To qualify for an undergraduate degree students must fulfill all degree requirements. This includes all major requirements and UB Curriculum requirements. Major requirements encompass a program of study, either in a degree program offered by a department or in an approved individual field of the student’s own choice, as developed in the Special Major Program. See the Course Catalog of programs for major acceptance criteria and program requirements and the UB Curriculum Requirements chart for a description of UB Curriculum requirements.
By the time students have earned 60 credits they should be admitted to a major degree program. Both transfer and freshman students should check with the advisors and the departments to determine the applicable procedure for each department. Once students have been accepted into a major, they will be assigned a departmental advisor to help plan and implement their academic programs.
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.
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 and diploma will note one baccalaureate degree with two 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 with permission may also devise 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. Following conferral of the degree, the student's transcript will notate majors earned through a joint program.
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.
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. Students completing a double degree in Mathematics and another major may overlap the following courses: Math 306 & 309 and two additional courses on the 300- and 400-level; all other courses taken by the student may not apply to both programs to ensure the depth of studies in both fields.
- 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 plan carefully early in their academic career with the guidance of both programs to assure that the plan of study meets the criteria noted here.
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 do not need to complete UB Curriculum requirements but 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 Degree Programs
Combined degree programs offer UB students the opportunity to pursue multiple degree objectives at an accelerated pace and are designed for students who have demonstrated exceptional promise. Combined degree programs pair the curricula of two degree programs from two different levels (e.g., bachelor’s and master’s), resulting in a condensed format where students may complete the combined degree in less time (and often less cost) than is normally required to complete the two degree programs separately. By reducing some courses within the undergraduate major (normally taken near the end of the undergraduate degree) and substituting equivalent graduate-level courses customarily taken during the initial stages of a graduate degree, students are able to shorten the time needed to gain competence in all required curricular content of both degree programs. With departmental approval, students have the option to confer the bachelor’s degree after one year of graduate or professional level work as long as at least 120 credits have been earned, UB Curriculum or General Education requirements are completed and all undergraduate major requirements have been met. When completed, students’ records will indicate two degrees individually awarded as part of a combined degree program.
Combined degrees have a two-tier tuition structure. Over the course of a combined degree program, the student is charged the tuition rate each semester that corresponds to the appropriate career or program rate for that semester. While the student is completing the undergraduate portion, tuition is charged at the undergraduate rate. When the student is admitted at the graduate level, tuition charges change to the appropriate graduate or professional rate. For example, a student adhering to the prescribed curriculum in the combined BS/MBA in Business Administration program is typically required to complete three years of undergraduate coursework and two years of graduate coursework. Thus, the student is classified as undergraduate and is billed at the undergraduate rate for three years. Thereafter, through acceptance to the MBA component in UB’s graduate admissions application system (GradMit), the student’s career changes to graduate, and the student’s bill reflects the appropriate graduate tuition rate until the student completes the combined degree program.
Any student choosing to leave the combined degree program prior to its completion will have his/her bill altered in the following manner. A student pursuing the undergraduate portion of the combined program when s/he chooses not to pursue the combined degree program will continue with undergraduate coursework and will be billed accordingly. However, such a student is no longer permitted to pursue a graduate program until s/he completes the baccalaureate degree in full and is admitted formally to a regular graduate degree program. A student pursuing the graduate portion of the combined degree program when s/he chooses to abandon that combined program of study will continue to be charged at the graduate rate until formally re-matriculated into the undergraduate career for the following semester.
The minimum undergraduate residency requirement for the undergraduate portion of any combined degree program is 18 credit hours. The minimum graduate residency requirement for the graduate portion of any combined degree program varies by program. However, in no case is the graduate residency requirement for any combined degree program ever less than 24 credit hours.
In certain circumstances, a combined degree program may not qualify the student for professional licensure if such licensure requires the completion of a full (non-abbreviated) undergraduate degree program. Students in licensure-eligible programs should discuss these requirements with an advisor to confirm any such requirements.