Alternate Methods of Earning College Credit

Advanced Placement Examinations
Credit may be granted for acceptable scores in approved advanced placement examinations, provided the subjects meet the curricular requirements of the specialized units of the college. Approved examinations include New York State College Proficiency Examinations (CPEP), College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Examinations (AP), and College Entrance Examination Board College Level Examinations (CLEP).

Students receiving the lowest passing grade may be admitted to an advanced course but will receive no credit for the beginning course that was exempted. All other passing grades carry college credit. Before taking such an examination for credit, students already enrolled at the college must receive advance approval from the appropriate department chair. When the examination subject is the same as or overlaps a college course already credited, no new credit will be granted.

Course Challenge
Each department determines which courses may be challenged by examination. Matriculated undergraduate students may earn credit hours by challenging the specially designated courses. The following rules apply:

  1. Total challenge credit may not exceed 30 credit hours.
  2. A course in which a student is currently enrolled may not be challenged.
  3. A course may not be challenged more than once.
  4. Credit earned will be recorded as credit (CR) only rather than by grade.
  5. No credit will be awarded when the challenged area duplicated an area for which credit already has been awarded.
  6. A student must be matriculated to register for a course challenge.

Taking a course by contract is one form of independent study open to students who have reached sophomore level and are in good academic standing. If a course is not offered in a given semester, students may request to take a course by contract. Application forms are available in the academic department and the Registrar' Office, Moot Hall, and must be filed with that office by the deadline published in the class schedule each semester. Both the instructor and the department chair must sign applications.

Students are provided with a course outline, bibliography, statement of responsibilities, and dates by which responsibilities are to be met. Students may then pursue the course independently under the guidance of a faculty member. The number of conferences, type of evaluation, and culminating activity will be decided by the faculty member and the student before registering for the course. These requirements must be filed with the department chair.

Freshmen are also eligible to take courses by contract under special circumstances. They may do so if:

  1. They are in their second semester of a one-year course and have a grade of A or B in the first semester part of the course.
  2. They have successfully challenged the preceding course in the sequence.
  3. They have entered the college with excellent high school records or have done honors work in pertinent fields in high school.

Credit for Experiential Learning
Credit for college-level experiential learning is available. Matriculated students who consider their previous learning experience as college-level creditable may enroll in INS 300W Educational Assessment and Portfolio Development. This course is open to matriculated students who must attend an information session in August to become familiar with the portfolio development process. In INS 300W, students will conduct a self-appraisal and inventory of all potentially creditable prior learning. The portfolio will be treated as an application to appropriate departments for the award of college credit.

Within the guidelines noted below, credit for experiential learning follows essentially the same principle as transfer credit; students may receive credit for knowledge gained elsewhere. Students may receive a maximum of 30 credit hours. Credit will be awarded on the basis of its correspondence to existing Buffalo State courses. Credit earned will be recorded as credit (CR) only, rather than by grade.

For information regarding credit for experiential learning, students should contact the Individualized Studies coordinator, Cleveland Hall 210 (716) 878-5907.

Students who have reached the sophomore level may take courses at any public or private college in Western New York with which Buffalo State has a cross-registration relationship for degree credit as long as they maintain a 12-credit-hour courseload at Buffalo State. They may enroll for no more than one course elsewhere in any semester. Students who fall below the 12-credit-hour courseload at the college will forfeit any credit hours earned at another institution that semester under the cross-registration procedure.

Students wishing to take a course on another campus that will apply toward a major must receive permission from the department chair. Cross-registration approval forms are available in the Registrar' Office, Moot Hall, and must be signed by the student' adviser and returned to the Registrar' Office for signature. Students must then take the signed cross-registration approval to the appropriate campus where they must register according to the procedures of that campus.

Transcripts are forwarded automatically to Buffalo State at the end of the semester. Courses taken through cross-registration are recorded as if they had been taken at Buffalo State (credit hours and grade counts in cumulative GPA).

There is no cross-registration during the summer.

Off-Campus Study
Courses may be taken at other institutions for transfer credit as long as prior approval from the department chair is obtained and the proper forms from the Registrar' Office, Moot Hall, are completed and returned to that office.

Students are urged to have transcripts of all coursework completed elsewhere forwarded to the Registrar' Office as soon as possible. Coursework undertaken elsewhere, other than by cross-registration, will be recorded as transfer credit on the college transcript.

Independent Study (499)
Independent study provides students with the opportunity to pursue a topic that may be covered only briefly or not at all in regular course offerings. Students may choose a faculty sponsor who is an expert in the selected topic and together determine all aspects of the study, including the method of evaluation. The chair of the sponsoring department must approve the description of the study.

Students electing to do independent study should have a degree of knowledge in the area they have chosen, in addition to a strong motivation to work alone much of the time. Independent study is never a substitute for a course already being offered that term.

Specific requirements for independent study:

  1. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have successfully completed basic courses or their equivalent in the area of study chosen are eligible to participate. They need a minimum GPA of 2.0 and a minimum GPA of 2.0 the previous semester, plus a minimum GPA of 2.0 in work completed in the selected area. Freshmen who have successful advanced preparation in the selected area may also be allowed this option.
  2. The study must be relevant to the student's total program, and the student must derive special benefit from supervision by the college staff. The study must meet standards established for such programs by the department or program.
  3. No independent study may be undertaken for fewer than 3 credit hours. A maximum of 30 credit hours in all areas may be taken independently by a student. No more than two independent studies may be taken in one semester.

Further information is available from the department chair and program coordinator. Application forms are available in the academic department and the Registrar' Office, Moot Hall, and must be filed with that office by the deadline date published in the class schedule each semester.

Project (495)
Upper-division students may undertake a project related to a required course for up to 3 credit hours per project. No more than 6 credit hours of academic project work is allowed. Application forms are available in the academic department and the Registrar' Office, Moot Hall, and must be filed with that office by the deadline date published in the class schedule each semester.

Internship (488)
Internship programs provide students with guided and supervised field experiences (experiential learning) as part of their degree programs. Students who wish to participate in the program must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and a background of courses or experience within the area of interest. Approval for experiential learning situations must be obtained from either the student' adviser or the chair of the department within which the student is a major, the supervising faculty member, and the chair of the department within which credit will be granted. An individual student will be permitted to apply a maximum of 15 credit hours toward the baccalaureate degree.

Topics Courses (189 and 389)
The topics format provides the opportunity for in-depth study and examination of rapidly and significantly changing disciplinary issues, topics, or practices, and may be used to accommodate requests of external agencies or the specialized resources of visiting faculty members. Students may accumulate a maximum of 9 credit hours in one discipline.

Military Service Educational Experience
Up to 15 college credit hours may be awarded for education received through military service, specialty schools, technical training schools, and basic training programs. Request for such credit should be made to the Admissions Office, Moot Hall. Documents showing completion of such courses should accompany all requests.

Evaluation of this experience is based on its relation to college degree requirements and recommendations suggested by the American Council on Education Credit Manual.

Credit by Evaluation
Up to 45 credit hours may be accepted from the following sources:


Maximum credit hours

Published examinations
No more than 18 credit hours may be in general examinations.


Course challenge


Military service courses


Noncollegiate institutions


Proprietary institutions


Published examinations: Included in this category are nationally given subject and general examinations sponsored by the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement Program (APP), and College Proficiency Examination (CPE). Passing grades are required for credit.

Course challenge: Requirements are outlined above

Military service courses: Requirements are outlined above.

Courses from noncollegiate organizations: For credits to be granted, the institution must be approved by the State Education Department and listed in its Guide to Educational Programs in Noncollegiate Organizations. Noncollegiate organizations are those whose primary function is not education, such as the American Institute of Banking. Such credit applies primarily to the major and is determined by the appropriate department.

Courses from proprietary institutions: The institution must be approved by the State Education Department and listed in its official publication of approved institutions. Proprietary institutions are privately owned and for-profit, such as Bryant & Stratton Business Institute. Such credit is applied primarily to the major and is determined by the appropriate department.

Graduate Courses
Second-semester seniors (completed > 106 credits by end of previous semester) at Buffalo State may register for graduate-level courses if they have maintained a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5. A maximum of 6 graduate credit hours may be taken as a senior. The combined enrollment of undergraduate and graduate courses should not exceed 15 hours per semester. Undergraduate students may enroll in 500-level graduate courses only; they are not eligible for 600- or 700- level courses.

Courses taken in this manner are related to a graduate program of study and will not apply toward an undergraduate degree. These courses may be applied toward an advanced degree if they are acceptable to the department. The six-year time limitation on the completion of the master's degree program applies to these as well as other credits.

An override request form must be signed by the instructor, department chair, and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office for processing. The override request form is available online at or from the academic departments.

Graduate Programs of Study
The Graduate Studies and Research Office offers master's degrees, certificates of advanced study, graduate certificates, and postbaccalaureate teacher certification programs through the college' Faculties of Applied Science and Education, Arts and Humanities, and Natural and Social Sciences.

The master of arts (M.A.) degree is offered in applied economics, art conservation, biology, chemistry, English, history, and multidisciplinary studies. Master of Science (M.S.) degrees are offered in adult education, creative studies, criminal justice, industrial technology, multidisciplinary studies, and student personnel administration. The master of science in education (M.S.Ed.) degree is offered in art education (K-12); biology education (7-12); business and marketing education; career and technical education; chemistry education (7-12); childhood and early childhood curriculum and instruction; childhood education (Grades 1-6); childhood education (Grades 1-6), including initial teaching certification; early childhood education (Birth-Grade 2); early childhood education (Birth-Grade 2), including initial teaching certification; earth science education (7-12); educational computing; English education (7-12); literacy specialist (Birth-Grade 6); mathematics education (7-12); physics education (7-12); physics education (7-12), including initial teaching certification; social studies education (7-12); special education: adolescence; special education: childhood; special education: early childhood; speech-language pathology; teaching bilingual exceptional individuals; and technology education. Certificates of advanced study are offered in art conservation and educational leadership. Master of professional studies degree is available in literary specialist (Grades 5-12). Graduate certificates are offered in adult education, creativity and change leadership, human resource development, and museum studies. Postbaccalaureate teacher certification programs are offered in art education, biology education, business and marketing education, career and technical education, chemistry education, earth science education, English education, French education, mathematics education, social studies education, Spanish education, and technology education.

Students holding bachelor' degrees from an accredited college or university are eligible to apply for graduate study at Buffalo State. Application materials are available from the Graduate Studies and Research Office or on the Web. International applicants must submit transcript evaluations and TOEFL scores.

Students may contact the Graduate Studies and Research Office, Cleveland Hall 204, (716) 878-5601,, or visit for more information.