Individualized Program: Educational Planning

Individualized Program: Educational Planning


Office of Academic Affairs


Provost, Academic Affairs





Effective Date:


Implementation History:


Educational Planning, Degree Program, Individualized Degree, Rationale Essay

Background Information:

This policy is the culmination of university-wide consultation through initiatives and taskforces over the past decade.


This policy defines the requirement for educational planning credits for individualized degree programs.


  • Degree Program – Plan of study, which may be either a student-designed program or a pre-designed structured curriculum.
  • Educational Planning Course – A course that meets the Educational Planning credit requirement.
  • Individualized Program – Program of study intentionally created or personally designed by the student within Areas of Study.
  • Rationale Essay – A narrative essay written by the student to outline the Individualized Degree’s design, purpose, and significance.
  • Structured Program –Program with curriculum written by faculty that provides pre-defined choices.


Educational Planning Course Credit Requirement

Individualized degree programs require educational planning course credits. A minimum of 4 credits are required for bachelor’s programs and 2 for associate degree programs, with a minimum of 2 credits required from an educational planning course that results in a rationale essay and completed degree plan. No more than 8 credits from courses with the EDPL prefix may be counted toward the degree.
When dual degrees or concentrations are sought that include both Individualized and Structured Programs, educational planning must be satisfied for the Individualized Degree portion of the program.
A returning student seeking a second bachelor’s individualized degree must include 2 additional credits from an educational planning course that results in a rationale essay and completed degree plan.

Rationale Essay

Individualized Degrees are submitted for review with a rationale essay written by the student that explains the design and purpose of the degree.
When two degrees are submitted for review at the same time, one essay may be submitted that provides the required information for both.

Academic Review

Individualized degree programs are submitted with a degree program and rationale essay.
Students must submit individualized degree programs to Offices of Academic Review before they have earned 24 credits at SUNY Empire.


Requests for reduced or eliminated educational planning or rationale essay requirements (i.e. International Education and equivalent partnerships) must be approved by the Committee for Undergraduate Programs (CUP).

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices


Second Degree Awards

Degree Planning Policies

SUNY Policy on Programs