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Graduate Admissions FAQs

We've compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions, covering topics from housing to test scores. If your question is not addressed here, you can contact us at

Why Stony Brook Graduate School?

Why you should choose graduate school at Stony Brook?
Stony Brook University offers outstanding opportunities for graduate education across a wide range of traditional and interdisciplinary fields. The Graduate School provides support, oversight, and advocacy for graduate education at Stony Brook University. Why SBU?

What can the data tell you about graduate study at Stony Brook?
You can take a look at the Data Dashboards for Stony Brook Doctoral Programs.

Graduate School Application

How can I submit an application?
All applications must be completed online here.

Do I have to fill out the entire application in one sitting?
No, the online application is interactive. You can create an account, save your answers, and return to your application as often as you like. Until you click the "Submit" button, you can change what you have saved.

What if I am having a technical problem with filling out my application online?
If you have any questions about the online interface system, please email

What if I am applying to more than one program? Do I have to fill out two applications and pay two application fees?
Yes. Each application will be directed to only one graduate program, and all supporting materials must be submitted.

What if I applied to Stony Brook in the past, submitted an application, and want to apply again?
If you applied to a program within the last twelve months, please contact the graduate program to which you applied. In certain instances, they may reconsider your application. If you're applying to a different program, please create a new account and submit a new application online.

What are the deadlines for applying to the Graduate School?
The deadlines to the applications vary by program. Typically for funding consideration for fall applications the deadline will be January 15th. It is best to check the website of your intended program of entry. The programs can be found here:

What is the application fee?
A non-refundable application fee of $100 will be charged for your application to a Graduate School program and $25 for an application to a non-matriculated program. Online applicants must pay by credit card. You will be given a prompt when you submit your application online to provide your credit card information.

For information on application fee exceptions and the fee waiver request process, please visit this page.

How do I find out the status of my application? How do I find out if all my supporting documents have been received?
Log back into your online account to view the status of your application and supporting documents. Specific questions may be directed to your Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC); contact information is available in the Graduate Program Directory.  

I have accepted the programs offer of admission, when should I expect my application to be processed and matriculated?
Applicants can expect to be matriculated 4 weeks from the date that the Graduate School receives your completed file from your intended program of study.   International students, that are in need of immigration documents in order to be eligible to study at Stony Brook, will be processed as a priority.  Please keep in mind that incomplete processing packages and additional needed information, will extend this processing period. 

When will the 2022 applications be available?
The applications for the 2022 application cycle will be available on August 2nd, 2021. This application will be available through a new link so please do not try to apply or start a new application with the current live link as any information that you enter will not move to the new application link. 

Required Documents

What documents do I have to provide in addition to the online application?
You may download our Completed Application Checklist. 

Where do I send my additional required documents?
All official transcripts, recommendation letters, etc. must be sent directly to the program to which you are applying. Mailing addresses for individual programs can be found on the program's website.

Please note that due to the current health crisis we have made some exceptions/accommodations to the following transcript requirements. Please refer to our Coronvirus/FAQ here:

Is there a minimum grade point average (GPA) needed for admission?
Yes. An applicant must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 point scale. If the student attends a college that only gives Passes or Credits for the first year of study, then these grades will be evaluated as C for GPA admission purposes unless the student provides actual grades.

What constitutes an official, final transcript?
Official transcripts are valid when they are issued by the school you attended. They have an official seal/stamp and an official signature by an appropriate academic administrative officer. They are sealed by the university. Official electronic transcripts, sent by authorized delivery agents, are also accepted. Photocopied documents are NOT official. Final transcripts state that a degree has been conferred and provide the date of conferral.

Do I have to have my transcript translated if it is not in English?
Yes. Academic records from international universities that are not in English must be accompanied by an official English translation. Academic records must be translated by an authoritative party:- We will accept translations from any of the accredited agencies, that can be viewed at or We will also accept translations from SBU faculty members or the institution from which the degree was conferred.

My transcript only contains the marks that I received. Is this adequate to show I earned a degree?
No. If your official transcript (or mark sheet) does not specifically state that a degree (or its equivalent) has been conferred, you will also need to submit an official (attested) diploma or an official certification of degree(s) awarded.

What if the school I attended did not offer the equivalent of a 4-year US degree?
Educational systems that cannot be compared to the United States must be evaluated by a US credentials evaluation service before admission can be finalized. The transcript evaluation service accepted by Stony Brook University is World Education Services (WES), which can be accessed at

What if I haven’t received my degree yet, but will have earned it by the time I would like to start graduate school?
If you are in the process of completing a degree, please send an official transcript that shows your progress to this point. You will need to send a final, official transcript once your degree is conferred. Transcripts that do not show a degree awarded will not delay application processing, but failure to submit final documentation about conferral will result in a registration block.

What if I went to a college, but did not graduate? What if I just took classes there?
Applicants are only required to submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended from which a degree was earned. Applicants, however, must submit all transcripts relating to any graduate level work undertaken, regardless of whether or not a degree was earned. Please note a department's graduate program admissions committee always reserves the right to request additional information.

Do I have to send original transcripts from my university? I come from an international school, and my school only issues one official copy of my transcript. Is it okay to send photocopies of my transcript and only submit the originals after I am accepted?
No. While many international schools only issue one diploma, it is not true that they will only issue one transcript (mark sheet, generally with the degree posted). Stony Brook University will not review any student applications without original transcripts from a student's university. This is a State University of New York mandate, and no exceptions can be made.

Where do I mail my official transcripts?
Your official transcripts should be sent to your intended program of study for any Graduate School programs. You may find their contact/mailing information in our Graduate Bulletin here.

Transfer Credits

What if I want to transfer in credits from a school outside the US?
College-level courses completed outside the United States and recorded on official transcripts will be evaluated for transfer credit, provided that the institution where the courses were taken is accredited by the Ministry of Education in that country. International transfer students who have completed college level courses outside the United States may be requested to submit proof of accreditation by the Ministry of Education or provide a WES evaluation.


Can the person who is recommending me send a paper recommendation?
Yes. From your online account you can download a paper recommendation form and give it to your recommender. Paper recommendations must be sent directly to the graduate program you are applying to in sealed envelopes, signed across the seal by the recommender.

Where do I find recommendation forms to give to my recommenders? I can’t find them on your website.
In order to gain access to our recommendation forms, you must start an online account. Within your application, you can either send emails directing your recommenders to each submit a recommendation online, or you may download a paper recommendation form and give it to your recommender. Paper recommendations must be sent directly to the graduate program you are applying to in sealed envelopes, signed across the seal by the recommender. 

Test Scores
Please note that due to the current health crisis we have made some exceptions/accommodations to the following GRE requirements. Please refer to our Coronvirus/FAQ here:
Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

Is there a minimum GRE requirement?
The Graduate School does not have a minimum GRE requirement. You must contact the department to which you are applying to see if they have minimum GRE requirements for their admissions process.

Is the GRE required for admittance into all programs?
The GRE General Test is required by several Graduate School programs. Please refer to the admissions requirement information about your specific program of interest.

I have taken the GRE and TOEFL tests as required. Could I send copies of my scores to Stony Brook and ask Educational Testing Services (ETS) to send my official scores later when I am admitted?
No. Please request that ETS send official score reports to Stony Brook University (School code: 2548) in order for your application to be reviewed.

Please note that due to the current health crisis we have made some exceptions/accommodations to the following English Language Proficiency requirements. Please refer to our Coronvirus/FAQ here:

Do I have to take the TOEFL?

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

What are the minimum scores required for admission?

IELTS: Overall score of 6.5, with no subsection recommended to be below 6

TOEFL: 80 for Master's level; 90 for admission to a doctoral program and to be eligible for consideration for TA/GA support

Spoken English: All doctoral students and students with a TA/GA stipend whose native language is not English must demonstrate a sufficient level of English-speaking proficiency and may be required to take OAE courses based on these measures. Proficiency is determined from the speak subsection score.

For IELTS and TOEFL speak subsection scores, please see the chart below: 

TOEFL iBT Speak IELTS Speak Course Requirement Result
23-30 7 or higher none Eligible to TA
21-22 6.5 OAE 594 Eligible to TA
18-20 6 OAE 592 Eligible to run recitation and lab sessions and/or grade
15-17 5-5.5 OAE 590 Not eligible to TA

What if I have my official examinee (personal) score report for my TOEFL or IELTS exam - can I just make a copy of it?
No, the Graduate School 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 Graduate School deadline for the semester to which you are applying. Be aware, as well, that it takes time for ETS to send these scores to Stony Brook. It is the student's responsibility to make sure that he/she has taken the test and ordered the scores be sent to Stony Brook in time for admissions evaluation by the department. Any delay in the receipt of the TOEFL score will impede application evaluation and processing.

What if I took the TOEFL exam years ago?
The Graduate School will not accept any test scores that are more than 2 years old based on the application deadline date. For example, TOEFL exams taken prior to January 2012 will not be accepted for Fall 2014 applications due on or about January 15, 2014.

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.

Please note: Intentional misrepresentation by a student regarding his or her native/primary language is academic dishonesty and grounds for dismissal from the University.

Tuition, Fees & University Support

What are the tuition and fees at Stony Brook? How can I apply for financial aid?
For all questions regarding tuition, fees, and financial aid, please refer to Stony Brook’s Office of Financial Services website.

How do I apply for program or university financial support, such as Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Tuition Scholarships?
You will be considered for merit-based assistance by filling out the “Financial Aid” section of the online application.

Taking Graduate Courses Outside a Degree Program

Can I take a graduate course without entering a degree program ?
If you have a baccalaureate degree and are interested in taking graduate courses at Stony Brook without working toward a degree, you may apply for admission as a non-matriculated graduate (GSP) student. The School of Professional Development represents the University's (West Campus) non-matriculated students.

The maximum number of graduate credits that one may earn as a non-matriculated graduate student (GSP) that may later be considered for any Stony Brook graduate degree is 12: For certificate programs, the maximum is 6.

Enrollment in a department's graduate courses does not entitle a GSP student to candidacy for a department's degrees. You must formally apply and be admitted to a degree and/or certificate program.

University Policies

Where can I find information regarding the University’s policies?
For information about the University’s policies, please refer to the following website:

Is Stony Brook a tobacco-free university?
Yes, effective January 1, 2016, Stony Brook is tobacco-free.  This includes all tobacco and smoke/vapor-producing products.  For more information about this policy, please refer to the following website:


Where can I find information about Housing?
For information about on-campus housing, please refer to the following website:

For information about off-campus housing, please refer to the following website:

More Questions? Contact us!

For additional information about admission to Stony Brook University's Graduate School, contact