Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Policy Updates from the Graduate School

This page will continue to be updated with new policy changes from the Graduate School due to this year's academic disruption and the current public health crisis.

University resource websites with Frequently Asked Questions:

A message to current graduate students from associate dean Gretchen Mahler.

Contacting the Graduate School

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, and with guidance from SUNY and Gov. Cuomo, Graduate School staff are currently working remotely under a new Telecommuting Pilot Program. Students, applicants, faculty and staff can contact the Graduate School electronically, using the resources listed below:

Email Addresses

Chat Options

  • Skype username: binghamtongrad
  • Google hangouts username: Graduate School (

Social Media

  • Facebook: Binghamton University Graduate School


  • Zoom: contact Graduate School staff via email to set up a Zoom meeting

More information about contacting the Graduate School is available online.


Applicants who wish to defer their offer of admission should be in contact with both their academic department as well as the Graduate School to request a deferral. Applicants can request that their admission be deferred up to one year. Applicants who have already deferred their admission by one year will be allowed to further defer their admission. 

To offset the financial burden, admission deposits paid for the fall 2020 semester will be transferred to the deferred semester as a one-time courtesy. Admission deposits will not be transferred beyond the fall 2021 semester.

English Proficiency Exams
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate School at Binghamton University has temporarily approved the use of the Duolingo English Test as proof of English proficiency through the 2021 application cycle.

A minimum score of 105 is required.

Information on the Duolingo exam can be found here.

A verification email will be sent to you a few days after completing the exam containing a link to send your score to Binghamton University. Please send your scores to

Information about additional application requirements for international students is available online.

Form I-20 for International Students
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has temporarily approved the use of electronic I-20s. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will provide a scanned copy of new I-20s directly to international students via email.

The electronic I-20 serves as a valid document for the purpose of applying for a visa and entering the US. ISSS will hold all original I-20 documents on campus for pick up once students arrive in Binghamton. Please be sure to visit the ISSS office upon arrival.

ISSS has posted a letter of explanation online. We recommend printing both the letter and a copy of the scanned I-20.

Provisional Admission for International Students
Financial Documentation - International students who will be exclusively taking online classes during the fall 2020 semester will not need to certify funds, as they do not need an I-20 at this time. Students will not be issued an I-20 or be able to apply for a visa until they have certified funds. Such students should inform their academic department of their plans. More information about financial documentation for international students is available online.
Proof of English Proficiency - All international students will continue to be required to provide proof of English proficiency via English language test scores. Applicants who do not provide scores above the University minimums will not receive a regular admit or be able to pay the deposit, and therefore will not be able to register/enroll in classes. More information about providing proof of English proficiency is available online.

Enrolled Students

Grading Policy for Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) (Pass/Fail) Grades
For spring 2020, the Graduate School’s policy with respect to the S/U grade option is waived except for those academic programs where licensure or accreditation regulations would prohibit the waiver of this policy.  Specifically, the S/U policy change DOES NOT apply to nursing; pharmacy; clinical psychology; and programs in Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership.

All students should consult with their graduate program director to determine whether taking a course S/U will result in adverse consequences. These changes affect only Binghamton University graduate degree programs; graduate students who plan to apply to another graduate program after completing their current program should consider how the decision to select the S/U grade option may affect future applications to such programs. 

Grades will be assigned normally at the end of the spring 2020 semester. After students see their grades, they will be able to change to an S/U grading option if they would like to do so. The deadline to request a change in grade option to S/U will be June 5. With the exceptions noted above, graduate students may change to an S/U grade option for any course they are currently enrolled in during the spring 2020 semester and a grade of S will fulfill progression and degree requirements accordingly. Correspondingly, S/U courses taken in spring 2020 will count toward residency and degree completion requirements. 

S/U-graded courses do not count toward GPA calculation. Students who need to raise their GPA above the threshold required for graduation (i.e., 3.0) must therefore take this into account in their decision making.

Eligibility for Funding for the 2020-21 Academic Year
The Graduate School will waive the requirement that students have no incompletes or withdrawals on their transcript for the spring semester to remain eligible for funding in the 2020-21 academic year.

Policy on Grade Point Average (GPA)
Graduate students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to receive their graduate degree. The GPA requirement will not be adjusted and S/U courses do not count toward GPA calculation.

Temporary Electronic Withdrawal Form
Student Records has created a temporary electronic withdrawal form for both undergraduate and graduate students. The graduate student withdrawal form is required if you wish to drop ALL fall or spring semester courses or to withdraw from Binghamton University in good standing. Please select the appropriate reason for withdrawal, which now includes an option for Medical (COVID-19).

The electronic form is available online.

Please be sure you have read the policies on graduate student withdrawal in the Binghamton University Bulletin and the Graduate School Manual.

  • Speak to your department chair or graduate director to clarify your student status and funding status.
  • If you are an international student, you must also speak with an International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) representative about the withdrawal.
  • If you are a financial aid recipient, you must also contact Financial Aid and Student Records to discuss the effects of the withdrawal.

Graduating Students

Degree Completion and Conferral
The new date for degree conferral for spring 2020 is May 29. The deadline for submitting the Graduate Application for Degree (GAFD) has been extended to May 1.

Students who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 and cannot meet spring 2020 graduation deadlines may submit a general petition form to for a summer 2020 continuous registration waiver.

All updated graduation-related deadlines, including submission of the Graduate Application for Degree (GAFD), Thesis/Dissertation Electronic Submissions, and Recommendation for Award of Degree deadlines are available online.

Continuous Registration Policy for Graduating Students
For summer 2020, the Graduate School’s continuous registration policy has been modified. For students who need to be enrolled for one credit hour to complete their degrees in summer of 2020, and who therefore must maintain continuous registration, the University will absorb the cost of one credit hour of tuition upon petition. To make the request, students who are planning to complete their degrees must submit a general petition form to the Graduate School requesting tuition support for the one credit hour necessary to maintain continuous registration.