Admissions Review for a Master's Degree

An application is reviewed when it is complete. A complete application includes:

  • standard biographical information;
  • a record of previous experience in employment and/or education (a resume);
  • a personal essay describing academic and professional goals;
  • an analytical essay (for selected programs);
  • official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate study completed prior to submission of the application;
  • two recommendations from appropriately qualified persons who can attest to the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate study (personal references are not appropriate); and
  • a $50 orientation fee (nonrefundable).

Applications are reviewed regularly throughout the year but only after all required documents have been received. You should submit all documents immediately upon applying. It is important to note that the MAT and M.Ed in Adolescent Special Education programs only start new students in the fall term. The M.A., MBA, M.S. and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction programs start new students in the fall and spring terms.

Transcripts, letters of recommendation, the personal essay, the analytical essay and employment experience (resume/CV) are all considered in the admission decision. (Please see the Admission Policy located in the Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.)

Entrance Exams

The MAT in Adolescent or Middle Childhood Education, MAT in Special Education (initial certification), and M.Ed. in Special Education (additional certification), require submission of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies (MAT).1 Applicants with an advanced degree (e.g., M.A., MSW, Ph.D., Ed.D., JD) from a regionally accredited college or university may request a waiver from the graduate admissions exam along with an official transcript documenting their degree. Waiver requests should be sent to the School for Graduate Studies (

Program Prerequisites

It is important to note that the M.A. in Community and Economic Development, MAT, M.S. in Finance, M.S. in Information Technology, and MBA programs have prerequisite requirements. Please refer to the program section's Admission tabs for a detailing of the prerequisite requirements.

Admissions Review for an Advanced Certificate Program

An application is reviewed when it is completed. A complete application includes:

  • an application form;
  • an official transcript verifying bachelor’s degree completion; and
  • a $50 orientation fee (nonrefundable).

Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials

All foreign educational documents should be evaluated by World Educational Services, Inc. (WES) or any National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member evaluator prior to being submitted to Empire State College. Evaluation reports must be submitted directly from the evaluation service to the college.

Canadian transcripts must be in English and approved by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or Canadian Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT). All other transcripts will be required to be evaluated by a NACES member evaluator.

Applicants for whom English is not the first language must submit proof of proficiency. The School for Graduate Studies will accept Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test scores taken within the last three years. You must score within the range of 79-94 on the TOEFL internet-based test (iBT), 250 on the computer- based test (CBT), 600 on the TOEFL paper-based test (PBT), or 6.5-7 on the IELTS to be considered for admission to the Empire State College advanced certificate programs. Applicants, who have completed a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or from an institution where the instruction was given in English, may be exempt.

Canadian Border Commuter Student Admission

Canadian students who maintain their residence in Canada and travel to the U.S. for required residencies, orientations or meetings with their advisors are considered border commuter students and must apply for admission to the college and meet the following additional admission documentation requirements:

  • Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate that they have sufficient English proficiency to study at Empire State College. See above;
  • proof of financial ability to pay for tuition; and
  • proof of health insurance coverage.

Canadian transcripts must be in English and from institutions approved by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or Canadian Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT). All other transcripts from non-U.S. educational documents must be evaluated by any of these approved evaluation services. See above.

I-20 Information

Canadian border commuter students must obtain an I-20 to study in the U.S. Canadian citizens are not required to apply for or hold an F-1 student visa in order to enter the U.S., however, permanent residents of Canada who are not Canadian citizens will need to apply for a F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate once they have applied for and received their initial I-20 from the college.

Canadian border commuter students accepted to the college are entered into the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), generating the student’s I-20. All international students who are issued an I-20 document are required to pay the federal SEVIS fee. The current fee is $200 and must be paid directly to the U.S. government. Please visit the SEVIS website for more information on the SEVIS fee and how to pay it. Students are required to present receipt of this payment when they cross into the United States. Border commuter students are issued a new I-20 each term, but are not required to pay the SEVIS fee for each consecutive term they are in attendance. If a student does not maintain status for each consecutive term, he or she will be required to pay a new SEVIS fee when issued a new I-20.

To cross the border, students are required to have a valid passport, an I-20 issued for the current term, their SEVIS fee receipt and their financial documents.

Citizens and permanent residents of Canada are allowed to attend classes on a part-time basis. However, part-time students should submit new financial documents to the international student liaison every term, in order to receive a new I-20 for that term.

Students should contact the international student liaison once they have registered for their program so that their registration is entered into SEVIS, demonstrating that they are in status. The earliest border commuter student may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the start of the term.

Canadian border commuter students are not eligible for financial aid, college-sponsored scholarships or employment while studying with Empire State College. Border commuter students are always considered nonresidents for tuition purposes. Border commuter students are not allowed to establish a residence in the U.S.

For visa or international student questions, please contact Erin Barrett, international student liaison, toll free at 800-847-3000, ext. 2447 or email

Please visit the International Students webpage for more detailed information on Canadian border commuter student admissions requirements, including demonstration of financial resources and evaluation of non-U.S. credentials. All documents should be mailed to:

SUNY Empire State College
2 Union Ave.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-4390
Attention: International Student Liaison, U.S.A.


A matriculated student is one who has been admitted for study toward a master’s degree or advanced certificate program.

State Authorization for Provision of Online Education

Federal regulations require that colleges and universities that participate in Title IV funding and offer degree programming through distance or online education to students in other states, must seek approval from those states to offer such programs.

Empire State College is working to comply with each state’s regulations and to maintain the necessary authorizations to continue providing our online degree programs. Please refer to the list below to check on the status of Empire State College’s authorization in your state of residence. All states are considered “registration approved” unless listed otherwise. If your state is not currently approved, we cannot accept your application for admission to an online degree program at this time.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota – SUNY Empire State College is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to Minnesota Statutes sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.
    ​All students who enroll in a B.A. or B.S. degree program will need to satisfy the “Minnesota Degree Standards”, as well as SUNY General Education and Empire State College degree requirements.
    Minnesota Degree Standards
    • B.A. degrees should include 40 semester credits of liberal arts and sciences, with minimum credits distributed as follows: Communication (5 crs), Natural Sciences/Mathematics (8 crs), Humanities (8 crs), and Social Sciences (8 crs).
    • B.S. degrees should include 30 semester credits of liberal arts and sciences, with a minimum of 4 credits completed in each of the following areas: Communication, Natural Sciences/Mathematics, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Note: The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association conducts an annual state authorization survey which is a major resource for this listing.

Complaint Resolution

Empire State College, as a provider of distance or online education, is required by the United States Department of Education to  provide all prospective and current out-of-state students with contact information for the appropriate agency in their home state that handles complaints against institutions offering distance learning within that state.

Students are encouraged to follow the college’s student problem resolution process prior to filing a complaint with a state agency. Please visit Empire State College's Student Problem Resolution Non-New York Residents webpage for more information.