Academic Program and Graduation Requirements

The academic program of York College is planned to aid the personal and professional development of each student. It is based on the liberal arts approach, and is designed to provide the opportunity for each student to pursue his or her particular professional interest. The curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree options includes general education requirements, requirements for a major area of study, and elective courses. If they wish, students may also select a minor area of study. Each student is encouraged to develop an academic plan with the assistance of his/her faculty advisor.

The purpose of the general education requirements is to contribute to the liberal education of the student. These requirements are flexible and divide into three broad areas: the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences and mathematics.

Within a given area, each student chooses courses according to his/her particular interests. Students may choose a major from a variety of liberal arts and professional programs. These are given in the HEGIS listing. Pre-professional course sequences are available for students who are interested in applying to schools of medicine, dentistry, law, and engineering.

Students may choose their electives from a wide range of courses which will support their major, broaden their interests, or advance their educational and career goals. In addition to the regular classroom approach, the curriculum at York involves more flexible approaches for learning, including field work experiences, independent study options, auto-tutorial programs, and on-line courses. Cooperative Education work experiences are required in some majors and optional in others.

Credit Hours

York College follows and applies federal and state guidelines in designing and offering courses. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction is equivalent to one credit and two hours of lab is equivalent to one credit for a 15 week semester:

"Credit hour: Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is 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 each week 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."

(As defined by US Federal Regulations 600.2 (vc 27))

Applying for Graduation

Students are required to apply for graduation on CUNYfirst during the semester prior to the semester in which they plan to complete their degree requirements for graduation. (See College Academic Calendar for exact application deadline date.)

Students can apply for graduation on CUNYfirst via the Student Center or Self Service. Students who will not be in attendance at York when completing their final requirements must first receive permission from the Registrar to graduate in absentia and apply online in CUNYfirst.

Graduation Requirements

A minimum of 120 credits are required for the Baccalaureate degree.

To be considered for graduation, students must complete requirements in the following areas:

  • general education/Pathways general education,
  • major,
  • liberal arts,
  • writing intensive courses, and
  • Grade Point Average of 2.0 or better (major and overall), higher GPA may apply for professional programs (see program page).

It shall be University policy that all bachelor's degree programs require a maximum of 120 credits for graduation, and all associate degree programs require a maximum of sixty credits. Colleges may be granted waivers from the Office of Academic Affairs for undergraduate degree programs that require additional credits for certification or accreditation from outside professional organizations or for other compelling educational reasons. (BTM,1997,11-24,010,__)

(Source: CUNY Manual of General Policy)

Liberal Arts Requirement

The New York State Education Department requires 60 Liberal Arts credits in a Bachelor of Science program and 90 Liberal Arts credits in a Bachelor of Arts program. In the list of course descriptions, courses which are liberal arts for all students are identified by (Liberal Arts) after the course number. Certain additional courses that cannot be used as Liberal Arts by ACCOUNTING MAJORS are identified in the Listing of Courses in the Bulletin.

The following are NOT Liberal Arts courses:

Academic Computing, Accounting, Biotechnology (except Biotechnology 480), Business, Communications Technology, Co-op, Education, Health Education 200, 224 and 317, Health Professions (except HPEH 110, 140, HPGC 101, 102 and 201), Health Sciences Physician Assistant, Marketing, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Education 100 and 200 level courses, 311, 312 and 313, Social Work, Student Development 102- 105 and 301, All Field Work, Internships and Practicum Courses.

In addition to the above, Accounting majors MAY NOT use the following courses as liberal arts:

Fine Arts courses listed in groups I, II and III of the Studio Art Major, Health Education, Music 131-148, 231-248, 331-339, and 431-439, SEEK Counseling Seminars, Student Development, or Theater Arts 112-115 and 215-219.

*Note: Students who have not been in attendance for three or more semesters must follow the College Bulletin in effect at the time of readmission. Students who change their major must adhere to the major requirements identified in the bulletin in effect at the time of declaration of the new major.

Students are given an opportunity to engage in writing activities and complete assignments designed to develop their competence in reading, critical thinking, and writing.

Waiver of Degree Requirements

Under extenuating circumstances a student may petition the department chairperson for a waiver of certain requirements for the major which must then be approved by the Office of the Registrar. The request must be based on circumstances beyond the student's control and can only be granted if such a waiver does not seriously impair the comprehensive nature of the major. In some programs leading to certification or licensure, waivers may not be possible. In no case is the waiver to be granted merely to accelerate graduation. Requests for waivers of college-wide requirements must be made to the Committee on Academic Standards within the context of the above stipulation.

Graduation Honors

Graduation Honors will be established as follows:

  1. Criteria
    1. Cum Laude, 3.5 - 3.69.
    2. Magna cum laude, 3.7 - 3.84.
    3. Summa cum laude, 3.85 - 4.0.
  2. Meet the College's residency requirement of 56 credits.
  3. Computation of Graduation Honors will be based on:
    1. The grades of A+ through F,
    2. NC, R, WU and INC are calculated as F grades for Dean's List,
    3. Administrative grades of PEN, W, WA, WN, and Z are excluded from calculations, and
    4. Eligibility will be calculated when all grades have been processed by the Office of the Registrar.

Presidential Honors

The Graduation Honor of "Presidential Honors" is to be established:

  1. Recognize students earning an overall GPA of 4.0, and
  2. Having completed all course work at York College.

Graduating Terms

There are three conferral periods each year, September, February and May/ June, but only one commencement exercise, in May/ June. To be graduated, students must complete the following degree requirements:

The Spiral Writing Curriculum: Advice for Students

York College has a "spiral" writing curriculum, in which students are required to take at least five courses that include not only significant amounts of writing, but also specific instruction in the writing process. In order to graduate, students who enter York as freshmen or transfer students who are required to complete York General Education requirements must complete:

  • ENG 125 Composition I: Introduction to College Writing. Must be taken by the 45th credit, or by the 3rd semester.
  • ENG 126 Composition II: Writing Through Literature. Must be taken by the 45th credit, or by the 3rd semester.
  • Two lower-level courses designated as Writing Intensive (WI)--see below. Should be taken as soon as possible after passing ENG 125 and/or ENG 126, which is a prerequisite for all lower-level WI courses: both should be completed by end of sophomore year.
  • One upper division writing intensive course (at the 300 level or above) within the major.
  • Transfer students who enter with the Common and Flexible Core requirements fulfilled can consider taking WRIT 301, 302 303 or 304 to fulfill part of their College Option. It may also be required by some majors, and be a prerequisite for some major courses.

Students should meet with an academic advisor to plan their academic program to ensure that they are taking courses in the order described, and that they will meet these requirements by graduation.

ENG 125 and ENG 126: Composition I and II

ENG 125 and 126 are first-year composition courses required of all entering students. For more information see the description under the English Department courses, or consult the English Department Website.

Writing Intensive Course Requirements

Students who entered the College (or were readmitted*) in Fall 2001 or later must meet the Writing Intensive course requirement passed by the York College Senate, by taking three Writing Intensive-designated (WI) courses. Writing intensive courses are content courses in a specific discipline which require significant amounts of writing, and also focus on the genres and the writing process appropriate to the subject, including opportunities for revision.

Students must complete:

  • two WI courses in the lower division of the curriculum (at the 100 or 200 level), and
  • one WI course in the upper division of the curriculum (at the 300 level or above) within the major.

Each semester, WI sections are indicated in Schedule of Classes, and a list is posted on the Writing Across the Curriculum Program Website.

On a student's transcript, completed WI courses are indicated by W or WI to the left of the grade. For further information, contact the Coordinator for Writing Across the Curriculum or see the WAC Program website.

*Students who have not been in attendance for three or more semesters must follow the College Bulletin in effect at the time of readmission. Students who change their major must adhere to the major requirements identified in the bulletin in effect at the time of declaration of the new major.

Writing 301, 302, 303 or 304.

These are junior-level academic research and writing courses that help students transition from lower-division coursework to the more discipline-specific and independent work that characterizes inquiry in the upper-division in the majors.

All students who entered York College before Fall 2013, and who have not opted in to the Pathways General Education curriculum, should complete Writing 301, 302, 303 or 304 (Writing 300) after the 60th credit. Placement at the 60th credit makes it possible for Writing 300 to build on first-year writing and writing intensive lower-division coursework. Students who have opted in to Pathways should consider taking Writing 300 to fulfill part of their College Option; several majors require this course, and it is a prerequisite to some other courses.

Any of the four versions of Writing 300 will meet the Pathways College Option requirement. Students are advised to take the Writing 300 course most appropriate to their major field of study whenever possible.

For more information on these courses, see the Writing Program Website.

Information for Transfer students

Except for second-degree students, all students admitted between Fall 1996 and Fall 2013 must take Writing 301, 302, 303 or 304. All students admitted in Fall 2013 or later may take Writing 301, 302 , 303 or 304 to fulfill part of the Pathways College Option. This course is also required by some majors.

Transfer students who enter with the General Education Requirements fulfilled must take one WI course in the upper division within the major. If their major has no upper-division WI course, they must take one WI course (outside their major) chosen in consultation with their major advisor. The Writing Intensive Advisory Committee, as part of its charge from the York College Senate, will make case-by-case determinations of the requirement only for students who present special circumstances that make it impossible for them to meet these guidelines.

Information for students who entered as freshmen 2001-2003

All students who entered the College as freshmen between Fall 2001 and Spring 2003 are required to take two (not three) WI courses for graduation. If the major discipline has defined an upper-division WI course that must be one of the two WI courses taken for graduation. If the major discipline has not yet defined an upper-division WI course, one of the two courses must be chosen in consultation with the major advisor.


The minimum number of credits for a Bachelor's degree is 120. Some students may have to take additional credits to complete all graduation requirements. Credits may be gained by:

Achieving a passing grade in a credit-bearing York College course or by any of the following means, all of which are counted as transfer credits:

  • Transferring credits from another post-high school institution.
  • Achieving a sufficient grade on a special examination (see the section on Special Examinations).
  • Credits for Life Experience (see the Community Professional Program section).
  • Credits for Military Service (see the section on Special Examinations).

Students who receive credit based upon examinations, life experience, and military credit must complete a minimum of 90 credits in college courses.

To qualify for a degree from York College, students must successfully complete a minimum of 40 credits at York. At least half of the credits in the major program must be taken at York.

Requests for credit for a prerequisite course must be made before a student registers for an advanced course. No credit will be granted for a prerequisite course once the student has registered for the advanced course.

Grade Point Averages

Students are required to have (at least) a "C" average for graduation for most majors. Please consult individual major program descriptions for details.

This includes:

  • A "C" average in all York College courses, and
  • An overall "C" average for the courses in their major disciplines,

A student can not graduate with an unresolved grade (INC/PEN), nor will any grade change be applied to the record once a student has graduated.

In addition each student must have a Cumulative Point Value of 0 or greater to graduate from York College (see Cumulative Point Value (CPV) and Academic Deficits).