Curriculum Policies

Undergraduate Course and Curricular Numbering System

100-199 Introductory courses; appropriate for and generally taken by freshmen.

200-299 Intermediate courses; appropriate for and generally taken by sophomores.

300-399 Upper-division courses; appropriate for and generally taken by juniors and seniors.

400-499 Upper-division major courses, seminars, directed readings and research, and teaching practica; appropriate for and generally taken by juniors and seniors. A few 400-level courses for seniors only are so noted.

Courses with hyphenated numbers (e.g., HIS 495-496) are year-long courses. Students will not be awarded credit for either course unless they complete both semesters.

Renumbered Courses

The notation (“formerly ABC ###”) after a course number and title indicates that the course designator or number has been changed. Courses renumbered from lower-division (100-200) to upperdivision (300-400) level may not be used retroactively to satisfy the 39 upperdivision credit requirement of the University unless specifically noted in the course description. The newly renumbered or designated courses may not be repeated for credit.

Southampton Courses and DEC or Skill Designators

Note that there have been changes to this section of the Bulletin.  Please click here for more information.

If a course satisfies a DEC or Skill, the DEC &/or Skill designator is indicated in the Course Description listings of this Bulletin following the course number (e.g. HIS 104 K&4 or WRT 103-A).

Courses offered in Southampton that are also offered on the west campus are tagged with a "-S" location marker on class schedule and student transcripts to simplify class searches and student enrollment. Courses with the same subject designator and course number offered on both campuses are identical in content and satisfy the same prerequisites and requirements for graduation. For example, ECO 108-F on the west campus is the same ECO-S 108-F on the Southampton campus. The "-S" location marker is only noted on student transcripts and class schedules when the course is offered in Southampton and is not noted in the Bulletin or Course Catalog description for the course. Course subject designators for courses that are only offered at Southampton do not carry the "-S" suffix (e.g. CSK, EDP, EHI, EHM, ENV, SBC, SUS).

Enrichment Courses

These courses are restricted to specific groups of students. Introduction to Stony Brook 101, Undergraduate College Seminar 102, and SBU 101, one-credit courses for first-semester freshmen and transfer students, introduce students to the Stony Brook academic environment. All freshmen entering Stony Brook in the fall semester are required to take ACH/GLS/HDV/ITS/ LDS/SSO 101 in the fall and ACH/GLS/ HDV/ITS/LDS/SSO 102 in the spring, based on their undergraduate college affiliation. Freshmen entering Stony Brook in the spring semester must take first-year seminar 102. Students in the Honors College register for HON 106 (fall) and HON 105 (spring). AIM 102 and 104 are open to students in the EOP/AIM program only. See the descriptions of each of these courses in the Course Descriptions section of this Bulletin.

Multiple Registrations for the Same Course


Repeat: to take a course again that IS marked as “may be repeated”.  Examples include topics courses, teaching seminars or internships.

Retake: to take a course again that is NOT marked as “may be repeated.”

Repeating Courses

1. Certain courses note in their descriptions that they “may be repeated once” or “may be repeated as the topic changes.”  Students may repeat such courses within those restrictions and receive credit each time.

2. Each grade for such repeated courses is computed in the student’s grade point average; a repeat grade does not replace the original grade.

3. Only courses stating in the description that they may be repeated may be taken more than once for credit.

Retaking Courses

1. Unless a course is designated as repeatable for credit, a student must obtain written permission from his or her general academic advisor to retake the course.  Permission to retake is rarely given to students who received a letter grade of C or better.

2. Students are considered to have taken a course if they remain in the course past the add/drop deadline, regardless of the grade assigned in the course.

3. Credits for retaken courses will count once toward cumulative credits, but will count each time toward semester load. Each grade received in the course will be averaged into the cumulative grade point average. A retake grade does not replace the original grade.

4. A student who receives permission to retake a course may not exercise the P/NC option.

5. Students wishing to take a course more than twice must also receive approval from the department offering the course prior to receiving approval from their general academic advisor.

Mutually Exclusive Courses

Mutually exclusive courses are courses whose content is so similar that students who have taken one will be repeating the material if they take the other. Such courses are identified in their Under-graduate Bulletin descriptions with the notation “not for credit in addition to ABC ###.” Students risk losing both credits and grade in the second of two courses that are designated mutually exclusive.

Crosslisted Courses

Crosslisted courses are courses offered under the auspices of two or more departments and are identified by the notation “This course is offered as both ABC ### and XYZ ###” in the Undergraduate Bulletin and the course catalog in the SOLAR System, and by the notation “Crosslisted with ABC ###” in the Class Schedule. Crosslisted courses may also be indicated with a slash, such as AFH/PHI 379 or HIS 334/WST 336. The title, course description, prerequisite(s), and credit hours for crosslisted courses are identical. A crosslisted course is taught by the same instructor and meets in the same location and at the same time as the course with which it is crosslisted. Students may register under either designator but may not repeat the course by enrolling a second time under the other designator.

Coscheduled Courses

Coscheduled courses are upper-division undergraduate courses that are taught at the same time and in the same location as graduate courses. The undergraduate and graduate versions of the course must have separate requirements as described in the syllabi for the courses and separate grading policies for undergraduate and graduate students.


Auditing refers to the practice of attending a course for informational instruction only. The privilege of auditing courses is limited to matriculated students and senior citizens. Matriculated students who wish to audit a course must first obtain permission from the instructor. Senior citizens must arrange to audit courses through the School of Professional Development. An auditor does not receive academic credit for the course, nor does the University maintain any record of the auditor’s attendance in the course.

Individual instructors may establish policies for auditors in their courses. In general, auditors are expected to refrain from participating in class discussions and from turning in or asking for grading of homework, term papers, or examinations. After the end of the add/drop period, the student may not change status in a course from auditor to registered.

Course Prerequisites

Students should meet the prerequisites to a course before taking the course. Prerequisites indicate through specific coursework the type of knowledge, the level of academic maturity, or the acceptance to a specific program that a student should have achieved before taking a course. Completion of the prerequisites may be in progress at the time the student advance registers for the following semester. The University has the option to de-register, by the end of the first week of classes, any student not meeting the prerequisites to a course. In addition, some courses enforce prerequisites at the time of registration. Students who believe they have satisfied the prerequisites to a course through transfer work or through other study or experience should seek permission of the instructor before registering. Permission of the instructor supersedes stated prerequisites. Certain courses may be taken only with the permission of the instructor or of the department; this is listed as a prerequisite to the course.

Advisory prerequisites indicate the type of knowledge a student should have in order to do better in a course than would be expected without that knowledge. Students electing to take a course without satisfying the advisory prerequisite should expect to have to work harder and not do as well as students who have completed the advisory prerequisite.

Limits on Course Credits and Grading Options

There are limits on the number of credits from certain courses that can be applied toward the 120 required for the B.A. or B.S. degree, or the 128 required for the B.E. degree. Listed below are the maximum numbers of credits that can be applied toward the total number of credits required for a degree:

Independent study (30 credits): courses with numbers 273, 287, 444-449, 484-489, 499

Internships (12 credits): of which no more than 6 credits may be EXT 288

Activity-related courses (9 credits): AFS 283, LHD 307, LHD 308, PSY 283

Undergraduate teaching practica (6 credits)

Maximum numbers of credits that can be earned in non-liberal arts and sciences courses: B.A. candidates 30 credits; B.S. candidates 60 credits; B.E. candidates 90 credits

The following courses are non-liberal arts and sciences courses: ARS 154BUS 210, 214, 348; MUS individual instrument or voice instruction courses; student teaching courses numbered 449, 450, 451, 452, and 454; THR 244, 295, 296, 301-307, 340; BME, CME, ESE, ESG, ESM, and MEC courses; HAD, HAN, HAS, HBA, HBM, HDH, HDO, HDP, HNI courses; HWC fieldwork courses

Credits by approved examinations (30 credits): Approved examination programs are Advanced Placement examinations, College Level Examination Program subject examination, Regents College examinations, Stony Brook Challenge examination

Graduate courses (6 credits)

Developmental courses (0 credits): AIM 102, MAP 101, and MAP 103 are developmental courses

Repeated courses (0 credits): Courses are not repeatable unless specifically noted as repeatable in the Undergraduate Bulletin course description. See the entries “Retaking Courses” and “Repeatable Courses” earlier in this chapter for more information.

Restrictions on Credits Earned with a Grade of P: Students must complete at least 100 credits of the 120 required for the B.A. or B.S. or of the 128 credits required for the B.E. degree with a letter grade. In addition, courses taken under the Pass/No Credit option will not satisfy D.E.C. or general education requirements.