Changes in Credit or Term Requirements in Registered Programs

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has defined the minimum credits or terms of enrollment required for each level of degree.  Students in bachelor’s programs must complete at least 120 credits.  For a master’s, the minimum number is 30.  The NYSED does not specify a minimum number of credits for a Ph.D. or professional doctorate, but it does require a minimum of three academic years of full-time graduate study for a program leading to a doctoral degree, or the equivalent in part-time study.  The University may not offer degree programs requiring fewer points than stipulated in the State’s regulations.  It can require more.

If a school wishes to change the number of credits in a degree or certificate program by one-third or more of the minimum required for the level of degree its students will earn, the University must ask the NYSED to amend the program’s registered status.  Thus, the University must seek the permission of the NYSED for changes in the number of credits if they equal or exceed the following limits:

  • Bachelor’s:  40 credits
  • Master’s: 10 credits
  • Ph.D. or professional doctorate: 1 year

There is no NYSED minimum for certificate programs, but the University Senate has stipulated that students who are simultaneously enrolled in a degree program must take at least 20 credits while those in a stand-alone certificate program (one in which the student is not enrolled in a degree program at the same time) must complete at least 24.  

Any changes in the number of credits in a certificate program may need the approval of the NYSED since they could adversely affect its students’ eligibility for state and federal financial aid.  Schools should, therefore, consult with the Vice Provost for Academic Programs to determine if a change in the credit requirements of a certificate program requires the University to submit a proposal to the NYSED for its review.