Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to process my application?
Once complete, the application decision may take anywhere from three to eight weeks, depending on the application review process of each department.
How will I find out my decision?
Once a decision has been reached, you may be contacted either by mail or email by the Graduate School. Please make sure the email address and mailing address you list when submitting your application can still be accessed when decisions are submitted.
I have submitted some application documents but have not yet submitted my application. What will happen to my documents?
If you submit your documents in advance of your application, we will retain the documents in our files for one year and reconcile them with your application once you apply. However, your file cannot be reviewed until the application is complete, so materials should be submitted in a timely fashion.
I've missed the application deadline. May I still apply?
Applications received and/or completed after the deadline will be referred to the appropriate department for review if space in the program remains available. Because of enrollment constraints, some departments are unable to review applications after the deadline. If you wish to determine whether your department is still reviewing applications, please contact Nanaho Kamei in the VPA Office of Research and Graduate Studies at 315-443-0137 or email@example.com.
If your department is unable to review your application because it was completed after the deadline, you will be given the option of reactivating your application for a future semester. As long as your request for reactivation falls within a year of your initial application, you will not be required to submit a new application nor an additional fee.
Do you have a spring and/or summer admissions cycle?
Our programs generally do not consider applications for the spring. However, sometimes exceptions are made for students with extenuating circumstances, students applying internally from elsewhere in the university, and for programs who have space available. To find out about availability in a specific program, please contact Nanaho Kamei in the VPA Office of Research and Graduate Studies at 315-443-0137 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to note that merit-based financial aid is generally not available in the spring. For art education and music education, contact Laurie Deyo in the School of Education for its policies on spring and summer admission at 315-443-2505 or email@example.com.
Is there a separate application for University fellowships, assistantships, and other merit-based awards?
No. To be considered for a University fellowship/assistantship, you must merely indicate your interest in the various merit-based awards on the online application. Merit-based awards are open to all applicants.
The deadline for fellowship consideration is often earlier than the admission deadline. Be sure to check the deadlines for your program: Department of Art programs (ceramics, illustration, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture), communication and rhetorical studies, museum studies, Setnor School of Music programs (composition, conducting, and performance), and Department of Transmedia programs (art photography, art video, computer art, and film).
Do you offer application fee waivers?
In general, the College of Visual and Performing Arts does not offer fee waivers for applicants, either based on merit or need. However, Syracuse University offers fee waivers for students who are currently McNair scholars at their undergraduate institutions. If you qualify, please contact Nanaho Kamei in the VPA Office of Research and Graduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If you are a current graduate student at Syracuse University who is interested in pursuing a concurrent degree or a consecutive degree, or are interested in transfering programs, you may not need to submit a new application fee. See the graduate school website to see if you qualify and to access the internal admission and program transfer application forms.
What do I write about in my personal statement?
The personal statement in the application is where you can write about your general academic plans. In approximately 500 words, please describe your academic interests, why you wish to study for the degree you have chosen, why you wish to study at Syracuse University, how you expect to finance your studies, and your plans for the future after you receive your degree.
Do I really need to submit transcripts from every university I've attended?
Yes. You must submit a transcript from each university you've attended regardless of whether or not a degree was earned.
Can my recommenders send letters by mail?
Yes. However, mailed letters do take longer to process, so we prefer the online submission option that is available on the online application. If your recommender is sending a mailed letter, please do not register him/her in the online application system.
I completed my undergraduate degree a long time ago, and I'm unable to acquire recommendations from my former professors. What should I do?
While academic references are generally preferred, we understand that not all applicants may be able to provide them. In that case, you should request recommendations from individuals able to address your qualifications for graduate study. If you have worked in a relevant field, recommendations from your supervisors are acceptable.
Do you require the GREs?
VPA does not require the GRE for admission, though M.A. programs in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Museum Studies will review GRE scores if they are submitted. Programs in art education and music education may require a GRE score. Admission to those programs are through the School of Education. You can contact their office at 315-443-2505 or email@example.com.
Do I need a bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) degree to apply to the programs in the Department of Art or the Department of Transmedia?
Although we include the B.F.A. among our requirements, faculty will review an applicant’s file if the undergraduate degree is a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. The portfolio is key in determining the strength of the application and may override weaknesses in undergraduate background.
Am I eligible for financial awards?
Yes, international applicants are eligible for many of our merit-based awards. There is no separate application, and you will be considered for any awards for which you qualify.
What is the minimum TOEFL score?
We are hesitant to admit students who score below 550 paper, 213 computer, or 80 IBT and may require further assurance (such as a telephone conversation or interview) to ensure that a student’s English proficiency is adequate for successful graduate study.
Do you offer conditional admission if I have a low TOEFL/IELTS score?
Yes. International students who do not reach our minimum TOEFL or IELTS score may be admitted conditionally. Those students will have the option to either retake the TOEFL or IELTS or to attend our English Language Institute (ELI) and complete Level 4. The ELI is an alternative option for students who do not wish to retake the TOEFL or IELTS.
How do I send my TOEFL scores to Syracuse University?
To have your TOEFL scores reported to us, you must provide the Educational Testing Service (ETS) with the institutional code for SU. This code is 2823.
Do you accept the IELTS?
We accept both the TOEFL and the IELTS.
What is a U.S. bacherlor's degree equivalent?
U.S. bachelor's degree equivalents are determined by the university, and must be earned before beginning graduate studies. Current guidelines are as follows:
- Canada: A three-year bachelor's degree from Quebec or a four-year bachelor's degree from the other provinces
- Latin America: A university degree requiring four years of study
- United Kingdom and countries following the British pattern: A bachelor's degree with honors
- 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 maîtrise
- Germany: A bakkalaureus degree if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise completion of the diploma
- 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
- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal: A bachelor's degree in engineering/technology or a master's degree in any other field
- Other Asian countries: A university degree requiring four years of study
Will my application be reviewed if it is missing the Financial Certificate?
Yes. This will not delay the application review process. If the faculty recommends your admission, your admission will be conditional based on receipt of the financial documentation. However, because the issuance of student visas is often a time-consuming process, the Financial Certificate and supporting documents should be submitted as soon as possible.
When will I receive my I-20?
Visa eligibility forms are released once a student has been fully admitted to and has submitted appropriate financial documentation.
Where will my I-20 be mailed?
Your I-20 will be mailed to the permanent address listed on your application.