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    Russell Sage College
  Nov 23, 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 major GPA of 2.200 (minimum) 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 available online in Student Planning (Progress screen) for specific program cumulative GPA & major GPA requirements.
  • View the change of major chart for major programs with specific admission criteria

Students wishing to change a major or add/change/drop a minor can do so by sending an email message from their Sage account to the office of academic advising ([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 Director on a student’s home campus.

Academic Exploration

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 of Academic Advising to select courses in a potential major that will allow them to integrate seamlessly into a particular discipline. In addition to academic advisement, students are encouraged to speak with faulty, career planning staff and alumni. Students may also benefit in completing the Focus 2 Career Assessment program. In order to earn a bachelor’s degree, students must successfully complete a major program. Diplomas are not granted for academic exploration.

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 Sage undergraduate 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 RSC 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 proposal¹ 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. ¹Student proposal form is available in My Sage Portal, via the Student Information & Forms link (see 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 change a major or add/change/drop a minor may do so by sending an email message from their Sage Gmail account to the Office of Academic Advising ([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 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

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 Russell Sage College 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

In keeping with the commitment to educational diversity, Sage 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.

Student Right to Know, Privacy and Records Policies

Student Right to Know Law

Russell Sage College will provide information regarding graduation and persistence rates, in accordance with provision of the federal Student Right to Know Law. The information is available from the Office of the Registrar. In addition, Russell Sage College publishes required information under the Campus Security Act in a safety and security brochure and posts the information on the Office of Public Safety web page,

Privacy and Confidentiality (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment), passed in 1974, regulates the procedures for handling student records. According to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Act was designed to ensure that students and parents (in cases where the student is considered a dependent) would have specific educational records made accessible for reasons of inspection and correction and to restrict the release of most records, so as not to violate their privacy and confidentiality when student consent is lacking.

According to the Act, the following records are not accessible:

  • financial records of a student’s parents;
  • confidential letters of recommendation received prior to January 1, 1975;
  • confidential letters of recommendation for which the student has signed a waiver of access; and
  • records created and maintained by a professional for the sole purpose of treating the student (i.e., records kept by a college physician, psychiatrist, or counselor). The student may choose a qualified professional to review these records.

Access to Directory and Records Information

The College is permitted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment) to make directory information about students available to the public. Directory information includes:

▪ Student’s name
▪ Address, Phone listing, and Email address
▪ Major field of study
▪ Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
▪ Weight and height of members of athletic teams
▪ Dates of attendance, degrees and awards received
▪ Most recent previous educational agency attended

If a student would prefer that this information not be made public, the student may inform the College of this at any point during his or her academic career. Request forms to withhold this information from the public are available at the Registrar’s Office.

Records Inspection

The following student records are available for inspection at the specified locations:

Registrar’s Office
Transcript of grades*
  Grade lists*
  Academic warning, probation and suspension lists*
  Transfer credit records
  Degree information
  General student records
Student Life/Residence Life Judicial records
Office of Public Safety
Parking/traffic violations lists*
Dean’s Office Dean’s List
Academic Support Center HEOP records

*The entire content will not be released, only the data directly related to the individual requesting access.

Procedures for Review of Records

The Act specifies that a college official has 45 days to respond to a student’s request to view their records. Sage will initially respond to a request by setting up an appointment with the student within the 45 day period. Ideally, the student will be able to access the records within a couple of weeks.

All records must be reviewed in the presence of a College official. The student may be asked to show proper identification to the college official and sign a permit form. Students may request a copy of their records in most cases, but the College is entitled to charge for copies. Copies cannot be made of records when a “hold” status exists or when the names of other students or information related to other students are involved (i.e., restricted records such as a grade list).

Inspection and Correction of Records

If a student wishes to challenge any part of a record, it may be done informally by addressing the issue with the administrator in charge of the record in question. If an agreement cannot be reached, the student should request a hearing with the Dean of the College. If the student still believes that their rights are being violated after following the above procedure, an investigation can be requested by the Review Board of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202. An investigation could lead to a hearing.

Access to Records by Another Party

Each individual record will include the names of those persons not employed by the College who request or obtain access to a student record. The legitimate interest of the person making the request will also be recorded. The College permits third parties to gain access to students’ records when requests come from:

  • a person designated by the student with the student’s written consent;
  • an accrediting agency doing a college evaluation;
  • certain federal or state agencies;
  • officials of other schools in which a student seeks acceptance or intends to enroll when the student requests that the information be released; or
  • other faculty members, administrators, or staff members who either seek access for a legitimate educational reason or who are required to handle the records as part of their official duties at the College.

Student records, except for the permanent transcript and certification of completion required for state licensure in some academic programs, are kept for a period of seven years from the date of graduation or last attendance. The permanent transcript is maintained “forever” in the Office of the Registrar. The certification of completion, if required for licensure, is maintained in the academic program office.

Student Authorization Form (FERPA)

The waiver form found on ( is active for one academic year. This form is used to create a pass-code for your student record. The College reserves the right not to disclose confidential information over the phone. Only inquiries that can be verified with the correct answers will be considered appropriate for discussion. For third parties: only individuals specifically named on this form and who can answer the challenge questions can make inquiries regarding your student record. If you choose to change your authorized individuals you will need to resubmit this form changing your challenge questions and answers.

Academic Adjustments for Students with Accessibility Needs

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 and on,