State University of New York
Memorandum to Presidents
Date: March 17, 1986 Vol. 86 No. 2
From: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs, Policy and Planning
Subject: Restatement of Guidelines on Awarding of Two Degrees
at the Same Level
To: Presidents, State University of New York
This memorandum supersedes the earlier Memorandum to Presidents on this topic, Vol. 80, No. 5, dated April 11, 1980.
In restating these guidelines an attempt has been made to provide a broad policy framework for a diverse group of campuses. It is expected that each campus will develop its own degree of specificity in interpreting, and applying the guidelines, keeping in mind that the role of the University is to serve the needs of students in an ever changing society in which formal credentials appear to be increasingly required.
A restatement of these guidelines was considered in a meeting of all system Academic Vice Presidents. This approach has also been discussed with members of the academic review staff at SED.
1. Every campus of the State University shall have a defined, written policy concerning the awarding of two degrees at the same level which shall be readily available to students for their information.
2. A second degree at the same level may be undertaken concurrently or consecutively, but should be awarded only when a significant amount of additional coursework in a different field is completed.
3. When a student concurrently meets the requirements of more than one option or major within a single broad field of study, a single degree should be awarded rather than two separate degrees. (This does not
preclude transfer arrangements under which coursework is completed at another institution toward a professional degree and also transferred back for completion of a degree at the initial campus.)
4. Programs which lead to two different academic objectives may result in the awarding of two degrees, provided significant requirements have been met in each program, and a significant additional amount of coursework beyond the single degree requirement has been completed.
5. At the graduate level, a significant amount of additional study must be undertaken for the attainment of a second degree at the same level, and no more than a specified minimal amount of credit, if any, should be allowed to overlap between the two programs in such circumstances.
6. Exceptions to these guidelines may be permitted in special circumstances and should be cleared with the appropriate Vice Chancellor.
In order to avoid excessive specificity, we have not prescribed a specific number of credits for an additional degree but instead have used the word "significant." At the undergraduate level, we believe that a significant amount of additional coursework should approximate an additional year of study or something approaching 30 or more credit hours.
Sherry H. Penny
This memorandum addressed to:
Presidents, State-operated Campuses
Presidents, Community Colleges
Deans, Statutory Colleges
Copies for information sent to:
Vice Provost Spencer