Frequently Asked Questions About Academics

Kristen Roosa doing lab work

Is there an honors program?
Can I study abroad?
Are there internship opportunities?
What is the faculty like?
Do you have a good library?
What is General Education all about?
What is the foreign language requirement?
Can I transfer credits to Oswego?
I don’t know what I want to major in. Can I be “undeclared?”
What scholarships are available?
What will I need to do to graduate?
Can I have more than one undergraduate major?
Is tutoring available?
Do TAs teach classes?
Where will I go for advising?
What is an online course?
How big will my classes be?
Do I need to bring my own computer?

Is there an Honors Program at Oswego?
At Oswego, we have a very strong Honors Program. Students take classes designed to stimulate their intellectual growth and develop their analytical abilities. Honors Program students are advised by the honors director and by faculty members in the student's major field of study. Students enjoy a close relationship with honors faculty and with each other in a network of academic and personal support. There are also honors tracks within individual majors -- biology, chemistry, economics, psychology and others. Please consult each department's Web page to learn more.
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Can I study abroad?
The SUNY Oswego Office of International Education and Programs sends 350 to 400 students a year to other countries under the Study Abroad program. Oswego currently administers more than 30 programs in all parts of the world, including new and rare experiences in places like Benin, South Africa and India.
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Are there internship opportunities?
Hundreds of students participate annually in various internship opportunities ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to non-profit service organizations. Internships can be structured for academic credit or can be paid or volunteer. Any student at any point during their education can set up an internship with virtually any participating organization in any field. For more information, visit Experienced-Based Education.
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What is the faculty like?
Of our more than 400 faculty members, more than 300 are full-time, and 83 percent hold doctoral degrees or terminal degrees in their fields. They include Fulbright scholars, noted researchers, and gifted artists and writers.
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Do you have a good library?
Penfield Library, located in the heart of campus, is a high-tech information center supporting the curriculum, teaching and research of SUNY Oswego. The library houses a collection of over 475,000 bound volumes, including partial U.S. and New York State government documents depositories, and provides access to nearly 26,000 print and/or electronic journals, magazines and newspapers. Through Interlibrary Loan, Penfield can provide additional materials from libraries all over the world. The first and second floors are wireless-enabled for Internet use, as is the Lake Effect Café, a casual, relaxing social space serving sandwiches, salads, pastries and a range of Starbucks products. Additional facilities include a fully wired 24-hour study room, study carrels and computer labs for word-processing and classroom applications.
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Why do I have to take General Education classes?
All students complete general education coursework as part of their degree program. Our General Education Program is designed to accomplish four things:

  1. Help students develop key basic skills for academic success in college and for life beyond college.
  2. Expose students to a wide array of knowledge areas so they will understand how specialists in different fields make sense of the world.
  3. Develop students' knowledge and understanding of American history and cultural diversity and of Western civilization and non-Western cultures as well.
  4. Engage students in the exploration of complex issues, using insights and perspectives from different disciplines.

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What is the foreign language requirement?
At Oswego, every student must complete the equivalent of the second semester of a college-level foreign language course to meet one of the general education requirements. This may be satisfied through work in high school -- high school study of another language through Regents Level 4, or high school study of two other languages through Level 2 in each. For more information, consult the General Education requirements page.
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Can I transfer credits to Oswego?
Yes, you can. Credits (not grades) can transfer to Oswego from any accredited college or university. You may transfer as many as 62 to 67 hours from a community college or 92 to 97 hours from a four-year college or university. You should, however, have our Office of Admissions do a transfer evaluation for you first. For more information, see our Transfer FAQ.
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I don’t know what I want to major in. Can I be undeclared? Because Oswego lets you explore unlimited horizons, many entering freshmen start as undeclared students. Students who do not indicate a major are advised by selected members of the faculty or professional staff through the Student Advisement Center. Undeclared students attending Orientation before they begin at Oswego meet with specially trained advisors to plan their first semester of coursework. Undeclared students also are assigned a specially trained First-Year Faculty Advisor and Student Peer Advisor to help the transition to college. Working with these advisors, undeclared students take courses that both satisfy general education requirements and allow them to explore different academic majors. Students must declare a major by the end of their sophomore year.
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What scholarships are available?
Every year, Oswego students receive millions of dollars in scholarships and awards that encompass every discipline and major field of study available on campus. These include scholarships for new and transfer students as well as awards given to juniors and seniors.
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What will I need to do to graduate?
There are several general requirements, applicable to all students. Most degrees require a minimum of 122 credit hours (a few require 123 to 127 credit hours), of which at least 42 must be in junior or senior level courses. You must earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 (C average) as well as at least a 2.0 in courses in your major field of study. You also must complete the requirements for General Education.
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Can I have more than one undergraduate major?
You are required to have at least one major in order to fulfill the graduation requirements. You may choose to add a second major or a minor. You may not have more than two majors with one minor; you can have two minors if you have one major. For more information on what is available, please consult the complete listing of majors and minors.
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Is tutoring available?
The Tutoring Center, part of the Office of Learning Services, provides individual and small-group tutoring for nearly all lower-division classes and for many upper-division courses. There is no cost to attain these tutoring services, which are provided mostly by undergraduate students, a few graduate students, as well as by available professionals. Typically, tutoring is provided on a request basis.
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Do TAs teach the classes?
While some laboratories or discussion groups may be supervised by graduate assistants or specially trained undergraduate teaching assistants, your classes will be taught by our faculty.
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Where will I go for advising?
There are several resources available to you. During summer or winter orientations you will be advised by one of a select group of faculty trained to handle the needs of incoming students. During your freshman year, you will be advised by a team composed of a First-Year Faculty Advisor and a First-Year Peer Advisor who are part of our nationally recognized First-Year Advisement Program. At the end of your freshman year, you will transition to a faculty advisor in your major program or, if undeclared, to a specially trained faculty or staff member under the direction of the Student Advisement Office. In addition, the Student Advisement Office is available to all students with academic questions and each academic department has an advisement coordinator available to their majors and prospective majors.
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What is an online course?
Oswego offers a number of courses that are entirely Web-based and require no face-to-face class meetings. These online courses are part of the SUNY Learning Network, a program that coordinates all of the Web-based courses offered among 64 SUNY institutions. You can learn more about our online courses through the Division of Extended Learning's distance learning program.
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How big will my classes be?
Around 85 percent of all classes offered at Oswego enrolled fewer than 40 students. More than 40 percent enrolled fewer than 20 students. We believe that small classes offer students the opportunity for invaluable interaction with faculty and peers. Every freshman during his or her first semester is enrolled in at least one class with no more than 19 other students.
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Do I need to bring my own computer to Oswego?
Oswego has a number of general access computer labs across the campus run by Campus Technology Services. Many students choose to bring their own computers to campus for the convenience of 24-hour access from their residence halls.
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