Graduate Student—Frequently Asked Questions

About Academic Advising

Where is the Graduate Student Advising Office?

The Coordinator of Graduate Programs Office is now combined with the Watson Advising Office, and is located in the M-pod (2nd floor) of the Engineering Building.

For academic advising, please consult with your department's Director of Graduate Studies or your faculty adviser.

How do I identify my faculty adviser?

Each department has a faculty member who serves as the graduate adviser within the discipline. If you are not certain who your faculty adviser is, you can check with the department secretary or Director of Graduate Studies. In addition, your department chair can serve as a valuable resource for advice about the professional path you are following to launch your career.

What if I have more questions?

In addition to the people who support you within the Watson School and across Binghamton University, there are many additional resources available to you. Check out the list of resources on the Campus Support Resources page. 

Where can I find housing?

Graduate Students are encouraged to use the Off Campus College Office to assist them in finding housing. 

Over 3,000 graduate students are currently enrolled at Binghamton University. Although there is no on-campus housing available for graduate students, the affordability and availability of off-campus housing, coupled with free bus service, provide strong incentives for graduate students to find housing in the surrounding area. Broome County Transit and Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) (the blue buses) both provide bus service through the local area. The Off Campus College Office also serves as a resource for students wishing to live off campus, maintaining a computerized listing of available rentals. OCC also provides lease reviews, weekly legal clinics and other educational programs to help students enjoy trouble-free off-campus living. The new University Plaza complex next to campus offers fully furnished apartments, Internet, all utilities and other amenities for students. For more information, contact University Plaza at 1-888-775-4615.

Additional information can be found on the Graduate School's webpage.

Can my GRE and /or TOEFL scores be waived?

This is at the discretion of the department.  Please contact the department you are applying to for more information.  For departmental contact information, please go to your department's info page and click the Contact Us link there.

Students applying to the Graduate Program in Electrical and Computer Engineering:

If a student has graduated from an ABET accredited school GRE and TOEFL scores will be waived after their application is forwarded to the department from the  Graduate School.

Where do I address questions about tuition and fees?

Direct cost questions to the Graduate School.  More information can be found here.

What are the add/drop deadlines?

Please check the academic calendar.

When do I use the yellow "Independent Study Registration" form?

Use this form to register for independent study courses, including:

  • Internship (594)
  • Project (595, 598)
  • Thesis (599)
  • Pre-dissertation and dissertation (698, 699)
  • Other independent study (597, 697)
  • Continuous registration (700)
  • Assistantship credit (701), for TA, GA, and RPA only
  • Research skills (707)

Independent Study can be registered any time, beginning with the pre-registration period, and running through the sixth week of classes.  Note that the registration deadlines (e.g. the "Add / Drop" deadline for course registration) do not apply to independent study, which can be freely added, dropped or changed, up until (approximately) the sixth week of classes.

To register for Independent Study, you must submit a completed Independent Study Registration Form (a "yellow form"), signed by you faculty adviser.  This form is submitted to your department office, where it will be processed.

How do I add or drop a class?

Before the Add / Drop deadline, students can freely add or drop classes through the BU Brain website.  Exceptions include restricted courses (e.g. in Computer Science) and Independent Study, which must be registered by the department office.

After the Add / Drop deadline, adding a course requires approval of the instructor, the director of graduate studies, and the Graduate school, and also requires payment of a late fee.  This is done with a "Late Add/Drop/Change" form, which is signed by the instructor and graduate director, and then submitted to the Graduate School: Late Add/Drop/Change Form (.pdf, 71kb)

If I drop a course does it show up on my transcript?

If a student drops a course before the drop deadline, the course does not show up on his or her transcript and it is treated as if the student never took the course.  If a course is dropped after the drop deadline and before the withdraw deadline, the course is assigned a grade of W (withdraw) and appears on the student's transcript as such.

What is the school policy regarding eliminating courses on my transcript?

Students cannot have courses removed from their transcript from previous semesters.  Additionally, grades received for coursework cannot be eliminated from the cumulative GPA.  If a student repeats a course, the grade from the second attempt will be substituted for the grade from the first attempt in the cumulative GPA.  The repeated course remains in the transcript because it was part of the student's academic load.

For more information about this policy and other academic policies, please visit the Graduate School's website.

How do I transfer courses (taken at another school) towards my Watson degree?

Credit from courses that a student has taken at another institution may be transferred towards a Watson School degree with approval from the Graduate Program Director and final approval from the Vice Provost of the Graduate School.  Prior to taking the course, students should meet with their faculty adviser to discuss this, and be prepared to present a course description from the other institution.  A minimum grade of B must be earned to receive transfer credit.

If the faculty adviser or Graduate Program Director has agreed that the course can be transferred, the student should fill out a "Application for Transfer Credit" form (available from the Graduate School office, or from the Coordinator of Graduate Programs).  This form must be signed by the adviser or Graduate Director, and forwarded to the Graduate School, along with a transcript from the other institution.

How many credits can I transfer?

Generally, students will transfer a maximum of 2 courses (the equivalent of 6 credits) from another institution.  This is due to the fact that most programs require a total of 30 credits, 24 of which must be taken "in residence" (see the "Residence Requirement" policy found in the Graduate Student Manual). 

How do I go get a transcript?

The Registrar's office (not the Watson School) can provide official or unofficial transcripts.  No fee is charged for this service.  For more information about requesting a transcript, see this page on the Registrar's website.

Where can I find information about graduation?

Information about deadlines for graduation can be found here.

What do I have to do in order to graduate?

You will need to submit a Graduate Application for Degree no later than the listed deadline, which you can find here.  You will also need to submit a Proposed Course of Study / Graduation Check Form (Master's and a Recommendation for Award form (Master's and Doctoral).  Both of these forms need signatures from the department's Director of Graduate Studies.  A check list for graduation can be found here.

For Master's

For Doctoral

How many credits do I need to register for as a graduate student?

For information about registration requirements, please refer to the Graduate School Manual. If you are a funded student or an international student, it is very important to know what is required in order to maintain full time status. 

Students who are course complete or ABD, but still wish to be full time for VISA or loan purposes should request full time status through the Graduate School. See the Full time Certification Form for FUNDED students  (.pdf, 60kb) or the Full time certification form for NON-FUNDED students (.pdf, 61kb). Additional information about full time certification or funded and non-funded students can be found on the Graduate School's website: Full Time Certification.

International students should also refer to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website for important information about maintaining full time status.

Students are responsible for their own registration and to ensure that they are registered for the proper number of credits and type of courses. Although graduate program staff may assist with student registration, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to check his/her registration and correct it as needed. registration can be checked via the BU Brain.

What is the rule for international students on F-1 visas taking courses on-line?

The office for International and Student Scholar Services (ISSS) is the best place to find answers to questions regarding rules for international students at Binghamton University. For more information about international students on F-1 visas taking courses on-line, please see ISSS's website.


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Last Updated: 1/18/16