May 28, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Policies and Procedures

Degree Requirements

To qualify for a bachelor’s degree, students must:

  1. Complete General Education requirements, through which students demonstrate, among other competencies, mastery of American English language skills;
  2. Demonstrate mastery of computational skills;
  3. Meet residency requirements;
  4. Complete 45 credits in courses at or above the 3000 level;
  5. Complete a minimum of 120 credits with a cumulative grade‑point average (GPA) of 2.0;
  6. Fulfill their major department’s course, credit and GPA requirements. (Some departments require more than 120 credits and a higher GPA in the major.)

These requirements are described in the sections below.

Mastery of American English Language Skills

Recognizing the critical role of American English language skills in an undergraduate education, SUNY Old Westbury has placed its English language requirement at the center of its General Education Program requirements. All students must demonstrate proficiency in English composition in order to graduate from the University. Students should consult the General Education Program section of this catalog for detailed information regarding these requirements.

In order to register for most upper‑division courses, all students must demonstrate mastery of American English language skills by completing two college‑level English Composition courses (EC I and EC II or their transfer equivalents) with grades of C or better.

Proficiency in Mathematics

For students at the University, Math Proficiency may be satisfied by completing MA1020 College Algebra, MA 2000 - Applied Statistics , or MA 2050 - Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making  with a grade of C or better.

Students who transfer in a course equivalent to one of the above, with a grade of C or better will be proficient (but not eligible to take Precalculus if the course is Statistics or Quantitative Decision Making).

Students graduating from High School who have scored 85 or above on Algebra2/Trig Regents exam (or equivalent) will be proficient, but not necessarily eligible to register for courses above MA 1020 - College Algebra .

Students who score a grade of 3 or better on an AP exam are proficient. (For AP exams in Calculus AB or BC, students who score 3 or better may go into Calculus II.)

Placement Above Proficiency

Students move into courses above proficiency based on the University placement exam or Algebra2/Trig Regents exam, or by getting a grade of C or better in the lower course. Students should consult the Mathematics/CIS Department for detailed information about the course prerequisites.

Academic Policies and Standards

To be eligible for graduation, all candidates must satisfy all University and departmental requirements for the specific degree. Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits of satisfactory work. Some departmental requirements exceed this number. Forty‑five of these credits must be earned in course work above the survey and the introductory levels (at or above the 3000 level). To fulfill graduation requirements, students must have at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) for all work completed at the University.

Residency Requirement

To earn a degree from SUNY Old Westbury, students are required to earn a minimum of 40* credits at Old Westbury.

Students must verify their fulfillment of all the above requirements with the exception of those credits for which they are currently enrolled, at least one semester prior to graduation. The Registrar bears responsibility for verifying the student’s fulfillment of the quantitative requirements. The department from which the student expects to be graduated reserves the right to determine that qualitative requirements have been met.

*46 credits required in Accounting

General Departmental Requirements

All students must fulfill the degree requirements within a specific department. Students may, with departmental approval, fulfill degree requirements in two departments. The student will receive a single degree that properly identifies the major areas of study (see Dual Major). Students receive a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Professional Studies (B.P.S.) degree based on the primary major.

At least 24 credits within the major must be completed in courses beyond the introductory or survey level (3000 level or higher).

All programs leading to the B.A. and B.F.A. degrees require at least 90 credits in the liberal arts, including a sequence of courses normally consisting of 30‑36 credits in a major field or area from one of the traditional liberal disciplines. Normally, not more than 40 credits in any major may be applied toward a bachelor of arts or bachelor of fine arts degree.

All programs leading to the B.S. degree require at least 60 credits in liberal arts and include a sequence of courses normally consisting of 30‑36 credits in a major field or area of study. Generally, not more than 54 credits in any major may be applied toward a bachelor of science degree.

Programs leading to the B.P.S. degree require at least 30 credits in liberal arts.

Fields of study traditionally associated with the liberal arts include humanities, mathematics, natural and physical sciences, social sciences and the arts. Programs designed to prepare persons for specific occupations or professions are not liberal arts. These include business and education.

The New York State Department of Education has granted approval to SUNY Old Westbury to offer the following degree programs. Enrollment in other than registered or otherwise approved programs may jeopardize student eligibility for certain student aid awards.

Liberal Education Curriculum

The core of academic study at Old Westbury is a Liberal Education Curriculum. It is designed to provide students with a broad, multidisciplinary education that serves as a foundation for further study, career preparation, and participation in our increasingly complex society. Old Westbury’s Liberal Education Curriculum maintains the University’s commitment to Diversity, interdisciplinary education, and critical inquiry, and incorporates SUNY-wide General Education requirements.

Diversity. All students will complete a course in the University’s mission-defined “Diversity/Social Justice” domain. Students entering in their first year will complete this requirement through a two-semester sequence, FY1000 Ethics of Engagement and CL2000 Community Learning. Transfer students may select from a list of approved Diversity courses.

Proficiencies. Beyond the SUNY General Education domain learning outcomes, Old Westbury requires students to fulfill local University proficiencies in Mathematics and English.

  • Mathematics proficiency may be satisfied by earning a grade of C or higher in MA 1020 - College Algebra ,  MA 2000 - Applied Statistics , MA 2050 - Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making , MA 2080 - Precalculus for Business and Economics , or MA 2090 - Precalculus . Students may also satisfy the mathematics proficiency requirement by transfer of an equivalent course to the above, by earning a score of 3 or higher on the Calculus AB, Calculus BC, or Statistics AP exams, or by earning a score of 85 or higher on the Algebra II/Trigonometry Regent’s exam. Mathematics proficiency requirements can also be met by a satisfactory score on a placement examination evaluated by the Mathematics Department.
  • As a demonstration of proficiency in writing, students must achieve a grade of C or higher in both the EL 1000 - English Composition I: Exposition  course (the GE Basic Communication course) and an EL 2200 -EL 2299  course in Argumentation/Literary Perspectives. Writing proficiency requirements can be met by transfer of courses with a grade of C or higher that are equivalent to EL 1000  and EL 2200 -EL 2299  or by a satisfactory score on a writing placement examination evaluated by the English Department. Students who earn a 3 or higher on the AP English exam are exempt from taking EL 1000 - English Composition I: Exposition .

SUNY General Education. Students will complete a course in each of the following domains: Mathematics, Basic Communication, Creativity and the Arts, Western Tradition, American Experience, Major Cultures, Foreign Language, Natural Science, Humanities and Social Science. In some cases, an individual course may satisfy more than one domain, but all students must complete a minimum of 30 GE credits, as mandated by the SUNY Board of Trustees. The curriculum incorporates competencies in Critical Thinking and Information Management. Effective Spring 2015, students transferring into Old Westbury with an AA or AS degree from a SUNY or CUNY institution are deemed to have met Old Westbury’s General Education requirements.

(More details about the Liberal Education Curriculum, and a list of courses included in the program, can be found at

It promotes academic success by helping students to become intentional learners and develop the intellectual and social skills required to tackle the challenges of college learning and campus living - critical thinking, problem-solving, intellectual analysis, time-management, teamwork, financial literacy and self-reflection.

In their first semester, students enroll in a common 4 credit first-year seminar, The Ethics of Engagement: Educating Leaders for a Just World (FY1000) that emphasizes the themes of self-discovery, the meaning of a liberal education, the relationship of the individual to society and the nature of values and of personal and social responsibility.

In their second semester, all first-year students participate in Old Westbury’s mandated Community Action, Learning and Leadership Program which integrates traditional academic study and course-embedded community-based learning and action. The CALL program is rooted in the University’s historic social justice mission, challenging students to confront the big questions facing the world today by participating in and reflecting upon civic engagement activities. Students enroll in a CL General Education course of their choice (4 credits), linked to CL2000: Community Engagement Field Placement (2 credits). Students in CL 2000 are assigned to work in a college or community placement for 4 hours a week (approximately 50 hours a semester) that relates to the particular course content of the CL General Education course in which they are enrolled.

Academic Advisers assist all first-year students and guide them in selecting appropriate courses. Students must satisfy any prerequisites before registering for courses.

Honors College Program

A select group of incoming full-time freshmen, transfer students and continuing students are invited each year to become Honors College students. Students who are selected to join the Honors College will have enriched educational opportunities and take a series of intellectually rigorous and stimulating courses that are a part of the required credits needed to complete a Bachelor’s degree at Old Westbury.

Graduate schools, professional programs and employers all look with strong favor on applicants who have participated in an Honors College. The students receive benefits including internship and research opportunities, book scholarship funds each semester, priority registration, exclusive use of the Honors College study and reserved parking. In addition, the Honors College offers a variety of free academic, cultural and social activities. Admission to the Honors College is based on past academic performance.

  • The Honors College accepts freshmen with at least a 90 high school average and a combined math and reading SAT score of 1150 and above.
  • Continuing Old Westbury students must have at least a 3.5 GPA to apply for admission to the Honors College.

Academic Advisement for First Time To College Students

The Academic Advising Center staff provides the following services:

  • Assist students as they plan their course work.
  • Explain General Education requirements to students
  • Assist transfer students in understanding how their previous coursework was evaluated.
  • Help students make an informed choice of major.
  • Provide information on academic policies and procedures.
  • Monitor the progress of students on academic jeopardy and/or probation.
  • Administer the College’s placement examinations in English and mathematics.
  • Advise students on time-management and study skills.

The Center is located in the Campus Center, H-208, (516) 876-3044.


Registration, which is a prerequisite to class attendance, takes place before each semester begins. Registration instructions are posted on the campus website and published in the semester “Dates, Deadlines and General Information.” A student may register on the web, and must pay tuition and fees or make appropriate arrangements with the Bursar, to be considered officially registered.

Physical presence in class does not constitute registration in a course even when work is completed. Students who have not registered officially will not receive any credit for the course work. (Auditors in a course cannot receive retroactive credit.) All changes in students’ course schedules must be made before the end of the add/drop period (the first week of the semester), as published in the College calendar.

Courses published in the semester class schedule may be cancelled for budgetary, curricular or enrollment reasons. In such cases, an effort will be made to adjust a student’s registration to minimize adverse effects.

Course Prerequisites

Students should meet the prerequisites to a course before taking the course. Prerequisites indicate through specific coursework the type of knowledge, the level of academic maturity, or the acceptance to a specific program that a student should have achieved before taking a course. Completion of the prerequisites may be in progress at the time the student advance registers for the following semester. The course instructor has the option to instruct any student not meeting the prerequisites to a course to drop the course by the end of the first week of classes. In addition, some courses enforce prerequisites at the time of registration. Students who believe they have satisfied the prerequisite to a course through transfer work or through other study or experience should seek permission of the instructor before registering. Permission of the instructor supersedes stated prerequisites. Certain courses may be taken only with the permission of the instructor or of the department; this is listed as a course comment.

Categories of Students

Matriculated Student

A matriculated student is one who has been admitted to the University through the Office of Enrollment Services, and is working toward the completion of a degree. A matriculated student may enroll full‑time (a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester), or part-time (fewer than 12 credit hours per semester).


Students who have continued their registration directly from the immediately preceding fall or spring semester. (Summer registration is not applicable.)


Students who are registering after a break of one or more semesters including students who have graduated from SUNY Old Westbury or who have been away several years.


Students who have been admitted to SUNY Old Westbury, but have never registered.

Lower Division

Students with fewer than 57 credits, including transfer and SUNY Old Westbury credits.

Upper Division

Students with 57 or more credits, including transfer and SUNY Old Westbury credits.

Note: Transfer credit is awarded only after official transcripts have been received and recorded by the Transfer Student Services Office.

Transfer Credit

Joint Agreements

Refer to the Admissions  section.

Policies and Procedures Regarding Transfer Credits

Credits appearing on the transcript of another regionally accredited college that were taken at that college are evaluated by the Transfer Services Office for transfer to Old Westbury. Transfer credit for courses taken at institutions that operate on a quarter system is limited to computed equivalence in semester hours. A maximum of 80 transfer credits will be awarded.

Official transcripts for courses taken prior to the student’s first semester at the University must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services as part of the admissions procedure. A preliminary evaluation of transfer credit can be made on the basis of a student copy of a transcript. However, official transfer of credit will be made only upon receipt of an official transcript. Transfer students should ensure that official transcripts of prior work are filed in the Transfer Services Office prior to initial registration, but no later than the start of classes.

Students will receive credit for courses taken as part of an AA, AS or AAS degree, if the courses were taken at the institution granting the AA, AS or AAS degree. Credits from an AOS or other associates degree programs are evaluated and accepted selectively. Acceptance of any credit does not imply that major or University requirements have been satisfied. Therefore, in order to graduate, students may be required to complete more than the stated minimum number of credits necessary for a particular degree program.

Transfer credit will not be awarded for courses in which a grade of D+ or below was earned, except if the courses are part of and taken at the institution granting the AA, AS or AAS degree.

Normally, courses taken at institutions without regional accreditation are not transferable to the University. A student may petition the Academic Practices Committee for an exception to this rule; in certain documented instances, the petition may be granted. Courses given credit under this provision may not be used to satisfy the requirements of a particular degree without the permission of the appropriate department chair.

Courses for which transfer credits have been accepted may not be repeated for credit at Old Westbury.

Other Conditions of Transfer

The University’s policies governing transfer credits stipulate that all transfer students:

  1. Earn a minimum of 40 credit hours (46 for Accounting majors) at Old Westbury, and fulfill the University residency requirement.
  2. Fulfill the University’s requirement that all candidates for graduation demonstrate mastery of computational and American English language skills and must meet the University’s General Education requirements;
  3. Take a minimum of 24 credit hours in courses in the major at the 3000, 4000 or 5000-level. Specific majors may require more than the minimum 24 credits;
  4. Complete 45 credits in courses at the 3000, 4000 or 5000-level toward overall degree requirements;

Credit by Examination

A maximum of 30 credits can be awarded based upon standardized external examinations such as Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), the Regents College Examinations, and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Support (DANTES) program, and International Baccalaureate Programme Credit.

Credit by examination cannot be used to fulfill the University’s residency requirement. Since each academic department has its own policy for accepting credit by examination in fulfillment of departmental requirements, students should consult with the chair for further information.

Credit will be awarded for a score of 3 or higher on any Advanced Placement Examination. Credit for CLEP examinations will be awarded for scores meeting or exceeding the minimum credit granting score as determined by the American Council on Education (ACE) and indicated on an official CLEP transcript.

Credits for AP and CLEP will only be awarded when an official AP or CLEP transcript, sent directly by the College Board is received by the Transfer Services Office. Credits cannot be granted on the basis of a high school transcript or college transcript even if they have been granted at those schools. For more information or to order transcripts go to

Credits may also be granted for students who have participated in the International Baccalaureate Programme. Courses in which a score of 4 or higher is achieved may be considered for transfer credit and will be evaluated on a course by course basis. An official IBP transcript must be submitted to the Transfer Services Office for consideration before credits can be granted.

Courses that are equivalent to transfer credit that has been granted as a result of external examinations may not be repeated for credit at Old Westbury. Students may not apply for life experience credit for the same courses in which they have been granted credit by examination. (see APEL section which follows).

Academic Credit for Military Training

A maximum of eight credits will be awarded for a minimum of two years of active duty in any branch of military service. However, such credits do not satisfy University-wide or departmental requirements. To be granted such credit, the student must submit a copy of the DD214 (Discharge) to the Veterans Affairs Coordinator in the Office of the Registrar. (No automatic credit is given for active duty of less than two years.)

Veterans may also apply for credit based on specific formal courses of instruction given by the military services. The Office of the Registrar and the Transfer Services Office evaluate such applications based upon a Joint Services Transcript (JST) and the recommendations provided by the American Council on Education (ACE).

Appeal of Transfer Credit Evaluation

If you do not agree with the evaluation of credits you may appeal to the Director of Transfer Services in the Transfer Services Office. The appeal must be made in writing in the form of a letter or e-mail to along with supporting documentation. The appeal letter must outline the reasons for the appeal and be submitted with a syllabus of the course(s) in question and any other documents that may support the appeal. You will receive a response to your appeal within 10 business days of the receipt of the appeal.

If the courses in question were taken at a SUNY school you may refer to the SUNY website for further information.

Appeal letters and documents must be submitted by email to or mailed to:

Director of Transfer Services
Transfer Services Office
SUNY Old Westbury
PO Box 210
Old Westbury, NY 11568

Accreditation Program for Experiential Learning (APEL)

APEL has been designed to award college credit to students who have acquired college-level learning from their life experiences. The APEL Committee does not grant credit for the experience itself, but rather for the college-level learning that is related to the experience.

To earn APEL credits, the student must describe and document this learning, and what college subject or area the experience is the equivalent of. A maximum of 32 APEL credits can be earned. These credits will not satisfy departmental requirements for the major, nor may they be used to satisfy General Education requirements. APEL credits do not satisfy the University’s residency requirements;

40 credits must be earned at the University. Grades are not assigned to APEL credits. APEL credits may not duplicate credits earned in coursework. Military Service is not eligible for APEL credit.

Learning languages is not considered for APEL credit. Students may not request an APEL appeal after graduation. Students are not charged for APEL credits nor for the evaluation of their portfolios. APEL credits are non-transferable. To apply for APEL credits, students must have at least 31 credits recorded on the transcript, and must be currently registered at the University. Deadlines for portfolio submission are October 1st for the fall semester, and March 1st for the spring semester.

Declaration of Major

Students are encouraged to declare a major as early as possible and must complete the process before they have earned 42 credits (including transfer credits). Noting a particular department major on the Admissions Application constitutes an official declaration of major or acceptance into that department, with the exception of the School of Business, which has specific admissions requirements and criteria for continuing as a major.

Details regarding declaring a major may be requested at

Failure to declare a major will result in loss of eligibility for Federal financial aid. Furthermore, failure to declare a major by the time students have earned 42 credits will result in loss of eligibility for state financial aid (TAP).

Dual Major

A student who officially declares and completes the requirements for two majors (a dual major) will receive one baccalaureate degree upon graduation. The primary major/degree (B.A., B.S., B.F.A.) will determine the actual degree awarded. The University does not officially recognize triple majors. Students who wish to complete two majors must obtain the approval of the two departments involved. There must be a significant difference between the major courses plus the required cognate courses of the two majors. Certain combinations of majors are not permitted.

Second Degrees

The University will award a second degree to students who have already received a bachelor’s degree either from Old Westbury or from another U.S. institution. Department degree requirements, and college residency requirements for each degree must be met. General Education requirements are usually satisfied if a student has earned the first degree at another SUNY institution. General Education requirements are evaluated on an individual basis for any first degrees from non-SUNY institutions. Of the minimum 40 credit hours* that must be earned, a minimum of 30 must be taken in a field that is significantly different in academic content from the first baccalaureate degree. A “significant difference” normally will be interpreted as meaning “in a different discipline or subject matter area.”

*46 credits required in Accounting.

Policy on Credit Hours and Course Expectations

Colleges, universities and accrediting bodies use the credit hour as the standard measure of academic rigor. In order to fulfill our mission, to meet our regulatory obligations and to help students understand the typical demands of our courses, these policies define a credit hour for all credit-bearing courses offered at SUNY Old Westbury.

Specifically, this policy:

  • provides a summary table of students’ course-related work expectations for a 4-credit course in various course configurations
  • provides information about the way credit hours and related academic expectations are formulated in state, federal, and accreditation regulations.

Course Expectations for a 4-credit Course (in minutes, where 1 credit hour = 50 minutes)

Student workload expectation for 4-credit courses
(ratios shall be pro-rated for alternative course credit loads)
In-class per week (minimum) Outside-of-class per week Total per week Total per course
Fall/Spring semester traditional courses meeting 3 hours per week for lecture/discussion (15 weeks) 180 420 600 9000
Fall/Spring semester hybrid courses (15 weeks) 90 510 600 9000
Fall/Spring semester blended courses (15 weeks) 1-179 599-421 600 9000
Fall/Spring semester online courses (15 weeks) 0 600 600 9000
Summer session (5 weeks) traditional courses 540 1260 1800 9000
Summer session (5 weeks) online courses 0 1800 1800 9000
Winter session (3 weeks) traditional courses 900 2100 3000 9000
Winter session (3 weeks) online courses 0 3000 3000 9000

Relevant Definitions and Policy Statement Summaries

  1. United States Department of Education - Credit Hour Definition

    The U.S. Department of Education defines a credit hour as:

An amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out- of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or,
  2. at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
  1. Middle States Commission on Higher Education Policy

The Commission recognizes that institutions may use one or both of the options identified in the [US DoE] definition of credit hours when assigning credit hours.

Institutions must provide the following information to the Commission’s evaluators at appropriate points of accreditation review so they can verify compliance with the credit hour regulations:

  1. Written policies and procedures used to assign credit hours;
  2. Evidence and analyses demonstrating that these policies and procedures are consistently applied across programs and courses, regardless of delivery mode or teaching/learning format;
  3. An explanation of how the institution’s assignment of credit hours conforms to commonly accepted standards of higher education.
  1. New York State Education Department:

§ 50.1 Definitions
(o) Semester hour means a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments, except as otherwise provided pursuant to section 52.2(c)(4) of this Subchapter. This basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic calendars and formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study during the two semesters that comprise an academic year.

(Revised Fall 2015)

Academic Workload

A student achieves full-time status with a course load of 12 or more credits. The maximum credit load for fall or spring semesters for undergraduate students is 18 credits. Students wishing to add courses, which will give them an academic load over 18 credits (overload), are required to petition for a course overload with the chair of the department in which the student is majoring. If approved, the chair will e-mail the approved request to the Dean for final approval. The Dean will e-mail the authorization to the Office of the Registrar. The Office of the Registrar will inform all parties via campus e-mail of completion of the overload process. Mastery of reading and writing skills is required. Students on probation are not eligible to take a course overload under any circumstances.

Academic Class Level

The following designations specify a student’s academic class level:

  Upper Division: Seniors 88 or more credits Lower Division: Sophomores 32‑56 credits
    Juniors 57‑87 credits   Freshmen 0‑31 credits

Note: Senior standing does not necessarily imply eligibility for graduation. Eligibility for graduation depends on the fulfillment of all University and departmental requirements as determined by the Registrar and the department from which the student expects to be graduated.

Determination of class level is based on the Transfer Services Office evaluation of official transcripts available in that office. Changes in academic class level occur only as students complete courses at Old Westbury, or when the Transfer Services Office receives and evaluates official transcripts from other colleges or universities.

Academic Course Level

The academic course level coding at the University is as follows:

Upper Division: 3000   Lower Division: 1000  
  4000     2000  

The term, “courses above the introductory and survey level,” refers to 3000, 4000 and 5000-level courses.

Course Coding

The University’s course coding system, used to identify courses, consists of a department indicator, numerical level and a section indicator.

The discipline indicator identifies the program offering the course:

AS: American Studies   MA: Mathematics  
BS: Biological Sciences   MD: Music and Dance  
BU: School of Business   ML: Modern Languages  
CE Community Engagement   PE: Politics, Economics & Law  
CL Community Learning   PH: Public Health  
CP: Chemistry and Physics   PS: School of Professional Studies  
CR: Criminology   PY: Psychology  
CS: Computer Science   SY: Sociology  
ED: School of Education   VA: Visual Arts  
EL: English   WS: Women’s Studies  
HI: History and Philosophy   FY: First-Year Experience  
IR: Industrial and Labor Relations        
0000 -  Non‑credit   3000 -  Intermediate‑major  
1000 -  Introductory‑general   4000 -  Advanced‑major  
2000 -  Introductory‑major   5000 -  Senior level  

The four‑digit number following the discipline indicator provides information about the course. The first digit represents the level of instruction:

Independent Study

All independent study must be undertaken under the guidance of a faculty member, based in an academic department, and be related to the student’s course of study. Agreement to supervise independent study is the prerogative of the faculty member and must follow the guidelines of the individual department. A student should understand that undertaking an independent study is a rigorous intellectual exercise which requires more self-discipline than the ordinary course.

Credit may be earned through independent projects and research, field study, and independent course work and readings. It is expected that each of these will involve regular meetings with the faculty mentor and will require specific work assignments, readings, writing assignments and a final paper or other end-of-term project.

In order to be eligible for independent study, a student must have earned at least 30 credits, be proficient in reading and writing, and be in good academic standing. In addition, the student’s prior academic record must indicate that the student is capable of independent work.

To register for an independent study, a student must request approval of an Independent Study Contract, which can be found on the student portal. The contract must be completed and approved during the registration period. A student is limited to enrolling in a maximum of two independent study courses during any one semester. A maximum of 16 independent study credits may be applied to degree requirements.

A student must consult with the advisor before pursuing any form of independent study, and should note that individual departments may set more rigorous criteria toward completing departmental requirements.

Registration for an independent study is subject to all normal registration deadlines.

Grading System

The grading system used on transcripts provides for 16 letter grades consisting of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C‑, D+, D, D-, F, CR (credit), NC (no credit), I (incomplete), W (withdrawal) and NR (not reported). All students whose names remain on the official class roster, prepared at the end of the add/drop period, are assigned one of the above grades.

All grades except CR, NC, I, W and NR are calculated in the student’s GPA. However, in cases where students repeat a course, the newest grade replaces the old one(s) in the GPA calculation. All grades, however, will remain on the transcript. While students must pay for every course they take, financial aid will not pay for repeated courses unless the department/program requires a minimum grade for graduation and the previous grade was below the requirement. Courses not required to be repeated by the department will not count toward credit load for purposes of financial aid eligibility. (This information does not apply to courses that departments designate as repeatable for credit. )

The number of credits assigned to a course cannot be changed unless the course is one in which students may earn variable credit (e.g., independent study). Credit cannot be awarded twice for the same course, unless the course is one that may be repeated for credit (e.g., certain internships, directed research, etc).

Credit/No Credit

A student may elect a credit/no credit option with the permission of the instructor. The student’s request (form found on the student portal) must be filed in the Office of the Registrar by the ninth week of the semester, the actual date to be concurrent with the deadline for requesting a withdrawal. Note that Cr/NC cannot be selected after this ninth week deadline. Once approved, the Cr/NC contract cannot be cancelled. Courses taken for a grade of Cr or NC do not affect the GPA. Specific restrictions on the credit/no credit option vary by department major. Students should consult with an academic advisor in the department of major program. 

School of Education students may not select Cr/NC for any courses, as this cannot count toward certification. 

School of Business students may not select Cr/NC for courses within their major.  


A grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned by the instructor when:

  • extenuating circumstances, such as accident or illness, make it impossible for the student to complete the course work by the end of the semester;
  • the student has completed most of the course work at a passing level;
  • the instructor expects that the student will be able to complete the remainder of the course requirements by the end of the following semester.

A grade of I remains in effect for one semester. A student must make appropriate arrangements with the instructor to complete the course requirements. The instructor will inform the student concerning the specific scope and nature of the work that must be completed. To certify fulfillment of course requirements, the instructor is expected to submit a letter grade by the end of the following semester. If the instructor does not submit a grade, the Registrar will automatically assign a grade of F unless the instructor submits a written request to the Registrar for an extension, or the student has filed an application for CR/NC, in which case a grade of NC would be assigned. Students who are completing an incomplete should not re-register for that course in the semester that they are completing the incomplete.


W, signifying withdrawal, may not be assigned as a final grade. After the end of the add/drop period and up to the ninth week of classes, a student may withdraw from one or more courses by filing an official withdrawal form (found on the student portal) with the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar will then record a W on the student’s transcript. A grade of W does not affect the GPA. 

A $20 per withdrawal fee (A/D) is assessed at the time of withdrawal. 

Please Note: Nonattendance in classes does not constitute withdrawal.

Any student who has not withdrawn officially from a course will remain on the final grade roster and will be assigned a final grade of F from the instructor or NC if the student has filed the appropriate CR/NC contract. Withdrawals may affect a student’s subsequent eligibility for financial aid awards. Grades are final as submitted.

See the section on Financial Aid  in this catalog for a description of the effect of W grades on continued eligibility for student financial aid. A grade of W does not affect the GPA.

Not Reported Grades

Courses for which the instructor did not report a grade are assigned the designation “NR.” “NR” designations remain in effect for one semester. If the instructor does not submit a grade within one semester, the Registrar will automatically assign a grade of “F,” unless the student has filed an application for “CR/NC,” in which case a grade of “NC” would be assigned.

Repeated Courses

If a student repeats a course, which may not be repeated for credit more than once, only the latest grade will be used in calculating the grade point average (GPA). However, all courses and corresponding grades will remain on the transcript. For purposes of state aid, courses not deemed necessary to repeat according to department policy (as stated in the college catalog) will not satisfy full time status requirements. Credit will not be awarded more than once for the same course.

Other Information on Grades/Time Limit

Grades submitted at the end of the semester are considered final and may only be changed in the case of instructor error or as the result of an Academic Grievance Committee decision. Faculty must submit grade change petitions to their academic dean on the official grade change form, which includes a detailed justification. Grade changes will not be accepted for courses that were completed more than one year after the original grade was assigned. Under no circumstances may a grade be changed after the degree has been awarded.

A student whose name appears on the class roster compiled at the end of the add/drop period, continues his or her registered status until the end of the semester, unless that student has officially withdrawn from the class. Consequently, liability for billing and eligibility for financial aid, as well as liability for probation, suspension or dismissal continues to apply to all students on this roster, unless the student has officially withdrawn at the Office of the Registrar.

Grade‑Point Average (GPA)

Effective fall 1996, each letter grade carries the following quality points:

A = 4.00   B- = 2.70   D+ = 1.30  
A- = 3.70   C+ = 2.30   D = 1.00  
B+ = 3.30   C = 2.00   D- = .70  
B = 3.00   C- = 1.70   F = 0.00  

Two calculations of grade point averages appear on the student’s transcript: a semester grade point average and a cumulative grade point average. No quality points are assigned to CR, NC, I or W.

Courses taken prior to 1984 are not included in the calculation of the GPA on the transcript but are manually calculated by the department of major in determining a student’s graduation status.

Mid-Term Grades

At the mid-point of a semester, progress grades are assigned to officially enrolled students. These grades are not reported on the student’s transcript and are not calculated in the student’s GPA.

Authorized mid-term grades are as follows:

S - Satisfactory (grade of C or higher)

U - Unsatisfactory (grade of C-, D+, D, or D-)

F - Failing

Dean’s List

Any full time student who completes all courses for which they registered, which are graded using the normal grading system (A through F) and achieves a 3.50 grade point average will be included on the Dean’s List. Any part time student enrolled for at least 8 credits, who completes all courses for which they are registered, which are graded using the normal grading system (A through F), and achieves at least a 3.50 grade point average will be included on the Dean’s List.

Undergraduate Latin Honors Policy

Latin Honors recognize the achievement of the overall academic record of outstanding students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. They will be awarded to graduating seniors based on the following criteria:

  1. Compliance with the University’s academic integrity policies (i.e., Policy on Academic Integrity)
  3. Achievement of a minimum grade point average of 3.6;
    1. For summa cum laude, a grade point average from 3.9 to 4.0;
    2. For magna cum laude, a grade point average from 3.75 to 3.89; and
    3. For cum laude, a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.74; and
  4. Successful completion of all University-wide and Departmental graduation requirements.

Students who are eligible for Latin Honors will have Latin Honors pending next to their names on the Commencement program, and they will also wear different color cords to distinguish the three levels of distinction at the May Commencement ceremony: Gold :summa cum laude, Silver: magna cum laude, Bronze: cum laude. Upon completion of their final semester at Old Westbury, they will officially earn the Latin Honors distinction which will appear on their college transcript and diploma.


Auditing is defined as attending a course for informational instruction only. No credit is granted for such work, nor does the University keep any record of the student’s participation in the audited course.

A student who wishes to audit a course must first obtain the instructor’s permission.

Transcript Requests

An official transcript of a student’s academic work may be ordered on the WEB at a cost of $10.00 per copy. A small handling fee is charged by Credentials, Inc. the designated agent for processing and sending official transcripts on behalf of SUNY Old Westbury.

Current students:

The most efficient method to order a transcript for current students is through the portal.

  1. Login to the ConnectOW Portal (
  2. Click the “Academics” icon
  3. Select “Request Transcript (Official)”
  4. Order your transcript

Former Students:

Students who have not been enrolled at the University for one or more years may order official transcripts by selecting the following link:

Unofficial Transcript Requests

Current students:

  1. The most efficient method to order a transcript for current students is through the portal.
  2. Login to
  3. Click the “Academics” icon
  4. Select the “Academic Transcript (Unofficial)” icon
  5. Order your transcript

Former Students access URL:

Leave of Absence

Normally, a student requests a leave of absence when temporary activities, circumstances or conditions in the student’s life are likely to have a significant adverse affect on the student’s academic success. A student wishing to take a leave of absence should consult with the academic advisor.

A student may take a leave of absence from the University by applying at the Office of the Registrar. Taking a leave of absence does not exempt a student from financial obligations. A student who is approved for a leave of absence after the add/drop period may receive grades of W, signifying withdrawal, in all courses for that semester.

Application for Graduation and Commencement

Graduation is the process of awarding a degree upon meeting all degree requirements as verified by the Office of the Registrar.

Commencement is a ceremony in which December and January graduates and candidates for May and August may participate. Degrees are not awarded at the commencement ceremony.

To become a candidate for graduation and to participate in Commencement, a student must file for graduation via the appropriate form located on the student OW portal. Students are urged to review their Degree Works (DGW) audit often to make sure they are making progress toward their degree. If the audit displays missing requirements, a student cannot apply for graduation unless the student can provide evidence that the missing degree requirements will be completed prior to the conclusion of the semester indicated on the graduation application.

- There are four graduation terms -December, January, May and August- but only one commencement ceremony in May. December and January graduates and candidates for May and August may participate in the commencement ceremony.

Example: Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 graduates, and Spring 2019 and Summer 2019 candidates may participate in the May 2019 commencement ceremony.

- Participating in the commencement ceremony does not denote degree completion for graduation.

- The graduation filing deadlines are typically early October for December and January candidates and early March for May and August candidates.

The exact dates are listed in the college academic calendar and the semester Important Dates, Deadlines and General Information, which are posted on the campus WEB site. Names of candidates for whom applications are accepted after the application deadline may not appear in the commencement program.

Graduation Statistics

Of the students who entered the College in the fall of 2013 as full-time, first time freshmen, 33.0% graduated within four years, 48.2% graduated within six years, and 7.95% maintained enrollment status after six years. Of those fulltime upper-division transfer students who entered in fall 2014, 65.6% graduated within four years. For the most up-to-date information on graduation and retention, please visit the University’s website.


Students expecting to receive Veterans Administration benefits must be certified by the Office of the Registrar after registration. To receive certification by the Veterans Affairs Coordinator in the Office of the Registrar, the student must submit appropriate documentation, including:

V.A. Certificate of Eligibility and
Discharge papers (DD214), certified by the County Clerk

Academic Standing

All students are expected to maintain good academic standing at the University. Academic standing is determined by the student’s semester and cumulative grade point averages.

Minimum Grade-Point Average (GPA) Requirements

Students must maintain minimum semester and cumulative grade point averages of at least 2.00 to remain in good academic standing. Students who fail to obtain a minimum semester grade point average of 2.00 in any particular semester (including summer and winter) will automatically be placed on academic probation, which is a warning that their good academic standing is in jeopardy. Students who are on probation twice in succession and have attempted at least 32 credits are subject to suspension or dismissal (described below) at the point at which their cumulative GPA falls below 2.00.

Probation: Minimum semester ‑OR‑ Minimum Cumulative  
  GPA less than 2.00   GPA less than 2.00  

Criteria for Academic Probation, Suspension, Dismissal

Academic Probation applies automatically to students who fail for the first time to meet minimum GPA requirements in a given semester. The student is placed on probation for the subsequent semester. The student must achieve a semester and cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 in order to be removed from probation. A student on probation is ineligible to participate on University committees or in intercollegiate athletics. Academic probation, including any accompanying constraints upon a student’s activities, is intended as a support measure designed to encourage students to focus on their studies in order that they may satisfy academic standards.

Academic Suspension applies only to students who have attempted a minimum of 32 credits. Students are automatically suspended from the University if already on probation and they fail to meet the minimum semester and cumulative GPA requirements. The suspended student may not re‑register until one semester has elapsed.

Academic Dismissal applies automatically to those students who were previously suspended, have returned, and again fail to meet the minimum semester and cumulative GPA requirements. These students may not apply for reinstatement until two semesters have elapsed from the semester of their last registration at the University.

It should be noted that individual degree programs may require a higher GPA for courses in the major (see the sections on each academic program included in the catalog). Students should consult with their advisors regarding specific program requirements.

Reinstatement Methods

Students may:

  1. Observe the time periods specified above.
  2. Appeal suspension or dismissal by contacting the Office of the Registrar to schedule an appointment for a hearing with the Academic Standing Committee. At the hearing students should provide documentation of their reasons for appeal. The decision of the committee is final.
  3. Complete those courses for which incomplete (I) grade(s) had been recorded. When the grade change(s) for completed course(s) has/have been recorded by the Office of the Registrar, the student’s GPA must meet minimum University guidelines for good academic standing for reinstatement to occur; failing that, the student continues on suspension or dismissal.
  4. Speak to their instructor(s) to correct grades they believe have been miscalculated or erroneously recorded. If changes are warranted, the instructor will notify the Office of the Registrar. After changes have been recorded, the student’s GPA must meet minimum University guidelines for good academic standing for reinstatement to occur; failing that, the student continues on suspension or dismissal.

Academic Integrity Policy

As members of the Old Westbury community, students are expected to adhere to standards of honesty and ethical behavior. Plagiarism and other types of academic dishonesty are condemned at all academic institutions. These acts detract from the student’s intellectual and personal growth by undermining the processes of higher learning and the struggle with one’s own expression of ideas and information.

Good academic procedure requires giving proper credit when using the words or ideas of others.

Plagiarizing means “presenting somebody else’s words or ideas without acknowledging where those words and ideas come from” (Ann Raimes, Keys for Writers, 7th ed., p.135). Examples include:

  • copying material from the Internet or other sources and presenting it as one’s own
  • using any author’s words without quotation marks; using any quotation without credit
  • changing any author’s words slightly and presenting them as one’s own
  • using ideas from any source (even in one’s own words) without proper credit
  • turning in any assignment containing material written by someone else (including tutor or friend); buying work and submitting it as one’s own
  • submitting the same assignment in more than one class without permission of the instructor

Know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it; for guidance see Raimes or any other college writing handbook. Other types of academic dishonesty include unauthorized collaboration or copying of students’ work (cheating); falsifying grades or other assessment measures; destroying the academic work of another student; the dishonest use of electronic devices; and others. When detected and verified, plagiarism and other academic dishonesty will have serious consequences.

Please note: In this matter, ignorance of the Academic Integrity Policy is never an acceptable excuse.

Penalties for Violations of Academic Integrity

Undergraduate Programs

First Reported Offense:

Recommended Penalty: Failing grade on the specific assignment
Maximum Penalty: Failing grade for the specific course

Second Reported Offense:

Recommended Penalty: Failing grade for the specific course
Maximum Penalty: Suspension

Third and Subsequent Reported Offense:

Recommended Penalty: Suspension
Maximum Penalty: Dismissal

All Programs

Violations of plagiarism that occur outside of class (For example: work submitted for competitions, job applications, admissions to programs) may be considered a “Reported Offense”.

Any student found in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy may not be eligible for scholarships, honors or induction into academic societies. Students cannot withdraw from the course or apply for a grade of CR/NC while the matter is pending or if they are found in violation of academic policy. In some cases, in addition to academic consequences, violations may have other ramifications including those listed in the Code for Student Conduct.

Academic Grievance Procedures


The procedures below pertain to alleged violations or misapplications of University and/or course academic policies and do not apply to other areas with separate forms of redress, such as issues of sexual harassment, discrimination or discipline, which are addressed elsewhere. They are also directed at a student grievance alleging that he or she has been treated unfairly, in violation of established academic policy or practice. The procedures below reflect the college’s commitment to a fair and prompt resolution of student academic grievances. Students should be aware that a review of grade procedure may result in a grade being raised, lowered, or not changed.

This procedure begins with an informal process, but includes a formal process that recommends a resolution of the grievance in a way that maximizes the opportunity for a full and impartial solution. Request to waive or otherwise alter University academic policies shall continue to be the province of the Academic Practices Committee.

  1. Jurisdiction

An academic grievance shall include, but not be restricted to, a complaint by a student:

  1. That the University’s academic regulations and/or policies have been violated or misapplied to him or her;
  2. That he or she has been treated unfairly, based upon established University academic policies.

The review of grievances or appeals shall usually be limited to the following considerations:

  1. Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision? Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the grievant?
  2. Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the grievant?
  3. Given the proper facts, criteria and procedures, was the decision one which a person in the position of the decision maker might reasonably have made?
  1. Deadlines

At the informal level: An academic grievance may be initiated no later than the end of the third week into the following semester. (A student receiving a grade as a result of satisfying the course requirements of a previously received “Incomplete”grade in the semester immediately following the semester in which the “Incomplete” was received has three weeks from notification of the grade change to initiate an academic grievance.)

At the formal level: An academic grievance may be initiated no later than the end of the fifth week into the following semester. (A student receiving a grade as a result of satisfying the course requirements of a previously received “Incomplete” grade in the semester immediately following the semester in which the “Incomplete” was received has five weeks from notification of the grade change to initiate an academic grievance.) A formal grievance involves submission of written documentation as discussed below.

  1. Grievance Resolution Process

The process includes the possibility of review at two levels: the department and the School/College. Individual departments or schools may have more detailed procedures at those levels; inquiries about such policies should be directed to the appropriate chair or dean.

  1. At the department level, a student with a complaint should first attempt to resolve the complaint informally with the faculty or staff member involved. A student must initiate the process no later than the end of the third week into the following semester. The assistance of the chair of the department may be sought to resolve the dispute.
  2. The student who is not able to achieve resolution with the instructor may initiate a formal grievance no later than the end of the fifth week into the following semester by preparing a written statement which includes:
    1. An account of the case in detail;
    2. All information about the conference with the instructor;
    3. A statement of the reasons the student believes he or she is aggrieved or, in the case of a grade, why it should be reconsidered. The statement should also include an allegation of any adverse effects on the grievant, known to the grievant at the time of filing.
    4. A description of the remedy sought.
    5. All relevant supporting materials (including, but not limited to, syllabus(i), test(s), quiz(zes), paper(s), and any graded evaluation(s)), which should be identified and listed in an index.

      The student shall submit complete copies of the written statement and attachments to the chair of the department. The chair shall carefully review the statement, confer with the student and instructor, and attempt to reach a resolution of the dispute. The department chair may ask members of the department to serve as a committee to review the materials and assist him or her in reaching a decision. The chair’s decision must be made in writing to the student and the instructor within ten academic days of the date of the request from the student.

      If the department chair is the party against whom the grievance is brought, the student should initiate a review with the Dean of the school.
  3. If the department chair’s decision does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, or dean’s decision, if the department chair is the party against whom the grievance is brought, the student may appeal by writing to the Chair of the Faculty Senate and forwarding the documentation to the appropriate office. This request must be made by the student within twenty academic days of filing the formal grievance to the department chair or dean.
  4. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall forward the documentation to the Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee.
  5. When the Faculty Rights and Responsibility Committee receives a formal grievance complaint, the committee shall convene a three-person Academic Grievance Committee (AGC) within three weeks.
  6. The AGC shall include one faculty member from the department (or a related one) in which the instructor resides. If the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee does not contain such a member, the Executive Committee/School Dean shall name such a person to the AGC. In naming the AGC to hear a grievance, the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee shall take care to insure that no member has an interest in the case being heard. It shall meet and review the materials presented and solicit a response from the instructor for each count in the student’s case. The AGC’s decision must be made in writing to the student, the instructor, the Executive Committee and the School Dean within three weeks of the date of the establishment of the AGC.

In the Case of a Grade Appeal

  1. The AGC will familiarize itself with the standards and objectives of the course and evaluative material presented. Its concerns shall be limited to consideration of the fair application of standards and objectives, and whether the standards and objectives were made known to the student in a reasonable manner. The difficulty of the standards shall not be an issue.
  2. The burden of proof shall be on the student, who may be asked to appear before the AGC.
  3. The majority of the AGC feels no case can be made, the original grade will remain. If it finds that the standards and objectives were not reasonably known to the student or were unfairly applied, it may recommend a higher or lower grade and give its reasons for so recommending.
  4. If the AGC determines that a different grade is appropriate, the Executive Committee shall have ten academic days from receipt of the AGC’s decision to change the grade.
  5. A change of grade shall not be interpreted as an admission of unfairness in grading.

In the Case of a Grievance

In the case of a grievance, if the majority of the AGC adjudges the grievance to be without foundation, the student’s appeal shall be denied. If, in the judgment of the AGC, there is a basis for the grievance, the written decision must include specific recommendations for redress. The decision of the AGC is final. Under normal circumstances, the issue is to be brought to a conclusion within two months of the establishment of the Committee.

  1. Confidentiality

Once the AGC has been convened to hear a complaint, principals and committee members shall have the obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings and of all materials presented to review proceedings.

  1. Record Keeping

In conformance with state regulations, all parties shall maintain adequate documentation about each formal complaint and its disposition for a period of at least six years after final disposition of the complaint. Copies shall go to the Provost, Dean and department chairs.