Special Course Opportunities

The University at Buffalo recognizes the importance of opportunities for students to integrate the material that they have learned during their time at UB and to participate in faculty research and other practical experiences. A distinctive aspect of undergraduate education at UB is the opportunity for students to work closely with faculty who are actively engaged in research and scholarship. Significant opportunities for participation in UB’s local and regional public service mission are available through fieldwork, practica, internships, and related learning activities. As such, the following course numbers are reserved for special opportunities.

Many of these opportunities are considered to be tutorial coursework, conducted individually with a faculty member. The integrity of the degrees granted by UB requires that a substantial portion of the 120 credits of coursework required for these degrees be completed in lecture, seminar, and/or laboratory courses which have been reviewed and approved by appropriate faculty committees; therefore, no more than 18 credits of tutorial coursework can count toward the credits required for graduation with a bachelor’s degree.

494 Senior Capstone Courses

These courses provide opportunities for students to integrate knowledge from lower-level courses. Frequently they are taught in seminar format; students work closely with faculty members and other students in their department to apply classroom knowledge to practical, real-world situations. Topics may vary, and usually focus on faculty and student interests.

495 Undergraduate Supervised Teaching

The university recognizes the value of using Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs), both as a learning experience for those who are teaching and in bringing their unique perspectives and approaches to the classroom. However, it is important that the following guidelines be followed to ensure quality teaching and learning experiences.

In order to serve as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must have at least junior status (at least 60 credit hours completed);
  • Must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher; and
  • Must have received a grade of A- or better in the course in which they are to assist or in a course taken elsewhere that is equivalent.

UTA responsibilities:

  • UTAs shall not regularly conduct scheduled class meetings, lectures or seminars. If the UTA is expected to make a presentation in a lab or recitation, the material shall be prepared or reviewed by the instructor.
  • UTAs shall not assign final grades. If the UTA is expected to grade quizzes or exams, an explicit, annotated key shall be provided by the instructor, who will also supervise the UTA’s grading. In all other matters where the UTA exercises judgment, that work shall be closely supervised by the instructor on a weekly basis.

Each course must be approved for UTA use prior to UTAs being appointed.

496 Internships

A number of departments offer hands-on experience in the field as part of their course offerings or degree requirements. Many of these experiences are described in the Academic Programs section of this catalog. Participation in these experiences is governed by policies placed by the offering department.

497 Departmental Honors

Each department has the prerogative of awarding the designations “with highest distinction,” “with high distinction,” and “with distinction” to students who achieve a certain level of academic excellence and creativity. Criteria vary from department to department. Enrollment in a departmental honors program may be a prerequisite. Students should consult with their departmental advisor regarding the awarding of departmental honors.

Departmental Honors programs must include a minimum GPA requirement and a senior thesis or project. Students completing the thesis or project component of the program should register for that department’s 497 course.

498 Undergraduate Research

Students collaborate with faculty mentors on an ongoing faculty research or creative activity project, or conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. This experience provides students with an inquiry-based learning opportunity and engages them as active learners in a research or creative activity setting. Either the student’s own project or the faculty member’s project to which the student is contributing should utilize the methods for creating new knowledge that are recognized in the field and should result in a unique contribution to the field of knowledge. For more information about Undergraduate Research at UB, see the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity website.

499 Independent Study

Students have the option of individualized student work under the guidance of a faculty member. Independent Study courses are intended to pursue topics that are not currently offered through regular coursework at UB. In some cases, independent study may be the focal point in the design of an individual program. In others, it may merely add desired depth or breadth to a student’s formal degree program. To enroll in independent study, students must identify a member of the faculty or appropriate professional staff member willing to sponsor their work and gain approval of the appropriate department.

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