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ESF Academic Catalog
Admission Policies & Requirements

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NOTE: The following information on admission to SUNY ESF is limited to specific policies and requirements necessary for inclusion in a catalog of record. 

For complete, current information on admission to ESF, visit our admission websites:

Student Status

Required Application Materials

All applicants for first year or transfer entry are required to submit the online admissions application (choose either the Apply SUNY application or The Common Application), official high school transcript or documentation of high school graduation (or equivalent) and any college-level coursework (or equivalent) completed, even if it does not pertain to their intended program of study at ESF. Additional required credentials for each admission pathway are outlined below. Failure to submit this documentation by the stated deadlines may result in the withdrawal of the application or denial of admission.

Early Action First Year Admission for High School Seniors

The application and official high school transcripts, including 12th-year first-quarter grades must be received by this date. Please refer to the next section, “Regular First Year Admission for High School Seniors,” for additional information on the first year application process.

Regular First Year Admission for High School Seniors

High school seniors may apply for Regular First Year admission. High school seniors who are not offered first year entry may be offered Guaranteed Transfer.  Please refer to the next section, "Guaranteed Transfer Option for High School Seniors," which explains this process.

First Year applicants should present strong academic credentials in a college preparatory high school curriculum. A minimum of three units each of college preparatory mathematics and science are required for all majors. For most programs of study completion of additional units of math and science, or design or art sequences for Landscape Architecture applicants, as well as advanced level coursework (honors or college level) indicates strong preparation for the academic rigor students will experience at ESF. An official high school transcript, including 12th-year first-quarter grades, must be submitted as part of the student's application credentials. First Year applicants are encouraged to submit the ESF Supplemental Questions. They are available on the applicant portal when the application is received. 

Guaranteed Transfer Option for High School Seniors

Under this option, admitted students are guaranteed admission to ESF for either their sophomore or junior year provided they meet the conditions specified in the offer of Guaranteed Transfer. Guaranteed Transfer applicants may file the SUNY application or the Common Application as outlined in the section above and send an email to indicating the entry semester for which they wish to be considered. Applicants must submit the same credentials as outlined under "Regular First Year Admission for High School Seniors” (see preceding section). Successful applicants for this option must present a strong academic background including at least three years each of college preparatory mathematics and science.  First year applicants who are not offered admission may be offered Guaranteed Transfer. To satisfy the guarantee of admission, students must satisfactorily complete, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.80 for bachelor's degree programs and 2.50 for associate degree programs (A=4.000), any of the lower-division requirements, which are part of their program of study. Only coursework with grades of C or higher will transfer to meet ESF degree requirements.

Regular Transfer Admission for College Students

Transfer students' admissibility is based on how much of their previous college-level coursework applies to the requirements of their intended major at ESF, overall academic performance at their previous colleges and specific interest in ESF programs. For most programs, a significant emphasis is placed on students' backgrounds in mathematics and science.

Transfer applicants must submit official transcripts and examination scores from all college-level coursework completed and an official final high school transcript or equivalent. Transfer applicants are encouraged to submit the ESF Supplemental Questions. They are available on the Applicant Portal when the application is received. Students who have completed less than 30 semester hours of college-level coursework are required to submit copies of their high school transcript and SAT I or ACT test scores as part of the admissions process.

Students who apply as transfers to ESF are expected to have successfully completed some portion of the established required sequence of courses appropriate to their intended major at the College. Applicants to Landscape Architecture should have some background in art or graphic design. Students attending one of our ESF Cooperative College Partners will find information on course equivalencies for all of our programs of study on our web page.

Transfer students applying for bachelor degree programs at the Syracuse campus should have a 2.80 (A=4.00) or higher cumulative grade point average at the last institution they attended in full-time status. Those applying for associate degree programs at The Ranger School campus should have a 2.50 or higher cumulative grade point average at the last institution they attended in full-time status. Applicants with cumulative grade point averages below these thresholds will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, transfer applicants may be updated for consideration for a future entry date, one or two semesters beyond their original entry date, to allow them the opportunity to complete additional core degree requirements and/or improve academic performance. Students with cumulative grade point averages less than 2.00 will not be considered for transfer admission to SUNY ESF. Only coursework with grades of C or higher will transfer to meet ESF degree requirements.

Transfer Credit

Coursework appropriate to the ESF curriculum can be transferred to the College, but grades and grade points cannot be transferred. Courses transferred to meet graduation requirements for any curriculum must be acceptable in content, and credit will be awarded only for those completed with a grade of C or higher (a C- is not acceptable).

All transfer credit will remain tentative until official, final transcripts are received. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that official, final transcripts are sent to and received by the College.

Only coursework completed at institutions that are fully accredited by one of six regional accrediting agencies will be considered for possible transfer credit toward ESF degree requirements. These agencies are the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Policy for Students Transferring from Syracuse University to SUNY ESF

With the approval of the home institution and subject to availability, SUNY ESF students may take Syracuse University courses, and SU students may take SUNY ESF courses.

For Syracuse University transfer students, Syracuse University is the college of record. SUNY ESF does not maintain a transcript record of ESF courses taken by Syracuse University students. A student previously matriculated at Syracuse University, who is subsequently admitted to SUNY ESF, will have all coursework taken while a Syracuse University student, including SUNY ESF courses, treated and evaluated as transfer credit from Syracuse University. Such Syracuse University courses will not appear or calculate on the SUNY ESF transcript, except as they are included in a block of transfer credits, i.e., total credit hours, accepted from Syracuse University. However, such Syracuse University courses do not count toward the SUNY ESF residency requirement. Departments at their discretion include such courses in manual calculations, e.g., for determination of subsequent intra-university transfer eligibility.

Syracuse University courses taken by matriculated ESF students appear on the SUNY ESF transcript and calculate in the same way as ESF courses. Syracuse University courses do not count toward the SUNY ESF undergraduate residency requirement. 

The ESF transfer credit policy requiring a minimum grade of C will be waived for Syracuse University students only and any coursework taken at Syracuse University with a passing grade will be treated as if it was taken at SUNY ESF. 

Advanced Placement

The College will consider for advanced standing credit the results of examinations from standardized testing agencies such as the College Entrance Examination Board's Advanced Placement Program (AP) or the College Level Examination Programs (CLEP) as well as the Higher Level Exams of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

AP Course Score Requirements

Course Score
Art History 3 or higher
Biology 4 or higher
Chemistry 4 or higher
Chinese 3 or higher
Computer Science A 3 or higher
Computer Science AB 3 or higher
English: Language & Composition 3 or higher
English: Literature & Composition 3 or higher
Environmental Science 3 or higher
European History 3 or higher
United States History 3 or higher
Economics: Microeconomics 3 or higher
Economics: Macroeconomics 3 or higher
French Language 3 or higher
French Literature 3 or higher
German Language 3 or higher
Human Geography 3 or higher
Italian 3 or higher
Japanese 3 or higher
Latin 3 or higher
Latin: Literature 3 or higher
Mathematics: Calculus AB 4 or higher
Mathematics: Calculus BC 4 or higher
Music Theory 3 or higher
Physics B 4 or higher
Physics 1 (effective fall 2014) 4 or higher
Physics 2 (effective fall 2014) 4 or higher
Physics C (Mechanics) 4 or higher
Physics C (Electricity & Magnetism) 4 or higher
Psychology 3 or higher
Spanish Language 3 or higher
Spanish Literature 3 or higher
Statistics 3 or higher
Government & Politics: United States 3 or higher
Government & Politics: Comparative 3 or higher
Art 2D design 3 or higher
Art 3D design 3 or higher
Art Drawing 3 or higher
World History 3 or higher

IB Requirements

Course Score
Arabic Language B (HL) 5 or higher
Biology (HL) 5 or higher
Business Management (HL) 5 or higher
Business Organization (HL) 5 or higher
Chemistry (HL) 5 or higher
Chinese A-1 (HL) 5 or higher
Classical Languages (HL) 5 or higher
Computer Science (HL) 5 or higher
Design Technology (HL) 5 or higher
Economics (HL) 5 or higher
English A1 (HL) 5 or higher
English A2 (HL) 5 or higher
Film (HL) 5 or higher
Geography (HL) 5 or higher
French A2 (HL) 5 or higher
French B (HL) 5 or higher
History (HL) – Africa 5 or higher
History (HL) – Americas 5 or higher
History (HL) – East and South Asia 5 or higher
History (HL) – Europe 5 or higher
History (HL) – South Asia and the Middle East 5 or higher
Islamic History (HL) 5 or higher
Information Technology (HL) 5 or higher
Japanese B (HL) 5 or higher
Korean (HL) 5 or higher
Mongolian A1 5 or higher
Music (HL) 5 or higher
Philipino Language (HL) 5 or higher
Philosophy (HL) 5 or higher
Physics (HL) 5 or higher
Psychology (HL) 5 or higher
Social and Cultural Anthropology (HL) 5 or higher
Spanish Language A2 (HL) 5 or higher
Spanish Language B (HL) 5 or higher
Theater Arts (HL) 5 or higher
Visual Arts (HL) 5 or higher

CLEP Requirements

Course Score
American Literature 50
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 50
College Composition 50
College Composition with Modular 50
First Year College Composition 50
English Composition with or without Essay 50
English Literature 50
Humanities 50
French - Level 1 50
French - Level 2 59
German - Level 1  50
German - Level 2  60
Spanish - Level 1 50
Spanish - Level 2 63
American Government 50
Introduction to Educational Psychology 50
History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 50
History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present 50
Human Growth and Development 50
Principles of Macroeconomics 50
Principles of Microeconomics 50
Introductory Psychology 50
Social Sciences and History  50
Introductory Sociology 50
Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648 50
Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present 50
College Algebra 50
College Algebra – Trigonometry 50
Calculus 50
Natural Sciences 50
Trigonometry 50
Pre-calculus 50
Principles of Accounting 50
Introductory Business Law 50
Financial Accounting 50
Information Systems and Computer Applications 50
Principles of Management 50
Principles of Marketing 50

Ranger School Admission

The SUNY ESF Ranger School does not enroll first year students. Students complete their first year requirements at ESF’s Syracuse campus or at the college of their choice. They complete the sophomore year of their A.A.S. program in residence at The Ranger School campus. Candidates may apply for acceptance into these programs under the guaranteed transfer option while a senior in high school or as a regular transfer student.

High school students who wish to enroll in these programs should apply during their senior year to receive a guaranteed entry date one year later. Transfer students apply for sophomore year entry during the academic year prior to their intended fall semester entry at The Ranger School (spring admission is not available). For further information on The Ranger School, visit the website or refer to The Ranger School section of this catalog.

Educational Opportunity Program

Offered only to full-time students who are New York state residents, first year and transfer students who qualify, both academically and economically, may be eligible for the EOP program.

High school seniors who wish to apply for first year enrollment and EOP status at the College must file a SUNY application or The Common Application and indicate they want to be considered for EOP. In addition, they must submit a copy of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), indicating ESF as a receiving institution.

In order for transfer students to participate in the program at the College, they must have been enrolled in or qualified for EOP, Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), Search for Education Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) or similar program at their prior college. Therefore, students who are applying to ESF as high school seniors through the Guaranteed Transfer option should also apply for EOP, HEOP or SEEK at their lower-division college, and must enroll in or be qualified for such a program in order to continue in EOP at ESF.

All EOP applicants must file applications for undergraduate admission and financial aid as described in those two sections of this catalog.

Deferred Admission

Students accepted to ESF who wish to defer their enrollment for one or two semesters beyond their original entry term must make this request in writing directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students will receive written notification if their request has been approved.

Graduate Admission Policies & Requirements

Admission to Graduate School is conditional upon review and acceptance of an applicant's credentials by appropriate faculty members and upon the recommendation of the appropriate department chairman or program director to the Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School.

Application Requirements

Submit securely via our online application.

  • Transcripts
    Transcripts of an earned bachelor's degree from a recognized institution with an academic record showing at least a "B" average for junior and senior years of the baccalaureate program or for the master's program
  • Application
    The graduate application
  • Scores
    Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and for some degree programs, advanced test scores(institution code for official score reports:2530)
  • Recommendations
    Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your academic or professional skills. This should NOT include personal friends and family
  • Resume
    A resume or CV
  • Statement
    A statement of educational and professional goals
  • Fee
    A nonrefundable $60(US) application fee

Students whose primary language is not English are also required to provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Applying for Admission

Faculty seek graduate students who are well prepared for rigorous study, responsive and receptive to constructive feedback, and a good fit with their programs. The most effective way for applicants to demonstrate these qualities is to communicate with faculty prior to applying and to understand the programs ESF has to offer. Therefore, individuals who are interested in applying for graduate study should contact ESF faculty to discuss degree programs and learn about specific opportunities for study and research at ESF. Faculty Web pages provide contact information and additional insights about ESF degree programs. We also encourage applicants to visit campus and meet with faculty and current graduate students.

Application Deadlines

While the following dates are particularly important for applicants wishing to be considered for fellowships, assistantships, and other forms of financial assistance, ESF will continue to accept and fully consider graduate applications beyond each of the noted deadlines:

Application Target Dates

Semester of Matriculation Application Deadline *
Fall January 15
Spring November 1

*Applications completed by these deadlines by these dates will normally receive decisions by mid-March for fall matriculation and by early December for spring matriculation.

Graduate Record Exam Subject Tests

Subject tests are recommended by the following programs:

Graduate Program Subject Test

Environmental and forest chemistry

Chemistry - recommended

Biochemistry area of study within environmental and forest chemistry

Chemistry or Biology - recommended

Transfer Credit

Credit hours appropriate to the graduate degree in which a minimum grade of B was earned from an accredited institution can be transferred to the College, but grades and grade points cannot be transferred.

Up to six credits of graduate coursework not used to complete another degree may be accepted toward completion of a master’s or doctoral degree as approved by the steering committee.

Up to 30 credits of graduate level coursework earned as part of a conferred master’s degree may be transferred (by petition) to a doctoral degree with approval of the steering committee.

Students may transfer no more than nine credits of credit-bearing non-degree ESF coursework to graduate degree programs.

All transfer credit will remain tentative until official, final transcripts are received. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that official, final transcripts are sent to and received by the College.

Part-time Study

Part-time study at the graduate level provides an excellent opportunity for working professionals to extend their educational credentials or broaden their general knowledge by enrolling for courses on a part-time basis. The M.P.S. or M.F. professional degrees are available for students who are initially matriculated on a part-time basis. Part-time students apply, matriculate and register through the same processes that all ESF graduate students complete. During any semester, students who enroll in part-time programs may register for the equivalent of full-time study, which is at least 12 credit hours. Part-time students are held to the policy for continuous registration, but not to the policy for time to degree (delimitation).

Deferred Admission

Students accepted to graduate programs at ESF who wish to defer their enrollment beyond their original entry term must make this request in writing directly to the The Graduate School.

Faculty as Students

Employees of the College who carry faculty status in accordance with SUNY ESF Faculty Bylaws and are at or above the rank of assistant professor or equivalent, may not enter into matriculated status at the College.

International Student Admission Policies & Requirements

In addition to the admission requirements that all prospective students must meet, international applicants must provide the following:

Standard Undergraduate Admission Score (Minimum) Graduate Admission Score (Minimum)
TOEFL (paper-based) 550 550
TOEFL (internet-based) 79 80 (with no individual component score < 17)
IELTS Total: 6.0 (with no less than 5 in Writing) Total: 6.0 (with no less than 5 in Writing)
Duolingo English Test (DET) 100 105
PTE Academic 53 53
STEP EIKEN Grade pre-1   (University level) Grade 1
Syracuse University -  English Language Institute (ELI) Successful completion of ELI "Level 4" Successful completion of ELI "Level 4"
ELS Successful completion of Level 112 Successful completion of Level 112
Previous college-level instruction in English

Completion of at least one three-credit English course at an institution where the language of instruction is in English. ESL courses will not count toward meeting this requirement.

  • Completion of at least two years of college (academic studies, not English language instruction) at an institution where the courses were taught in English.
  • Successful completion of at least one semester at SUNY ESF
SAT 500 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Score N/A
ACT 22 Composite Score N/A
Duolingo (DET) (Minimum) = 100 (Minimum) = 105

Note: SUNY ESF accepts MyBest TOEFL scores for both undergraduate and graduate admissions.

  1. Transcripts and international academic credentials—International applicants must provide complete translations into English of all transcripts required by the admissions application without any additions or deletions by the translators. Translations of documents by the applicant will not be accepted. Credential evaluator and translation services for academic documents may be found through the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
    • International freshman applicants are required to demonstrate the completion of a college preparatory secondary school program by submitting academic credentials translated into English. This evaluation must be completed by an approved international credentials evaluation agency.
    • International transfer applicants are required to submit a detailed course-by-course evaluation of all international academic credentials in English. This evaluation must be completed by an approved international credentials evaluation agency.
  2. Copy of the passport should be submitted with application materials.

International Students Currently Attending an Educational Institution in the U.S.

In addition to the entrance requirements for other international students, international students who are currently enrolled at a U.S. educational institution must obtain permission (usually through a Transfer-In Form) from their current educational institution to transfer their SEVIS record to ESF. Students will also have to complete a SUNY ESF SEVIS Transfer-In Form (F-1 Students / J-1) so that ESF is aware of when your current institution will release your SEVIS record to ESF so that a new I-20 or DS-2019 can be issued for the ESF program of study. Additional information about transferring your SEVIS record to ESF is available online.

I-20 Issuance for International Students

An I-20, required for the F-1 student visa application, will be issued once a student has:

    1. Been officially admitted to ESF;
    2. Submitted adequate financial support documentation for at least one year of expenses at ESF;

In order to obtain an I-20 from ESF, a potential F-1 student must complete the "FSA-4 - Financial Statement" and submit credible documentary evidence that they have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses (tuition, fees, and living expenses) for the entire first year of study. (It is expected that barring unforeseen circumstances, students will have adequate funds available for each subsequent year of study from the same source or from one or more other specifically identified and reliable financial sources.)

Documentation of sufficient funding may come from any combination of dependable sources, including scholarships, assistantships, fellowships, sponsoring agencies, personal funds, or funds from a student's family. Documentation of scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships must be in the form of an official award letter from the school or sponsoring agency; documentation of personal or family funds should be on an official signed letter of support from the bank that includes the U.S. dollar amount of support and certified bank statements which indicate that the sponsor has sufficient funds to meet a student's first-year expenses at ESF (the bank statement does not have to show the full amount of the account), or in the form of a legally binding affidavit. The Form I-134, "Affidavit of Support," can be used to document support being provided by a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident. Government-sponsored applicants should submit a certified copy of the award letter that includes the U.S. dollar amount of the award per year, the duration of the award and a list of expenses covered by the award.

  1. Indicate your intention to enroll at ESF through your ESF Applicant Portal by submitting the required admissions deposit.
  2. Submitted the New Undergraduate International Student Information Form.
  3. Submitted a passport copy.

Once all of the above materials have been received, an I-20 will be issued and mailed to the prospective international student by the Office of International Education.

Health Insurance Requirement

ESF students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are required by SUNY policies to maintain comprehensive health insurance with medical evacuation and repatriation coverage for themselves (and their dependents in the United States) for the duration of their ESF program of study. International students are automatically enrolled in the SUNY Health Insurance Plan unless proof of comparable health insurance is provided to the Bursar's Office within 30 days of the start of each semester.