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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

International Students

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) to be admitted?

MS Applicants: 3.0/4.0 scale in undergraduate coursework

PhD Applicants: 3.4/4.0 scale in undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) coursework

What is the minimum required GRE score?

To be considered for financial aid, you must have at least a combined verbal and quantitative score of 300. We typically place more emphasis on the quantitative section, looking for candidates that score in the 80th percentile.

Note: The CSEE Department Code for the GRE is 1102; the University at Buffalo Institutional Code is 2925.

What is the cost of attendance?

Cost of attendance at UB varies depending on a number of factors. A current estimate of tuition costs can be found here.

How do I apply?

Please apply using the online application (GRADMIT). Please do not mail application materials. All materials should be submitted electronically.

What is the application deadline?

Fall Semester - JANUARY 15 for studies beginning the fall of that same year. All application materials including supporting documents must be submitted by this date to be considered for financial aid. For domestic students not requesting aid, the deadline extends until May 1 of that year.

Spring Semester - SEPTEMBER 15 for studies beginning the spring of the following year. Our department will accept spring applications on an exceptional basis. Typically we do not offer financial aid during the spring term.

What documents do I need?

Please see the Application Materials section for a detailed list of required documents you should submit electronically.

Where do I send my documents?

All supporting documents should be clearly labeled and uploaded electronically into the online application system. Please do not mail documents.

What is the application fee and how do I pay it?

A nonrefundable application fee of $85 may be paid online with a credit card or with ePay upon completion of the online application. A petition form with supporting documents must be filled out if you are requesting a waiver.

Which transcripts should I send?

Please do not send official transcripts prior to acceptance. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded to your online application. All admitted students who accept their offer will be required to provide all official transcripts and proof of degree(s) prior to beginning their coursework.

How many letters of recommendation are required? How are they submitted?

Three letters of recommendation are to be requested through the online application by providing the names and e-mail addresses. UB undergraduates only need to submit two letters of recommendation. While we will accept letters from professional sources, we strongly prefer letters from professors who are acquainted with your academic interests, achievements and abilities.

I forgot my Username and PIN. How can I log back into a saved application?

You can retrieve your username and password here. An email address is required.

How will I know if I have been accepted?

After your application has been submitted for formal review, you can view the status of your application and supporting documents online. We encourage you to log in frequently to ensure all of your supporting documents have been received. At the conclusion of our application review process, decision letters will be emailed to applicants.

Can I defer admission to another semester?

You are eligible to defer an acceptance offer for up to one academic year without penalty. Admission deferrals beyond one academic year require a new application, which will have to be re-reviewed by the admissions committee. To request a deferral upon admission to the program, place a request for deferral by emailing Graduate Admissions at

Can I take classes as a non-matriculated student?

Domestic students may take classes as a non-matriculated student, but must be admitted to the program. International students must be on an F1 visa in order to take classes as a non-matriculated student.

Can I transfer credits from another university?

It is possible to transfer credits from another university if the course grade is "B" or better and the course(s) is relevant to the CSEE degree program. For the MS, no more than 6 credit hours may be transferred to satisfy the degree requirements. For the PhD degree program, a maximum of 30 credit hours as earned MS degree may be counted towards the 72 credit hour requirement.

Is financial aid available?

If you are interested in financial aid in the form of a teaching assistantship or research assistantship, please check the appropriate box on the application form. No applicant will be considered for financial aid until the application is complete and the applicant has been admitted. For more information, visit the Office of Financial Aid website.

Aside from a bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field, are there other prerequisites?

In addition to holding a bachelor's degree in engineering or any of the mathematical, physical, behavioral, or health sciences, each entering student is expected to be skilled in a number of specific areas. Proficiency is required in mathematics through the level of multivariate calculus, probability and statistics considered from a calculus point of view, and computer programming.

These requirements must be satisfied prior to admission. Students whose backgrounds have not adequately prepared them to enter the graduate curriculum directly may be asked to take appropriate undergraduate courses. Credit for these courses will not be applied toward the minimum number of hours required for the MS degree. In exceptional cases, the department may admit an applicant who does not meet all these requirements; in such cases, the department will set special performance criteria for continuing in the program.

International Students

What is the English language proficiency requirement for international applicants?

International applicants are required to provide proof of English proficiency via the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score, or Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). Starting in Fall 2016, all applicants whose native language is not English will be required to provide proof of English proficiency. Please use Institution Code 2925 and Department Code 65 to provide your TOEFL scores to us.

The State University of New York at Buffalo has the following minimum admission requirements for these tests:

  • Minimum TOEFL score: 79 internet-based test, 550 paper-based test -
    A competitive TOEFL score (internet-based test) is at least 90.
  • Minimum IELTS score: 6.5 (with no individual sub-score below a 6.0)
  • Minimum PTE score: 55 (with no individual sub-score below a 50)

The exam results must be dated within two years from your proposed date of admission and remain valid upon entering the term you applied for. For example, Fall 2015 begins in August 2015; therefore, your exam results must be valid until August 2015.

Information and arrangements to take the exam can be made by contacting the Educational Testing Service at It is strongly recommended to make test arrangements early in the year so sufficient time can be allowed for the results to be reported before our application deadline.

What is the Financial Form?

All international applicants must submit a completed financial form: International Applicant Financial Form. Please complete the form labeled "Standard Graduate" for the appropriate academic year. The Financial Form and supporting bank documents may be uploaded to your application after an admissions decision has been made.

Answer all questions thoroughly. An I-20 cannot be issued without this statement documenting necessary funds for each year of intended study (two years for the MS program; five years for the PhD program).

Where does the I-20 come from?

The I-20 is sent from the UB Office of International Admissions. Please note that the I-20 is not sent from the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. > Read more about I-20 processing time.

If the application file is in proper order, the office of International Admissions prepares the Certificate of Visa Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019 form). The Office of International Admissions then issues the official I-20 Welcome packet and sends it to you. The I-20 Welcome packet includes your official letter of acceptance, the Certificate of Visa Eligibility, and information about International Student Orientation, on-campus housing, international student clubs, and health insurance.

When should I expect my I-20?

The I-20 takes approximately six weeks for processing. To expedite your application, make sure to submit all required documentation including your passport bio page, financial form and application fee as early as possible.  These can be uploaded online, with your application.

Upon receiving the official I-20 packet, you should make arrangements for housing, register for International Student Orientation, apply for your student visa, and arrange for travel to Buffalo, New York.

Additional Questions

If you have further questions after reviewing this page, please direct them to and the Graduate Academic Coordinator will reply.