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Admission – The Graduate School Manual

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required from all applicants at the time of application submission. Fees cannot be deferred or waived, except for former McNair, EOP, HEOP, SEEK, and Project 1000 students as well as GEM fellowship applicants. Applications will not be reviewed until the fee is paid and the application is submitted. Departments may pay the fee for applicants if they choose. Students applying for two different programs (for example, a dual degree program or a certificate program and a degree program) must submit $75 for each program. Application fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Academic Test Scores

The Graduate School requires submission of test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other appropriate standardized national exams (e.g., GMAT, Miller Analogies). These standardized exams are indicators of how well an applicant can handle graduate coursework.

GRE scores are required for virtually all programs in Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, the Decker School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Education, the College of Community and Public Affairs, and the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. Departments who require the GRE "subject" test generally specify this on their websites. Applicants for admission to the School of Management should submit GMAT scores in lieu of GRE scores.

Departments/programs that want to waive test scores for individual applicants should request a waiver from the Graduate School and provide appropriate rationale for the waiver (e.g., applicant has already taken graduate courses and done well, thus demonstrating the ability to handle graduate coursework).

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program. The Graduate School's online program descriptions provide the specific deadline for each program. Program staff members should contact the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Recruiting in the Graduate School to provide or update the precise deadlines for their programs.


Types of Admission to Degree Programs

Applicants admitted as degree (matriculated) students may be placed in one of the following categories:

Regular admission: Students are admitted as fully qualified to undertake a program towards a graduate degree. Students who are expected to receive their bachelor's degrees with satisfactory academic achievement between the time of admission and the time they begin their graduate studies are included in this category. Students under regular admission who do not submit official, final transcripts showing satisfactory academic achievement and degree conferral before the end of the sixth week of graduate studies will not be allowed to register for subsequent semesters until they submit such documentation.

Provisional admission: An applicant whose credentials are incomplete may be admitted provisionally. (Normally, an applicant will not be provisionally admitted if more than one of the required credentials is missing.) Once the missing documentation is received, it will be reviewed by the graduate program and the Graduate School. If approved by both, the status will be changed to a regular admit by the Graduate School. All missing documentation should be submitted before the student initially enrolls. For unusual circumstances and with approval by the Graduate School, the missing documentation may be submitted during the student's first semester. Students under provisional admission will not be allowed to register for subsequent semesters or graduate until they have provided specific documentation and their status has been changed to "Regular."

Conditional admission: Students who do not meet academic requirements for admission, as determined by the graduate program and the Graduate School, may be admitted conditionally, with the Graduate School’s approval. The Graduate School will not approve a recommendation of conditional admit if the applicant’s credentials are incomplete. Graduate programs may recommend admittance and the conditions. It is expected that specific conditions for admission to regular status beginning in the second semester, and a timetable for fulfilling those conditions, will be communicated in writing by the program to the student at the time of conditional admission. Normally a student can only be a “conditional admit” for the first semester. After the first semester, the program will review the student's progress toward satisfying those conditions. If they are not met, the program will recommend appropriate action by the Graduate School.



Deferral of Admission

An offer of admission applies to a particular starting semester. This is specified in the acceptance letter. If an applicant wishes to defer admission and begin studies at a later semester, the applicant generally must reapply.

Graduate programs can recommend deferral of admission to The Graduate School. If the graduate program approves an applicant's deferral, the program will submit an admission deferral request to The Graduate School. The Graduate School will review the request and either approve or deny it.

An applicant who wishes to defer admission should contact his/her graduate program. If the applicant has completed additional coursework since submitting his/her graduate application, he/she must submit a new transcript for review.

International Students: If difficulty in obtaining a visa prevents an international applicant from enrolling in the semester specified in the acceptance letter, the applicant should contact the graduate program directly. The graduate program will then advise the Graduate School of the applicant's status.


Dual Degree Programs

Applicants to dual degree programs should apply to both degree programs at the same time (submitting two graduate applications and paying two application fees). Both academic departments must recommend the applicant for admission to the dual degree program. The Graduate School renders the final admission decision. If the student later decides to withdraw from one of the programs, the student is required to notify both academic departments and the Graduate School immediately in writing.

Students are expected to be registered as full-time students every semester and complete the dual degree program as prescribed by the program. The only exception to full-time registration is for students in the MS Nursing program who are employed full-time, and this exception is noted upon admission. In this case, students are expected to be registered every semester and complete the dual degree program as prescribed by the program. In all cases, students are expected to maintain continuous registration for the Fall and Spring semesters and complete the dual degree program within five years of entering the program.

Only under special circumstances will a student be admitted to a dual degree program after the student has started the first semester of one of the component degree programs. When applying for the dual degree program, the student must present a course schedule for every semester and have the schedule approved by both academic departments. The course schedule should meet the timeline prescribed by the dual degree program. The Graduate School will render a final admission decision. If the student is admitted to the second degree program, enrollment in that program will not begin until the subsequent semester.


Admission: Non-Degree/Non-Matriculated Status

Persons holding a baccalaureate degree may apply to enroll in graduate courses without entering a degree or certificate program. This is known as non-degree/non-matriculated student status (sometimes referred to as "continuing education.") Applicants for non-matriculated student status must follow the Graduate School's non-degree application process.

Non-matriculated students may take up to 12 credits total, though some academic departments and schools limit that number further. Academic departments and schools may also restrict enrollment in their courses to degree- and certificate-seeking matriculated students. Degrees, certificates and graduate assistantships are not granted to non-matriculated students.

Depending on the curriculum requirements of a program, some courses taken as a non-degree student may be applied toward a degree, should the student later gain admission to a Binghamton University graduate degree or certificate program. The maximum number of credits taken as a non-degree student that can be applied toward a degree is 12 and toward a certificate is 8. Whether non-degree credits will be applied toward a degree or certificate is determined at the time of admission to a degree or certificate program. Non-matriculated credits will not be applied toward a degree or certificate once the student has begun the degree or certificate program.

If, at a later date, a student decides to apply to the Graduate School for admission to a degree program, the student must submit a regular application electronically. If the student is admitted to a degree program, s/he should obtain from the department an evaluation of graduate courses taken on a continuing education basis as a non-matriculated student. Through this evaluation, those courses that are found appropriate may be officially credited toward the student's degree.

If a non-matriculated student seeks admission to a degree or certificate program with the intention of applying some of the student's non-matriculated course credits to the degree or certificate, then it is the student's responsibility to apply to the degree or certificate program in a timely way. For example, application and admission to a degree program should occur before the 12-credit limit is reached. At most, 12 non-matriculated credits will be applied to the degree program and 8 credits to the certificate program.

A non-matriculated student is not subject to the university residency requirement, and in turn, any credits taken as a non-matriculated student do not apply toward university residency, even if those credits are subsequently approved to apply to a graduate degree.


Materials Needed for Consideration for Admission to Degree Programs

  • A completed online graduate degree application
  • Transcript(s) for all previous college or university coursework showing coursework and conferral of degree (unofficial transcript accepted for application review; official transcript required upon admission)
  • At least two letters of recommendation from people fit to evaluate the applicant's suitability for graduate work (some programs might require additional letters of recommendation; visit the appropriate departmental website prior to submitting your application)
  • A personal statement (see instructions from specific programs)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or, for School of Management applicants, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Applicants to the MPA program may submit GMAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. Submit official subject GRE scores, if required by the degree program.
  • Application fee

Note: Some programs may have additional requirements not listed above. Please visit the appropriate departmental website prior to submitting your application.

And, for international students:

  • TOEFL/IELTS scores for international applicants from countries for which English is a second language and who have not received a degree in the United States
  • International Student Financial Statement form
  • Official bank statement/proof of support

Materials Needed for Consideration for Admission as a Non-Degree/Non-Matriculated Student

  • A completed online application
  • Undergraduate transcript showing coursework and conferral of degree
  • Application fee


Administrative Procedures for Admission

The Graduate School uses an electronic, online admissions system, which speeds up the admissions review and decision process.

After the applicant successfully submits the online graduate application and required supporting documents, the application becomes visible in the academic department’s admission database. The graduate program director and graduate committee will then be able to review the application. Once a decision is made, the graduate program director routes the file back to the Graduate School with an admission recommendation.

Upon receipt of the admission recommendation from the academic department, the Graduate School reviews all documentation and renders a final admission decision. For offers of admission, the Graduate School communicates the decision to the applicant via e-mail and official letter. The admitted student notifies the Graduate School electronically of his/her acceptance of the offer by submitting the admission deposit. For denial of admission, the Graduate School communicates the decision via e-mail.


Admission Deposit

The admission deposit confirms a student's intent to enroll at Binghamton University. It reserves the student's place in the semester and academic program for which he/she was accepted. If a student fails to submit his/her deposit, his/her space may be withdrawn to accommodate another student. The $100 (U.S.) deposit is credited to the student's first semester bill. It is payable online with a credit card.

Refund Policy: Requests for a refund of the admission deposit must be submitted in writing to The Graduate School. The request can be e-mailed to If the request is received within 30 days of receipt of payment, a full refund will be made. After 30 days, the deposit is non-refundable. Refund requests approved by The Graduate School will be forwarded to the Student Accounts Office to issue the refund. All refunds for deposits paid will be mailed to the address shown on University records; if this address is incorrect, the student should provide a correct address when e-mailing the Graduate School.



All graduate students admitted to a degree program must register each semester, excluding summer, until all degree requirements have been completed. Students who fail to maintain continuous registration, unless granted a formal leave of absence by the Graduate School, are ineligible to resume graduate study until readmission has been approved. Students applying for readmission to a graduate program are subject to the rules, procedures, curriculum, and standards in effect at the time of readmission. Readmission is not automatic and may be subject to additional conditions set by the department or school or by the dean of the Graduate School. Readmitted students who have missed up to four semesters will be required to register for one credit for each semester missed, up to a maximum of four semesters.

A fee of $75 is assessed for all applications for readmission to Binghamton University graduate degree programs.

Non-degree students who fail to register for more than two consecutive semesters, excluding summer, are not permitted to register for courses until they have been readmitted. A $50 application fee is charged for readmission as a non-degree student.


International Student Admission

Applicants to the Graduate School who are not citizens of the United States, whether they are enrolled in a school in the United States or abroad, are required to meet academic standards for admission, show proficiency in English, and certify that they have sufficient funds available to support themselves financially.

When applicants are offered admission, they are sent an I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status (F-1).

Although special circumstances may allow an individual to be admitted as a non-degree student for one term, international students (F-1 visa) generally are not eligible for non-degree status.


English Proficiency Exams

To certify English proficiency, international applicants whose native language is not English must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). However, international students who have received a bachelor's or master's degree in the United States are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Other exceptions may also apply.

Normally for the TOEFL, a minimum overall score of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based) is required for admission. For the IELTS, a minimum overall score of 6.5, with no band below 5, is required for admission. Instruction in English as a second language may be required as a condition of admission; students are expected to complete such instruction satisfactorily within two semesters. All incoming international students with TOEFL scores lower than 600 or IELTS scores lower than 7 are required to take an ESL placement test at the beginning of their first semester. Normally TAs should have a TOEFL score of 107 or more, or an IELTS score of 7.5 or more.


International Student Financial Statement

International applicants must guarantee a minimum amount of funds per year to cover expenses (see below). This figure includes living expenses, tuition, fees, and insurance expenses. Additional funds are required for spouses and children accompanying the student to the United States. The minimum dollar resources required are subject to change by the federal government.

Click here for the International Student Financial Statement form, which includes all expected figures for incoming international graduate students at Binghamton University.


Award of a Second Degree in the Same Field

The State University of New York policy states that a second degree at the same level (e.g., master's or doctorate) can be awarded only when a significant amount of additional course work in a very different field is completed. Normally when a student has already earned a master's or doctorate in a given discipline (e.g., economics or history) at another foreign or U.S. institution, a second degree at the same level in that discipline cannot be earned at Binghamton University.


Switching From One Department/School to Another Within the University

The Graduate School admits students to a specific degree program. Degree programs are housed in specific academic units. Normally a student cannot switch from one academic unit to another. A proposed degree program in another unit cannot admit the student without the Graduate School’s approval. If a student decides that another unit is a better fit, then the procedure is as follows:

The student must formally apply via the standard application process of the Graduate School. The proposed degree program evaluates the application and makes a recommendation to the Graduate School. The Graduate School reviews the application and makes a decision. Student should be aware of specific admissions deadlines. If the student is admitted to the proposed degree program, he/she must formally withdraw from the former program.

Normally few, if any, courses may be transferred to the proposed degree program. Work for and results of qualifying, comprehensive, field area, prospectus and other such exams cannot be transferred. Thesis, dissertation, project, independent study and capstone credits cannot be transferred. ABD students cannot transfer. The student’s funding eligibility is not re-set. Current funding is not transferrable without the consent of the unit providing the funding. International students are also responsible for updating appropriate documentation related to change in study and degree completion timeframe.


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Last Updated: 5/18/15