Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Application
When must I apply by?
What should I write about in my Personal Statement?
Do I need to take the GRE?
I received a Masters degree in addition to my undergraduate degree. Do you need both transcripts?
Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?
I am an international student. Are there any additional requirements for application?
If admitted, can I defer my admission offer?
I’ve taken some graduate-level classes at other institutions. Can I transfer those credits to this program?
Is financial aid available for qualified students?
If I am accepted into the program can I defer my admission?
Questions about the Program
What do graduates do with a degree in Medical Humanities?
I am a working professional with a family. Can I take classes part-time?
I have been out of school for several years. Will I feel out-of-place in this program?
Is campus housing available?
What do I have to do in order to graduate?

About the Application

When must I apply by?
The deadlines for applications for the Spring 2014 semester are: October 1st for international Students and November 1 for domestic students. For Fall 2014 the deadlines are May 15 for international applicants and July 1st for domestic applicants.

What should I write about in my Personal Statement?
In your personal statement please address the following questions: Explain why you are interested in our program and how you see it fitting in with your long term professional ambitions. Try, if possible, to comment in your statement on what one or more of the terms “compassionate care,” “medical humanities,” and “bioethics” mean to you. How do these areas of study mesh with where you see your career plans developing at this point in your life?

Do I need to take the GRE?
Applicants to the Medical Humanities program are required by the Graduate School to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). We will accept GRE scores (or scores from comparable standardized tests, e.g. MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, DAT, and the like) taken up to 10 years prior to the application deadline. Applicants who have previously earned a degree requiring such a standardized test may waive this requirement. We understand that a student’s GRE score is but one of many measures of aptitude and it will be appropriately weighted by the admissions committee against the rest of the application materials. The local GRE testing centers are located in Melville, NY. The test is offered year round and takes up to 3:15 hours to finish. For more information see the GRE homepage here. You can register for the test on-line here.

I received a Masters degree in addition to my undergraduate degree. Do you need both transcripts?
The Graduate School requires transcripts from every school where you have taken courses.

Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?
Ideally at least two of your letters should be from professors/instructors whom you have worked with. If you have earned a degree in the past 5 years then two of your letters must come from professors at the degree granting program.

I am an international student. Are there any additional requirements for application?
International students must include TOEFL or IELTS scores as a part of their application package. Further details are available in the Graduate Bulletin. Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States must also provide the University with verification that the necessary funds are available to finance their education at Stony Brook as well as their living expenses while a student. The Office of Visa and Immigration Services works with the Graduate School to see that accepted students file the necessary documentation to secure their I-20 and gain entrance to the United States.

If admitted, can I defer my admission offer?
You may defer your offer of admission for one or two semesters (e.g., if you applied for fall admission, you can defer to any term up to fall of the following year). After this time you must reapply through the graduate school.

I’ve taken some graduate-level classes at other institutions. Can I transfer those credits to this program?
The Graduate School policy does not allow us to accept transfer credits that have counted toward a degree or certificate at another institution. If no degree was achieved, then the student may petition the graduate admissions committee to have up to 6 credits transferred. The courses must have been taken in the previous 5 years. Determination of acceptability and relevance is made at the sole discretion of the graduate admissions committee.

Is financial aid available for qualified students?
The Center does not have any graduate teaching or research assistantships to offer at this time. Advising on grants, scholarships and loans is available through various offices on campus. General inquiries may be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services on West Campus. University or Medical Center employees, medical students and students in the health sciences should contact the following offices:

  • Learning and tuition benefits for employee of the Health Sciences Center or a unit of Stony Brook’s West Campus
    HSC & West Campus Employee Human Relations Research Foundation Administrator: Cori Ribaudo 2-6180; Cori.Ribaudo@stonybrook.edu
    State Benefits Coordinator: Patricia Volz 2-6180; patricia.volz@stonybrook.edu
  • Medical student
    Medical Student Financial Advising
    Mary Jean Allen 4-2341; mary.allen@stonybrook.edu
  • Health Sciences undergraduate or graduate student
    HSC Student Financial Advising
  • Hospital employee
    Hospital Employee Human Relations Advising
    Shirley Menzies 4-4759; shirley.menzies@stonybrook.edu

If I am accepted into the program can I defer admission to a later date?
On your application there will be a form for you to indicate the semester for which you would like to apply. Please fill out this form as accurately as possible. Under special circumstances we do allow deferments up to two semesters.

About the Program

What do graduates do with a degree in Medical Humanities?
The masters track is not a professional degree in the sense that there are prescribed steps individuals follow after graduating. The diversity of our student body is reflected in their diverse goals and aspirations. Students at comparable programs go on to complete terminal medical degrees and PhD programs. They hold diverse positions in such fields as clinical ethics, hospital administration, patient advocacy, hospice care and the chaplaincy. Many current working professionals use the education they receive in this program to enhance and complement their skills and knowledge in their current profession. For additional information please contact Michael Ortega at Michael.Ortega@stonybrookmedicine.edu.

I am a working professional with a family. Can I take classes part-time?
Many of our students are working professionals. We understand such commitments and do everything we can to accommodate. All of our required courses during the Fall and Spring semesters meet in the evenings (as do most of our electives), and students may take up to five years to complete their degree.

I have been out of school for several years. Will I feel out-of-place in this program?
We count the range of experiences and voices found in our student body as one of our great strengths. Students in our program come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and are diverse in age and ethnicity.

Is campus housing available?
Please note: students wishing to stay on-campus must apply by May 1st for the Fall semester.
For students wishing to live on campus there are on-campus apartments available. Students wishing to live off campus may look to the Stony Brook off campus housing website for both apartment and housing rental. For more information please see the graduate school's housing FAQ. The Times Beacon Record also has a list of classifieds that includes housing opportunities.

What do I have to do in order to graduate?
Please visit the Graduate School's website here for answers to all questions about graduation.