Search Target

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, CLEP, and Cambridge A-Level)
Specific General Education requirements - Aesthetics
Specific General Education requirements - 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 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021 would follow the General Education requirements as stated in the 2020-2021 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 your audit decides you need most.

Can my independent study fulfill a Gen Ed requirement?

No, independent study or independent research courses cannot fulfill Gen Ed requirements.

Can my internship fulfill a Gen Ed requirement?

Other than CDCI 385, which has been specifically designed to meet the O requirement, internships cannot fulfill Gen Ed requirements.

Can my teaching practicum fulfill a Gen Ed requirement?

No, teaching practica cannot fulfill Gen Ed requirements.

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.

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.

For courses taken in Spring 2020 only: Due to COVID-19, students may elect to pass/fail General Education courses.  For more information, see https://www.binghamton.edu/president/statements/2020-03-30.html.  Contact your advising office if you have questions about how a decision to pass/fail would affect your degree plans. 

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?

For transfer courses taken in Spring 2020 only: Due to COVID-19, General Education courses taken during the Spring 2020 term will transfer if they are successfully completed with any passing grade, including a "P" in a pass/fail grading system.

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:

College of community and Public Affairs

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 college of Nursing and health 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 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 completed at another SUNY school prior to matriculation at Binghamton University and that course met a General Education requirement at the other SUNY school, the particular General Education requirement is waived but the course itself does not transfer.

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 completed at another SUNY school prior to matriculation at Binghamton University and that course met a General Education requirement at the other SUNY school, the particular General Education requirement is waived but the course itself does not transfer.

Transfer Courses and Transfer Students

Can my transfer courses fulfill General Education requirements?

For transfer students with catalog years after 2013 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.

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.

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.

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, Music Theory, Studio Art: Drawing, Studio Art: 2-D Design, Studio Art: 3-D Design
  • Foreign Language: Chinese Language and Culture, French Language, German Language, Italian Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Latin, Latin Virgil (discontinued 2012), Spanish Language and Culture, Spanish Literature and Culture
  • Humanities: English Literature and Composition, Latin, Spanish Literature and Culture
  • Laboratory Science:
    • For students whose catalog year is 2016 or later:
      • Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science - AP score of 4 automatically fulfills the Gen Ed L. No verification of laboratory experience is needed. 
      • Physics - AP score of 5 automatically fulfills the Gen Ed L. No verification of laboratory experience is needed. 
    • For students whose catalog year is prior to 2016, the L requirement may be satisfied by an AP score of 3 or better in Biology, Chemistry, or Environmental Science, a passing grade in the course, and approval of documentation of the laboratory activities by a Binghamton University faculty member from the respective department.  For more information, please 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: Comparative Government and Politics, European History, Human Geography, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. History, World History

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

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

  • Aesthetics: IB Fine Arts score of 4-7
  • Foreign Language: Score of 4-7 on IB exam
  • Humanities: IB Humanities score of 4-7
  • Laboratory Science:
    • For students whose catalog year is 2016 or later:
      • Biology and Environmental Science - IB score of 6 automatically fulfills the Gen Ed L. No verification of laboratory experience is needed. 
      • Chemistry - IB score of 5 automatically fulfills the Gen Ed L.  No verification of laboratory experience is needed.
      • Physics - IB score of 7 automatically fulfills the Gen Ed L. No verification of laboratory experience is needed. 
    • For students whose catalog year is prior to 2016, the L requirement

      may be satisfied by an IB Higher Level Experimental Sciences score of 4-7 in Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences and Societies, a passing grade in the course, and approval of documentation of the laboratory activities by a Binghamton University faculty member from the respective department. For more information, please read the downloadable form Using AP or HIB Scores to Fulfill the L Requirement (.doc, 30kb)

  • Mathematics: IB Math score of 4-7
  • Social Science: IB 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. 

Can I use Cambridge A-Level scores to fulfill General Education requirements?

Appropriate Cambridge A-Level scores may be used to satisfy the Aesthetics (A), Humanities (H), Laboratory Science (L), Mathematics/Reasoning (M), and Social Science (N) requirements.  Please contact your school advising office for more information.

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 am not proficient in United States history and need a specialized Pluralism course. Which courses can I take to fulfill this requirement?

Students who did not demonstrate proficiency in United States History by scoring 85 or above on the Regents exam (or, for students who did not take the Regents exam, a course grade of 85 or better) need to fulfill the P requirement by taking a  specialized Pluralism course that pays significant attention to a broad span of United States history. Beginning with the Fall 2021 semester, all specialized Pluralism courses will have the new USP Gen Ed tag as well as the regular P. 

Students who did not demonstrate proficiency in United States History will need to take a USP course to fulfill their Pluralism requirement. Courses that only have a regular P will not fulfill the specialized P requirement. Students can search for the USP tag in the Schedule of Classes and on College Scheduler, and it will also appear on Degree Works. 

back to top

Last Updated: 6/3/21