Personalized Learning

A custom, individualized approach to creating (and earning) your degree.

Why do we do this?

  • Two million New Yorkers have some college credit, but no degree.
  • Many working adults don’t think they have the time to finish their degree.
  • Some people aren’t sure what their credits can get them or how to make sense of it all.
  • Others have been away from college long enough that they doubt their ability to navigate higher education.

Degree Programs Built Around YOU

At SUNY Empire, we help you identify, organize, and make use of the experiences and knowledge you’ve gained over your lifetime to develop a degree program FOR YOU.

It’s a holistic approach to degree planning centered around you and your goals.

Yes, we offer prescribed majors with established courses, but we also know that degree plans are not one-size-fits-all. That’s why we provide the best of both worlds — with as much structure of flexibility as you want.

SUNY Empire offers you the opportunity to develop a degree that enhances and advances your unique experiences, interests, and prior learning. We’ll help you channel the things that make you YOU into a manageable blueprint for earning your degree.

From personalized degree plans and flexible course schedules, to earning college credit for learning gained outside a traditional classroom, our unique approach has been a critical part of our mission for more than 50 years.

So bring your experience, round up your achievements, and look at higher education in a new way. There’s a world of opportunity out there, and it begins at Empire State University.

Note: Our flexible, personalized learning applies to most students. However, with certain programs, such as Nursing and graduate studies, there is less flexibility due to state and national regulations.



Learn on your terms. You decide what, when, where, and how to study. We don’t box you into prescribed majors, schedules, or course formats. This is your education.


Earn credit for knowledge gained through work and life experience, including standardized exams, military training, and professional licensure. It adds up, which saves you time and money with your degree.


Every student at SUNY Empire gets a faculty mentor. Your mentor will work with you every step of the way to help you shape your degree plan, provide guidance and encouragement, and keep you on track.


Combine courses across academic disciplines to create a program that is uniquely you. You can customize your education to fit your specific needs and goals. This is how you make your degree work for you.


  • More than half of students who complete an associate or a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Empire receive PLA credits.1
  • On average, students who receive PLA credits and complete an associate degree receive approximately 20-25 credits. This can cut time to degree by 2-3 terms and provide savings of approximately $7,000.
  • On average, students who receive PLA credits and complete a bachelor’s degree receive approximately 30-35 credits. This can cut time to degree by 3-4 terms and provide savings of more than $10,000.2 When compared to private college tuition, SUNY Empire bachelor's degree students can expect a savings of nearly $37,000.3

1Data from SUNY Empire Decision Support
2Assumes SUNY Empire undergraduate cost per credit of $295 for NYS residents
3Assumes average undergraduate 4-year private college cost per credit of $1,079 for NYS residents. Source: IPEDS 2018-2019