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Special Studies BS - Program Requirements

(HEGIS: 49.00 INTERDISC UNCLASSIFIED, CIP: 30.9999 Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other)

Special Studies Program

106 Capen Hall
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260

Jessica Seabury
Senior Assistant Director

Associated Programs

Completing the Special Studies BS Program

Minimum 2.000 GPA overall required for graduation.
Minimum 2.000 GPA in major courses required for graduation.

Academic Requirements

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 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.


  • New freshman cannot declare a special studies degree program during their first or second semester.
  • New transfer students cannot declare a special studies degree program in their first semester. Students entering the University at Buffalo as a junior with 60 or more complete may want to consider another area of study, since the academic requirements may slow your path to degree completion.
  • Students are required to secure two tenure-track faculty sponsors who are experts in the proposed field of study.
  • Students are required to write a 5-15 page academic proposal in conjunction with their faculty sponsors.
  • Students are required to meet with the Chair of the Special Studies program to review their proposal before it can be submitted to the committee for review.

All undergraduate majors include at least 24-credit hours at the upper division (at least 300-level).

Academic Advice

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. Therefore, the proposal must indicate how all proposed courses are connected to form a cohesive, whole program of study. 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. Please be advised that even with departmental consent, access to upper level courses in most disciplines is not guaranteed, given departmental requirements can change over the course of an academic year.

The proposal process for a special major is extensive, and could may take a full academic term (15 weeks) or more to obtain approval. It is strongly recommended that students be in an accepted major by the start of their Junior year, so the ideal time to submit a completed proposal is during the sophomore year.

Special majors cannot be proposed in any areas where certification or licensure is required by state or professional boards of accreditation. 

Transfer Credit Policy

Approximately one-half of a student's special major curriculum must be completed at UB.

Residency Requirement

A minimum of 30 credit hours must be completed at the University at Buffalo.

Prerequisite Courses

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

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. 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.

Total Credit Hours Required represents the minimum credits needed to complete this program, and may vary based on a number of circumstances. This chart should not be used for financial aid purposes.

Published: Jun 28, 2022 10:21:10