Graduate Application FAQs
Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions covering our application process for incoming and admitted graduate students.
How do I calculate my GPA in the application?
Students should report their GPA or aggregate percentage (international students) according to the standard scale used by their universities. Do not attempt to convert to the 4.0 GPA scale. In the application, report the aggregate score/GPA achieved during the full course of your studies.
I applied last semester but was rejected, can I reuse materials from my last application?
Reusing the SoP and Resume is a decision that each applicant must make independently. LORs must be resubmitted into the new application officially by recommenders; old LORs cannot be transferred to the new application by SBU. If you previously submitted the GRE or TOEFL to SBU officially from ETS, it does not have to be re-reported again. If you took the IELTS or Duolingo, please upload a copy of the official score into your new application.
I have been out of touch with my undergraduate college, can the 3 recommendations be accepted from the work place?
This is a decision that each applicant must make independently. We will accept recommendations from the workplace.
I entered a mistake in the application form (i.e. Address, DOB, Citizenship, Employment, Self-Reported Test Scores, etc.), can this be corrected?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to correct mistakes in the application form.
Please make sure to review all the entered information before submitting your
I did not upload my Resume/Statement of Purpose (or I found a mistake), what can I do??
In the event the Resume/Statement of Purpose is missing completely, we can add it manually to your application. In terms of mistakes/typos in uploaded materials, due to the number of applications that we receive unfortunately it is not possible to update materials. However, please know that the Graduate Admissions Committee is aware that errors do occur and treats every applicant fairly and equally.
Why do I need to enter my GRE and TOEFL scores in the application if the scores are sent by ETS to Stony Brook?
There can be delays in receiving test scores from ETS. By entering your scores in the application, the admissions committee is able to begin reviewing your application. Note that the scores entered on your application will be verified with scores transmitted to the University by ETS.
My recommender is asking to submit a letter of recommendation outside of the online application system, is this possible?
All recommendation letters should be uploaded by recommenders into the online application system. To request an exception to this policy, please send your request to email@example.com. We grant permissions only in exceptional cases.
Please refrain from mailing hard copy letters of recommendation, as it will slow down the review process of your application
I cannot pay the application fee. What can I do?
The application fee is a requirement in order to be considered for admission. Note that we can only access your application after the application fee is paid. Fee waivers are available for Domestic student applications. Please contact the Graduate School to apply for an application fee waiver. See fee waiver procedures in the Graduate Bulletin
Criteria for admission
I have a background in sciences or engineering, and have taken introductory programming courses but not Computer Science major courses. Can I still be admitted to the graduate program in CS?
Admission to the graduate program requires a bachelor’s degree. For MS, we prefer students with CS or related degrees. Applicants with exceptional promise who lack CS preparation in one or more core areas may be admitted to the program, but will be required to take additional CS courses as specified in their offer letter. For PhD, we mainly consider an applicant’s potential for first-class research, and expect the applicants to have sufficient academic preparation and strength to succeed in PhD qualifiers.
What is the minimum GPA requirement?
The graduate school requires a minimum of 3.0 GPA for admission to any graduate program. However, note that the GPAs of typical admits are significantly higher. Students with exceptionally strong research or work experience but a GPA that is marginally below 3.0 may, in a few cases, be considered for provisional admission.
I do not meet your English proficiency requirement. Do you offer conditional admission to fulfill the requirements?
We do not offer conditional admission to fulfill English proficiency requirements. English proficiency requirements must be met in order to be considered for admission.
Do you offer conditional admission?
We offer conditional admission only very rarely, at the discretion of the
Is it necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in CSE? Are students without a degree in CSE at a disadvantage compared to other applicants?
A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science is highly recommended, but is not a requirement. Students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field and who can demonstrate a strong computer science background, through employment and/or college-level coursework, may still apply. All applications are evaluated according to the same criteria. Therefore students without a CSE degree must demonstrate sufficient CS background within their application.
Based on the profile I e-mailed to you, am I eligible for admission?
We receive a large number of emails concerning admission to the graduate program. Profiles or information submitted through email for pre-review will not be evaluated by the admissions committee or the admissions secretaries. The admissions committee will only review applications officially submitted through the application system.
Deadlines and dates
The application deadline has passed. Can I still apply for admission?
Applications submitted in the application system prior to midnight of the application deadline will receive full consideration for admission. International MS and PhD applications submitted to the application system after the posted deadline may be considered, but this is completely at the discretion of the admission committee. The response time for late applications may be delayed and late applications may not receive full consideration, especially for financial support. Domestic applications submitted in the application system after the posted deadline will be accepted but ARE NOT guaranteed to be reviewed.
When does the official online application in ApplyYourself open for submission?
Official online applications for the next academic year (both Fall and Spring)
become available in mid to late August.
Other Application Process
Am I a domestic or international student?
If you are a US Citizen, permanent resident, or have a green card, you are considered a domestic student. Whether studying in the US or internationally, if you do not have US citizenship, permanent residency, or a green card, you are an international student.
Do you have an application checklist?
The Stony Brook Graduate School provides an application checklist which is available on their website. However, please do not send any paper documents until we explicitly ask for them. Unsolicited hard copy documents will only delay application processing.
What is the mailing address for sending hard copy documents?
First of all, don't send us any paper documents until and unless we explicitly ask for them. Unsolicited hard copy documents will only delay the processing of your application.
If and when hard copy documents are requested by the department, an email will be sent directly to the applicant providing the mailing address for their required documents.
I am an international student, should I send my financial documents with my application?
No. Financial documents are not needed during the admissions process. If you are admitted to the program, you will receive specific instructions from the Visa and Immigration Service department via e-mail regarding the online Form I-20 process.
What materials should be sent to the Graduate Admissions office by mail?
Only upon the department’s request, materials required by mail is one official transcript from all undergraduate institutions attended in which a degree was earned and evidence of undergraduate degree conferral. In addition, please submit all official transcripts relating to any graduate level work undertaken, regardless of whether or not a degree was earned as well as evidence of graduate degree conferral if you earned a graduate degree. **Please be aware that documents uploaded into your online application are not considered official, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure required documents are sent to their prospective department, when formally requested. For further graduate application instructions, please visit our Graduate Admissions webpage.
Can the GMAT test be used as a substitute for the GRE?
No. The GMAT exam can not be used in place of the GRE or the TOEFL exam.
What happens to my application if my materials (GRE and TOEFL scores) are late?
There is a brief margin (1-2 weeks) after the application deadline where these scores can still be processed in time for review. Applications reviewed without scores may be negatively impacted. Note, that these materials are required before any offer of admissions will be issued.
Are my TOEFL and GRE test scores still valid?
TOEFL test scores must be no more than 2 years old based on the application deadline date. GRE scores must be no more than 5 years old based on the application deadline date.
What are the typical test score results?
Note that test scores are only one of the criteria in the review process. The admission committee reviews all aspects of the application as a whole. A superlative score will not ensure admission if the remainder of the application is of low quality. At the same time, applications with below average scores can be compensated by other higher quality sections of the application.
What is your institution's code for GRE and TOEFL?
The institution code for GRE and TOEFL is 2548. The Department code is 0402 for GRE and 78 for TOEFL. Please note, if the scores were sent with the wrong department code, we will still receive your scores so long as the institution code is correct.
I have only one original copy of my TOEFL and/or GRE scores. Should I send them with my application?
There is no need to send a hard copy of your GRE or TOEFL. GRE and TOEFL scores must be sent to Stony Brook University officially through ETS electronic delivery. We cannot accept unofficial copies of the GRE or TOEFL. When submitting a request through ETS, please ensure your scores are sent to Stony Brook University using the department and institutional codes as referenced in #5, above. Additionally, please self-report your score in the online application form. This score will be verified with the electronic report. Entering scores in your application allows for immediate consideration of your application. However, please know that if you are reviewed favorably, any offer of admission will not be issued without having received your official scores from the testing service.
If you took the IELTS or Duolingo exam instead of TOEFL, please upload an unofficial copy of your IELTS (or Duolingo) exam into your online graduate application prior to submission. Note that an official electronic IELTS/Duolingo will be required for admitted students.
Are GRE scores required for admission?
All international applicants are required to submit valid GRE scores. GRE is optional for domestic students; domestic applicants need not submit GRE scores.
COVID19 Exceptions: Due to disruptions caused by COVID19 pandemic, GRE scores will be optional for all applications to Fall’21.
I am an international student studying in the U.S., do I need to take GRE and TOEFL?
In general, all international applicants are required to submit a valid GRE examination score, regardless of their undergraduate institution.
COVID19 Exceptions: Due to disruptions caused by COVID19 pandemic, GRE scores will be optional for all applications to Fall’21.
I am a US Citizen/Permanent Resident, do I need to take GRE and TOEFL?
GRE is optional for domestic students. i.e., US citizens and permanent residents.
What Language Proficiency scores do you accept for admission?
We accept TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo for admission
Are Language Proficiency exam scores required for admission?
For international and domestic students, there is an identical Graduate School language proficiency survey embedded in the official MS and PhD online application. If your answers to the survey indicate that a language proficiency score is required, you must submit a language proficiency score for graduate admissions committee consideration and to be admitted. On the other hand, if your answers to the survey indicate that a language proficiency score is not required, it will not be necessary to submit a language proficiency score.
The language proficiency survey determined that I need to submit a test score for MS admission. What is the minimum score for admission?
I took the IELTS (or Duolingo) exam, how do I report it for review and admission?
For the IELTS, please upload an unofficial copy of your test report form into your official online application for committee consideration. Then, only if you become admitted, please send a request to the British Council immediately to submit an official electronic IELTS test report to SBU’s Graduate School. For Duolingo, please upload an unofficial copy into your official online application for committee consideration. Then, only if you become admitted, please submit your official Duolingo score to SBU’s Graduate School immediately using the reporting procedures referenced on the Graduate School Bulletin
The language proficiency survey determined that I need to submit a test score for PhD admission. What is the minimum score for admission?
Minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores for Doctoral level admission can be found on the Graduate School’s Admission FAQs. In addition, minimum required TOEFL/IELTS Speak subsection scores, per the Admission FAQs, are required for doctoral admission. The minimum required score for Duolingo can be found on the Graduate School Bulletin. With the Duolingo exam, PhD's who will serve as Teaching Assistants must be assessed by the Linguistics Department to determine OAE placement after admission.
The language proficiency survey determined that I must submit a score for committee review and admission, but I want to waive it. Is this possible?
If the survey determines that a score is required, it must be submitted to be considered for admission. There is no possibility of further waiver.
I have not completed my online application, can I still send my official transcripts?
Hard copies of documents should not be sent to the department unless
formally requested by the Graduate Admissions staff.
I want to send in my application early, but I have no grades for the Fall semester. Do you really need it?
If you are applying for the Fall semester, you may submit your application any time prior to the application deadline. If your official Fall grades are not available at the time your application is submitted, please send us your official transcript once your Fall grades become available. The Fall admission deadline allows for sufficient time for Fall semester marks to be available and sent.
For more transcript FAQ's, please visit the Graduate School's Admission FAQ's page at: https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/grad/admissions/apply/graduate-progr…
I have scanned versions of my transcripts. Can I submit them online with my application instead of mailing them?
Initial documents should be scanned with your application for review purposes only. Hard copies, in the condition referenced in #4, are only to be sent when you receive an e-mail request from the Graduate Admissions staff.
Note: Applications lacking scanned and legible transcripts will not be reviewed.
What are the "official transcripts" that are needed?
A transcript is official when it is issued by the appropriate academic administrative officer at the school you attended, along with an official seal/stamp and an official signature on the document(s). Transcripts must be submitted to the program you are applying in a sealed envelope, stamped across the seal by the appropriate academic officer. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all work beyond secondary school, but only upon request from the department. Please request one official transcript from each institution you have attended. Photocopied documents or documents sealed by a non-academic representative are NOT official and will not be accepted. Transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by an official WES translation. Final transcripts state that a degree has been conferred and provide the date of conferral. A provisional certificate, therefore, is not final but temporary. Students who apply with a current in-progress transcript and are accepted to the program will be required to send an official final transcript (and evidence of degree award) for enrollment to continue at Stony Brook University.
Other Application Materials
What else can I send to enhance my chances of admission?
No additional materials are to be sent. Sending any unsolicited application materials will slow down the admission process for all applicants. These additional materials will not be considered for review by the admissions committee.
Post-admission and Post-review steps
Can I transfer credits from another graduate program and have them counted towards my degree in your program?
Students may transfer up to 9 credits of graduate courses obtained from another university. The following conditions and procedure is required to transfer any credits.
In order to be counted towards graduation, the credits must be evaluated by one of our faculty members. The evaluation must establish equivalence between a course being transferred from another institution to a Computer Science course in Stony Brook, which is accepted as part of the graduation requirements (see the Graduate Program Handbook). The faculty member must be one of those who are teaching the corresponding graduate course on a regular basis. The professor typically evaluates the course materials/contents, student transcripts, etc. The approval is not automatic and we generally take a very careful look at such transfer requests.
Graduate courses that do not meet the previous requirement can be transferred without being counted towards graduation. This can sometimes be useful because students who have earned 24 graduate credits of any kind need to be registered for only 9 credits (instead of 12) in order to have full status. Therefore, gaining this status early might reduce tuition liability.
What courses should I register for?
Please refer to the FAQ for the MS and PhD programs.
When can I register for courses? If I wait to register will all the classes be full?
Students may register for classes once any mandatory Solar Holds are lifted. Please open the Hold link in Solar to view the Hold description and resolve all holds for the upcoming semester that can prevent registration (or trigger de-registration). We suggest that you register for courses as soon as possible.
I mistakenly applied to the wrong Computer Science Program (e.g., MS, Ph.D. or SUNY Korea). How may I change the Computer Science program?
Please contact an advisor at the Graduate School. He/she can update the Computer Science program you wish to apply to. Note: If you change the Computer Science program you are applying to, please ensure to inform your Graduate Admissions Coordinator about the program change.
How will I know if my application is incomplete?
Once your status is updated in the application system, you will be able to
view a materials checklist which will display what has/has not been received.
Please do not worry that you will not have the chance to complete your
application. If it turns out your application is incomplete, you will have the
opportunity to provide us with any missing materials prior to review.
When will my status be updated?
Due to the volume of applications we receive, statuses are not updated right away. Please check for status updates after the relative application deadline has passed.
Where can I check my application status?
The application system does not provide an overall application status. However, as long as your application checklist is complete, please know that this counts as your application being complete. If you do not see an updated checklist status it is because we have not provided an update yet; in this case, please wait for an update.
Visa and I-20
How will my Form I-20 be mailed?
For new students, Visa and Immigration services will ship Form I-20’s via UPS express. Current students can request to receive their Form I-20’s via eShip Global.
I could not attend Stony Brook University this semester, but I still have my Form I-20. If I attend Stony Brook University in the near future, can I still use it?
No. Form I-20's are voided after the start of the semester and are no longer valid.
My VISA application is held up in administrative processing or has been rejected. Can you help speed up administrative processing or write a letter on my behalf?
No. The Graduate Admissions staff or Program Faculty cannot speed up administrative processing or provide letters on a student’s behalf. Please contact your Visa and Immigration Student advisor regarding these matters; only they can advise.
I already made a VISA appointment but have not received my Form I-20. What can I do?
Students are advised not to make a VISA appointment until after receiving their Form I-20.
I made a mistake on my Form I-20 application. How can I fix it?
If your Form I-20 application is in draft status, you can make revisions in accessVIS (note: the type of revision you wish to make may be limited due to the rules of the system). However, if your Form I-20 application is in review status, you will not be able to make changes. To make changes during review status, you must speak with your Visa and Immigration student advisor. Only your Visa and Immigration student advisor can give you access to make changes during review status.
How can I apply for a Form I-20?
If you are admitted and accept said admission, you will receive notification via e-mail with instructions on how to submit a Form I-20 application via the accessVIS application system.
Who will be processing my Form I-20 application?
The Graduate Admissions office does not process Form I-20 applications. Processing and the issuance of Form I-20’s is a function of the Visa and Immigration Services department.
Wait List, Deferrals and Rejections
Can I request a deferral of my admission?
Sometimes students who are admitted into our graduate program cannot attend due to a variety of reasons and request that their admission be deferred to the following semester. Decisions on deferral requests are done on a case-by-case basis. A student whose deferral request is declined can be reconsidered for admission, without a new application, for up to one year from the semester of their original application. Beyond the one year timeframe, students can can reapply for admission in a subsequent semester, indicating history of past admission.
If I do not show up for the start of the semester, is my acceptance automatically deferred to the following semester?
No. Students who do not arrive and check-in at the start of the semester are considered to have declined the offer of admission. If you wish to attend Stony Brook University in the near future, you can inquire about a deferral or completely re-apply.
Do you have a waitlist?
No. We do not have a waitlist for admissions.
I know students who were accepted but not coming, since I was rejected can I take their spot?
No. Offers of admissions can not be transferred between students.
I need to know the reason for my rejection so I can improve my future chances?
We receive a large number of applicants each semester. Therefore we are not
able to provide individual feedback to each applicant.
Other Post Review
I was accepted to ECE but I really want to be in CSE. Can I transfer my acceptance?
No. Offers of admission are not transferable.
Degrees and Programs
Can students admitted to the M.S. program subsequently gain admission to the Ph.D. program?
A student in the M.S. program can subsequently apply for admission into the Ph.D. program, but should keep in mind the higher standards for entry into the Ph.D. program. The Computer Science Handbook describes this process, as well as serving as the authoritative source on matters relating to the graduate program.
I mistakenly applied for ECE, how can I transfer my application to CSE?
We cannot transfer applications between departments. We can only review applications which are submitted to CSE. We suggest you contact the Graduate School in this case.
How long does it take to obtain an MS degree?
The MS program is a 31-credit program, which is usually completed in three semesters.
Do you offer summer or part-time admission?
We do not offer summer admission. For international students, due to VISA constraints, we do not admit part-time MS/PhD students.
If I have a PhD can I apply for the MS program?
Students who have already obtained a PhD in Computer Science are not eligible to apply for the MS program. Students with a PhD is in another discipline are eligible for the MS program.
What training programs or certificate programs do you offer?
We do not offer any training programs or certificate programs. The degrees we offer are MS and PhD in Computer Science.
If you have any remaining questions regarding admissions, please send to Graduate@cs.stonybrook.edu