Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Find Answers About

Courses and requirements
Grades in General Education courses
Transfer courses and transfer students
Credit by exam (AP, IB/HIB, and CLEP)
Specific General Education requirements (Aesthetics and Pluralism in the U.S.)

Courses and Requirements

Which General Education requirements should I follow?

Students follow the General Education program in effect for the year they matriculate at Binghamton University. For example, students matriculating in Summer 2014, Fall 2014, or Spring 2015 would follow the General Education requirements as stated in the 2014-2015 Bulletin. Generally, a student's catalog year is the same as the academic year in which he or she matriculates at Binghamton University. If you are not sure which requirements apply to you, please contact your school advising office for assistance. Please see the Requirements page for more information.

How do I know if a course meets a General Education requirement?

General Education courses are identified in the Schedule of Classes. To receive General Education credit, a course must be identified with a General Education letter (A, C, etc.) in the semester in which you take it. Gen Ed designations are finalized by the Add Deadline for each semester. For a list of courses meeting General Education requirements offered for a specific semester, please log into BU Brain or go to the Schedule of Classes.

Can a course fulfill more than one General Education requirement?

Some General Education courses may carry more than one General Education tag (for example, CHP). However, except for C, O, J or Foreign Language classes, General Education courses may be used to fulfill only one General Education category. C, O, J or Foreign Language courses may double-count with one other General Education requirement. Your degree audit will use double-tagged courses in the category in which they are needed; for example, if you take a course designated CNP, you will receive either the CP or the CN, whichever DARS decides you need most.

Is there a difference in General Education requirements by major or school?

Binghamton's only General Education requirement which differs by school or major is the Foreign Language requirement. Please see the Foreign Language page for more information.

Is there a difference between Binghamton's General Education requirements and SUNY's General Education requirements?

Please see "Comparison of Binghamton University and SUNY General Education Requirements" on the Transfer Student page for more information.

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Grades in General Education Courses

Can General Education courses be taken pass/fail?

General Education courses must be taken for a letter grade (normal grading option) unless a course is only offered pass/fail.

What is the policy regarding grades in General Education courses taken at Binghamton University?

Students must earn a grade of D or better in a course in order to have it fulfill General Education requirements. Gen Ed courses must be taken for a letter grade (normal grading option) unless a course is only offered pass/fail. If a course is only offered pass/fail, a student must receive a P in order to have the course fulfill General Education requirements.

What is the policy regarding grades in courses taken at another school and transferred to Binghamton to fulfill General Education requirements?

Policies differ by school regarding what grade is required in order for a transfer course to fulfill a General Education requirement at Binghamton, as follows:

Community of College and Public Affairs and School of Management

Courses may only be transferred if the student received a grade of C or better. If a student earns a D in a course that would meet a General Education requirement, the particular General Education requirement is waived but the course itself does not transfer.

Decker School of Nursing and Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Courses may only be transferred if the student received a grade of C– or better. If a student earns a D in a course that would meet a General Education requirement, the particular General Education requirement is waived but the course itself does not transfer.

Harpur College of Arts and Sciences

Courses may only be transferred if the student received a grade of C– or better. If a student earns a D in a course completed at another SUNY school prior to matriculation at Binghamton University and that course that would meets a General Education requirement at the other SUNY school, the particular General Education requirement is waived but the course itself does not transfer.

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Transfer Courses and Transfer Students

Can my transfer courses fulfill General Education requirements?

For students with catalog years prior to 2013, transfer students from other SUNY schools who have been certified as meeting a SUNY-wide General Education requirement prior to matriculation at Binghamton will be certified as having met the corresponding Binghamton requirement. Please see "Comparison of Binghamton University and SUNY General Education Requirements" on the Transfer Student page for more information. Courses from other SUNY schools taken after matriculation at Binghamton or not certified as meeting a SUNY-wide requirement, as well as courses transferred from schools outside the SUNY system, will be evaluated solely in terms of Binghamton University's General Education requirements. Contact your advisor for more information.

For transfer students with catalog years from 2013 to 2015 and for all requirements except Foreign Language, transfer students from other SUNY schools who have been certified as meeting a SUNY-wide General Education requirement prior to matriculation at Binghamton will be certified as having met the corresponding Binghamton requirement. Because the SUNY-wide Foreign Language requirement is one college-level course, and the Binghamton University Foreign Language requirement for students in CCPA, Harpur, or SOM is fulfilled by a second-semester college-level course in foreign language, transfer students in those schools who fulfilled the SUNY-wide Foreign Language requirement may need additional coursework to fulfill the Binghamton University Foreign Language requirement.

Are there different General Education requirements for transfer students?

The General Education requirements for transfer students who entered Binghamton University in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011 allow some flexibility.  This flexibility is only available to transfer students who entered in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011.  Transfer students entering Binghamton University in or after Fall 2011 or prior to Fall 2010 fulfill the same General Education requirements as students who enter Binghamton University as freshmen, with the exception of the Foreign Language requirement, which differs for transfer students. Please see the Transfer Student page for more information.

May transfer students entering in or after Fall 2011 or prior to Fall 2010 opt to use the flexibility in the 2010 SUNY General Education requirements?

No.  Binghamton University does not allow students to select a different set of General Education requirements.  Students must follow the General Education program in effect for their catalog year.  Please refer to the previous question for more information on transfer students who entered in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011.

May students entering as freshmen opt to use the flexibility in the 2010 SUNY General Education requirements?

No. Binghamton University does not allow students to select a different set of General Education requirements. Students must follow the General Education program in effect for their catalog year.

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Credit by Exam (AP, IB/HIB, CLEP)

I took AP courses in high school. Can I use my AP scores to fulfill General Education requirements?

A score of 3 or better on certain AP tests can be used to fulfill General Education requirements, as follows:

  • Aesthetics: Art History, Art Studio, Music Theory
  • Foreign Language: Chinese Language & Culture, French Language, French Literature, German Language, German Literature, Italian Language & Culture, Japanese Language & Culture, Latin Literature, Latin Virgil, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature
  • Humanities: English Lit/Comp, French Literature, German Literature, Latin Literature, Spanish Literature
  • Laboratory Science: For instructions, read the downloadable form Using AP or HIB Scores to Fulfill the L Requirement (.doc, 30kb)
  • Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics
  • Pluralism in the U.S.: Appropriate AP scores in American History may be used to determine proficiency for the Pluralism in the U.S. requirement.  Students will then need to take a designated Pluralism course to fulfill the requirement; the AP score may only be used to determine proficiency. 
  • Social Science: American History, Economics, European History, Human Geography, Political Science, World History

I took IB or HIB courses in high school. Can I use my scores to fulfill General Education requirements?

Certain IB or HIB scores can be used to fulfill General Education requirements, as follows:

  • Aesthetics: IB Higher Level Fine Arts score of 4-7
  • Foreign Language: Score of 4-7 on IB Higher Level or IB Standard Level exam
  • Humanities: IB Higher Level Humanities score of 4-7
  • Laboratory Science: For instructions, read the downloadable form Using AP or HIB Scores to Fulfill the L Requirement (.doc, 30kb)
  • Mathematics: IB Higher Level Math score of 4-7
  • Social Science: IB Higher Level Social Science score of 4-7

Can I use CLEP scores to fulfill General Education requirements?

Appropriate CLEP scores in Calculus may be used to satisfy the Mathematics/Reasoning requirement.  Appropriate CLEP scores in U.S. History I or II may be used to determine proficiency for the Pluralism in the U.S. requirement. 

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Specific General Education Requirements

I am taking MUSP courses. Can I use them to fulfill the Aesthetics requirement?

Four credits worth of MUSP courses can be used to fulfill the General Education Aesthetics requirement. Once you have successfully completed 4 credits of MUSP courses for a letter grade, your degree audit will use them to fulfill your Aesthetics requirement.  You do not need to submit an appeals form. 

I did not demonstrate proficiency in United States History by scoring 85 or above on the Regents exam. My degree audit report indicates that I need to fulfill the Pluralism in the United States requirement by selecting a course from a subset of specialized Pluralism courses that pay significant attention to a broad span of United States history. Which courses can I take to fulfill this requirement?

The specialized Pluralism courses that pay significant attention to a broad span of United States history are:

  • ANTH 256, Native American Culture and History
  • GEOG 103, Multicultural Geographies of the US (effective Summer 2011)
  • GEOG 212, Historical Geography of the US
  • GEOG 350, Culture, Environment and Place (sometimes offered as GEOG 350A and/or GEOG 350B)
  • GEOG 356A, Geography of the US and Canada (effective Fall 2012)
  • GEOG 356B, Geography of the US and Canada (effective Fall 2012)
  • HIST 103, Foundations of American Civilization
  • HIST 104, Modern American Civilization
  • HIST 250, Colonial America
  • HIST 257, American Working Class Since 1877
  • HIST 264, Immigration and Ethnicity in the US
  • HIST 267, Asian American History (effective Fall 2003)
  • HIST 356, American Legal History
  • HIST 361, History of Women in US Since 1874 (effective Fall 2003; formerly HIST 266)
  • HIST 364, The American West (effective Fall 2014)
  • Plus selected topics courses, which only fulfill the specialized Pluralism requirement for the semester indicated.  (Topics courses from 2010 on are listed here; courses from previous semesters are programmed into the degree audit but do not display.)
    • AAAS 280E, Intro to Asian American History - SPRING 2014 AND FALL 2014 ONLY
    • GEOG 482C, Environment and Culture of US and Canada - SUMMER 2011, WINTER 2012 AND SUMMER 2012 ONLY
    • GEOG 482C, Geography of US and Canada - FALL 2011 ONLY
    • GEOG 482D, Geography of US and Canada - FALL 2011 ONLY
    • HIST 180A, Key Issues in US History - SPRING 2013 ONLY
    • HIST 380F, American West - SPRING 2012 ONLY
    • HIST 380F, Long US Civil Rights Movement - SUMMER 2010 ONLY
    • HIST 380J, Race and Slavery in the North Before the Civil War - SUMMER 2010 ONLY
    • SOC 368, Political Sociology - SUMMER 2010 ONLY

If you are not sure whether you demonstrated proficiency in American History in high school, you should contact your advisor for more information.

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Last Updated: 8/5/14