Frequently Asked Questions

Review frequently asked questions about our graduate admissions process.

The University at Buffalo is now issuing electronic I-20s

Mail and courier services around the world continue to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the University at Buffalo is now issuing electronic I-20s in accordance with SEVP Guidance. An original I-20 should not be required for visa interviews, at the Port of Entry or for most purposes once students arrive in the U.S. We highly recommend that students print the I-20 when they receive it by email, since not all agencies will allow students to show an electronic I-20 on their phone or computer. Please see the UB International Student Services Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 FAQ for further information.

Will individual faculty be able to review my credentials prior to the application process?

No, individual faculty will not be able to comment on your application or chances of admission since the decision for admission is made centrally by the graduate admissions committee only. Admission to the graduate programs is competitive and the outcome depends on the quality of the applicants that we have each year. As a result, it is impossible for individual faculty to provide an "appraisal" of a candidate's chances of getting admitted to a program.

I am applying for a PhD. Will my chances of admission be reduced if I cannot demonstrate financial support?

Admission to the PhD program is by merit only. Typically all students admitted to the doctorate program are supported by teaching or research assistantships or fellowships that provide stipend support and cover tuition costs.

I am applying for the PhD program. Do I need to submit the financial aid form?

Yes. This is necessary to complete your application.

I am applying for an MS. What are the chances of financial aid?

Master's students are not offered financial support by the department

Can I pursue a PhD immediately after my BS without a Master's degree?


When will the graduate admissions committee review my application for admission to the fall semester?

The graduate admissions committee begins sending out offers of admission for Masters in the late fall. PhD applications are reviewed beginning December. This process continues until the end of April.

On what basis are admission decisions made?

The graduate admission committee makes all admissions decisions. An evaluation of the applicant's academic qualifications is done. These evaluations are based on the applicant's academic record, GRE scores, personal statement, and letters of recommendation, not on specific scores alone. The criteria for evaluation varies each year depending on the pool of applicants.

What is the minimum TOEFL score accepted?

The university minimum is a score of 79.

What is the minimum GRE score accepted?

There is no specific minimum for GRE.

What is the minimum GPA accepted?

The university minimum GPA is 3.0. Applicants below 3.0 can be accepted, but the Dean’s office has final say on those applications.

What is the best way to send the letters of recommendation?

We prefer to receive online recommendations electronically through the application system.

Can I choose an advisor when applying?

We admit students into the department as a whole, and then students select their research advisors within the first two months of their studies here. There is a presentation and interview process which involves students and faculty.

I have a question about the status of my application. To whom should I write?

Please write to to enquire about your application. Individual faculty will be unable to respond. Because of the number of applications, we cannot answer questions about the receipt of documents. We will notify you of missing documents.

Where should I send my documents (transcripts, scores, bank statements, etc)?

Please do NOT send any hard copy (paper) documents to our department or the university. UB has a paperless application system. Please upload your documents electronically with your application and do not mark your application complete until you have provided all the required documentation. Test scores can be sent through ETS electronically (our code is 2925). We are not responsible for materials sent through the mail or by courier. If offered admission, you will be notified what documents are necessary to bring with you to campus.