Why study Special Studies BS at UB?
The Special Major Program was developed to provide capable students with an opportunity to create their own academic majors. Students initiate and develop their own programs under the guidance of two faculty members and an advisor and then obtain approval from the Special Major Committee.
Although the special major is individualized and often completely original, there are several concentrations or themes that have emerged over the years. Whereas these themes do not yet correspond to existing academic majors, there are nonetheless impressive curricular and faculty resources to support them. Such concentrations include religious studies, Japanese Studies, animal science, comparative literature, language and linguistics, journalism, and nutrition, among others.
Because each special major is unique, the learning outcomes will differ by program design and are best thought of as the synthesis of the learning outcomes of individual courses within the major curriculum.
The Learning Environment
The special major program is not an academic department and offers no classes of its own.
About Our Facilities
The special major program offers no classes of its own and therefore has no facilities related to course offerings.
About Our Faculty
The special major program offers no classes of its own and therefore has no teaching faculty.
Faculty List Directory
Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.
Career opportunities for special major graduates are as varied as the special majors that are proposed and approved. Students are advised to seek guidance from their faculty sponsors and Career Services to develop strategies for a successful transition to relevant employment or graduate study in a related field.
Students interested in the special major program should first consult with the special major advisor, who will describe the steps necessary to complete the application.
The ideal time to develop a special major is during the sophomore or junior year. Students with advanced standing may be too far along in their studies to construct a deliberately-formulated program of study. Submitting proposals in the last semester of the student's matriculation or after the completion of all coursework violates the special major's essential deliberative and consultative nature and may jeopardize a student's ability to graduate. The committee is not obligated to consider proposals that are submitted in the student's final year or ex post facto.
Academic Advising Contact Information
Senior Academic Advisor
College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisement and Services
275 Park Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
Becoming a(n) Special Studies BS Student
Minimum 2.0 GPA overall required for acceptance.
Minimum 2.0 GPA in major courses required for acceptance.
Becoming a University at Buffalo Student
Admission to UB is highly competitive. For the 2016 incoming freshman class, UB reported an average ACT score of 24-30 and an average SAT (CR+M) score of 1100-1300. 90 percent of admitted students are in the top 50 percent of their class.
Admission to UB is based on a holistic review. We consider high school average, class rank, SAT (critical reading and math) or ACT scores, and strength of the high school academic record. A personal essay, recommendations, documented creative talent, demonstrated leadership, community service and special circumstances are also considered.
The following is not required for admission, but is suggested as adequate preparation for university-level coursework:
- Four years of English (with a substantial writing component)
- Four years of social studies
- Three years of college-preparatory science
- Three years of a second language
- Three years of college-preparatory mathematics
Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn more.
Freshman Admission to the Program
Entering freshmen cannot be admitted directly to the special major program. Freshman typically do not have enough experience and familiarity with campus resources to consider the special major option over existing majors and minors. Freshmen must complete one full year of study at UB before being considered for a special major. New students interested in a special major should apply to Admissions as an intended major in a related field of study.
Transfer Admission to the Program
Transfer students cannot be admitted directly to the special major program. Transfer students must complete at least one semester at UB before being considered for a special major. New students interested in a special major should apply to Admissions as an intended major in a related field of study.
Current UB Students Applying to the Program
Application to the special major program is a multi-step process that begins with the development of an academic concept and a written rationale. The final step is the approval of the proposal by the Special Major Committee and the Dean. The proposal is presented to the committee by the special major advisor on behalf of the student. Therefore, all special major candidates must meet with the special major advisor prior to submitting a final application. Applications should be submitted no less than two full semesters before the expected graduation date. The Special Major Committee typically meets three times per semester (excluding summer sessions).
Completing the Special Studies BS Program
Minimum 2.0 GPA overall required for graduation.
Minimum 2.0 GPA in major courses required for graduation.
When proposing a special major, a statement of intent and purpose must be written. This statement serves as the rationale for the individualized program of study. The statement specifies the ways in which curricular resources have been selected and combined in support of the proposed major. The coursework must demonstrate both breadth and depth in the student's topical area. While a specific number of upper-division courses is not prescribed, it is assumed that a special major will reflect the rigor of existing baccalaureate programs and uphold the academic standards set forth by the University. The special major may not replicate any existing degree program in the university. Special majors cannot be used to propose academic concentrations similar to existing university programs with the intention of circumventing specific requirements. Special majors cannot be proposed in areas where certification or licensure is required by state or professional boards of accreditation.
The special major proposal is a well-conceived and deliberately-formulated plan of study in which the student, in consultation with faculty sponsors, defines his or her educational objectives. The special major integrates specific kinds of knowledge into a cohesive whole; it is not simply a collection of courses. Faculty sponsors selected to assist the student in the development of the special major must have expertise in the chosen field(s) of study and must be appointed at least at the assistant professor level in a tenure-track appointment.
Acceptance to the special major does not guarantee access to major courses in departments that limit their enrollments to majors only. It is the student's responsibility to negotiate with the respective departments for enrollment in restricted courses that are integral to the proposed major's curriculum.
Transfer Credit Policy
Approximately one-half of a student's special major curriculum must be completed at UB. Exceptions will be considered for majors requiring the study of foreign languages abroad.
There are no prerequisite courses for the special major program. However, there may be prerequisites for courses being proposed for the special major curriculum.
Required courses are those which have been proposed by the student and approved by the Committee and the Dean. Therefore, each special major curriculum will have its own unique set of requirements.
Total Credit Hours Required
The number of required credit hours for the major will vary considerably, depending upon the type of program being developed. The BS requires substantially more credits to reflect the extensive technical aspects of this degree option. While there is no prescribed number of upper-division credits, it is assumed that the special major curriculum will reflect the rigor of existing baccalaureate programs of a similar nature at UB or other universities. Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits including major courses and all University requirements.