CUNY Pathways: Benefits and Goals

January 7, 2013


Dear Student, 

You may have heard about The City University of New York’s Pathways initiative. This general education and transfer initiative will be implemented across CUNY in fall 2013. Pathways will help students transfer among CUNY’s 19 undergraduate colleges – of which Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) is one – without losing any credits. Pathways also raises the quality of education at CUNY. With Pathways, students will complete their college education quickly, while continuing to receive an academically rigorous, quality education. 

How will Pathways accomplish these important goals? Although students will be required to complete the same total number of credits as in the past, they will not have to repeat courses or take additional courses when they transfer, as they sometimes do now. As a result, it is more likely that a student’s selection of courses will be eligible to be covered by financial aid. Moreover, when students transfer to a senior college, they will have the opportunity to select additional electives enabling them to more readily complete minors and double majors or simply to take courses they are interested in rather than retaking courses required to fulfill general education requirements at their new institution. 

Most important, all of the courses associated with Pathways are being developed and reviewed by CUNY faculty. In fact, the Pathways general education courses are being scrutinized much more closely by faculty reviewers than has often been the case in the past. Under Pathways, every general education course must satisfy specific, rigorous learning outcomes determined by committees of faculty from across the university and consistent with national best practices. In this way, the courses that a student has taken at one CUNY campus will be recognized when that student transfers to another CUNY campus. For example, with Pathways, the learning outcomes for every general education course on every campus include the enhancement of students’ communication and analytical skills – skills that are most important to future employers. In the past, only selected general education courses focused on such skills. 

Every college has the opportunity to offer its own version of Pathways, emphasizing certain disciplines or skills. At BMCC, we have used Pathways to underscore our own general education student learning outcomes in which students will become proficient in communication skills, scientific reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and information and technology literacy as well as become aware of social and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities, and individual and cultural values. 

CUNY’s Pathways initiative has received praise from students (see the attached resolution passed by CUNY’s University Student Senate), as well as from renowned educators at CUNY and around the nation (see You can learn more about Pathways at

Many hundreds of CUNY faculty have been developing the Pathways curriculum with the goal of offering you a challenging, high-quality education. We look forward to journeying along Pathways with you.


Antonio Pérez, President

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