What is the application deadline?
DOCTORAL program applications must be submitted and all supplemental material MUST arrive no later than January 9th for Fall admission.  MASTERS program applications must be submitted and all supplemental material MUST arrive no later than April 1st for Fall admission, or November 1st for Spring admission to our two-track master’s program.

How should I submit my application?

The application MUST be submitted online through the Graduate School, here is the online application  link: http://www.grad.sunysb.edu/admissions/app_info.shtml .  Under Additional Required Documents, there is an area to download recommendation forms (if your letters of recommendation are not done online) Please do not give us your password for the application.

There is a checklist on the last page of this FAQ with a summary of what must be submitted. Please double-check that list before sending anything to us.

The fewer envelopes you send us, the better. To that end, we suggest that you put the following items in one large envelope and mail to the Graduate Program Coordinator. If you cannot send all your items in one envelope on time, please send as much as you can in each envelope

TRANSCRIPTS- Have your school(s) send your transcripts to you. Do not open the envelopes. We need TWO (2) sealed official copies of each transcript. Photocopies are NOT acceptable. We know that procuring transcripts from overseas schools can be difficult, but this is not a requirement that can be waived. We will need transcripts, in English, with the degree posted for every school you attended. If your school does not offer English transcripts, we will need an official (notarized) translation. Some overseas documents will need to be evaluated by World Educational Services (www.wes.org).

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION- Have your references send their letters to you. Do not open the envelopes. We need TWO (2) sealed originals of each letter (if the recommendations are not done online).


WRITTING SAMPLE- Sample of written work such as a research paper submitted for an undergraduate class or a master’s thesis.

GRE/TOEFL- If you know your GRE or TOEFL scores, please enter them on the application in addition to having the official scores reported to the University. We will verify them electronically at a later date. Please mail copies if you have them.

Where do I send my supporting materials?


Please mail everything directly to the Department of History (regardless of shipping method).

What if I have a technical problem with my online application?

If you have problems with the online application, please do not call the History Department. We do not have access to the application system. Please click the “Technical Support” link on the login page. Please keep in mind that if you leave applying to the last possible moment, and then have technical difficulties, you may not be able to get assistance in a timely manner.

Why do you require two originals of every document?

One set of originals is for the Graduate School and the other is for the History Department. This is part of being in a large university.

How do I know if you received my package?

Please send your items via a service that provides tracking. The sheer volume of mail we receive at this time of year does not permit us to individually acknowledge every item of mail received. We ask that you please do not call and ask us if we received your package. We are simply too understaffed to answer such calls. Please also understand that if you send a package via the US Postal Service, any tracking information received will tell you when it arrived in the Campus Mail Room, NOT when the History Department received it.

Who has to take the TOEFL exam? PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN “AUTOMATIC” TOEFL WAIVER. The TOEFL is not automatically waived for any student whose native/primary language is not listed as “English” on their application.

The University categorizes people into three language categories:

  • NOTE: Intentional misrepresentation by a student of his/her native/primary language is academic dishonesty, and is grounds for dismissal from the University.
  • NOTE: Our institution code is 2548 for the TOEFL exam.
  • NOTE: Minimum scores are 213 for computer-based tests, 550 for paper-based tests and 90 for internet-based tests.
  • NOTE: All doctoral students (PhD) who are not native/primary speakers of English, will have to take a SPEAK test upon arrival at the University. Depending on the result of this test, you may have to take ESL classes.

Who has to take the GRE?

Anyone applying to an academic program: MA and PhD applicants.

NOTE: Our institution code is 2548 for the GRE exam.

What if I haven’t taken the TOEFL or GRE exam yet?

We need to have the results in our office no later than January, 15. If your score is not received on time, it could jeopardize your admission to the program.

What sort of writing samples do I have to send?

PhD and MA Applicants: Sample of written work such as a research paper submitted for an undergraduate class or a master’s thesis. Submit essays in History research, analysis, or criticism that demonstrate your ability to carry out scholarly work in History. The papers, typically generated in prior course work, should be at least ten pages in length and demonstrate knowledge of proper bibliographic citation practices (your paper must contain a bibliography). Please send PHOTOCOPIES of your papers (do not send your originals).

What if I don’t have any papers in English?

The requirement still exists, and you should translate your paper(s). We know this is asking a lot, but it is absolutely essential to the admissions process.

How does the Department decide?

Admissions decisions are based primarily upon the admissions committee’s estimation of the student’s potential for scholarly achievement and the ability of the Stony Brook faculty to support the student in his or her intended field of scholarly study. If your file is incomplete, this will be impossible to determine.

When does the Department decide?

We send out admissions letters after the file review is complete. Offer letters are generally sent out in March. There is only one person processing all these letters, so please do not call to find out about the status of your letter.

What if it’s April, and I haven’t received my letter yet?

If you have not heard anything by April, please send us an email with your full name, and the degree you applied for. We will look into it and get back to you.

Can I call for your decision?

Results are only given in writing. Please do not call for your result.

What if my application is incomplete?

If your application is incomplete, the University will not admit you. It is crucial that all elements are included in the application. SOME items may be received late, but the earlier you submit your materials, the better. If your application is substantially incomplete, you will not be admitted.

What about double majors?

Applicants who wish to be double majors must apply separately for each major department and must be admitted by each faculty. You only need to send one application and pay one application fee, but you should indicate on the application that you wish to apply for more than one area of specialization.


When applying, the computer system may accept a late application, but it may not be accepted by the Department. The application fee is not refundable.

It is not necessary to send your paperwork in fancy bindings. If they are too bulky, we may have to remove them from the binding in order to fit in our file cabinets.

WHEN SUBMITTING PAPERS OR OTHER MATERIALS, be sure that your NAME, the DEGREE you are seeking appear AT LEAST on the front cover. Pages should be numbered, and the bibliography must be included. DO NOT fax or email papers.