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    Russell Sage College & Sage College of Albany
  Aug 14, 2020
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Academic Policy: Coursework


Declaration of a major program begins with the Admission application. A major is defined as sequential study in a subject or field of at least 30 semester hours that provides knowledge of breadth and depth in that subject or field. Courses are taken in accordance with a plan devised by the department, also known as, suggested program of study.

  • Students must complete at least one half of the major program in residence as Sage institutional credits.
  • Students must achieve a minimum major GPA of 2.200 in order to graduate. Note: some academic programs have higher GPA requirements. Students should consult academic program pages in the Catalog and their academic information availalbe online in Student Planning (Progress screen) for specific program cumulative & major GPA requirements.
  • For major change requests, view the change of major chart.

Freshman students who are undecided or do not wish to declare a major at the time of matriculation may enter the Academic Exploration program (AEX) and will be assigned an advisor who specialize in academic and career counseling. Students in the Academic Exploration program will take a combination of courses in satisfaction of general education requirements and in areas of potential academic interest. Students may stay in the Academic Exploration program up to the completion of 45 credit hours or first year of study, at which point, they will be expected to declare a major program.  Because many programs at Sage are dedicated to preparing students to enter professions that have specific course requirements and prerequisites, Academic Exploration students should work closely with the Office(s) of Academic Advising to select courses in a potential major that will allow them to integrate seamlessly into a particular discipline.  In order to earn a bachelor’s degree, students must successfully complete a major program. In addition to academic advisement, students are encouraged to speak with faulty, career planning staff and alumni. Diplomas are not granted for academic exploration.

Students wishing to add or change a major or minor can do so by sending an email message from their Sage account to the appropriate office of academic advising ([email protected] or [email protected]) with their name, ID number, and the new major or minor they wish to declare. All academic program changes require the approval of the Associate Dean on a student’s home campus.

Interdisciplinary Studies Major (Self-Designed)

In addition to those majors offered in the regular college curriculum, students may design an interdisciplinary studies major to accommodate particular academic interests. The proposed interdisciplinary studies major must specify at least 36 credits total from at least two disciplines, and at least one of the areas of interest must be drawn from courses required in a currently offered TSC major. At least one-half of the credits required for the interdisciplinary major must be in upper-division courses as determined by the faculty advisors in the affected programs. Admission to TSC does not guarantee an interdisciplinary proposal will be accepted.

Students should first consult with the Department Chairs (or Program Directors) in the affected disciplines to create a written proposal* explaining their areas of interest and listing the courses that will enable students to achieve their objectives. This proposal must be approved by the Department Chairperson in each affected discipline and by the Dean of the College. Exceptions to this policy require the Dean’s approval. *Student proposal form is available in My Sage Portal, Student Information & Forms (under Academic Advising menu).

Minors for Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree Students

A minor is a cohesive group of courses that allows students to explore, in a structured way, an area of interest outside the major. Each minor is defined by one or several academic departments and consists of at least six courses usually totaling 18 to 24 credits. Only two of the required minor courses may also count toward major or another minor’s requirements. At least half of the required credits for the minor must be completed at Sage. Minors are commonly declared at the end of the sophomore year, but may be declared any time before the completion of the drop/add period in the first term of the senior year or before completion of 87 credit hours, whichever comes later. Successful completion of at least a one-semester course in the discipline is a prerequisite to such declaration. Upon declaration of a minor, students are assigned to a faculty advisor in that program. Minors are designated on student transcripts if all requirements are met, including a GPA in the minor of at least 2.200.

  • Only two of the required minor courses may also count toward major or another minor’s requirements.
  • At least half of the required credits for the minor must be completed at Sage.
  • Minors are designated on student transcripts if all requirements are met, including a GPA in the minor of at least 2.200.

Students wishing to add or change a major or minor may do so by sending an email message from their Sage Gmail account to the appropriate Office of Academic Advising ([email protected] or [email protected]) with their name, ID number, and the new major or minor they wish to declare. All academic program changes require the approval of the Advising Office on a student’s home campus.

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Programs

The Sage Colleges are responding to the demand for advanced education in certain professions by offering accelerated programs that let highly qualified students earn a Bachelor’s Degree along with a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in a continuous course of study, thus saving both time and money. The following accelerated programs are offered:

  • Pre-Law/Law (3+3 program with Albany Law School)
  • BA or BS and Master’s in Business Administration (M.B.A.) at Sage
  • BA or BS and MS in Education at Sage
  • BA or BS leading to the MS in Occupational Therapy at Sage
  • BA or BS leading to the Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Sage
  • BA/BS with Rensselaer (not accepting new students currently)

Other accelerated programs allow students to choose their undergraduate major from a large roster of arts and science as well as professional majors.

Part-time students are also eligible to apply. Students are usually admitted to the 3 + 3 program with Albany Law School as first-year students, although they may also apply at the end of their first year. Students in the other programs may apply either as entering first-year students or at any time prior to the second semester of the junior year. Students who wish to apply after they have been admitted to Sage may obtain an application from the History and Society department offices or the Dean of Sage Graduate School.

In all accelerated undergraduate/graduate programs, students must maintain certain minimum GPA requirements and meet specific program requirements. See the appropriate catalog pages or consult with the program coordinators in the specific disciplines for more information.

Special Courses and Academic Programs

In keeping with the commitment to educational diversity, The Sage Colleges offers its students an opportunity to participate in a number of special programs and courses, including independent projects, dual and interdisciplinary majors, internships, and minors.

Founder’s Seminar: Founder’s Seminar (SST 111 & SST 112) is a two-semester study of a single topic that is intellectually challenging for students and faculty; some of the topics studied include “Evidence,” “Passion,” “Edges & Middles,” and “Friction and Flow.”  In the fall, students discuss presentations on the topic made by faculty from the different disciplines and professions. In the spring, students develop their scholarly voices as they work on topically-organized individual projects which they present to their classmates. Students earn 1.5 credits (Pass/Fail) each semester.  Founder’s can be an entry point for the Russell Sage Honors program, Honoring Women’s Voices.

Special Topics: Special topics courses may be offered in each discipline under the numbers 248, 348, and 448. Students should consult with the program coordinator or instructor offering the course to obtain a detailed description of that course.

Honors Projects: Each discipline may offer a departmental honors seminar under the numbers 410, 411.

Independent Work: Independent work may take the form of independent study, an internship, or regular courses taken independently. Students must read “Rules and Regulations of Independent Work,” available in the Office of Student Services, and complete a contract for independent study before enrolling.

Independent Study: Independent study is defined as academic inquiry carried on outside the usual instructor/class setting. The credit awarded is variable. To be eligible, students must have completed 30 credits with a 2.700 cumulative grade point average (GPA) at Sage or another accredited college.

Internship: An internship is defined as a credit-bearing work experience in the field, which fosters the development of applied skills and typically increases professional competence, links theory and practice, and offers opportunities for career exploration. The credit awarded is variable. To be eligible, students must have completed at least 45 college credits with an overall cumulative GPA of 2.000 and a major GPA of 2.200. Some programs have higher GPA requirements. Internships also require prior completion at Sage of at least 6 credits in the discipline awarding the internship credit with a grade of “C” or better. (See also Internships and Field Experience, below.)

Individual Study (Regular Courses Taken Independently): When a student does not have access to a scheduled course within a reasonable time frame and there is a compelling educational reason, they may seek approval from the appropriate program coordinator and faculty member to take a course independently. To be eligible the student must have completed at least 30 college credits with a 2.000 overall GPA or 2.200 GPA in the major. Some programs have higher GPA requirements.

Internships and Field Experience: Academic programs at Sage offer students a broad range of opportunities for off-campus internships and field experiences that connect classroom learning with practical experience. These resources enable students to explore and clarify academic and career goals, develop new skills, and prepare for the changing organization of work. Internships, cooperative education work experiences, community service, “shadowing,” and informational interviewing placements are available in businesses, community agencies, schools, legislative and governmental offices, and a wide variety of student interest areas.

The Office of Career Planning has listings of these sites in its onlline employment database, SAGElink. Career professionals are also available to help with career assessment and guidance. Internships carrying academic credit must be planned with and approved by a faculty advisor, and an internship contract must be completed and filed in the Office of Student Services. (See “Independent Work,” above, for more information.)

Credit Ceilings for Independent Work

In general, no more than 15 credits of independent work, i.e. any combination of independent study, courses taken independently and/or internship, may be counted toward the baccalaureate degree without approval of the Department Chairperson and/or Undergraduate Dean.

Contracts for Independent Work

The terms and conditions for all independent work are set down in a contract, which requires the written agreement of the student, the faculty supervisor, and the field supervisor. The contract must also be approved by the student’s faculty advisor, and the department chairperson (or program coordinator). Contract forms are available from the Office of Student Services/Registrar. The completed contract must be on file with that office before the start of the semester during which the independent work will be done.

Study Abroad

Sensitivity to international interdependence and to the importance of multicultural perspectives is fostered in various ways in the College’s offerings. Study abroad and structured travel in another country support these directions. International study promotes rapid personal, as well as intellectual, growth, widens horizons, and opens the way to unexpected career options.

Students enrolled either in the sponsored or affiliated programs pay their regular tuition and room-and-board fees to Sage. Students are eligible to continue to receive financial aid during their time away from campus. Books, miscellaneous personal expenses, and the cost of travel are not covered. Credit earned in Sage-sponsored study abroad programs appear on the transcript as Sage credit.

Early planning for study abroad is essential; students must meet with their academic advisor, the Academic Dean and the office of Financial Aid at least one semester in advance.

Any student who is considering studying abroad/away must seek prior approval from the Sage Colleges and meet the following criteria: have at least sophomore standing, maintain a 3.000 cumulative GPA or higher, be a full time student the semester prior to studying abroad and during the term abroad/away, and receive approval by The Sage Colleges to study abroad or away.

Specifics about different programs and advising are available though the Academic Dean. Coursework completed at a program that is not affiliated with Sage is subject to the same policies as other “transfer credit after matriculation” (see section of Catalog). Specifically, students should fill out and have signed transfer credit request forms that are available in the Registrar’s Office before they register for courses in a study abroad program. No grade below a “C-” will be accepted for transfer. Students who participate in a study abroad program not affiliated with Sage will likely need to take a leave of absence from Sage while they are abroad and make their own financial arrangements through the institution that is sponsoring the program.

Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities

Academic requirements may be modified, on a case-by-case basis, to afford qualified students and applicants with disabilities an equal educational opportunity. Complete information on these policies, and procedures for requesting these adjustments may be found in the Campus Policies section of the Catalog.