Academic Catalog 2021-2022 
    Jul 20, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Curricular Opportunities

Scholars Program


The Union Scholars Program offers selected students an enriched educational experience. The Admissions Office, in conjunction with the Director of the Scholars Program, selects the candidates for the Scholars Program. Specific features of the Scholars Program are a two-term sequence of honors courses beginning with a special Scholars Preceptorial (FPR 100H ) followed by a Research Seminar (SCH 150 ), which is also taken in the first year; a one term (297H) or two-term (295H-296H) sophomore independent study project (one course credit) with a professor of the student’s choosing; and, in the senior year, an optional Scholars Colloquium (SCH 400 ). To graduate as a Union Scholar a minimum of 38 courses is required. AP, IB and transfer courses which are accepted by Union College (see “Transfer Credit Policy”) may be used toward the total number of courses. Union Scholars may take one extra course each term at no extra cost, starting in the winter term of their first year, provided they maintain the minimum 3.40 GPA for the Scholars Program. These courses can be used to accelerate graduation. New opportunities for scholars, such as summer research fellowships, a summer internship, and special classes, are available in selected years. Please note that Seward Interdisciplinary Fellows and NSF-STEM Scholars are also members of the Scholars Program and must adhere to these policies unless an explicit exception is made.

Seward Interdisciplinary Fellows


The Seward Interdisciplinary Fellows Program gives students an opportunity to join the Union College Scholars Program in their sophomore year and develop their own program of study exploring connections among disciplines. The program is open to students from any discipline who have demonstrated excellence in their first year at Union College. Students apply for the Seward Fellows Program during the fall term of their sophomore year. Applicants must have at least a 3.5 grade point average at the time of application. Seward Fellows are required to design and implement a Seward Organizing Theme minor. Seward Fellows adhere to all requirements and policies of the Union College Scholars Program except that they do not have to take the first year courses associated with the Scholars Program (FPR 100H  and SCH 150 ).

Community-based learning

Community-based learning involves courses and study off campus that have a service learning or civic engagement component. Union College has developed many courses that offer students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they are learning in the classroom beyond Union’s campus and in doing so both serve and learn from our community. Opportunities include experiences within the mini-term in New Orleans and the National Health Systems term abroad, along with courses in sociology, economics, modern languages, political science and engineering that have significant community service components. The Kenney Community Center offers many programs that provide students with community-based opportunities beyond the classroom.

Independent Study

With the approval of a professor, a student who has shown the requisite depth of interest and the necessary intellectual skills may register for an independent study course which will allow the student to research into a specific topic that is not offered through the Union course offering. The precise form of independent study projects varies with the student and the subject; the most common are research projects in the sciences and engineering, and substantial investigative papers of “thesis” caliber in the humanities and social sciences. Appropriate credit is granted for all independent study courses that are successfully completed. Independent study courses cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

Academic Credit for Internships


Students are eligible to receive academic credit for internship experiences that are substantial in nature (clerical and other types of routine work are not appropriate). Internships that take place within the context of a full-credit course can receive pay from the relevant employer. Internships undertaken outside the context of a full-credit course must be unpaid and should involve a minimum of 100 hours of work experience. Students requesting credit for an internship must apply for credit prior to beginning their internship. Students may receive credit for up to two internship experiences, but the second internship needs to be substantially different in nature from the first in order for credit to be granted. Students looking for help finding an internship should contact the Becker Career Center. Full guidelines and the costs of course credits are available by emailing the Director.

Cross Registration

Hudson-Mohawk Agreement (HMA)

As a member of the Hudson-Mohawk Agreement of Colleges and Universities, Union participates in programs of cross-registration permitting students to take courses at other colleges and universities.

Cross-registrations are subject to several conditions. In general, students are advised to confer with the instructor of the course proposed to be taken, and they must fulfill the prerequisites set by the institution giving the course, including permission of the instructor if that is a normal condition for entering the course. A separate Cross Registration Form (HMA), obtainable on the registrar’s website, must be completed for each course. When institutional calendars do not coincide, as will be the case in most instances, the individual student will be responsible for making the necessary accommodations, including food and lodging if the home institution is closed during the course. Cross-registering students will be expected to abide by all regulations, including attendance, parking, honor systems, and the like, at the host institution.

Cross-registrations will be approved only for courses not offered at the home institution; in general, they will be limited to a maximum of half the normal course load in any one term. Further, students must have their academic advisor’s permission to cross-register for the course(s) in question. Cross-registration will be permitted only in courses that Union normally would consider for transfer credit. Please note: online courses are not eligible for cross-registration.

Through the agreement, Union students may enroll in Reserve Officer Training Corps programs of the Navy and Air Force at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, and in the Army ROTC program at Siena College, in Loudonville. The Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) are elective programs for students who desire commissions in the armed forces; ROTC courses do not carry credit toward Union College graduation, although the grades earned through these courses will be recorded on the Union transcript. The objective is to develop professional officers who have varied educational backgrounds in major fields of interest and have the professional knowledge and standard needed for future growth. Such ROTC students may be eligible for scholarships and other benefits available under two- and three-year programs of the several services. Interested students should contact the respective branches of ROTC. Students must work the scheduling of these courses around their course work at Union College.

Members of the agreement, in addition to Union College, are Adirondack Community College, Albany College of Pharmacy, The College of Saint Rose, Clarkson University - Capital Region Center, Empire State College, Hudson Valley Community College, Maria College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The Sage Colleges, Schenectady County Community College, Siena College, Skidmore College, the State University of New York at Albany, and the State University of New York at Cobleskill.

Students with 18 or more credits toward graduation may not cross-register for courses at a two-year college without permission from the Dean of Studies.

New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium and the Cross Registration Initiative

The New York Six Cross-Registration Initiative was designed to facilitate the availability of selected course offerings for students attending any one of the NY 6 member institutions. A separate Cross Registration Form (NY6), obtainable on the registrar’s website, must be completed for each course. The New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium consists of the following colleges, in addition to Union College: Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, and St. Lawrence University.

More information on the cross registration initiative.

Part-Time Undergraduate Study

Union College allows qualified students to enroll in undergraduate programs of study, on a part-time basis. The majority of these courses are taught by full-time Union College faculty and regularly enroll full-time undergraduate students. Part-time students may register for courses from these departments on a non-degree basis as well. Registration is handled for all part-time students by the Registrar’s Office in Silliman Hall.

Members of UCALL and senior citizens aged 65 and over are entitled to audit one course per academic year at no tuition cost with the written permission of the instructor. Courses taken for credit by UCALL members and senior citizens will be charged the normal per course fee.

Students wishing to matriculate in a program on a part-time basis are required to meet with the appropriate department chair. Before registering for their first course, all degree seeking part-time students must complete an application form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office along with a non-refundable $25 application fee. Application forms are available from the Registrar’s website at Students intending to pursue a degree are allowed to register for up to three courses before a final decision is made on their application. Union employees, their spouses/partners/dependents are allowed to register for up to six courses before a final decision is made on their application.

Degree status is granted on the basis of transcripts from high school and/or previous college work, adequate performance in courses taken at Union College as a non-matriculated student (2.3 minimum grade point average), letters of recommendation, and a written recommendation from the departmental program advisor. Financial aid based on demonstrated need is available to matriculated part-time students. Information, assistance, and application forms for financial aid are available through the Office of Financial Aid in Grant Hall.

College credits earned at other institutions may be transferred for full or partial credit toward a Union degree if the student’s advisor and the Dean of Studies certify that they are equivalent to Union’s requirements. The credit value of a course must be at least three semester-hour credits or five quarter-hour credits to earn full Union course credit.

Registration for courses normally occurs during the tenth week of the term for part-time students. Course schedules are available online during the sixth week of the term. Students must register in person at the Registrar’s Office and should meet with an academic advisor prior to registration. In most instances, the department chair is responsible for advising part-time students. Proof of immunization must be on file at the Health Services Office prior to registration. Continuing, part-time students may register by completing the Part-Time Registration form on our website.

Relatively few courses are offered in the evening, so matriculated part-time students will need to take most of their courses during the daytime in order to complete degree requirements. Most day time courses have restricted enrollments and in some cases, it may be necessary to obtain permission from the academic department offering the course in advance of registration. These courses, referred to as “petition courses,” require the student to request a space from the department offering the course during the seventh week of the term preceding the registration period. For more information about deadlines and procedures, please refer to the current course schedule. Refer to “Costs and Financial Aid ” for the cost per course for “part-time and non-degree course fees”.

Part-time students must satisfactorily complete all requirements for their degree within 12 years after matriculating at Union. They are subject to the same program requirements as full-time students. Students intending to graduate by June of the current academic year must submit a letter of intent to the Union College Registrar’s Office as per the deadline specified by the office.

Additional information about baccalaureate degree requirements, course descriptions, grading policies, and financial aid may be found elsewhere in this Academic Catalog.

Union University

Union College, Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy, and the Dudley Observatory of the City of Albany are united and recognized by the New York State Board of Regents as “Union University.” The purpose of Union University, created in 1873, is to promote learning and the development of the component institutions in the interest of higher education while retaining and continuing the respective and distinctive organizations, rights, powers, and corporate existence. The President of Union College, David R. Harris, serves as Chancellor of Union University.