Role of Faculty Mentors

Faculty mentors play a central role in CUNY Baccalaureate. They guide students in planning their area(s) of concentration (AOC) and ensure that these specializations are academically valid, challenging, and appropriate preparation for graduate-level study. Sometimes, faculty mentors supervise and evaluate independent study or fieldwork projects and they often advise students about options for graduate study.

Each student selects and works with a CUNY faculty member who agrees to help design and then supervise their area of concentration. The faculty mentor must be a full-time CUNY professor in a discipline related to the student’s area of concentration. Mentors can get more information from our mentor handbook, Partners in Learning (PDF)

Adjunct faculty cannot serve as official mentors, although they often continue to work with CUNY Baccalaureate students as secondary mentors. Mentors can sign up to receive updates through our newsletter here. Students planning to complete two areas of concentration must have two faculty mentors or a mentor who has expertise in both fields.

The basic criteria for designing an AOC follows:

  • There must be a minimum of 8 courses/24 credits for a single area, 6 courses/18 credits each for dual areas; you may require your student to complete more.
  • Each course must be at the intermediate or advanced level and taken for a letter grade at a senior college offering a BA or BS in the appropriate discipline(s).
  • Work completed prior to a student’s admission to the program and/or taken outside of CUNY may be used with the mentor’s approval, providing that at least one half of the area is completed in CUNY as a CUNY Baccalaureate student.
  • Students can incorporate independent study, internships, study abroad, and graduate-level courses into their areas.


Mentors and their students work together in developing the AOC. Once you and your student have worked out a series of courses for the concentration, sign your student’s area of concentration form and send it to the program office. You must approve (in writing) any future changes that your student wishes to make to the concentration.

After your initial meeting(s) to settle on the AOC, we suggest to students that they touch base with their mentors at least once a semester. The program office monitors each student’s overall progress and makes sure that all CUNY Baccalaureate degree requirements are satisfied. Some mentors choose to work with their students on independent research or internships; that involvement is also welcomed. Students may also ask their mentors for letters of recommendation for scholarships or graduate school.