Frequently Asked Questions

About Academic Advising

Where are the academic advising offices?

Undergraduate students can meet with professional advisors and peer advisors in the office on the 2nd floor of the Engineering Building (EB-M00). The Coordinator of Graduate Programs can be found in the Engineering Building (EB-M00).

How do I identify my faculty advisor?

Each department has a faculty member who serves as the undergraduate advisor within the discipline, as well as one who serves as a graduate advisor. If you are not certain who your faculty advisor is, you can check on your department web page under People or speak to the department secretary. In addition, your department chair can serve as a valuable resource for advice about the professional path you are following to launch your career.

What if I have more questions?

The Watson Advising Office can help provide you with answers to your questions, or refer you to various campus resources. In addition to the people who support you within the Watson School and across Binghamton University, there are many additional resources available to you. Check out the list of resources on the On-Campus Resources page.


If I haven't taken Watson 111, is there a course that is a suitable substitution and is it possible to transfer this course in from another institution?

A situation like this is dealt with on an individual basis in consultation with academic advising or the undergraduate director of your department.

How important is it to follow the recommended schedule? What happens if you fall behind?

Engineering is rigid because many courses are only offered in the fall or spring, with many being sequential. It is important to speak with Watson Advising prior to making any changes to the outlined curriculum for your major. Some pre-approved math, science and humanities courses can be taken during the summer.

If a course requires permission from a professor, how do I do that?

Speak with the professor directly. It is important to read the notes attached to a course in the schedule of classes to review restrictions or needed permissions. 

What if I keep getting shut out of Body/Wellness courses?

If you can, attend the course and speak to the instructor. You can petition to enroll in the course by filling out a form in the Health & Wellness Studies department.

How does a student petition a class?

Go to the department you wish to petition and pick up the form, bring it to class and have the instructor sign it.

What is the overload procedure?

Use the General Academic Petition form from the Watson Advising office, listing the courses you are registered for, the course you would like to register for, your GPA, the reason and total number of credits you need. Obtain the appropriate signatures and hand it into the Watson Advising office in EB-M00 for processing. You must have a 3.0 GPA and permission from your department to overload. An automatic overload to 22 credits will be granted for students with at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA.

Is a 300-level course too advanced for freshmen? How does the course numbering work?

Generally speaking, 100- and 200-level are suitable for freshman/sophomore, 300 and 400 are suitable for juniors/seniors. For further details, check the course description.

What do I do if I miss several classes due to a family emergency?

This is worked out on an individual basis with your instructors, but the Watson Advising office can also help. Call 607-777-6203 or visit the Watson Advising Office in EB-M00 for assistance.

What do you do if a course is still on your record after you thought you dropped it?

If it is before the drop deadline, go on BUBRAIN and drop it. If it is past the drop deadline, contact the Watson Advising office.

What should I do if I'm struggling in one of my courses?

Students have many resources to utilize if they are struggling in a course. Students should consider visiting their professor or TA during office hours, accessing on-campus tutoring services, or creating study groups. Many departments also have Help Rooms that are open to students seeking extra help in a particular subject such as math or chemistry.

Where can I find tutoring?

Students can access tutoring services using TutorTrac

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What is DegreeWorks?

DegreeWorks is a computer program that provides progress-toward-degree reports for students. A DegreeWorks report shows all of the requirements needed to complete a degree, including the General Education Requirements. Students should review their DegreeWorks report to track their progress toward degree completion, plan for future courses, and review their course history. More information about DegreeWorks including FAQ's and tips for reading your DegreeWorks report can be found here.

Where can I find my DegreeWorks report?

DegreeWorks reports are available on BU Brain.

Financial Aid

How can I find out about the possibilities for financial aid?

Binghamton University has comprehensive financial aid services. If you have questions, most of your answers will be found on the financial aid site which includes information on everything from the cost of attending Binghamton University to details about scholarship opportunities and information on how to apply for aid.

Can I receive financial aid for summer courses?

It is best to visit the financial aid office and check with your counselor there about your individual financial situation.

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Why are grades important?

Grades are just one indication of a student's progress and can reflect how well a student is learning and advancing their skills. Other means for assessment and to prepare to be competitive in the job market include involvement in extra-curricular activities, both on and off campus. These activities might include holding leadership positions in organizations, completing internships, taking advantage of study-abroad opportunities and pursuing career-related jobs.

Is a D grade acceptable toward my major?

It is best to consult with your department or the Watson Advising Office about passing grades for courses. Some students are advised to retake a course if they did not meet the minimum grade requirement. 

How many pass/fails are students allowed in the Watson school?

CS Students are allowed to Pass/Fail four credits of FREE ELECTIVE only. Engineering students cannot pass/fail any courses.

If I fail a class but then pass it, are both grades averaged into my GPA?


Does a "D" grade for a Gen Ed course fulfill the requirement?


How does a student appeal a grade?

An appeal of a grade is a situation that the student and professor resolve together. The grade appeal process can be found here.

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General Education

What are Gen Ed courses?

Binghamton University requires its students to include a comprehensive General Education curriculum in their course of instruction. With broad goals, the Gen Ed curriculum is meant to help students develop knowledge and appreciation in a number of areas, including aesthetics, composition and oral communication, foreign language, global interdependencies, humanities, laboratory science, mathematics, physical health and wellness, pluralism in the United States, and social science. More Gen Ed information is available online.

How many Gen Ed courses are there?

There are 10 different requirements: Composition(C), Oral Communication(O), Pluralism(P), Globalism(G), Laboratory Science(L), Social Science (N), Math (M), Aesthetic (A), Humanities (H), Physical Education (Y/S/B), and Foreign Language**.

** Beginning Fall 2002, waived for engineering only. All CS majors are required to take one semester of foreign language IF a score of 85 is not met on the NYS Regent Examination.

Does WTSN 111/112 fulfill a Gen Ed requirement?

Yes, a "J" with the successful completion of WTSN 103/111 and WTSN104/112.

If a course has more than one Gen Ed letter, do I get all of them?

No, only one Gen Ed course can fill one Gen Ed requirement. The exception to this is the Composition "C", or "J" which will double count.

Is a foreign language course required for engineering students?

Not for Engineering students. CS students are required 1 semester of a college level foreign language, if an 85 in the NYS regents is not met.

What does it mean when a course has a "W" indicator on it?

This relates only to Harpur College writing requirements and is not equal to the General Education "C" indicator required by Watson.

If I did not attend a New York state school, how do I fulfill the Pluralism course?

If you attended a non-regents high school and earned a grade of 85 or better or a B in US History, you may take any "P" course.

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What can you tell me about the international aspects of the Watson School and Binghamton University?

Binghamton University has been recognized with seven national awards for our comprehensive internationalization. As a Watson School student, you must recognize that you will work in a highly competitive, global world addressing broad-reaching technology challenges. Many of your questions about Binghamton University's international experience can be answered by the Office of International Programs. If you are an international student within the Watson School, you also have access to services through the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

What is the International Certificate program and where can I find information about it?

You will find everything you need through the Office of International Programs.

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Majors / Minors

What majors are available to undergraduates in the Watson School?

The Watson School offers majors in each of its departments: Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering. For information on specific majors at the undergraduate level, and degree programs at the graduate level, speak with an academic advisor in the Watson Advising Office or the department you are interested in.

What minors are available to undergraduates in the Watson School?

Three minors are offered in The Watson School:

Is it possible to complete a minor with an engineering major?

Once you have accrued 60 credits on the system (including transfer and AP), go to the department you would like to minor in and pick up the application. Meet with an advisor to help fit it in your schedule. Note: COE CANNOT minor in CS.

Is it possible to double major in electrical engineering and computer engineering?

Yes, dual majors are available for students.
Students must complete all the required courses for both electrical and computer engineering programs.
This dual major can be completed in five years.
It provides more in-depth and broader knowledge than either major alone.

When do engineering students confirm their majors and how difficult is it to switch to another Watson major?

Beginning with the fall 2003 freshman class, engineering students confirm their major during the second semester.

How do I declare candidacy for graduation?

Follow the link to commencement.


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What is academic probation?

To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students are required to earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all Binghamton University courses taken for credit. In many cases, academic probation serves as a serious warning as well as provides students with an opportunity to take corrective action and get back on track. To learn more about the guidelines, refer to the Academic Standing section of the University Bulletin.

What can I do if I am placed on academic probation?

While on academic probation, you are expected to take appropriate steps to ensure your future success. This should include consultation with a faculty advisor or member of the Watson School professional advising staff. To be a successful student, you may need to change your academic direction or make lifestyle or study habit changes. Binghamton University has many resources available on campus to help you formulate your plan.

How many credits can a student on probation take?

A student on academic probation can take 14 credits.

Where can I find additional information about academic probation?

Additional information about academic probation can be found in the University Bulletin.

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Transfer Credits

What are transfer credits?

Transfer credits are those granted to students transferring into Binghamton University from another institution that are determined to be equivalent to credits earned in Binghamton University courses.

How will I know if a class I take over the summer will transfer back to Binghamton and how will it affect my GPA and overall credits?

In the Watson School Advising Office you can pick up a Petition to Take Courses at Another Institution form. Read the instructions and fill it out. This will tell you if it will transfer and for which requirement. Your GPA will not be affected, but your credits will be updated upon successful receipt of your transcript from that school.

How do I find out if my transcript from another school has been applied to my record?

Check your DegreeWorks Report.

Can physics be transferred from another school for an engineering major?

File a Petition to Take Courses at Another Institution form. If it is approved, it will count. For an engineering major, you must make sure that the physics class you are taking is calculus-based, otherwise it will not count.

How do I do an intra-University transfer and what is the necessary GPA?

The Intra-University Transfer(IUT) application can be found on BU Brain. Information about an Intra-University Transfer can be found in the advising office of the school that you wish to transfer into. If you are interested in transferring into Watson, please visit the Watson School Advising Office in EB-M00.

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Volunteer/Internships/Study Abroad

Why should I consider a volunteer, internship or study-abroad opportunity?

Volunteering, interning or studying abroad are all ways to build a solid foundation of skills while providing opportunities for you to network and gain experience. Employers look for well-rounded candidates who can contribute to their organization in a number of ways. Extra-curricular activities such as serving as a volunteer or interning with a business or non-profit organization provide the chance to expand your horizons, making you a more attractive candidate for employment or for pursuing your life's passion.

Where would I find a list of volunteer opportunities?

The Center for Civic Engagement, located in the University Union-137 can help you find volunteer opportunities.

Is it possible to study abroad?

Yes, however studying abroad takes careful planning. Check with the Office of International Programs on the ground floor of Bartle Library North-300. Students should also meet with an academic advisor to discuss options for courses and degree progress.

How do I make an appointment to see an advisor?

Go visit his or her office. If your faculty advisor is unable to answer your questions, the Watson Advising Office can make appointments or visit during walk-in hours. The peer advisors can also answer many of your questions.

Where can I find information on jobs or internships?

Watson Students should utilize the Watson School Career and Alumni Connections office to seek out internship or job opportunities.

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Last Updated: 8/3/16