SUNY Oneonta - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
SUNY Oneonta
"SUNY Oneonta’s four wishes for students are that they study what they love, grow...

SUNY Oneonta

Oneonta, New York

SUNY Oneonta is a mid-size, public liberal arts and sciences college with a pre-professional focus. Located in the beautiful hills of Central New York, Oneonta is part of the 64-campus State University of New York system. The college enrolls approximately 6,000 students in a wide variety of bachelor’s degree programs as well as a number of graduate certificates and degrees.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
5,825 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
40% male — 60% female
1.4% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
280 full-time faculty
143 part-time faculty
18 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
98% of first year students live on campus
58% of all students live on campus

School Location

SUNY Oneonta is located in Oneonta, NY, a safe, friendly city known for its small-town ambiance and genuine sense of community. The college’s 250-acre campus overlooks the scenic Susquehanna River Valley, about halfway between Albany and Binghamton and 3.5 hours from New York City. On nearby Otsego Lake in Cooperstown—home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—the college maintains a complex that houses its Biological Field Station and graduate program in History Museum Studies.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


86% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)


72% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 11%
Black or African American 3%
White 78%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


The Oneonta Red Dragons compete at the NCAA Division III level in the State University of New York Athletic Conference and the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference.

Oneonta has 21 varsity sports
10 men’s: baseball, basketball,  cross country,  lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and wrestling
11 women’s: basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and volleyball

Red the Dragon is the college mascot.

Academic Programs

The School of Arts and Humanities offer undergraduate majors in art, computer art, English, French, music, music industry, philosophy, Spanish and theatre.The School of Economics & Business offers undergraduate majors in business economics, professional accounting and economics; concentrations in accounting, finance, marketing, and international business and economics; 4-1 cooperative Master of Business Administration programs; and 3-1 B.S/A.A.S cooperative programs in fashion merchandising management, advertising & marketing communications, manufacturing management, and textile development & marketing.The School of Education and Human Ecology offers undergraduate majors in child & family studies, dietetics, adolescence education (English, family and consumer sciences, French, Spanish, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics and social studies), elementary education (childhood 1-6 or early childhood B-6), family & consumer sciences, fashion and textiles, food service & restaurant administration, and human ecology.The School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences offers undergraduate majors in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, earth science, geology, mathematics, meteorology, physics and statistics; pre-professional chiropractic, dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant and veterinary programs; and cooperative programs in engineering, physical therapy and occupational therapy.The School of Social Science offers undergraduate majors in Africana & Latino studies, anthropology, communication studies, criminal justice, environmental sustainability, geography, gerontology studies, history, international development studies, international studies, mass communications, political science, psychology and sociology.

More Distinctions

  • One of 83 schools chosen by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine to receive the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion

  • Awarded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Community Engagement classification in recognition of strong civic partnerships and service-learning activities

  • Frequently recognized for quality and value: named to U.S. News and World Report’s list of “Best Colleges” and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of ”100 Best Values in Public Colleges” for 10 consecutive years

  • Included in the Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges” every year since its inception in 2010

  • No. 474 on Forbes magazine’s 2016 list of “America’s Top Colleges”

SUNY Oneonta students have all kinds of opportunities to make the most of their education by taking an active role in their learning.


Faculty members frequently invite students to participate in research projects. For example, students in Jacqueline Bennett’s undergraduate research group helped test a green chemistry process that won Bennett a United States patent in 2014, and nine biology alumni co-authored a paper that was published in an international parasitology journal, synthesizing six years of undergraduate research with parasitology expert Florian Reyda at SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station. Students also do independent research on topics of their own choosing and present them at the annual Student Research & Creative Activity Day on campus. Grant awards of up to $1,500 are available for independent research and creative activity projects in any discipline or interdisciplinary area. Many students also present their research at regional and national conferences, the travel for which is funded by the University.


Each year, more than 500 students complete credit-bearing internships in their fields. Locations range from the Oneonta region to international destinations across 11 countries. The college also offers study abroad and exchange opportunities in 12 countries, including popular semester, year-long, or summer fashion programs at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. Students can otherwise choose from more than 600 international programs offered through other SUNY institutions.


Community service is a big part of the Oneonta experience. Many courses incorporate service-learning activities, and more than 20 percent of students volunteer through the Center for Social Responsibility and Community (CSRC). In the spring, the CSRC hosts its signature event, “Into the Streets,” a day of service that brings more than 600 students together with community volunteers to collaborate on projects at local schools, parks, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to volunteering, Oneonta students support a variety of causes through club activities. The annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life, co-hosted by the Colleges Against Cancer chapters at SUNY Oneonta and nearby Hartwick College, raised a record $67,000 in 2015. Even the Harry Potter Club is civic-minded, holding an annual Yule Ball to benefit “Oneonta Reading Is Fundamental,” a nonprofit organization that distributes free books to elementary school children.


Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN X
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Opera X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra X
Television station X
Yearbook X

With small class sizes, accessible faculty, and an emphasis on learning by doing, SUNY Oneonta offers many opportunities for personalized learning. Students get plenty of interaction with faculty members who are not just scholars and teachers, but also club advisers, research partners, and mentors.


Freshmen are engaged in their learning before classes even begin. Faculty and peer mentors from the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department lead GEOFYRST, a six-day, pre-semester field trip exploring the geology of New York and the Northeast. Through the annual Common Read, all incoming freshmen are asked to read the same diversity-related book, which is then discussed in fall courses across several disciplines. As part of the program, the author of this book visits the campus to present the Mills Distinguished Lecture and interact with students.


Students put their learning into practice during hands-on field experiences across many disciplines. For example, every other summer, anthropology students spend a month searching for evidence of ancient hunter-gatherer communities during the Pine Lake Archeological Field School, which is offered in collaboration with neighboring Hartwick College. The Biological Field Station, which is located on the shores of Otsego Lake at the college’s Cooperstown Campus, is a learning laboratory for field research on topics such as parasitology, entomology, and lake management. In an annual summer course called “Water and the Environment of Guatemala,” students conduct water sampling at Lake Atitlán and work with Mayan residents to create community-based solutions and clean up the lake.


Under the mentorship of faculty members, students have a variety of opportunities to apply their learning through co-curricular clubs. For example: the Mask & Hammer theatre club produces two student-directed shows each year; art students mount solo and group exhibitions in the college’s art galleries; student and faculty musicians practice and perform together in a variety of ensembles; and the WIRE-TV club produces weekly programming and live-streams of college events.


Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 193 330 431 125 111 55 11 1256

There’s plenty to do on campus when classes are over! SUNY Oneonta offers hundreds of hours of entertainment, athletic events, and social programming every semester. And with more than 140 Student Association-funded clubs and organizations—ranging from the Accounting Society to the Zombie Defense Corps—there’s an activity for every interest.


As of fall 2017, SUNY Oneonta offers four Living Learning Communities (LLCs) for freshmen interested in pre-health professions; leadership; sustainability and the outdoors; and teaching and social justice. Benefits of living in an LLC include mentoring, special programs, and the chance to live with other new students who have similar interests. Students in each LLC are enrolled together within the same first-year seminar as well as an introductory course related to their major.


Students are involved in a variety of activities to protect the natural environment. Several clubs have a sustainability focus, and some students work as volunteers at the Red Closet Thrift Shop on campus. Student-driven projects can even receive sustainability grants; recent awards have funded the purchase of fruit trees for the campus as well as a program to raise awareness about post-consumer food waste in the dining halls. Each year around Earth Day, the college’s Green Dragon Week features activities such as film screenings, speakers, clothing swaps, a local food dinner, bicycle repair stations, and composting demonstrations.


Through the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program, students have the opportunity to achieve recognition in three leadership levels (silver, gold, and platinum). Each level requires a mix of programmatic and experiential leadership opportunities. More than a dozen clubs have a multicultural- or diversity-related focus, and a variety of programming—including speakers, films, readings, plays, festivals, and leadership conferences—is offered each semester. The college’s Center for Multicultural Experiences, which recently reopened after extensive renovations, is a popular gathering place and home to an array of social and academic events.


Student scholars from throughout New York state and across the country come to Oneonta for the annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, Undergraduate Political Science Conference, and New Critics Literature and Composition Conference. All three conferences are organized by students and feature keynote speakers in addition to student presenters and discussants. Students also organize the annual SUNY Pride Conference, which brings students, faculty, and staff from SUNY campuses throughout the state to Oneonta for a weekend of workshops and activities. The conference aims to create a more inclusive SUNY environment through education, collaboration, and networking.


Pass Through the Pillars: Freshmen officially join the “Oney” family at the “Pass Through the Pillars” event on the night before fall classes begin. After donning red T-shirts and gathering for a class photo, the students walk through the pillars of Old Main, the college’s first building, to the beat of the Drag’n Rolls Drumline. Faculty, staff, and students gather near the pillars to clap, cheer, and high-five the new students as they make their way down to the quad. The day before graduation, SUNY Oneonta seniors pass through those same pillars in the opposite direction, and the college president leads the class in a champagne toast to their success.

Red Day: The college celebrates the anniversary of its founding on Red Day each September. Decked out in red, students, faculty, and staff gather on the academic quad for food, giveaways, carnival activities, and photos with Red the Dragon, the college mascot.

OH-Fest: One of the most popular social events at SUNY Oneonta is OH-Fest, an annual community carnival and concert that is co-organized by students from the University and neighboring Hartwick College. Past headliners for the free, outdoor concert have included Blues Traveler, Pitbull, and Panic! at the Disco.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students X
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Built for Success

At 72%, the college’s six-year graduation rate is well above the national average of 53% for public institutions. SUNY Oneonta students are well prepared for life after college; by the time they hit senior year, nearly three-fourths have been involved in at least two high-impact learning experiences, such as study abroad, research with a faculty member, participation in a service-learning project, or completion of an internship in their field. These powerful experiences not only help students discover what they want to do, but they also give them the tools to succeed—whether that means launching a fulfilling career or continuing their education.

Alumni Network

The college’s strong alumni network spans the globe, demonstrating the leadership and accomplishment that exemplify an Oneonta education. Students connect with alumni through programs such as the annual “Backpacks to Briefcases” and “Goodrich to Broadway” networking events, the “Distinguished Alumni Series,” and the “New York City Internship Fair.”


Students participate in service-learning activities close to campus and further afield. Recent projects have ranged from wetlands restoration in New Orleans to work with poor children in Ecuador. In the Human Ecology Department, event-planning students have collaborated with fashion and food & restaurant administration majors to put on a “Fashion for Food” benefit for a local food pantry.


Admissions Fall 2015

11,427 Total Applicants
5,567 Total Admissions
1,130 Total Freshmen Enrollment

48.72% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Application Essay
Character/personal qualities
Volunteer work
Work experience

Class rank
Extracurricular activities
First generation
Racial/ethnic status
Level of applicant’s interest

freshmen profile fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 490 580
SAT Math 510 590
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 22 25
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    


SUNY Oneonta welcomes a freshman class of about 1,100 students each year. Successful applicants will have completed four units of English, history, math and science, and three to four units of foreign language during high school. A challenging college preparatory program is recommended. Regents-level classes are a minimum requirement for New York state applicants, with Advanced Placement and honors courses carrying the most weight. Students should rank in the top half of their class.


Net Price Calculator 


  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $6,170 $15,820
Fees $1,398 $1,398
Total $7,568 $17,218
Room and Board (on campus) $11,100 $11,100
Estimated Total On Campus $18,668 $28,318


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-2016 Estimated

$9,979 First year students
$7,000 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-2016 Estimated

73% on average, the percentage of need that was met
13% of financial need students that had need fully met

$7,000 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,189 Average need-based loan


SUNY Oneonta awarded nearly $4 million in scholarships this past academic year. Qualified applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships, which range from $1,000 to $6,470 (full in-state tuition). Scholarships are awarded during the application review process, and a notification is sent with the acceptance letter. Funds are limited, and priority is given to students who complete their application, with all required supporting documentation, by Jan. 15.

2015 Relay for Life Raises $70,000

Students from SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College teamed up to raise $70,000—a record amount—for the American Cancer Society during a Relay for Life event April 17-18, 2015. More than 1,500 students camped out all night...

Students Help Solve Real-World Water Issues in Guatemala

A summer course in Guatemala combined field research, problem-solving and service learning—plus a chance to climb an 8,000-foot active volcano. A total of 21 Oneonta students traveled to Guatemala with Dr. Tracy Allen, associate professor...

SUNY Oneonta Faculty Member Patents Green Chemistry Discovery

Dr. Jacqueline Bennett has invented a new chemical process that’s safer, greener and more efficient than traditional methods used to make imines, a class of chemical compounds that has household and industrial applications. Chemical processes...

Students Give Away Items Through Move-Out Donation Program

Futons, rugs, clothing, appliances, electronics and other items were distributed to Oneonta charities and community members during SUNY Oneonta’s second annual Move-Out Donation & Reuse Program. From May 4-14, as students moved out of their...