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Graduation Requirements

There are several components to a student's academic career that will qualify them for graduation. It can seem overwhelming at times, but keep in mind that both your advisors and the office of Academic Advising are here to help!

General Requirements:

(For students who matriculated in the fall of 2012 or after)

I. Completing a Major

  • You must complete a major and earn at least a 2.0 in 30 hours of your major coursework (some majors have higher standards).
  • 15 of those 30 hours must be upper division (U.D.)--level 300 or higher--and if you transfer here, at least 15 U.D. hours must be taken at SUNY Potsdam.

II. Graduation Status Checks

Review your BearDeN degree audit and BearPaws course summary carefully with your advisor for remaining degree requirements. Don?t rely too heavily on the BearDen ?estimated degree progress? thermometer, which can be misleading. You and your advisor should be managing your own audit semester by semester using BearDen. This strategy will prevent you from being surprised or disappointed as you near graduation and find out you are short on credits, missing general education requirements, or need more liberal arts credits.

File an Application for Degree with the Registrar?s Office during the semester prior to your final semester of coursework or ASAP in order to graduate. (For example, if you plan to graduate in May 2021, file your Application for Degree in Fall 2020). Once your application has been processed, ?Applied? will appear in the Graduation Status box in BearDen; it will change to ?Awarded? once you have been awarded your degree. View Registrar webpage

"Graduation Status Checks" will be emailed to campus email addresses following receipt of your Application for Degree or during the final semester for all undergraduates except Crane Music students. Undergraduates in the Crane School of Music are evaluated and informed by Crane staff.

III. Total credits needed to graduate

  • 120 credits + 2 P.E. Activities/Health Wellness courses (for the B.A., B. F. A and B. S.)
  • 120-130 credits + 2 P.E. Activities/Health Wellness courses (for B.M.)
  • Thus, in order to graduate in 4 years (8 semesters) you need to take at least 16 credit hours per semester.

The college allows students to take 12 credit hours and still maintain full-time student status. This may work well for some students; However, unless classes are taken during summer or winterim sessions, a student taking less than 15 credits per semester cannot graduate in 4 years.

IV. Liberal Arts Credits

A certain number of your 120 credits must be designated as liberal arts credits. The breakdown is as follows:


Liberal Arts Credits needed









V. Credits accrued outside of any one department/discipline:

For example, if you are a sociology major, it makes sense that a lot of your credits will be earned in that department. However, in order to graduate you have to take a certain number of credits outside any one department.

This may seem daunting but keep in mind that as you complete your general education requirements (more on that later) you will have to be taking classes outside your major. Thus, you can potentially earn many credits from several different departments.


Credits needed outside any one department







VI. Upper Division Credits

Out of your total 120 credits, 45 of those must be designated as upper division courses (level 300 or higher).

VII. Overall G.P.A.

  • You must graduate with an overall G.P.A. of 2.0.

Additional Requirements:

  1. You must complete the general education requirements, as per degree program. B.A., B.S. & B.F.A. students should consult their General Education Manual and B.M. students should consult the Crane School of Music Academic Information Supplement. Also, see General Education website for more information.
  2. As part of the General Education program you must fulfill the Modern Language (ML) requirement. If students have completed 4 years of a modern language in High School, they will need to have a copy of their High School transcript sent to the Admissions Office to confirm that their ML requirement is complete.
  3. If you are a transfer student, in order to graduate with your degree from SUNY Potsdam, you must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours here.
  4. Consult the College Catalog and/or your academic adviser for specific graduation requirements and further information regarding Advanced Placement credit and the foreign language requirement.