A rigorous and distinctive liberal arts education on a close-knit residential campus is the cornerstone of the Geneseo experience. The institution’s common core includes courses in western humanities, fine arts, social and natural sciences, foreign languages, non-western traditions, United States history, numeric and symbolic reasoning, and critical reading and writing. Nearly every academic department offers Capstone Experiences for their majors in the senior year. Examples include a thesis, advanced seminar, recital, exhibit or an intensive research project.
The College consists of 21 academic departments as well as two professional schools: the School of Business, and the Ella Cline Shear School of Education. The College offers a total of 43 undergraduate programs, 21 interdisciplinary minors, and master’s programs in Education and Accounting. The College is accredited by the Middle States Association for Colleges and Schools. Carnegie classifies it as a Master’s S institution. The School of Business is accredited by AACSB and the School of Education is accredited by NCATE.
Geneseo is the only public undergraduate institution in New York with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and Geneseo students have received 15 prestigious Goldwater Scholarships. A number of Geneseo’s curricular and co-curricular programs have received, and continue to receive, national recognition as best practices in higher education and as exemplars of integrating the academic and student life experience. Deep integration – of curriculum and co-curriculum, living and learning, liberal learning and professional experience – defines the learning experience of students at the College.
According to the American Institute of Physics, in 2011-2012, Geneseo's physics department produced the largest number of physics graduates in the country among primarily undergraduate institutions; in 2008-2010, it was second only to the U.S. Naval Academy.
For decades, Geneseo students have benefited both personally and professionally from the many ways that classroom learning is augmented by hands-on educational experience in the field and in the lab. Geneseo is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). In addition, Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement & Talent (GREAT) Day is a college-wide symposium celebrating the creative and scholarly endeavors of Geneseo students. It celebrates the achievements of the students, fosters academic excellence, encourages professional development, and builds connections within the community. It has had robust participation for many years with approximately 30 percent of students participating last year.
About 40 percent of Geneseo students attend graduate or professional school within a year of graduation. The efficacy of Geneseo’s educational model is evident in student surveys and the achievements of its graduates. In the National Survey of Student Engagement, Geneseo seniors are above the mean of the College’s Carnegie peers in student-faculty interaction and enriching educational experiences. According to the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates, between 2000 and 2009, Geneseo was third in the nation among Masters Institutions in the number of STEM doctorates awarded to alumni, and eighth in the nation across all disciplines.
The Edgar Fellows Program is designed to enhance the academic experience of a small number of particularly dedicated and accomplished students through specially designed seminar courses, research opportunities, close work with program advisors, and co-curricular activities. Students are selected for the Edgar Fellows Program from a pool of invited applicants based on a competitive essay and evidence of very high academic potential. Approximately 30 incoming students and up to ten current first-year students are admitted into the program annually. Incoming freshmen must meet at least two of the following criteria: a high school average of at least 95, SAT scores of at least 1400 (Verbal and Math), and ACT scores of at least 32. Additionally, students must show evidence of a lively dedication to scholarship.
Geneseo offers an array of international study programs, including core humanities courses taught in England, Europe, Central America and most recently, China. Over 300 Geneseo students study abroad annually and 40 percent of students study abroad before they graduate.
SUNY Geneseo is among 11 colleges and universities named by the American Council on Education (ACE) to its 11th Internationalization Laboratory Cohort. As a member of this cohort, Geneseo commits to engage in a comprehensive review of its internationalization efforts and develop a strategic plan to guide future developments. The Global Geneseo Committee, comprised of over 20 members, is in the process of assessing the College’s current internationalization initiatives in order to coordinate, refine and advance these transformational educational experiences.
Geneseo is valued for its commitment to educating the whole person. Much of Geneseo’s success in retention and student satisfaction can be attributed to the vibrancy of the intellectual and social life of the College. Co-curricular campus life and residential life activities are an important part of a Geneseo education and the Geneseo community.
The college has 210 clubs and organizations. Together with the 27 Greek sororities and fraternities (to which approximately 23 percent of students belong), the College Union, the Center for Community, student leadership programs, campus recreation, Student Government Association and the InterFaith Center (which is independent of the College), these provide a wealth of opportunities for student participation, interaction and transformation. Geneseo faculty and students produce ten theater productions annually, support 12 musical performance groups and two dance troupes, and host four art galleries.
Residence Life has developed programs to help students become integrated into campus life. Campus housing is guaranteed for all four years and the campus has invested over $52 million in residence hall construction and renovation in the last 15 years. First- and second-year students are required to live on campus; they have a variety of living experiences to choose from. These include standard dormitory rooms, apartment-style townhouses, and three theme-based residence halls known as residential college houses (RC's). The themes represented in the RC houses are civic engagement (Dante House), writing (Writers House), and sustainability and social justice (EcoHouse). The Residence Life staff is soliciting student opinions for developing additional such houses. The matching of students to their desired environment has been overwhelmingly successful.
Community service is an important part of the student culture at Geneseo. Over the course of their college careers, the Geneseo student body contributes over 60,000 hours of service to the community. Geneseo’s annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society raised $132,000 in 2014. The College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since the honor roll began in 2006, four times with distinction. The College also offers a nationally award-winning student leadership program that engages 4,500 students, and a nationally award-winning community/college collaboration dedicated to rebuilding areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. In 2014, the Peace Corps ranked Geneseo among the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country.
Geneseo sponsors 12 intercollegiate sports for women and eight for men, competing in the NCAA Division III and the SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC). Approximately 450 of Geneseo's students participate in intercollegiate athletics. Over 80 percent of Geneseo's students participate in intramural, club and college-sponsored recreational sports activities. In number of sports programs offered, Geneseo is in the top third of the ten colleges in its SUNYAC—despite the fact that in size it is in the bottom third.
Geneseo teams have been distinguished by their performance on and off the athletic fields. In 2013-14, 17 teams qualified for postseason play, highlighted by the men’s ice hockey team’s run to the semifinals in NCAA Division III tournament play and women’s lacrosse finishing 9th in the nation in its second straight NCAA tournament. Women’s and men’s cross country teams qualified for their 15th and 11th NCAA Championship appearances, respectively – the nation’s longest streak of both teams competing at the national championships. Four Geneseo coaches were named SUNYAC Coach of the Year, and the men’s ice hockey coach received the Division III National Coach of the Year title. The women’s soccer team is one of four teams in all divisions of the NCAA across the nation to be recognized with both the Team Ethics Award and the Team Academic Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association. Geneseo has produced 31 percent of the SUNYAC Scholar-Athletes since this award was established ten years ago. Finally, Geneseo was ranked 39th of over 400 Division III colleges for the Learfield Director’s Cup by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.