Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The State University of New York

The 64 geographically dispersed campuses of the State University of New York bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education. When founded in 1948, SUNY consolidated 29 state-operated but unaffiliated institutions whose varied histories of service dated as far back as 1816.

SUNY’s impact is felt educationally, culturally and economically the length and breadth of the state. It continues to fulfill its mission by providing access to a high-quality education for hundreds of thousands of individuals.

SUNY’s dedication to quality and range of programs attracts top students from New York state, across the nation, and around the world. With nearly 460,000 students from every New York state county, every U.S. state, and more than 160 foreign countries, SUNY includes students who continue to achieve at every educational level. More than 418,000 students are currently pursuing bachelor’s or associate’s degrees while another 40,600 are working toward advanced degrees within the nearly 17,400 courses of study offered by the university. SAT scores of SUNY students continue to rise, averaging 1222 at university centers and 1089 at all state-operated campuses above the national average of 1002.

Student Diversity

The SUNY student body is as diverse as New York state’s citizens. More than half of SUNY students are women. Minority enrollment is at an all-time high at more than 126,000 students (more than 27 percent). Approximately 10 percent of SUNY students are black/Non-Hispanic, 10.1 percent are Hispanic, 5.3 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.4 percent Native American. SUNY’s reputation for excellence also draws nearly 19,000 international students from around the world.


SUNY institutions include everything from world-renowned community colleges such as the Fashion Institute of Technology, to first-rate graduate schools that include the nation’s top veterinary school. The system’s highly regarded doctoral degree-granting universities boast top research programs and attract experts in a variety of fields.

SUNY employs more than 89,000 faculty and staff at its state-operated and community colleges. Among our faculty are Nobel laureates, Dirac and Fields medal winners, National Medal of Science laureates, and members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Also among SUNY faculty are winners of the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grants” and Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards.

SUNY values the work the faculty does in the classroom, and SUNY full-time faculty teach 74.8 percent of the total credit hours at the state-operated campuses.

SUNY is also continually improving its online learning resources for students who want to take courses from their own home or apartment. Since the SUNY Learning Network’s inception in 1995, annual online course offerings have grown substantially. Open SUNY makes it easier for students to access high-quality higher education options ensuring support and success.

Graduation Rates and Degrees Granted

SUNY graduation rates exceed the national average for all schools and far surpass the national average for public universities. In 2012, the six-year graduation rate for full-time, first-time students was 64.4 percent for SUNY, compared to 56.3 percent among public universities and 65.6 percent among privates.

First-year student retention rates also continue to rise, outpacing the nation. The most current statistics show about 85 percent of first time, full-time freshmen enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs return for that second year.

Research and Economic Development

SUNY research contributions are helping to solve many of today’s most urgent problems. At the same time, contracts and grants received by university faculty directly benefit the economic development of the regions where they are located. In fiscal year 2018, the Research Foundation managed more than $900 million in sponsored research activity in support of 6,809 campus-based programs. Many of those programs in the past have resulted in technological advances and medical improvements. SUNY researchers pioneered nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and the supermarket bar code scanner, introduced time-lapse photography of forestry subjects, isolated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and developed the first implantable heart pacemaker. Other university researchers continue important studies in such wide-ranging areas as breast cancer, immunology, marine biology, sickle cell anemia, and robotics, and make hundreds of other contributions, inventions, and innovations for the benefit of society.

The university’s economic development services programs provide research, training and technical assistance to the state’s business and industrial community through business and industry centers, the New York State Small Business Development Center, the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence, rural services institutes, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, technical assistance centers, small business institutes, centers for advanced technology, and international development. For every state dollar received, SUNY generates $5 in total spending in New York state.


It is also well known around the world that SUNY produces leaders including lawyers, entertainers, teachers and elected officials. Fashion designer Calvin Klein, actor Billy Crystal, world-renowned soprano Renee Fleming, CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer, Stanford University president John Hennessey.  Some other notable alumni include Dave Annable (Plattsburgh, ‘90) actor; Tom Clarke (Albany, ‘73), president, Nike; Al Roker (Oswego, ‘76), weather forecaster, NBC’s “Today Show;” and Scott Kelly (Maritime, ‘87), NASA astronaut/space shuttle commander. Alumni also include current and past members of Congress, the New York State Legislature, and numerous other local and state office holders.

As a public university system, SUNY has a special responsibility to make its rich and varied resources accessible to all. By focusing its educational system on the needs of the state, the university becomes a valuable resource for meeting those needs for today and tomorrow. The State University believes efficiencies in instructional delivery and administrative transactions can be achieved while preserving affordable, quality higher education to its students.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

SUNY Plattsburgh, in recognition of its educational mission, its social concern, its responsibility for the personal development of individuals, and its concern for the rights of individuals hereby establishes this college Policy of Equal Education and Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

SUNY Plattsburgh complies with the spirit and intent of all applicable federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), the New York State Human Rights Act, as well as the SUNY Board of Trustees policy.

It is the policy of this college to provide equal opportunity in education and employment for all qualified persons; to prohibit illegal discrimination based on age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, pregnancy, pre-disposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, disability, or criminal conviction; and to promote the full realization of equal education and employment opportunity through a positive and continuing program of affirmative action for the college as a whole and for each constituent unit. It is the intent of the college to comply with the spirit of federal and state regulations relating to the affirmative action obligations toward all protected classes, not only because the regulations are law, but also because they prescribe morally just actions.

This policy governs all college educational and employment policies, practices and actions, including but not limited to, recruitment employment, enrollment, rate of pay or other compensation, advancement, upgrading, promotion, financial aid, demotion, renewal, non-renewal, termination, dismissal, transfer, layoff, leave, training, employee’s benefits, grading and program access. The policy prohibits discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Consistent with SUNY Board of Trustees’ policy, the college expects that all judgments about and actions toward students and employees will be based on their qualifications, abilities and performance. Attitudes, practices, and preferences of individuals that are essentially personal in nature, such as private expression or sexual orientation, are unrelated to performance and provide no basis for judgment.

It shall be a violation of this policy to dismiss, discharge, expel, penalize, discipline, harass, adversely alter academic grades or otherwise discriminate against any student, faculty or staff member because he/she has opposed any discriminatory practices, filed an internal or external complaint/grievance, testified, or assisted in any proceeding, in accordance with this Equal Education and Employment Opportunity Policy.

This policy requires each contractor, supplier, union, public agency, or other cooperative agent to support this policy by complying with all applicable state and federal equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.

Responsibility and authority for the dissemination and implementation of this policy lies ultimately with the president of the college with assistance from the Affirmative Action officer, Title IX coordinator, and the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, which shall consist of representatives from the campus faculty, staff and students. Practically, the responsibility and authority to act affirmatively to provide equality of opportunity in education and employment lies with all who are in decision-making positions within the college. It is the intent of the college to commit appropriate resources and create a supportive atmosphere for the practical responsibility and authority to be exercised.

In compliance with this Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy, the college shall:

  1. Publicize and disseminate its policy both internally and externally through outreach programs to inform each member of the campus community.
  2. Take a census of present protected-class employees and students and make the results of such a survey accessible to all employees, students, and applicants.
  3. Develop goals and timetables to improve utilization of and/or access to protected classes in each case where under-utilization or under-representation has been identified.
  4. Develop techniques and procedures for locating qualified members within the protected classes.
  5. Develop criteria for evaluating and monitoring performance in conducting the programs established as a result of this policy.
  6. Provide appropriate complaint procedures.