Academic News

Pathways Implementation Procedures

May 3, 2012

Dear Chief Academic Officers and Pathways Liaisons,

A number of issues have been raised about Pathways implementation procedures. A CAO Task Force chaired by Hunter Provost Vita Rabinowitz discussed several of these matters and made recommendations to the Academic Council. The consensus reached is reflected in the policy statements below, policies that CUNY is adopting.

1. Which students will be covered by Pathways? What about continuing students and readmitted students?

  • All entering students will be covered by Pathways beginning in Fall 2013. This will include all freshmen, CUNY transfer students (from one CUNY college to another or across degree levels in CUNY comprehensive colleges), and all students switching from non-degree to degree programs.
  • All readmitted students who have been out of CUNY for more than one semester (excluding the summer) will also follow Pathways requirements on their return. Students who stop out for more than one semester may petition for a variance, under procedures established by each college, to continue to be held to general education  requirements that were in effect when they first enrolled.
  • In keeping with standard practice at other universities, continuing students and those who are readmitted within one semester of stopping out will follow the general education requirements in place when they entered CUNY. Such students will be allowed to opt in to Pathways if they decide it would be beneficial for them. Each college will establish a procedure for such notifications.

2. What policies will govern the acceptance of Advanced Placement credits? What exemptions might apply to students deemed proficient in various fields?

  • AP credits will continue to transfer in as “courses taken” in the form of college credits and thus may fulfill Pathways Common Core categories as designated by their colleges. There will be further discussion of what level of AP score will be accepted across CUNY for securing Common Core credit. There will also be further discussion of whether there should be a limit on the number of AP credits that will be accepted for credit.
  • Students deemed to be proficient via testing in English, math, or a foreign language do not necessarily gain exemption from fulfilling a relevant Common Core category. This will depend on a college’s policy in this regard.

3. What policies will govern the acceptance of transfer credits from outside of CUNY for general education credit?

  • A student who transfers in from a non-CUNY college will have his or her courses evaluated for Common Core and/or College Option credit by the CUNY college to which he or she is admitted. That college will determine which area or areas of the Common Core and/or College Option, if any, the students’ courses will be deemed to have fulfilled or partially fulfilled. If the student later transfers to another CUNY college, that college will respect the initial college’s decision about which areas were fulfilled. This will insure that students can count on decisions about which areas of the Common Core and/or College Option have been completed.
  • This policy will apply only to courses in the Common Core and College Option.

Two other Pathways policies have been adopted.

  • On a procedural matter, Professor and Senior Advisor for Undergraduate Studies Josh Wilner of City College raised the question of whether existing courses, which have already been approved via the Chancellor’s University Report, will have to be resubmitted via CUR to be included in the Common Core. CUNY’s Office of General Counsel has determined that no resubmission is required. The initial approval of these courses will be respected. CAOs will need, however, to submit complete and authoritative lists of courses approved by their own governance and by the Common Core Course Review Committee to their college registrars for coding in DegreeWorks and other systems as required.
  • I would also like to reaffirm a waiver opportunity announced in an April 16, 2012 message to Chief Academic Officers. A Hunter science faculty member pointed out to the Central Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) how problematic it would be for students in certain majors/programs that include significant science requirements to complete the Common Core coursework in the Scientific World category (see category II.E. at  As a result, OAA will grant the following waiver for the Scientific World category to all colleges that request it.  The waiver will be for students who intend to major in a STEM or health discipline, or who are preparing to apply to a graduate STEM or health program, or who are planning to teach science or math in grades K-12.  The waiver will allow these students to substitute any STEM course of at least 3 credits (and at least 3 contact hours) for the Scientific World area, assuming that course satisfies a major degree requirement at that college.  The substituted course must be in addition to the course that the student uses to satisfy category I.C. of the Common Core, the Life and Physical Sciences category.  Colleges can apply for this type of waiver to be available for their students by emailing

If you have any questions or need any additional information about any of these policies or related matters, or if there are other similar sorts of policy matters that you believe need to be considered, please contact Associate University Provost Julia Wrigley ( or send a message to and it will be forwarded to the appropriate person.

I hope that this information is useful to you as we move forwards in the implementation of Pathways.  Thank you for your attention to these matters.


Alexandra W. Logue
Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost