Binghamton University, one of four State University of New York university centers, boasts a student population of over 16,000 on a campus of nearly 900 acres. It has a strong academic reputation and is considered a “Public Ivy”. Among other unique features, the campus is intentionally shaped like a brain, and buildings are often referred to by their corresponding anatomical structure within the brain.
Binghamton University was founded in 1946 under the name Triple Cities College, originally as a part of Syracuse University, to meet the needs of returning local veterans. It was renamed Harpur College in 1950, in memory of a pioneer of the area, and then given its current appellation in 1965. It has continued to grow consistently over the course of time and is today one of the largest institutions of higher education in the state of New York.
Colleges and schools include the Decker School of Nursing, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, Health and Physical Education department, School of Education and Human Development, School of Management, and the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Binghamton in the top 50 public universities nationwide, and has for the last 8 years.
There are nearly 70 degree programs for graduate students at the university with plans for expansion, including a plan for a law school as well as for a School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy, expected to open in 2017.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Bachelor of Arts in Cinema
Unique among the schools in the SUNY system, the Bachelor of Arts in Cinema develops leaders in the field of creative film. Students learn critical analysis and appreciation, as well as artistic expression. Interdisciplinary topics include sociology, economics, and history. The curriculum focuses on production and analysis, as well as artistry. The program recognizes the growing influence—and, therefore, importance—of cinema, and imparts that appreciation on its graduates.
Make Your Own Major
The Individualized Major Program allows students to identify and create their own path of study, based on interest or career goals. An advisory panel of faculty and administrators determines the curriculum’s validity and approves or disapproves a student’s proposed curriculum. Such majors may include dual topics of study, group projects, or even new courses.
The admissions department seeks a diverse group of academically gifted young students to meet their requirements. Five different factors are considered in the admissions process. In order of importance they are: academic performance (grade point average, courses completed, class ranking, and test scores), supplemental materials (personal essay, school activities, special talents or abilities), special circumstances or motivation, recommendations (at least one from a guidance counselor or teacher), and SAT II scores (not required, but recommended).
Prospective first-year students must be approaching high school graduation. There is no set grade point average or test score requirements. Students with particular talents my have a special review by the department where they plan to study (music, art, etc.). Because admissions practices are intentionally targeted toward well qualified students, applicants often arrive with Advanced Placement credit. The university will accept such credit, provided the applicant scores 3 or better on a particular AP exam.
In a standard freshman class, the combined SAT average is around 1250 (compared to the national average of 1026). Most freshmen graduated in the top quarter of their high school graduating class. The average freshman has a high school grade average of 92%.
The majority of student scholarships are need-based. Therefore, students are encouraged to file their FAFSA as early as possible after January 1 in anticipation of the following academic year. No forms or applications in addition to the FAFSA or application for admission are required; students are profiled based on the academic information presented in their admission documents. Students are encouraged to pursue other means of scholarship funding, either through their high school or local community.
Student Financial Aid Details
There are more than 5,000 undergraduates living in university facilities on campus. Each “unit” of residence has its own life and organization. Freshmen are required to live on-campus and have housing accommodations guaranteed upon admission.
Public transportation options for students include both university and town buses—necessary, give the size of the campus and the surrounding municipality. In addition, many students have cars of their own. A train system affords easy access to New York City and other urban centers on the eastern seaboard.
Life on campus is rich with recreational and educational opportunities outside of the classroom. More than 200 student organizations are registered with the Student Association, including cultural, political, and social organizations. Greek life has a strong influence on the university culture as well—there are 41 fraternities and sororities on the campus. Other activities include musical productions, concerts, theatre, the campus radio station, and student volunteer opportunities.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Bearcats compete in the NCAA Division I and the America East Conference. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming/diving, track & field, and wrestling. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis track & field and volleyball.
The outdoor athletic facilities include baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts, and a championship-quality track and field facility. Indoor facilities include the West Gym’s basketball arena and aquatics facility, and the East Gym’s basketball arena and fit space. The athletic department provides strength and conditioning facilities for its student-athletes, and structure exercise and workout programs including sport-specific regimens and weight room schedules.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.