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International Graduate Student Admissions

SUNY Potsdam is excited to welcome students from all over the globe each year! We are fully committed to providing you with a memorable and influential experience to assist you in reaching your career goals.

**The information below represents our policies on two additional admissions requirements that are specifically in place for our international student applicants. You must also visit the Admissions Requirements and Application Checklist websites, as these include information on everything else that you will need to submit with your application for graduate study.**

If you have any questions regarding these policies, please do not hesitate to contact the Center for Graduate Studies by e-mail at, or by phone at 00 1-315-267-2165. A member of our team is on hand to support your application to attend SUNY Potsdam!

English Language Proficiency

Our programs require students to engage in group discussions, class participation, and oral presentations. In order to be successful in our programs, students must possess a high proficiency in written and oral English. As such, applicants are required to submit on of the following test scores as demonstration of their English language proficiency. All applicants must request the testing center to send a current official score report to the Center for Graduate Studies. Applicants may also upload a copy of their unofficial score to their application to assist in matching scores and providing initial admissions decisions. Below are the current language exams we will accept and minimum score requirements:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): An overall score of 79 or higher is required on the Internet-based (iBT) exam. Older formats such as computer-based and paper-based equivalencies are 213 and 550 respectively. Visit for additional information on this exam. SUNY Potsdam's institutional code for score reports is 2545.
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS): An overall score of 6.0 or higher with no less than 5.5 in any subsection. Visit for additional information on this exam.
  3. Cambridge English Exams (CEA/CEP): Two specific tests will be accepted (Cambridge English: Advanced or the Cambridge English: Proficiency). Minimum score requirement on either exam is 169. Visit for additional information on this exam.
  4. Pearson PTE Academic: An overall score of 51-58 or higher. Visit for additional information on this exam.
  5. Duolingo: An overall score of 100 or higher. Visit for additional information on this exam.
Language Exam Exceptions

Please note the following exceptions to the submission of a TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge exam:

  • English Speaking Countries: Applicants who are citizens of the following English-speaking countries are not required to submit test scores: Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom. Countries whereby English is one of but is not exclusively an official language will be considered, but is not an automatic waiver. These cases will be evaluated on an individual basis.
  • Existing U.S. Study: Applicants, who have studied at an institution in the U.S., or an English-speaking institution in Canada for a minimum period of two years may, in some cases be granted a waiver of the English exam requirement. If you have studied in the U.S. for less than two years, you will be required to submit official test scores. This waiver is not guaranteed, and decisions will be made on a individual applicant basis.
  • Conditional Admission: Conditional admission may be granted to candidates whereby successful completion of an intensive English language program occurs prior to the start of a graduate program. Potsdam has provided candidates with two options:
    • Pathways to Potsdam: This program is offered in partnership with Fulton-Montgomery Community College. A student may apply to participate in an intensive English language program at this institution upon receiving conditional admission into a graduate program at Potsdam. This program is well suited for candidates who do not quite meet minimum test score requirements, but have otherwise strong academic credentials. Prior to enrollment at Potsdam, the student must successfully complete the ESL program earn a satisfactory score listed above on one of the accepted language exams. *Other ESL programs will be evaluated individually.
    • ELS Program: For all applicants who plan to complete an ELS language program in the United States, you may be granted conditional admission to Potsdam prior to entering the language program. Upon completion of the ELS program and verification that your ELS level is 112 or higher, you will then be eligible to enter the graduate degree program and obtain full admission.

Equivalency to a U.S. Bachelor's

Applicants who studied at colleges and universities outside the U.S. should have a degree or diploma that is the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree or higher. International credentials are assessed in terms of the educational pattern of the country, the type of institution attended, and the level of study completed before the expected date of enrollment at Potsdam. In general, the degree should represent a minimum of four years of college-level study, which follows at least 12 years of schooling at the elementary and secondary level.

You may also submit a credential evaluation report to verify that your degree is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree (Credential evaluations are accepted by any organization that is recognized by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Additional information may be found at The following are general guidelines for equivalents to a U.S. bachelor's degree:

  1. Canada: A three or four year bachelor's degree from Quebec or Ontario or a four-year bachelor's degree from the other provinces.
  2. Latin America: A university degree requiring four years of study.
  3. United Kingdom and countries following the British pattern: A bachelor's degree with honors.
  4. France and countries following the French pattern: A licence, if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise a degree or diploma requiring four years of study after the baccalaureate, usually the Maitrise.
  5. Germany: A Bakkalaureus degree, if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise completion of the diploma.
  6. Other European countries: A university degree requiring a minimum of three years of study, if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise a university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study.
  7. Australia: A bachelor's degree with designation of Ordinary or Pass
  8. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal: A bachelor's degree of engineering (BE), a bachelor's degree of technology (BT) or a master's degree in any other field.
    • India: Three-year bachelor's degrees earned in Division or Class I and II at universities accredited by the NAAC with a grade of A will be evaluated as equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree (based on WES's recommended evaluation criteria).
  1. Other Asian countries: A university degree requiring four years of study.

Additionally, as you prepare for graduate study in the U.S., we invite you to visit "Five Steps to preparing for U.S. Study" presented by Education USA.