Download the faculty mentor handbook at this link:


A Guide for CUNY Baccalaureate Faculty Mentors

A Message from the Academic Director

Dear Faculty Mentor,

Thank you for mentoring engaged, self-directed students with the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (“Laureates”)! Like our motto, esse sui generis, our students aspire to be unique, one-of-a-kind. I liken the process to building with a set of Legos--one can copy the picture on the box, or one could take those same bricks (in this case, courses) and build something entirely unique! With your expertise and guidance, these highly motivated students design their own majors (called concentrations) and often go on to success, pursuing graduate degrees, fellowships, social change, and professional excellence.

Created over 50 years ago during a turbulent era filled with social and technological change, the program was created to give students the power to create a future-forward degree, adapted to a world that continues to be what the Harvard Business School calls “VUCA” -- volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Current students join over 8,000 alumni in crafting an individualized, interdisciplinary degree to prepare for careers that may not even exit yet. Often, this level of freedom and flexibility is not available until graduate school.

I hope that your mentorship experience inspires you, as you have a courtside view of your student’s creative growth journey. We hope, also, that mentorship helps connect you to other faculty across CUNY who may share your academic interests or methodological approaches.

We hope to connect more CUNY students to high-impact learning activities, such as undergraduate research, study abroad, internship, and leadership development.

This guide explains your role as a Faculty Mentor in helping your mentee develop a rigorous, coherent course of study for the student’s individualized area(s) of concentration. You’ll also find an overview of the program and resources for students, such as scholarships, advisement support, and community activities. Contact information for the members of our team is on our website.

We are deeply grateful for your engagement in the program and look forward to our partnership.  We hope you find it as rewarding as we do, as we work together to give students important access to the best possible learning opportunities at CUNY. If we can be of assistance, please contact us.

Welcome to our community!


Jody Clark Vaisman, PhD
Academic Director


Table of Contents

1 History and Mission

  • Program Overview

2 Faculty Mentors

  • Faculty Mentor Role
  • Assessing CUNY BA Candidates

3 Area(s) of Concentration

  • Area of Concentration Documents

4 Academic Structure and Standards

  • Degrees Conferred
  • Applications and Admissions Criteria
  • Home College
  • Degree Contract
  • Credit Requirements
  • Areas of Concentration Requirements
  • Classroom Credits
  • Credit Load/Credit Limits
  • Grade Point Average
  • Repeating Courses
  • Pass/Fail Option
  • Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit
  • Community College Credits
  • Non-Collegiate Credits
  • Remedial and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) Credits
  • Residency

5 Student Opportunities and Resources

  • Beyond the Class Requirements
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowships
  • Other CUNY BA Scholarships

6 Administration and Staff

  • CUNY BA Team
  • Academic Director’s Office
  • Office of the Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation
  • Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment
  • Academic Advising Office
  • Registrar’s Office
  • Scholarships Office
  • Campus Coordinators and Registrar Contacts
  • University Committee on the CUNY BA Program
  • CUNY BA Doctoral Fellows

7 CUNY BA Office Contact Information

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

AOC Area of Concentration
B.A. Bachelor of Arts
B.S. Bachelor of Science
CUNY City University of New York
CUNY BA CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies
CUNY Baccalaureate CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies
GPA Grade Point Average

1 History and Mission

Program Overview

The CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, CUNY’s university-wide interdisciplinary, individualized degree program, is among the first “create your own major” programs, created in 1971. The “CUNY BA” seeks to:

  • Make excellent, meaningful, flexible, and innovative education accessible to CUNY students, allowing for intellectual exploration.
  • Empower students to build future-forward, interdisciplinary programs of study, allowing learners to draw on different disciplinary perspectives to explore a topic that is too complex to address with a single discipline (Klein & Newell, 1996) and to prepare for fields of study and careers that don’t yet exist.
  • Unite a constellation of support around the student, including an academic advisor, faculty mentor, robust community of students and alumni, funding opportunities, and a home campus.

CUNY BA offers highly motivated, academically strong students a flexible, challenging, and individualized way to earn their degrees by granting students greater responsibility for the design of their course of study, relative to students earning traditional undergraduate degrees. The program is intended for students who have the vision and drive to design their own unique and interdisciplinary areas of concentration (AOCs) with CUNY faculty mentors. AOCs are areas of study that are not available as a major/minor in typical departments at any of the four-year CUNY colleges. Each student can pursue one or two AOCs, under the advisement of at least one and up to two faculty mentors per AOC with expertise in that field of study.

The majority of students who are attracted to CUNY BA tend to have clear career paths in mind before they enter the program. Some are seeking career advancement within an existing field of employment, or looking to make a career change. Upon graduation, more than half of students report receiving promotions or raises in their current positions, or starting new careers. Alumni surveys show that most CUNY BA students report going on to work in fields related to the AOCs they completed in the program.

Guided by an inquiry-based approach and embedding high-impact learning experiences (Kuh, 2008), the program offers access to an opportunity not often available until much later, in doctoral study. The CUNY BA provides a rewarding degree route for highly motivated, self-directed students whose academic goals transcend traditional majors. Students admitted to the CUNY BA create their own degree plans working directly with faculty mentors and academic advisors. With over 8,000 graduates, alumnx report that the meta-learning, or learning how to learn in the process of creating their degree, is impactful.

2 Faculty Mentors

Faculty Mentor Role

The heart of the CUNY BA learning partnership is the relationship between students and their faculty mentors. Faculty mentors assume the key academic responsibility of ensuring that their students’ Areas of Concentration (AOC) will prepare them for graduate or professional work in their chosen field of study. Students must have at least one faculty mentor with expertise in the AOCs they choose. With the mentor's guidance, the students select the courses to be taken for the AOC. Upon completion of their course of study, faculty mentors have the formal responsibility and authority to recommend their students for their degree to the University Committee on CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Typically, faculty mentors work with their students up until graduation. A student may not remove or replace a mentor unless the mentor resigns or if other extenuating circumstances arise. Under appropriate circumstances deemed to be in the best interests of the student's academic progress, the University Committee permits the CUNY BA Academic Director to change a student's faculty mentor.

To be eligible to serve as CUNY BA faculty mentors, faculty must have professorial rank or be lecturers with a full-time teaching position at any one of the CUNY colleges. A successful mentor ensures that the student's AOC is academically sound, monitors the student's academic progress, and contacts CUNY BA’s Academic Director with any questions or concerns. The relationship of mentors and students varies as greatly as the individuals involved, allowing students and faculty mentors to forge rapport as individualized as the concentrations they develop. Students pursuing interdisciplinary or dual AOCs may, in some circumstances, find one faculty mentor whose expertise encompasses both disciplines; otherwise, two mentors are required.

Assessing CUNY BA Candidates

When a CUNY BA student asks you to consider serving as their faculty mentor, you may wish to reflect on the following questions:

  • Is the student self-directed, motivated, and academically able? Keep in mind that a 2.80 GPA is the minimum required for admission to the CUNY BA program, and for graduation; the median GPA of recently admitted students is 3.30.
  • Does the student have clearly defined, viable academic and professional goals?
  • Has the student thought carefully about the AOC(s) they wish to pursue?
  • Can the student work independently, solve problems, handle obstacles, and benefit from the CUNY BA experience?

Please encourage your students to incorporate integrating courses or experiences, such as a thesis, independent study, or appropriate capstone.

3 Area(s) of Concentration

An Area of Concentration (AOC) is meant to be a unique endeavor. Students and faculty mentors collaborate to develop an AOC that aligns with the student’s academic and professional goals. AOCs are often interdisciplinary in nature, containing courses offered through different departments and CUNY colleges. By allowing students to design their own AOC(s) with guidance from a faculty mentor and granting them the opportunity to take courses across multiple CUNY campuses, CUNY BA promotes academic creativity and innovation.

Area of Concentration Documents

Students applying to CUNY BA submit with their application their proposed AOC(s) and an outline of relevant courses they would complete. Upon admission to the program, students are asked to complete: (1) the AOC Form; and, (2) the AOC Narrative. The student should work with their faculty mentor to complete the documents and submit them to CUNY BA’s Academic Director before the end of their first semester in the program. Both documents require approval from the faculty mentor before they can be submitted to CUNY BA. Once submitted, the CUNY BA Academic Director will review the documents and provide feedback to the student if any changes are needed. Otherwise, the CUNY BA Academic Director will approve and sign the AOC Form.

  1. In the AOC Form the student refines the AOC(s) they proposed when they applied to CUNY BA and lists the coursework they will complete to earn their degree. This document formalizes the student’s program requirements. The AOC Checklist provided later in this section lists relevant requirements that faculty mentors should take into account when reviewing the AOC Form with their mentee(s). CUNY Baccalaureate Academic Advisors can assist with questions about AOC requirements. Students who have two AOCs should complete one AOC Form for each. Students who have two faculty mentors for one AOC should complete a separate AOC Form for each.
  2. In the AOC Narrative, the student discusses their academic and professional goals and explains the reasoning behind the selection and design of their AOC(s) and courses. Students who have two AOCs should complete one AOC Narrative for each.

Students approaching graduation are asked to complete an AOC self-assessment during their last semester in the program. Although the self-assessment is submitted to CUNY BA, it does not require review by the student’s faculty mentor and is described here for informational purposes only. In the AOC Self-Assessment, the student evaluates their level of proficiency in different knowledge and skill areas relevant to their AOC, such as their ability to communicate their AOC effectively to others, and their knowledge on topics their AOC comprises. The student is also asked to describe the path they ultimately took to complete the program, and to reflect on how it is similar to or different from what they outlined in their AOC Narrative.

Area of Concentration Checklist  

The following are the major points to consider when reviewing an AOC Form with your mentee:

    • For a student with:
      • one AOC (single AOC), the AOC must include a minimum of 8 courses and 24 credits.
      • two AOCs (dual AOC), each AOC must include a minimum of 6 courses and 18 credits.Both the course and credit minimums must be met, and mentors can require more than the minimum. When listing more than 8 courses (or 6 courses in the case of a dual AOC) on an AOC Form, there is a place on the form for the mentor to indicate whether the student must complete all courses listed; students are otherwise just required to complete the minimum.
    • The title of the AOC should be appropriate and accurately reflect the chosen courses. The courses should likewise align with the AOC title.
    • The courses should form a coherent plan of study that maintains an adequate level of academic rigor for an undergraduate degree and increases in complexity over time.
    • Each course should be from a department that offers a bachelor’s-level (or higher) program in a senior college. Courses leading only to an associate’s degree cannot be applied.
    • Each course should be at an intermediate or advanced level (generally these have at least one prerequisite in the same discipline, though other criteria may apply). Introductory courses cannot be applied.
    • Graduate-level courses can be included if the faculty mentor believes the student is adequately prepared. Students are responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions from the faculty and department offering the courses.
    • Independent studies or internships can be included (up to two in a single AOC or one in each of a dual AOC for a maximum total of 6 credits). If there is an academic reason to include more than two, this should be justified to the CUNY BA Academic Director.
    • For all AOCs in Psychology, Experimental Psychology must be included.
    • At least 50% of the minimum required credits for the AOC are to be completed in residence, and no more than 50% of the AOC courses can be applied if taken outside of CUNY.
    • Each course must be taken for a letter grade (not Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit, unless a particular course is only offered P/F or CR/NC and except for CUNY courses where CR was earned in Spring or Fall 2020). The courses must be completed with grades of at least C-.
    • The AOC should prepare the student for graduate study or for professional work in their chosen field.

4 Academic Structure and Standards

Degrees Conferred

CUNY Baccalaureate degrees are awarded by The City University of New York. The program is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and by the New York State Education Department. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree through CUNY Baccalaureate.

Applications and Admissions Criteria

Prospective students should consider attending a CUNY BA information session. For the session schedule, contact the CUNY BA office at 212.817.8220, or visit

CUNY BA maintains high academic standards. To be eligible for admission, students must be matriculated at a CUNY college, have passed (or been exempted from) all the required CUNY entrance exams, and have earned at least 12 credits with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.80 overall (the average GPA upon admission is above 3.30). Students must also have a valid academic reason for applying, such as a desire to complete an interdisciplinary or otherwise unique AOC, or to complete an area of specialization not available at a CUNY college. These are the minimum criteria only and do not guarantee admission to the program.

All prospective students must complete and submit a CUNY BA application. Those not yet matriculated in CUNY must also apply for admission to a CUNY college (referred to as the Home College, described later in this section). Only students matriculated in a CUNY college are eligible for acceptance into CUNY BA. The CUNY BA application requires a 1-to-2-page statement of purpose, and an outline of courses for the proposed AOC(s). In order to review an application, CUNY BA must have official transcripts of all previous college work. Although applications are continuously reviewed, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible before the start of the semester in which they intend to begin in the program.

When all documents have been evaluated, qualified applicants are invited for an admission appointment, at which time a CUNY BA advisor will explain the transfer credits accepted and the remaining credits to meet requirements for a degree. For further details about applying to CUNY BA, please visit our website.

Home College

CUNY BA students must be matriculated at one of the CUNY colleges. This home college is where the student pays all tuition and fees, registers for classes, and handles all nonacademic matters, such as financial aid and obtaining a college ID card. A community college may be the home college until a student has earned an associate's degree or accumulated 68 credits, whichever comes first. At that point, the student must officially transfer to a senior college, which becomes the new home college. Academic advisors, campus coordinators, and contacts in the Registrar offices of each home campus collaborate to ensure that students are given the necessary permissions to register for courses across CUNY to fulfill the needs of their individualized program of study.

Most students matriculate into CUNY BA from within CUNY; however, at least 25% arrive each semester from outside of the CUNY system. Regardless, every CUNY BA student must be (or become before entry into CUNY BA) matriculated in a CUNY college. The student’s college of matriculation receives the tuition, fees and headcount; the college(s) the student attends receives the Full Time Enrollment credit. The student’s first senior college of matriculation receives the graduation credit. Students graduate with a degree from CUNY BA.

Degree Contract

Upon admission to the program, CUNY BA students receive a Degree Contract that they review with their CUNY BA Academic Advisor (see Section 6 for a list of the academic advisors). This document lists the transfer courses and credits being accepted by the program, the student’s (estimated) remaining degree requirements, and any additional documents required of the student. Students are asked to sign the degree contract to verify that they understand and accept the conditions and requirements of the program that must be satisfied in order for their degree to be conferred. The CUNY BA staff is responsible for ensuring that students satisfy the program's degree requirements, including completion of the courses approved by the faculty mentors for the AOC (see Sections 2 and 3 for additional information).

Credit Requirements

Students can earn either a B.S. or a B.A. degree when they graduate from the program. They take a minimum of 60 credits in the liberal arts and sciences for the B.S., at least 90 credits in the liberal arts and sciences for the B.A., and within those credits they must satisfy the CUNY Pathways curriculum. 30 credits can be earned through non-collegiate work (further details about non-collegiate work, including life experience credits, are provided later in this section). Students may complete one or two AOCs (similar to a single or double major). The AOC credit requirements are described next.

Areas of Concentration Requirements

The cornerstone of CUNY BA is the opportunity it provides students to create their own unique specialization by taking courses across disciplines with the guidance of their faculty mentors. The courses in an AOC must have some relation to one another and prepare the student for graduate level work and/or a professional trajectory in their field. All courses for an AOC must be approved by a CUNY faculty mentor (see Sections 2 and 3 for additional information). At least 50 percent of the work for an AOC must be completed at CUNY as a CUNY BA student. Students may have up to two AOCs and must maintain at least a 2.50 average in each of their AOCs. Students are required to achieve grades of C- or better in all AOC courses.

Students must take introductory courses in new fields and must take prerequisites for advanced courses, where applicable. However, these courses cannot be included in the AOC. Students must complete at least eight intermediate and upper level courses (at least 24 credits) for a single AOC. For dual AOCs, students must take six courses (at least 18 credits) in each area. Which courses qualify as intermediate and upper level can vary across disciplines. As a general rule, a course is typically considered intermediate if it has a prerequisite. Students and faculty mentors should consult the CUNY BA Academic Advisors to ensure that students are registering for the correct number and level of courses to complete their degree requirements. The courses must be taken for a letter grade at a senior college in a department that offers a bachelor’s-level major. If, in the faculty mentor's judgment, these minimum requirements will not give the student a solid grounding in the discipline, they should require the student to complete more coursework.

For a single AOC, two internships/independent studies may be included (i.e., two internships or two independent studies, or one internship and one independent study); for a dual AOC, one for each concentration may be included. Graduate-level courses can also be included. Credits by examination, life experience credits, and courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis cannot be applied to the AOCs.

Classroom Credits

At least 90 credits of the 120 minimum required for the degree must be earned in regular course work (as differentiated from internships and life experience credits).

Credit Load/Credit Limits

Students may not register for more than 18 credits per semester (12 credits in the summer) unless they obtain prior written permission from the CUNY BA Academic Director. Approval is given only to students who have no grades outstanding and who consistently deliver high-quality work.

Grade Point Average

Once admitted to the program, students must maintain at least a 2.50 GPA overall and a 2.50 average in their AOCs for all coursework done in CUNY.

Repeating Courses

If a student repeats a course for which any passing grade has been received (D- or better), only the first passing grade will be counted toward the CUNY BA degree. The second course and grade will appear on the transcript, but will not be counted in the GPA. CUNY BA follows the University policy on F grades which states that effective fall 1990, students may re-take up to 16 credits of F earned in courses taken in CUNY after September 1984. The course (same number and title) must be repeated at the college where it was originally taken. The student must earn a C or better in the repeated course to have only the second grade count in the index, although both courses will continue to appear on the transcript.

Pass/Fail Option

Students may take up to 12 credits on a Pass/Fail basis, provided that the course is not part of the area of concentration and that the department giving the course offers this option.

Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit

With permission from the appropriate graduate departments and CUNY BA’s Academic Director, students may take graduate courses for undergraduate credit at CUNY senior colleges, School of Professional Studies, School of Labor and Urban Studies, School of Public Health, School of Journalism, and at The Graduate Center. Approval is given only to students who have no pending grades, who consistently deliver high-quality work, who have an approved area of concentration form on file with the CUNY BA office, and who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.

Community College Credits

No more than 68 community college credits are accepted toward the CUNY BA degree.

Non-Collegiate Credits

Students may earn up to 30 credits for non-collegiate work such as courses completed through the National Program on Non-collegiate Sponsored Instruction (NPONSI; administered by The University of the State of New York), the American Council on Education (ACE), and credit by examination (e.g., CLEP). Non-collegiate credits do not apply toward CUNY BA’s 30-credit residency requirement. Up to 15 of the 30 non-collegiate credits may be awarded for prior experiential learning. About 15% of CUNY BA students earn some credit for non-collegiate work. Life experience credits for non-collegiate work may be earned by examination (the evaluation of a portfolio that documents what the student has learned) and through military credits.

Remedial and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) Credits

No credits earned in remedial or ESL courses apply toward the degree, though such courses do appear on the student's transcript if they were taken in CUNY.


A minimum of 30 CUNY classroom credits must be completed as a CUNY BA student. Credits awarded for life experience and credits by examination are not counted toward residency.

5 Student Opportunities and Resources

Beyond the Class Requirements

CUNY BA students are actively encouraged to take advantage of the enormous range of opportunities offered within and beyond the CUNY system. This includes complementing their regular classroom experiences high-impact learning experiences, such as research, internships, independent study, study abroad, online courses, and honors and capstone seminars. Faculty mentors may wish to keep student mentees abreast of any additional opportunities they come across through professional listservs, academic society websites, and their departments.

Funding Opportunities

There are a number of funding opportunities to which CUNY BA students may apply. For example, they are regularly recipients of the:

      • Barbara Price Opportunity Fund (experiential learning grants for study abroad, research and unpaid internships)
      • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
      • Critical Language Scholarship
      • CUNY Chancellor’s Global Scholarship for Study Abroad
      • Melon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship
      • The Point Foundation Scholarship
      • Women’s Forum Education Fund Scholarship
      • Fulbright Study/Research and English Teaching Assistantship Awards

CUNY BA students have also been awarded the Truman Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, and more. Faculty mentors should encourage their students to consider applying for any funding for which they may be eligible. For additional information, please visit the scholarships section of the CUNY BA website.

Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowships

The Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship is made possible by the generosity of Mr. Thomas W. Smith. Awards of $2,715 per semester are made to full-time students (minimum 12 credits per semester) and $1,380-$2,070 per semester to part-time students (6-11 credits per semester) every term until they complete their degree requirements subject to the availability of funds and maintenance of good academic standing. As of Fall 2023, more than 1000 students have been named Smith Academic Fellows since the inception of the awards in 1994. This Fellowship is competitive; award decisions are based primarily on academic performance, the applicant’s essay, and a letter of recommendation, typically from the faculty mentor. CUNY BA students are notified by email of the opening of the application cycle during the middle of the fall and spring semesters. All applications are reviewed by a scholarships sub-committee of the University Committee on CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, and the final decision, based on its recommendation, is made by the entire Committee.

Other CUNY BA Scholarships

Other scholarships have also been established for CUNY BA, including:

      • The Memorial Scholarship for Students in Social Work, Education, Health or Human Services
      • The Anne Duncan Somsen Memorial Fund
      • The Barbara Sproul Scholarship
      • Barbara Price Fellowship
      • Barbara Price Opportunity Fund

For graduating students, the CUNY BA Alumni Fund supports outstanding graduates who will be continuing their studies in graduate programs. Between 5 and 7 awards are presented at commencement each year.

6 Administration and Staff


The team of staff at CUNY BA includes:

Academic Director’s Office
Academic Director: Jody Clark Vaisman
Assistant Program Officer: Analie Cruz
Office Assistant: TBA
Office of the Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation 

Dean: Brian Peterson

Admissions Office

Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment: Peter Altman

Advising Office
Senior Academic Advisor: Kate McPherson
Academic Advisor: Rafal Szczurowski
Registrar’s Office
Registrar: Ann Marie Doering
Registrar’s Office Assistant: Minahil Imtiaz
Scholarships Office
Scholarships and Events Specialist: Tracy Mejia Arena
Bard Liaison: Nikko Vaughn
Contact information for the CUNY BA Staff is provided in the next section.

Academic Director’s Office

Dr. Jody Clark Vaisman oversees all aspects of the program with the assistance of the Assistant Program Officer Analie Cruz. The Academic Director reports to the Graduate School and University Center’s Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation.

Office of the Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation

Brian Peterson is the Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance and the Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation at The Graduate Center. As Dean for academic initiatives, his priorities include leading new academic programming opportunities, such as certificates, hybrid and online courses, and non-degree offerings; advancing and strengthening global partnerships; raising the profile of the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies; and supporting The Graduate Center’s strategic planning and implementation.

Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment

Peter Altman is responsible for recruiting new CUNY BA students, facilitating information sessions for the program, and processing students’ applications for admission to the program.

Academic Advising Office

Senior Academic Advisor Kate McPherson and Academic Advisor Rafal Szczurowski help students understand and track their degree requirements, navigate the ePermit process and registration, and prepare for successful completion of the program.

Registrar’s Office

Ann Marie Doering, the program's Registrar, manage registration-related activities for CUNY BA with assistance from the Registrar’s Office Assistant (Minahil Imtiaz). CUNY BA maintains its own academic records and issues transcripts for its students. Each student record is created and maintained manually in CUNYfirst. In addition, the registrar’s office processes ePermit requests and assists with registration-related issues.

Scholarships Office

The Scholarships functional area supports and encourages incoming and continuing CUNY Baccalaureate students in their quest for academic excellence by providing scholarships and fellowships that reward merit and address need.

Campus Coordinators and Registrar Contacts

Each undergraduate campus has a designated CUNY BA Coordinator who serves as a link between the program’s staff and the home campus. On some campuses, that role is filled by a faculty member, and on others it is filled by an administrator. The Coordinators provide information to students, publicize the program, and help solve problems.

The Registrar’s office at each home campus also has at least one contact person to assist CUNY BA students with registration procedures. DCUNY BA Campus Coordinators and Registrar Contacts are available as a resource to CUNY BA students and their faculty mentors.

University Committee on the CUNY BA Program

The University Committee on the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies program (is the governing body of the program and is composed of faculty, students, and administrators from across the University. The entire Committee advises the Academic Director on the administration, coordination, and development of the program, and its faculty members officially recommend the awarding of degrees to the CUNY Board of Trustees. This committee is responsible for approving, auditing, and certifying the academic policies and procedures governing CUNY BA and serves as an appeal body for programmatic matters, policies, and procedures. The Committee meets twice each semester.

The membership of the Committee numbers at least fourteen, not including two alternates:

      • Six faculty and two alternates from different disciplines chosen by the University Faculty Senate for staggered three-year terms
      • Five CUNY BA students nominated by the Academic Director and confirmed by the University Student Senate for one-year terms
      • The Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (or his/her designee), ex officio
      • The President of The Graduate Center (or his/her designee), ex officio
      • A CUNY college president chosen by the Council of Presidents for a one-year term (or his/her designee)

Each academic year, the University Committee elects a chairperson from among the Committee’s faculty members. Faculty who are interested in serving on this committee should contact the CUNY BA Academic Director.

CUNY BA Doctoral Fellows

The CUNY BA Doctoral Fellows program began in 2019 as a pilot that has since evolved into a program that selects exceptional doctoral students from The Graduate Center, CUNY to serve as liaisons between CUNY BA students, faculty mentors, campus coordinators, and administrators. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to:

      • Collecting data to track the evolving needs of CUNY BA students and faculty
      • Organizing programming to cultivate support networks among students
      • Supporting students in finding and maintaining strong relationships with faculty mentors
      • Collaborating with campus coordinators to address student challenges
      • Creating and facilitating writing and professional development workshops for students
      • Fielding student questions about class registration, faculty mentors, and other matters
      • Producing and circulating regular communications and announcements for the CUNY BA community

7 CUNY BA Office Contact Information

Main Office

CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies
The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6412
New York, NY 10016

Academic Director
Jody Clark Vaisman, PhD

Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment
Peter Altman

Academic Advisors

For students with last names D-F, P-Z: For students with last names A-C, H-O:
Kate McPherson Rafal Szczurowski
212.817.8237 212.817.8225

Associate Registrar
Ann Marie Doering

Scholarships Office
Scholarships and Events Specialist: Tracy Mejia Urena

CUNY BA Doctoral Fellows