home college) at the same rate.

If I’m a community college student and want to take courses at a senior college, who do I pay? Also, if I want to take graduate-level courses will the tuition be the same?
You always pay for your credits at your home college, whether it is a community college or a senior college, at the tuition rate of that college. There is no additional tuition payment to take graduate-level courses.

Does CUNY BA offer scholarships? What about financial aid?
CUNY BA does offer scholarships (see, but does not offer financial aid. Students apply for financial aid separately and receive it from their home colleges.

As a CUNY BA Student/Earning the Degree

Will I be required to take courses from more than one CUNY college?
No, although taking courses from multiple CUNY colleges is an advantage of CUNY BA.

How do I get to take CUNY courses outside my home college?
You will apply for those courses using the epermit system and identifying yourself as a student in “CUNY BA: Unique & Interdisc.” Full instructions can be found here:

If I take graduate-level courses toward my undergraduate degree, may I apply them later to a graduate degree?
Courses applied to your bachelor’s degree cannot also be applied to a graduate program.

How long will it take me to finish my degree?
That depends on: how many credits are transferred in, whether you go full-time or part-time, whether you take summer or winter session courses. On average, students transfer in with 60-66, and on average, CUNY BA students graduate in 4 semesters.

Can I complete an undergraduate degree at a CUNY senior college while also doing the CUNY BA degree at the same time?
No, CUNY Baccalaureate has different degree requirements. (See the next question, please.)

Will my degree be from my home college?
No. Your degree will be awarded by The City University of New York, under the auspices of The CUNY Graduate School and University Center. You will receive alumni privileges at your home college, and you will also be able to participate in your home college’s graduation ceremony.

What is the difference between graduating from CUNY BA and graduating from one of the CUNY colleges?
Both the colleges and CUNY BA confer baccalaureate degrees, so there is no difference there; your degree from CUNY BA, however, will signify to graduate schools and employers your high degree of creativity, independence, and your ability to work with faculty members.

Is CUNY BA a recognized degree?
Yes, the degree is fully accredited under the auspices of the CUNY Graduate School and University Center.

What will my degree say?
Your diploma will say “The City University of New York”, “Bachelor of Arts” or “Bachelor of Science,” your (official) name as you would like it to appear, and any graduation honors (e.g., Summa cum Laude).

Your area of concentration title(s), your home college, and the name(s) of your mentor(s) will appear on your CUNY BA transcript.

If I have two areas of concentration, can I receive both a B.A. and a B.S.?
No, students earn either the B.A. or the B.S.

What is the difference between getting a B.A. and a B.S.?
There really is little difference. The designations are set by the NYS Board of Higher Education; specifically, students who earn 90 or more liberal arts credits toward their degree graduate with a “Bachelor of Arts,” and students who earn below 90 earn the “Bachelor of Science.”

Can I go to my home college’s graduation ceremony?
Yes, graduating students are invited to both their home college commencement and the CUNY BA commencement.

Is there a Master’s Program version of the “CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies” program?
No, there is not.