Choosing a Program of Study

Study across the Disciplines

The diversity of the academic programs at Ithaca College affords students a rich variety, including many cross-disciplinary study opportunities. Whether students are trying to decide on a major or looking to supplement their major with study in another field, they are strongly urged to inform themselves about the range of possibilities open to them. The sections on individual schools in this publication provide specific information about programs, but students may find this overview helpful as they begin to explore the entire College curriculum.

Exploratory Program

Students who wish to investigate a variety of academic disciplines before selecting a major may enter Ithaca College through the Exploratory Program in the School of Humanities and Sciences. Exploratory students are assigned experienced academic advisers who help them choose courses from the liberal arts and preprofessional curricula at the College. After one semester in the program, students are free to enter a major in H&S or apply for tranfer to another school of the College. They may also remain in the Exploratory Program through the end of the sophomore year, or until they have earned 60 credits, at which time they are required to declare a major. Exploratory students are encouraged to take advantage of all the College resources open to the general student population.

Honors Program

A select number of exceptionally qualified applicants to Ithaca College are invited to apply to the Ithaca College Honors Program; if admitted, they participate in a series of special, intensive seminars complemented by an array of out-of-class activities. Students who complete the full seminar sequence graduate with honors in humanities and sciences as designated on their official College transcript. The Ithaca College Honors Program does not conflict with departmental honors programs; qualified students can complete both.


Numerous majors relating to specific disciplines are offered by the various schools. The requirements are set out under each department's listings.

Elective Courses

Ithaca College encourages students to explore disciplines other than the one in which they are majoring. Students should consider taking their open-elective courses in subjects outside their major. Each school has many courses open to nonmajors, subject only to the prerequisites specified in the course descriptions and availability of space in the course.

Double Majors

With careful planning, it is possible to complete two majors, even if they are from different schools within the College. The Office of the Registrar can advise students on the feasibility of particular combinations.

Interdisciplinary Programs

The following majors combine courses of study in two or more disciplines, and in some instances two or more schools: aging studies; applied economics; applied psychology; architectural studies; biochemistry; culture and communication; emerging media; environmental science; environmental studies; film, photography, and visual arts; integrated marketing communications; health policy studies; legal studies; mathematics-computer science; mathematics-computer science (teaching); mathematics-economics; mathematics-physics; musical theater; philosophy-religion; sport management; and theater arts management.

Six majors have requirements for a minor in another discipline or for a planned interdisciplinary combination of courses: aging studies, culture and communication, environmental studies, journalism, music in combination with an outside field, and writing.

Planned Studies Major

Students whose interests do not coincide with any of the formally defined majors may wish to consider the planned studies major. The emphasis is first on developing an individualized educational goal and then on selecting appropriate courses to meet that goal. This major may lead to either a B.A. or a B.S. degree, depending on the nature of the focus. The planned studies program is based in the School of Humanities and Sciences, although student plans may include courses drawn from across the College. All planned studies majors must fulfill the humanities and sciences general education requirement.

Music for the Non-Music Major

Musically talented students who are enrolled in a major other than music may pursue their musical interests by taking a music minor, individual courses, ensembles, or lessons.

International Programs

The Office of International Programs encourages students to take advantage of opportunities to spend a summer, semester, or academic year abroad. Ithaca College sponsors programs in Australia, China, the Czech Republic, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Spain, and Sweden. Additional study abroad sites are being developed. Students also may participate in affiliated or nonaffiliated programs throughout the world that are sponsored by other institutions. For complete details see the "International Programs" section.
International Programs

Teacher Education

Ithaca College maintains its long-standing commitment to the preparation of teachers by providing programs that lead to initial and professional New York State teaching certification in a variety of disciplines. All current teacher education programs are registered with the New York State Education Department. For specific information on requirements, please see department requirements.

All students applying for New York State certification are required by the New York State commissioner of education to achieve a passing score on the appropriate New York State teacher certification examinations and complete a fingerprint-supported criminal history background check prior to certification. Information on these requirements may be obtained from the College's Department of Education.
Office of Teaching and Certification

Exchanges with Cornell University and Wells College

Ithaca College's reciprocal arrangements with Cornell University and with Wells College allow matriculated, full-time Ithaca College students, with prior approval and within stated stipulations, to cross-register for one course or up to 4 credits per semester at Cornell University or Wells College. These arrangements are available during the fall and spring semesters only, contingent on space availability at Cornell or Wells. Students may petition the School of Humanities and Sciences to have exchange program credits satisfy Ithaca College General Education requirements. Exchange credits will satisfy students' distribution requirements as deemed appropriate by the Ithaca College Office of the Registrar.

Undergraduate students must be currently enrolled for at least 12 credits at Ithaca College and may take only courses applicable to their programs of study that are not offered at Ithaca College. (Schedule conflicts or unavailability of courses in a given semester do not constitute a valid rationale for enrollment as an exchange student.) Credits and transcripts are automatically transferred to Ithaca College and are included in GPA calculations. No additional tuition is charged, except in the case of students enrolled during any one semester for a combined total of more than 18 credits. Those students are subject to additional tuition charges on a per-credit basis.

Program petition forms and further information are available online:
IC-CU Exchange

Optometry 3-1 Program

This joint program with the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and the State University of New York College of Optometry enables students in certain disciplines to receive both a bachelor's degree from Ithaca College and a doctor of optometry degree in seven years rather than eight. Students must complete 90 credits of college and departmental requirements in a major at Ithaca College, as well as satisfy the requirements specified for admission to the optometry college. After successfully completing the first year at the optometry college, students receive the bachelor's degree from Ithaca College. After completing the remaining three years at the optometry college, students are awarded the doctor of optometry degree. The majors in biology, psychology, and chemistry require some courses that are entrance requirements for optometry college. However, no specific major is required, as long as the optometry entrance requirements can be incorporated into the major.

This academic program must be planned carefully. Students interested in the program should contact the chair of the Premedical Sciences Advisory Committee upon matriculation at Ithaca College. A standard 4-4 program is also available.

3-2 Program in Physics-Engineering

This joint program provides the opportunity for selected physics majors to complete an accelerated three-year program in physics at Ithaca College and then spend an additional two years in the College of Engineering at Cornell University, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Technology of the State University of New York at Binghamton. Upon satisfactory completion of this five-year sequence, students are awarded a bachelor's degree from Ithaca College and the appropriate engineering degree from one of the above engineering schools. Additional information may be obtained from the chair of the physics department.

Ithaca College-Thunderbird Linkage Program

The linkage program with the Thunderbird School of Global Management provides students with guided transition to a graduate professional business program. Under a system of preapproved waivers, students may complete the master of international management degree at Thunderbird in as little as one year (three terms). Students interested in this program need to plan early to make sure they meet all the prerequisites as part of their undergraduate degree program. Further information and advising are available from the School of Business dean's office.

Ithaca College M.B.A. 4+1 Programs

The School of Business at Ithaca College offers two graduate degrees, an M.B.A. and an M.B.A. in professional accountancy. Both degrees consist of 35 credit hours of required graduate coursework and can be completed in 12-14 months. Although some prerequisite business coursework may be required, an undergraduate degree in business is not required for admission to the M.B.A. program. Students with undergraduate degrees in non-business fields are encouraged to consider the benefits of obtaining an M.B.A. Admission to the M.B.A. in professional accountancy program requires an undergraduate degree in accounting. Graduate scholarships and assistantships are available.

Further information is available from the dean's office in the School of Business and from the school's website.
School of Business

National Affiliated Programs in Marine Biology

Affiliations with the Sea Education Association (SEA) and the Duke University Marine Laboratory (DUML) allow students to broaden their understanding of the ocean firsthand. Both are one-semester programs (fall, spring, or summer). Certain courses will fulfill elective credit requirements for a biology degree or general education requirements in the School of Humanities and Sciences. For information and advisement, please see program coordinators in the biology department. Students should apply through the Office of International Programs.

ROTC Officer Education Program

Under an agreement with Cornell University, students may enroll in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) programs of two military services -- the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army.

The objective of the program is to prepare men and women for positions of responsibility as officers in the military services. Students may enroll in classes or in programs of two, three, or four years. A range of scholarships is available to qualified applicants. These scholarships may cover up to full tuition at Ithaca College; mandatory fees and textbook costs, $300-$1,200 per year; and a $300-$500 per month stipend during the academic year. All participants in their junior and senior years receive the nontaxable monthly stipend, whether or not they are on a scholarship. Periodically, midyear scholarships may be available as well. Two- or three-year applicants for each service must contact the appropriate ROTC unit early in the second semester of their freshman or sophomore year to initiate the selection process.

In most cases, the cost of taking these courses is $15 a semester. All uniforms, books, and supplies required by the ROTC unit are provided.

There are no military obligations for enrolling in ROTC courses. However, those students accepted into the advanced program during their sophomore, junior, or senior year may incur an active duty commitment ranging from 4 to 10 years. The commitment varies by program within the two services.

Further information can be obtained from Professor Bill Tastle in the School of Business or the Office of the Registrar. Professor Tastle is the campus coordinator for ROTC programs on the Ithaca College campus.

Washington Semester Program

The Washington Semester Program is an internship-centered program in the nation's capital designed to meet the academic and professional interests of students from a variety of majors. In addition to a 6-credit internship, students enroll in two semester-long courses and up to three 1-credit academic seminars. To fully complement the academic and internship experience, the program also provides cocurricular opportunities for students to experience the richness of Washington's cultural and political life. Further information about the program can be obtained from the director of the Washington Semester Program, 607-274-3143.
Washington Semester Program