Frequently Asked Questions
- General academicsWhat are the important academic deadlines for the semester?
For deadlines and events, students can view the Academic Calendars located on the Registrar's website. You should first consult with an academic advisor before making any changes to your schedule.
Students can always stay up to date by keep up with the Please Be Advised (PBA) website and monthly emails.What are the University’s general education requirements?The University expects every graduate to have a liberal arts foundation and exposure to many different fields and disciplines including the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Some students follow the Diversified Education Curriculum (DEC) while others follow the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC), depending upon their semester and year of entry at Stony Brook.Who is following Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) and who is following the Diversified Education Curriculum (DEC)?Starting fall 2014, all new freshmen and rematriculating* students will be following the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC). Starting spring 2015, all new transfers and second bachelor's degree students will be following the SBC. All other continuing students will follow the Diversified Education Curriculum (DEC) requirements.
*Rematriculating students should speak with an academic advisor, and may request an exception to graduate under the DEC requirements.What must be completed to satisfy DEC and SBC?Students following the DEC must complete skills 1-4 and DECs A-K. Note that students in the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences follow a modified DEC. Students who complete DEC A, DEC C, and skill 3 (101, 112 or higher level of a language) must earn a C or better to satisfy the requirement; all other DEC categories must be passed with a D or better to satisfy the requirement.
Students following the SBC must complete 18 of 19 required objectives. Read more about the DEC & SBC requirements in the Undergraduate Bulletin.Why did the University develop the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC)?The DEC general education system has been in effect since 1991. Given that much has changed in the world since the implementation of DEC, the University's faculty wanted to evaluate the current general education requirements and develop a curriculum best suited to today's 21st century student. After more than five years of research, discussion, and planning, the University unveiled the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC). The SBC includes some of the elements of DEC, but encourages a more interdisciplinary teaching approach and focuses on learning outcomes. The SBC includes several new course offerings, and has some new requirements in areas such as understanding technology, critical and ethical reasoning, and speaking before an audience. The SBC also offers an optional experiential learning opportunity, encouraging students to participate in an internship, study abroad, research, or other applicable activity.Where do I go for academic advising?Stony Brook University offers a full complement of academic advising resources for undergraduates. Support includes advising about general education, major, and minor degree requirements, as well as comprehensive communication aimed at promoting student success. Click here to access more details on the advising resources provided.When do I meet with an advisor?You should meet with your academic advisor whenever you have questions or concerns about your academics. It is recommended that you meet with an academic advisor and your major advisor every semester to ensure you are meeting your curriculum requirements. If you're a sophomore, junior, senior or second bachelor in the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, School of Journalism, or School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, you should meet with an academic advisor in our office, Academic and Transfer Advising Services (ATAS); click here to view our current walk-in hours. Students in other colleges or programs should meet with their assigned advisors.What do the academic remarks on my transcript mean?
Q - Academic Dishonesty: Student who has been charged with academic dishonesty; if found responsible, must take the Q course to have it removed; factors as “F” into the GPA.
I - Incomplete: The Incomplete notation is at the discretion of the instructor. Student must communicate with instructor to complete coursework by a specific date; otherwise, grade becomes “I/F” and factors as “F” into GPA.
W - Withdrawal: Indicates course withdrawn after add/drop deadline. Student does not receive credit for course and no grade is factored into the GPA.
** - No grade reported: No grade has been reported; student should contact faculty member.
U - Unsatisfactory: (in courses such as MAP 103, WRT 101/102, FYS 101, CHE 130); student does not receive credit for the course and no grade is factored into the GPA.
S - Satisfactory: (in courses such as FYS 101, CHE 130); student receives credit for class but no grade is factored into the GPA.
P - Pass: Student selected G/P/NC option by the 9th week in the semester; student earned a passing grade in the course below their desired grade threshold; student receives credit for the course but no grade is factored into GPA and no DEC/SBC credit earned; in most cases no major/minor credit earned.
NC - No Credit: Student selected G/P/NC option by the 9th week in the semester; student earned an “F” in the course; student does not receive credit for the course and no grade is factored into GPA.
NR - No Record: Faculty members report “NR” if a student is listed on their roster but there is no record the student ever attended class; an “NR” becomes an “N/F” and is factored into the GPA as an “F”.
Please consult with an academic advisor for additional information and further explanation of these remarks or consult the Undergraduate Bulletin section titled Grading and the Grading System.What are the criteria for academic standing?How do I read the degree works report?Instructions on how to read the Degree Works audit. Please consult an academic advisor if you have questions about your degree progress.Where can I get extra academic help?
Students can meet with their professors and/or TA. More information can be found of the Academic Success and Tutoring Services website.How do I transfer credits from another university?Information on transferring credits can be found on the Academic and Transfer Advising Services website section titled Transfer Credit Policies.What is the difference between a drop and a withdrawal?
Students can drop a class by removing it from their schedule before the add/drop deadline, within the first ten days of classes. The class will be entirely removed from their schedule and transcript. Removing a class after this point, th
rough the 9th week of the semester, will be a course withdrawal and a “W” will appear for the class on their transcript. In addition, there may be financial aid consequences and/or tuition liability depending on whether the student has full-time or part-time status. Please note that full-time students cannot drop below 12 credits if they wish to maintain their full-time status. For more information, please refer to the Academic Calendar on the Registrar's website for important deadline information.What happens when I repeat/retake a course?What does U1, U2, U3, and U4 standing mean?These codes refer to class standing. U1 is a freshman who has 0-23 credits earned, U2 is a sophomore with 24-56 credits earned, U3 is a junior with 57-84 credits earned, and U4 is a senior who has 85 or more credits earned.What does it mean to audit a class?Auditing refers to the practice of attending a course for informational instruction only. An auditor does not receive academic credit for the course, nor does the University maintain any record of the auditors attendance in the course. Permission from the instructor is required. In general, auditors are expected to refrain from participating in class discussions and from turning in or asking for grading of homework, term papers, or examinations. For more information please refer to the Curriculum Policies section of the Undergraduate Bulletin titled Auditing.Can an undergraduate student take graduate level courses?Yes, with permission from the instructor, undergraduates can register for graduate level courses. Up to 6 graduate credits can be applied to a student's undergraduate degree. For the Permission to Enroll Form, please visit the section titled Graduate and SPD on the Registrar's Forms page.
- Majors and minorsWhat if I am undecided about my major?Start exploring by taking at least one elective course each semester, one that might also fulfill a DEC requirement or SBC objective. You do not need to declare a major until you have earned 45 credits toward your degree, but it is important to find some direction. Review the Undeclared Student site to obtain more information on selecting the major that best supports your academic nterests. In addition, the Career Center is a good resource to help explore your major and career options. You may also want to consider taking CAR110, a course designed to help you select a major. You can also schedule an appointment with an advisor in Academic and Transfer Advising Services. Please click here to view a list of majors and minors offered at Stony Brook University.How do I declare/change my major or minor?The student will need to bring a Major/Minor Declaration form to the prospective major department to be signed. The student then returns the form to the Registrar’s office,276, Administration building. This is also the same procedure for changing, adding, dropping a major and minor. Pleaser refer to the academic calendar here for the deadline to add, change or declare a major and/or minor. Major/Minor Declaration forms are available on the Registrar’s website here and in Academic and Transfer Advising Services, E2360, Melvillle Library. Please be aware that majors within the College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences require a separate application process. Please click here for more information.What classes do I need for my major/minor?Students can view this information in the on-line undergraduate bulletin located here. For information about minors please click here. However, it is recommended that students meet with an advisor in their major/minor department every semester to ensure they are on track with their requirements. The Major/Minor Advisor list is available on our Forms page, here.What is the difference between a double major and a double degree?A double major is when a student officially declares and completes two different majors. The student receives one baccalaureate degree upon graduation. The University does not officially recognize triple majors. Please visit the on-line undergraduate Bulletin for additional information. Click here.
A double degree is when a student completes two different majors or programs from two different colleges where one of the majors leads to a degree that is specified as professional or clinical (externally certified) and the total number of credits completed for the two degrees is at least 144. e.g., Psychology (From the School of Arts and Sciences) and Mechanical Engineering (From the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences). Please visit the on-line undergraduate Bulletin for additional information. Click here.
- Course registrationWhere can I search for classes when making a schedule?On the class search page on SOLAR, you can search for classes by subject, class requirement (DEC) class attribute (SBC) along with a variety of other categories to help narrow your search (i.e class meeting or instructor information). You can also use Schedule Builder (accessible on SOLAR) or SBU Class Find. See Schedule Builder or SOLAR Search/SBU Class /Find video tutorials for more information.How and when will I register for my classes?You can register for classes beginning on the date prescribed by your Enrollment Appointment. Your enrollment appointment is the first available time that you are able to register for courses on SOLAR. Your Enrollment Appointment will be viewable on SOLAR under "Student Records & Registration" about a week prior to registration; late October for the Winter and Spring terms and late March for the Summer and Fall terms. See the How to Find Your Enrollment Appointment Time video tutorial for more information.
It is recommended that students plan out their course schedule well ahead of their Enrollment Appointment to ensure a swift and smooth registration experience.How many classes can I take?Full-time students usually enroll in four or five classes (an average of 12-16 credits). Full-time students must maintain a minimum of 12 credits, and part-time can take up to a maximum of 11. Students can register for a maximum of 17 credits until the Friday prior to the start of the semester when the credit limit will be raised to 19 credits. See the Academic Calendar for the exact date.Can I take more than 19 credits a semester?
Taking more than 19 credits per semester or more than 9 credits in one summer session is referred to as an academic overload. The criteria for an overload is based on the following:
Cumulative GPA 3.0 or Higher
You are automatically eligible to register for up to 23 credits if you meet the following criteria. *No petition is needed:
a. have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
b. have no incomplete or Q grades on your academic transcript.
c. have completed at least one semester at Stony Brook.
Cumulative GPA 2.50—2.99
You are eligible to petition for an overload for up to 23 credits, if you meet the following criteria:
a. have a cumulative GAP between 2.50 and 2.99.
b. have no incomplete or Q grades on your academic transcript.
c. have completed at least one semester at Stony Brook.
Cumulative GPA Less Than 2.5
You are not eligible for an overload.
*If your cumulative GPA is within the eligibility limits to petition for an overload, please see an academic advisor to secure a petition and discuss the process.What are the G/P/NC and Withdrawal options?These are grading options that are alternatives to the standard grading format (A,B,C,D, F). Special restrictions apply, see "Top 10 Things to Know," below. These options can be accessed in your SOLAR account. Under "Class Schedule" select "Edit" and then select the course you wish to change. REMEMBER, these classes cannot be changed back after the G/P/NC and Withdrawal deadline. For more information can be found on the GPNC Page.
A mark of W is recorded when the student withdraws from a course after the first ten days of classes through the 9th week of the semester. The W is used to indicate that the student withdrew after the end of the add/drop period.
Additional information regarding the G/P/NC and Withdrawal options can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin in the section titled Grading and the Grading System.
Please speak to an Academic Advisor if you are considering any of these options.Can I use the G/P/NC grade option for my major courses?Yes, however grades of "P" generally do not satisfy major requirements. Please consult your major advisor for specifics in this matter.How do I sign up for an Internship?Students can find information about internships at the Career Center. Students can also consult with their major advisor for major-specific internships.What is the Course Re-take policy?
- Graduation and post-graduation plansHow/when can I apply for graduation?Students are able to apply for graduation as soon as they have 108 credits. This includes credits earned and in progress. To apply for graduation, click on the Degree Progress/Graduation link on your SOLAR main page. NOTE: This link will only appear once you have a total of 108 credits.Where can I find information about planning for graduate school?Please click here for the Academic and Transfer Advising Services page on graduate school.How do I prepare to attend medical school after I graduate?Attend the various information sessions during the academic year to learn more about medical school and other opportunities in the health professions. More information including pre-medical requirements is available here.How do I prepare to attend law school after I graduate?Attend the various pre-law workshops and programs during the academic year. Note that law school does not require a specific undergraduate major or curriculum. More information is available here.