Information for International Students

Students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States typically enter the U.S. in non-immigrant F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor status. Certificates of Eligibility (Form I-20 for F-1 status or Form DS2019 for J-1 status) will be required when applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Certificates of Eligibility (Form I-20 /Form DS2019)

Certificates of Eligibility are issued to students who have:

  • been admitted to a full-time program of study at Stony Brook University
  • provided proof of financial support for their proposed program of study
  • provided proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL scores -- see below)

    [Students who are not yet proficient in English may wish to apply to the Intensive English Center. For additional information, visit that website at]

Prospective students should submit a Certificate of Eligibility form (PDF) for review.

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Application Process for International Students

Prospective students must follow the steps outlined below in order:

  1. Prospective student submits an application to the intended SPD program.

  2. a. Applicant will receive an email from Stony Brook University Visa and Immigration Services (VIS) containing a link to the AccessVisa system in order to request initial Form I-20 / DS2019.

    b. Applicant then uploads required documentation for Form I-20 / DS2019. (Note: Form I-20 / DS2019 requests are only reviewed after the applicant has been formally admitted to a matriculated program.

  3. Decisions regarding admission to the applicant's intended program will be emailed to the applicant approximately three – four weeks after SPD has received all required application materials.

  4. Applicant's request for Form I-20 / DS2019 will then be reviewed by an international student advisor if, and only after the applicant has been matriculated (admitted and processed) into an SPD academic program (either master's degree and/or advanced graduate certificate).

  5. If the request for Form I-20 / DS2019 is approved, the Form I-20 / DS2019 will be processed and mailed via UPS Express to the applicant.

Admissions Deadlines

Fall Admission: June 1 for MALS, MPS and MS* applicants; March 1 for the MA in Higher Education Administration
Spring Admission: October 1

*Please note that the MS in Human Resource Management program only admits international students in the Fall.

TOEFL Examination Scores

If your native or primary language is not English, English proficiency must be established based on the results of your TOEFL or IELTS examinations.

Minimum exam scores required for admission to Stony Brook University:

IELTS: Overall score of 6.5, with no subsection recommended to be below 6
TOEF iBT: 85*

*In addition to the minimum overall score of 85 on the Internet-based exam, students must score at least 22 on the speak subsection.

The above tests must have been taken within two years of the application deadline date. For example, TOEFL exams taken prior to June 2013 will not be accepted for Fall 2015 applications due on June 1, 2015.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have my transcript translated if it is not in English? What if the school I attended did not offer the equivalent of a 4-year (U.S.) bachelor's degree?
  •  Academic records/transcripts from international universities must be equivalent to a U.S. undergraduate bachelor's degree.
  • If the transcript cannot be compared to United States higher education institutions (colleges/universities) four-point grading system, the SPD Admissions Review Committee will notify the applicant via email stating that the transcript must be evaluated by a U.S. credentials evaluation service before an admissions decision is rendered or finalized.
  • Academic records/transcripts must be translated and/or evaluated by an authoritative party. The transcript evaluation service/authoritative party accepted by Stony Brook University, and offering electronic access to translated/evaluated transcripts by our Admissions Office (which is the most expedient method of access) is World Education Services (WES), which may be accessed at SPD will also accept translations/evaluations from any of the accredited agencies that that are members of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) and are listed at
Do I need to take and submit TOEFL scores?
Yes. Any applicant who is not a native or primary speaker of English must take and submit official TOEFL score reports to Stony Brook University using institution code 2548.
What is meant by "native and primary language"?
Native or primary speakers of English have been raised or educated in an English-speaking environment. Native or primary speakers may speak a language other than English at home, but speak English exclusively outside the home in social and/or educational contexts.
What if I have my official Examinee (Personal) score report for my TOEFL/IELTS/TSE exam? Can I just make a copy of it?
No, the School of Professional Development (SPD) requires that students contact Educational Testing Services (ETS) and have them send official score reports directly to Stony Brook University. Our institution code is 2548.
When should I take the TOEFL?
Please schedule to take the exam in time for the School of Professional Development (SPD) application deadline for the semester to which you are applying. Be aware, as well, that it takes time for ETS to send these test scores to SPD. It is the student's responsibility to make sure that he/she has taken the test and ordered that the scores to be sent to SPD in time for admissions evaluation by the Admissions Committee. Any delay in the receipt of the TOEFL score will impede application evaluation and processing.
What if I took the TOEFL exam years ago?
SPD will not accept any test scores that are more than one year older than the application date to the academic program.
What if my TOEFL scores do not meet the minimum requirements for admission to SPD?
Applicants may apply to Stony Brook University's Intensive English Center (IEC) which offers a program of courses and activities designed to meet the special needs and interests of international students who wish to study at universities in the United States or improve their English to meet personal and professional goals. This non-credit bearing program is offered on a year-round basis; a spring semester starting in late January, a fall semester starting in early September, and one six-week summer session. Small class sizes make it possible for each student to receive personal attention from our esteemed instructors who all hold advanced degrees in the field. For additional information, visit the Intensive English Center.

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International Services

Visa and Immigration Services provides advice and assistance on U.S. government immigration regulations and cross-cultural issues relating to study, teaching, research, and living in the United States.

Visa and Immigration Services
Office: Melville Library, Room E5310
Phone: 631-632-4685
Fax:     631-632-7064

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SPD Contact Information

For information about applying to School of Professional Development (SPD) degree or certificate programs, contact:

Lori Lyons
SPD International Student Coordinator
Tel. 631-632-7033

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