Graduate Program Admissions
Who should apply
Students with bachelor’s degrees can apply directly either to the M.S. or the Ph.D. program, or complete a M.S. here and then continue on in the Ph.D. program. The M.S. is not required for entry to the Ph.D. program.
Students with backgrounds in math and the sciences, particularly those with strong quantitative backgrounds, are encouraged to apply. We help students apply the tools of math and science to solve complex environmental issues.
Qualifications for Admission
- Minimum 3.00 G.P.A. in undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate coursework
- Two semesters of college level calculus, physics, and chemistry, plus advanced coursework in a scientific discipline.
- The general Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Specialty tests are not required.
- International students who do not have English as their native language must demonstrate proficiency in English by taking the TOEFL or IELTS test. Minimum acceptable scores are 600 for the paper-based TOEFL, 213 for the computer-based TOEFL, 90* for the internet-based (IB) TOEFL, and 6.5 for the IELTS. *MS and MA students can be admitted with an IB TOEFL of 85 but are then not eligible for TA support.
Admission Application Deadlines
Applications should be received by January 15th for the Fall semester or October 1st for the Spring Semester. Applications received after the deadline date will still be reviewed but full consideration for financial assistance requires timely submission. Applicants will be notified via e-mail when all required documents have been received. Financial support is generally only available for students beginning study in the fall semester.
- Fill out the online application to the Stony Brook University Graduate School.
- Identify 3 people to provide letters of reference, and make sure they submit them when prompted by Apply Yourself.
- Have ETS send Stony Brook University your official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (Stony Brook’s code for score reporting is 2548). International students must submit your TOEFL/IELTS scores to Stony Brook (code 2548).
- Arrange to have one official transcript from each university attended sent electronically or mailed to:
Educational Programs Office
Endeavour Hall, Room 105
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000
* Note: Item 4 applies to all transcripts other than Stony Brook University transcripts. SBU transcripts do not need to be mailed in. Also, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences does not require supplemental information from applicants.
For more information, contact:
SoMAS Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions
What are your admission prerequisites?
All of our degree tracks require a minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) coursework.
- The M.S. and Ph.D. tracks in the Marine and Atmospheric Sciences require two semesters of college-level calculus, physics (with lab), chemistry (with lab), and advanced coursework in a relevant undergraduate major.
- The M.A. track in Marine Conservation and Policy requires one semester of college-level biology, three additional semesters of college-level science and/or math, and advanced coursework in your major.
What type(s) of advanced coursework are you looking for?
It depends on the field you wish to pursue – we want to see that you have a strong foundation in your area of interest.
- For those interested in Atmospheric Sciences (M.S. and Ph.D. tracks), well-prepared students will have taken classes in areas such as mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, partial differential equations, linear algebra, vector calculus, probability and statistics, etc.
- For those interested in Marine Conservation and Policy (M.A. track), advanced coursework spans a large number of disciplines because of the breadth the degree. Appropriate advanced coursework could include (but is certainly not limited to) economics, health science, journalism, sociology, communications, education, political science, any of the basic sciences, and much more.
- For those interested in Marine Sciences (M.S. and Ph.D. tracks), well-prepared students will have taken classes in areas such as:
- If you plan to pursue biological oceanography – genetics, molecular biology, invertebrate or vertebrate zoology, organic chemistry (with lab), ecology, cell biology, physiology, evolutionary biology, etc.
- If you plan to pursue chemical oceanography – organic chemistry (with lab), physical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical thermodynamics, nuclear chemistry, environmental chemistry, advanced inorganic chemistry, etc.
- If you plan to pursue geological oceanography – mineralogy, sedimentology, stratigraphy, petrology, paleontology, structural geology, marine geology, field geology, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrogeology, etc.
- If you plan to pursue physical oceanography – thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, partial differential equations, linear algebra, mechanics, scientific computing, complex variables, signal processing, etc.
Should I contact potential faculty advisors prior to applying?
Contacting potential advisors is always a good idea, but not required. Reaching out to faculty shows your interest and initiative. You can also learn whether or not someone you would like to work with is looking for new graduate students.
When are your application deadlines?
January 15 for Fall and Summer admissions, October 1 for Spring* admissions
* We generally discourage spring admissions unless the applicant has a prior Masters degree in a field closely related to marine or atmospheric science because of first-year course sequences. Please contact the SoMAS Graduate Program Director if you have questions about Spring admissions.
Do you accept applicants for Spring admissions?
Please see the note in the question above about application deadlines.
Will you consider my application if I miss the application deadline?
Yes, but students who meet the application deadline will receive priority when it comes to financial assistance (teaching and research assistantships). It is definitely in your best interest to make sure all components of your application are submitted before the deadline. Please be aware that there are a limited number of admission offers and the more delayed your application, the less likely it is that you will receive an offer of admission.
What if my file is not complete by the application deadline (e.g., missing letters of recommendation, missing GRE scores, missing transcripts)?
We will not make an admissions decision until your application is complete. Please be aware that there are a limited number of admission offers and the more delayed your application, the less likely it is that you will receive an offer of admission.
Do I have to submit official transcripts just to apply?
Yes. They should be sent to Ms. Christina Fink, Endeavour Hall, Room 105, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, 11794.
Do I have to take the GRE?
We require the general GRE, but not the subject-specific GRE. Stony Brook University’s score reporting code is 2548.
Is there a minimum GRE score that you are looking for?
No. We prefer scores in the 75th percentile or better, but that is not a requirement for admission. We look at your application as a whole, and strengths in some areas can offset weaknesses in other areas of your application.
I received a previous degree from an English-speaking institution. Do I have to take the TOEFL exam?
Yes. This is official policy from Stony Brook University’s Graduate School. Waivers to this policy are extremely rare, and requesting a TOEFL waiver will substantially delay an admissions decision.
What kind(s) of financial assistance is available for your graduate programs?
It depends on the degree program. We generally support M.S. and Ph.D. students on either teaching- and/or research-assistantships (TA/RA). TAs and RAs usually come with a full graduate tuition scholarship, although the tuition scholarship does not cover university fees or health insurance. The M.A. program is a pay-as-you-go program, although there is limited financial assistance for field courses.