The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university. CUNY traces its beginnings to the founding in 1847 of the Free Academy, which later became The City College, the first CUNY college. According to New York State Education Law, CUNY is “supported as an independent and integrated system of higher education on the assumption that the University will continue to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes.”

CUNY comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 269,000 degree-credit students and 270,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. The University offers a bachelor’s degree through CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNY BA), which functions like an independent college with students taking courses throughout the CUNY system and conferring (through the Graduate School and University Center) its own degree. In collaboration with faculty mentors, students develop courses of study that are specific to their academic interests and goals. As a result, these concentrations can take on issues that are not typically offered as degree options in academic departments.