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Academic Program Options

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Catherine Avadikian, Director

The University Studies Program was designed to serve those individuals who are ready to enter into their freshman year of college without making an initial commitment to a major field of study. It enables students to more fully investigate the full range of academic offerings relating to their specific academic and career interests. Note: Students registered under the University Studies umbrella are full-time matriculated undergraduates who have yet to designate a specific major area of study. In all cases, a selection of an academic major will occur prior to the end of the sophomore year.

Many students begin their studies without declaring a major. Frequently, their interests span over several disciplines and they need time to explore their choices. Students who enroll in the University Studies Program work with the Program Director to develop an individualized course schedule for the first year designed to facilitate exploration and keep all options open. This first-year program allows students the freedom to experience and familiarize themselves with degree programs and departments of study based on their individual interests and career goals.

The program is structured and designed to assist students in making a sound, educated, and well thought-out decision about an appropriate major. In the first year, students are placed in courses based on their interests and recommendation of their advisor so that within two semesters, they will be able to enroll in a major of their choice and still earn a bachelor’s degree in four years.

Additionally, students are encouraged to participate in professional societies and counseling activities that can help them define their academic goals and career-related objectives. Personalized academic advising is emphasized and students are directed to take full advantage of related services available to them at Clarkson.

For further information, call the program office at 315-268-3948 or visit


Students may prepare for further professional study in medical, dental and veterinary schools through any major at Clarkson. The University’s Health Professions Advisory Committee meets with students individually as they progress through their courses of study, providing guidance and advice in meeting University and departmental requirements and ensuring preparation for entrance into professional schools. For more information, contact the chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee at 315-268-2391 (see Degree Programs).


Students interested in preparing for entrance into Clarkson’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program should contact the Department of Health Sciences at 315-268-3786.

Katherine Hannan Wears, Advisor

Students from many degree programs at Clarkson have entered law school. Educators agree that success in a law career depends more upon the development of skills and habits conducive to legal reasoning than a student’s specific major. Students planning to seek admission to law school should use elective courses to develop a broad cultural background; intellectual curiosity; and reading, writing and speaking skills. Students interested in law school may consider completing the Law Studies Minor.

Courses in business, engineering, and science help develop analytical skills and the technical background often helpful in understanding potential legal problems. Liberal Arts courses in the humanities and social sciences provide broad cultural background and the opportunity to develop analytical and verbal skills, since they entail a wide range of reading assignments, emphasize class discussion, and offer students the opportunity to prepare and criticize oral and written work.

Clarkson University and Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, New Hampshire, have signed an articulation agreement for students interested in pursuing a law degree specializing in intellectual property law. Franklin Pierce Law Center is an internationally known school to train specialists in patent law and other intellectual property fields.

Students admitted to Clarkson as first-year students can file a joint admission application with Franklin Pierce. When they complete their baccalaureate degree from Clarkson, they will be fully admitted to the Franklin Pierce Law Center providing they have a final undergraduate grade-point average of at least 3.25, an LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) score at or above the 75th percentile, and that they have not engaged in any intentional academic misconduct or criminal activity

Pre-law advising is available for students in all majors to help them develop academic programs that will serve as a strong foundation for future legal studies. A list of pre-law advisors is available through the Dean’s Office in the School of Business at 315-268-2300. The advisors provide counseling and information about law schools and careers in law.


Clarkson has developed courses to provide students with the opportunity to solve real-world design problems in a team-based multidisciplinary atmosphere. Often these courses culminate in national competitions. Such multidisciplinary project experience has been increasingly valued by recruiters in the corporate marketplace. MP courses provide course credit, while MT courses carry no credit, but participation is recorded on the student's transcript.


Students sometimes wish to pursue studies preparing them for teacher certification while completing their major at Clarkson. Although Clarkson does not have an education department, the necessary courses are available via cross-registration through the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley (Clarkson, St. Lawrence, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton).


Clarkson offers two five-week summer sessions for undergraduates and graduate students. A well-balanced offering of courses enables students to:

  • participate in programs such as Cooperative Education or Study Abroad and still graduate with their class;
  • enrich their academic program with electives that do not fit into the normal semester;
  • take courses required for continuation in a specific program or transfer into a new area.

The executive master’s program in Engineering and Global Operations Management (EGOM) offers an opportunity for practicing engineers and technical managers to keep abreast of leading-edge concepts in both technology and management by completing the degree in three years.


Students who have graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class and who enroll in a major in Business, Arts & Sciences, or Engineering and Management may complete a bachelor’s degree in three calendar years. To satisfy this accelerated schedule, students apply Advanced Placement credits and/or work on special research projects during the summer.


The Office of Educational Partnerships (OEP) provides structure, coordination and support for the growing number of educational outreach programs on campus. A University-level effort to support educational outreach will help to improve our outreach offerings, our relationships with area school districts, and our ability to secure external funding for both education and research activities.

The role of universities in supporting the education of children in K-12 levels is becoming increasingly important. Professional societies, corporate foundations, and federal funding agencies recognize the need for University-school district partnerships and are offering funding directly for the development of partnerships and integration of University-level research efforts into the education of K-12 students.

Examples of these activities are the inclusion of K-12 students and teachers in proposed research activities, participation in the recruitment and training of K-12 math, science and technology teachers, and development of educational materials for students at all levels. Other major funding initiatives from the National Science Foundation, New York State and NASA, among others, require K-12 outreach as part of the education plan.

Numerous faculty at Clarkson University are currently involved with or interested in increasing their efforts in educational outreach. The Office of Educational Partnerships (OEP) provides training and advice, coordinates activities and acts as the primary liaison between the University and area school districts. Institutionalization of the various current and proposed outreach activities will:

  • Increase the effectiveness and coordination of Clarkson’s programs
  • Provide a "clearing house" for proposed outreach activities that may be initiated at the University, or requests that may come from local schools
  • Encourage more faculty members to become involved with such activities

David Craig, Director

Clarkson offers an intensive, four-year undergraduate Honors curriculum for exceptionally talented students majoring in any of our degree programs. Applicants typically rank in the top 10% of their high school class and have SAT scores of at least 1950 or demonstrate outstanding academic or leadership achievements. The Clarkson University Honors Program admits 30 new students per year.

Our Honors Program exemplifies our rich technological environment and emphasis on personal relationships. Honors courses address real-world problems. The approach is open-ended and project-based. The program offers students opportunities to engage in original research; challenges them to make the most of their intellectual gifts; and requires them to develop their creative, analytical, communication, and teamwork skills.

Honors students enjoy many benefits, including: an Honors Scholarship as part of their Clarkson financial assistance package; small sections of just 10 to 20 students in Honors classes; special project and research opportunities through all four years; and interaction with students from a variety of academic areas.

Students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.25. Students may enter as incoming first-year students or during their first year.

Students typically take one course per semester in the Honors Program. Courses develop as interlocking, multidisciplinary sequences, bringing perspectives from different disciplines to bear on a contemporary, open-ended problem or challenge.

Topics focus on current and emerging problems in science, technology, and society and courses take advantage of Clarkson’s strengths in computer education and close campus ties to the natural environment. Junior and senior seminars and colloquia provide opportunities for all Honors students to present and discuss their research.

The four-year sequence comprises the following general topics:

First year — The Implications of Research and the Tools for Problem Solving

Second Year — The Contemporary World: Its Problems and their Origins

Third Year — Science: Problems and Possibilities

Fourth Year — Research and Modernity Thesis Project.

The Honors Program provides summer research opportunities for all students, including a five-week program for entering students. Students participate in cutting-edge research with faculty mentors, and the program provides board and room at no cost.

The Honors Program at Clarkson is administered by an Honors Council comprising 12 faculty and administrators who represent a broad spectrum of academic interests and expertise, and six students who are elected by their peers. Contact Honors Director David Craig at 315-268-2290 or 2320, or through e-mail at for more information.


The Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley was chartered in 1970 to stimulate a variety of cooperative activities among Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Canton, and SUNY Potsdam. With only 10 miles separating the four campuses, a significant amount of social, cultural and academic cooperation is possible.

Clarkson students have ready access to most resources at the other colleges. Students cross-register for courses within the consortium, and some sharing of faculty takes place. Full-time students are eligible to take up to two courses during the academic year on a space-available basis at one or another of the campuses. Special events are publicized through joint calendars and other means. Each of the four libraries permits students from all of the colleges to draw upon the total holdings of approximately one million volumes. (See Educational Resources Center.)

There is a special form and instructions for cross-registration available from Student Administrative Services or online at, or from the Associated Colleges office (267-3331 or or online at The form requires approving signatures of the student’s advisor as well as the course instructor. The completed form is returned to Student Administrative Services. All students cross-registering must abide by all appropriate regulations — such as attendance, honor systems and parking — at the host institution. Students must adhere to Clarkson’s policies, procedures and deadlines related to adding or dropping a cross-registered class, incompletes, withdrawals and election of a pass/no-credit grading basis.

As long as the cross-registered course credits do not increase the total beyond the 19 credits covered by Clarkson’s undergraduate tuition, no additional tuition costs will accrue. If cross-registration credits result in a course load requiring additional tuition charges, the student is responsible for those charges just as if the cross-registered credits were Clarkson credits. Graduate students will be charged per credit hour for any cross-registered course. Students are responsible for any special fees, such as lab fees, fees for registration, or transcript fees.

Grades for courses taken through cross-registration will be recorded on the Clarkson transcript and will be included in the student’s overall grade-point average.