Major Requirement

To qualify for an undergraduate degree, matriculated students must be enrolled in a degree program and satisfactorily complete the requirements of their fields of study, as well as those of the university. This includes all major requirements and general education requirements. See the Academic Programs section for major acceptance criteria and program requirements and the General Education Requirements chart for a description of general education requirements.

Additional special degree options are available as listed below. These degree options require great care in planning early in an academic career in order to meet the full requirements. Advisement is available for such planning; however, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements of a planned program have been completed.

Double Majors

A double major is the awarding of one degree with two majors (e.g., the student completing a double major of psychology and social sciences interdisciplinary studies earns one BA degree). Students must be accepted into each major and fulfill all requirements of each major in addition to satisfying all university requirements. This may be completed within the usual 120-credit minimum. Double majors must be between departments leading to the same degree. For example, a student may not have a double major between engineering (BS) and psychology (BA). Following conferral of the degree, the student's transcript will note one baccalaureate degree with two majors.

Joint Majors

A student may elect to work toward a joint major by combining the subjects of two departments (e.g., geography and economics, physics and mathematics). A joint major does not require completion of all of the requirements of each major; rather, it is composed of requirements from each major as determined by the student and the directors of undergraduate studies in each department. Joint majors must be between programs leading to the same degree. For example, a student may not have a joint major between engineering (BS) and psychology (BA). Students wishing to pursue a joint major between programs leading to different degrees should consider pursuing a Special Major (see the “Special Major” program listing in this catalog).

Although a few academic departments, such as economics, geography, mathematics, and physics, have firmly established optional joint majors with other departments, students are normally free to choose their own joint majors. The Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Degree Program does not permit a joint major but uses a double major instead.

The director of undergraduate studies of each department concerned will assist in planning a joint major. In arranging the program, the student must obtain approval from the two departments involved. In special cases, a student may arrange a program cutting across several departments, so that the program involves more than one faculty or school.

Minors

A minor is a secondary field of study that is typically composed of six courses. The minor offers students a means to complement the major, explore a subspecialty, and/or broaden career alternatives. Minors are available in many subject areas but may not be taken within the student’s majors (see Approved Minors chart). Consult the Academic Programs section for individual minor requirements. A minor alone is not sufficient for graduation: Students can receive a bachelor’s degree if they are enrolled in a major program and a minor program, but cannot receive a bachelor’s degree if they are enrolled in a minor program and not enrolled in a major program. Some departments require formal application to the Minor program; students should contact the department for application information and deadlines.

Double Degrees

The double degree is the concurrent awarding of two different baccalaureate degree types (BA, BS, BFA, MusB). If a student completes two majors within one degree type, s/he will be awarded a double major (one degree with two majors), not two degrees, regardless of how many credits s/he earns.

Students pursuing two majors in two different degree types are expected to have the full range of skills, competencies, and experience as students graduating from each of the programs individually. Thus, students must meet all requirements for each major. In no circumstance may the coursework in the second degree be fewer than 30 credit hours.

For double degrees, five criteria must be met:

  • Degree types must be different (BA, BS, MusB, BFA);
  • No more than two 300- and 400-level courses taken as requirements for one major in one degree can also be counted as part of the required courses for the other major in the other degree, including required elective credits.
  • A minimum of 30 credits accrued beyond the full requirements of the degree with the larger number of required undergraduate credits or 150 credits total, whichever is greater;
  • All requirements for both programs are fully completed; and
  • Submissions of both the Application for Double Degree as well as the Application for Degree in advance of the applicable deadlines (see the Office of the Registrar website for forms and information).

Students wishing to pursue two degrees should do careful planning early in their academic career with the guidance of both programs to assure that the plan of study meets the criteria noted here.

Subsequent Degrees

Some students decide to return to their studies after they have received their first undergraduate degree. Once a degree is conferred, the courses and credits from that degree cannot be used in subsequent degrees, and students may not return to add a minor or concentration to the conferred degree. In order to receive a subsequent degree, the student who has previously earned a baccalaureate degree from UB or an accredited U.S. institution must be accepted to UB as a matriculated student and be accepted into the new major. Students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree must have the full range of skills, competencies, and experience in the major as students who complete the requirements for the regular degree program. Thus, students must meet all requirements for the major. In no circumstance may the coursework in the second degree program be fewer than 30 credit hours after the conferral of the first degree. Subsequent degrees are subject to the 30 credit hour UB residency requirement. The two degrees must be in significantly different fields of study; therefore, 300- and 400-level coursework completed for the first bachelor’s degree will not count toward completing the major requirements of the second degree. In the rare circumstance when a single course taken for the first degree program is a required course in the second degree program, a course substitution in the second degree may be approved by petition from the undergraduate program director of the new program.

Combined Degrees

This degree option results in the awarding of a single combined degree that joins specific programs or disciplines from two degree levels (e.g., BA/MA, BS/MBA). Combined degree programs offer UB students the opportunity to pursue their educational objectives at an accelerated pace by compressing the courses normally taken at the end of the undergraduate degree with those customarily taken at the beginning of a graduate degree. These programs are designed for students who have demonstrated exceptional promise.

In certain circumstances, the combined degree will not qualify the student for licensure if licensure is based upon the complete undergraduate curriculum. Students in professional programs should discuss licensure requirements with their advisors if they are considering the combined degree option.

Combined degrees have a two-tier tuition structure. Over the course of a combined degree program, the student will be charged the tuition that corresponds to the appropriate divisional rate. For example, if a student in the combined BA/MBA program in management were required to complete three years of undergraduate coursework and two years of graduate coursework, the student would be classified as an undergraduate and billed at the undergraduate rate for the equivalent of three years. At the conclusion of this period, the student’s division would change to graduate, and the student would be classified and billed accordingly.

Students choosing to leave the combined degree program and pursue separate undergraduate and graduate degrees will have their billing altered in the following manner. Students who are in the undergraduate portion of the program when they choose to leave the combined degree program will continue with their undergraduate coursework and be billed accordingly; however, these students will not be permitted to take graduate courses until they complete their baccalaureate degree and are admitted formally to a graduate program through the normal process. Students pursuing the graduate portion of the combined degree program when they choose to leave the combined degree program will continue to be charged at the graduate level even for those courses taken at the undergraduate level after this point in time.

The minimum residency requirement for a combined degree is 42 credit hours at UB.

For a listing of Combined Degree Programs, see the Degree Program Summary chart.

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