Special Studies

Can’t find a major you love at UB? Don’t worry—you can create your own. (Yes, really!) The special studies program is the perfect choice if you want everything UB has to offer, but we don’t have your exact major, or maybe you want to combine different areas. It’s not for everyone—but that’s the point. If you’re resourceful, determined and enjoy making your own path, then take a closer look at what special studies offers.  

What will I learn?

As a special studies major, what you learn is up to you and your advisors. In your sophomore or junior year, you’ll work with faculty experts in your areas of interest to map out an intentional program, including your classes and ultimate learning objectives. You can choose to get a bachelor of arts or science degree (a bachelor of arts degree typically has more liberal arts and sciences credits), depending on your goals; past degrees have included industrial design, journalism, Japanese language and culture, and French language and linguistics. Yes, there are a few limitations (you can’t duplicate an existing major, for example), but it’s definitely the most flexible way to study exactly what you want. 

What can I do outside of class?

Follow your interests throughout campus—and beyond. As a special studies major, you might be interested in conducting research in a lab. Perhaps you’d like an internship to get real-world experience and build your professional network. Maybe you want to travel and experience other cultures by studying abroad.

At UB, you’ll find all of these opportunities—and so many more. You can meet world-famous guest lecturers, go to concerts and explore the Buffalo-Niagara region. And don’t forget to get involved in our hundreds of student groups, where you can make lifelong friends and discover even more new things to do.

Study Abroad

What can I do with a special studies degree?

Some people have a specific career in mind when they decide to be a special studies major, while other people figure it out as they go. As a special studies grad, you can choose from existing careers or create your own.

What you do with your unique degree depends on your classes, your experience and how you want to make a difference in the world. Whether you decide to start your career right away or go to graduate school to continue your education, your faculty advisors and career specialists at UB can help you explore your options. The bottom line is that you’re in control. 

That said, please note that there are a few limitations. For example, you can’t typically go into a field that requires certification or a license, so please check the program requirements and talk to the special studies advisor for details.

Who will I learn from?

The short answer: Anyone and everyone!

The long answer: As a special studies student, you can take classes with faculty throughout UB. Which means you might be learning from an internationally recognized economist in one course, taking a lab with an expert chemist in another, studying dance with a former Broadway performer … the list goes on and on (and on). With such a wide range of teachers and mentors, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet the people who can guide you on your career path, every step of the way.

UB faculty are also widely recognized for their teaching expertise and have earned numerous awards for their teaching, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the President Emeritus and Mrs. Martin Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring.