FAQs – International Students

Application and Admission

What undergraduate major is required or recommended?
We do not give preference in admission based on undergraduate major for the MPA program. All undergraduate majors will be considered.

When is the application deadline? Can I apply after the deadline?
The application deadline for the fall semester is April 1st and for the spring semester is October 1st. Students who apply prior to the deadline will receive priority consideration for admission. Students who apply after the deadline may receive conditional consideration for admission based on space available.

Do all of the application materials need to be in before the deadline?
We strongly recommend that all required documents be submitted prior to the deadline for full consideration. We may continue to accept additional supporting documents on a rolling basis if space permits.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
Ideally, your recommendation letters should come from professors who know you well in an academic subject. If you have work experience, a letter of recommendation written by your supervisor is also acceptable. Recommendation letters from family members and friends will not be accepted.

Are international students eligible to receive academic scholarships or financial aid?
Financial aid is not available to international students through Rutgers University. MPA students may, however, apply for a private loan with a U.S. co-signer. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid. At the school level, we offer few small scholarships (ranging from $500 to $2,000 USD). Students may apply for such scholarships after completing at least one semester.

How can I submit my application?
All applications must be completed online at http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu. The Rutgers University-Newark Office of Admissions requires the following original official documents:

  • Official transcripts
  • Bank statements or sponsorship letters
  • TOEFL from ETS or IELTS from the British Council

How can I learn more about tuition and fees?
You can find more information on tuition and fees by visiting: http://admissions.rutgers.edu/costs/tuitionandfees.aspx#2

How can I make sure my application is complete?
Please use the application checklist below to ensure a complete application.

  • Online application form
  • Resume
  • Fee of $70 – payable to Rutgers University
  • Official transcripts for colleges and universities attended
  • Bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution of higher education is required. In most cases, transcripts must be evaluated by NACES agencies, such as World Education Services (WES). A list of NACES agencies can be found on their website: http://naces.org/members.htm.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement – two to three pages explaining “Why you are pursuing an MPA degree at Rutgers’ SPAA”
  • GRE – It could be waived if student’s GPA from the undergraduate program is 3.0 or higher.
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable, reported by the ETS, institutional code 2512) or IELTS reported by the British Council
  • Bank Certificate (or sponsorship letter)
    Ensure that the bank statements are issued in January or later of the same year for fall entrance. For the spring entrance, the bank statements should be issued after June of the previous year. Financial documentation must be received in satisfactory form reporting sufficient funds. The financial documents will not be returned to you. So please obtain duplicate original documents for your visa application.

Can I transfer credits for courses completed at another university?
Yes, the MPA program may allow students to transfer up to 12 credits for graduate work done previously under a similar formal graduate degree program at an institution accredited by NASPAA. Students may request evaluation for transfer credits at any time, but they are not granted until a student is matriculated and has completed 12 credits with a B or better grade at SPAA. Transfer credits are applied mostly to concentration courses.

How long does it take to complete the MPA?
Normally, candidates for MPA degrees finish their required courses and credits in about two years depending on the course load carried each semester.

I have been admitted! What’s next?
You will receive an admissions packet via U.S. mail within several days after you are formally admitted. The packet contains your formal certificate of admission along with information for admitted students. In most cases, you will also receive additional information separately from the graduate school and program to which you have been admitted. You can accept or decline your offer of admission online from your status site. If you do not see the option to accept or decline your offer on the status site, then you should contact the program to find out how to inform us of your decision.

  • Submit your admission response online.
  • Obtain your NetID
  • Contact MPA advisors for advising and course registration.

How do you define international students?
Any student who is not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the United States is considered an international student. International students usually need an F1 or J1 visa to study in the United States.  

Can I defer my offer of admission?
No, admitted students must submit a new application for the term they wish to defer their admission to.

Can international students study part time?
No, international students cannot study part time. U.S. immigration law requires that all international students on F1 student visas maintain full-time enrollment. To be considered full time, graduate students must be registered for a minimum of 9 credits to be considered full time.

What’s the difference between MPA and MPP?

  • The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is a professional degree for those who want a career in public service that involves management and decision-making. This program develops skills used by leaders and managers to implement policies, projects, and programs.
  • The Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree is a professional degree that places an emphasis on evaluating analytical skills to solve policy issues. MPP graduates work with quantitative and qualitative information to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to emerging issues and challenges.

How long can I know the admission decision after I submitted the application?
Students normally receive admission decision within 30 days after the deadline. They are encouraged to contact SPAA at spaasas@newark.rutgers.edu if they do not hear from the school 40 days or longer after the deadline.

English Proficiency and GRE Requirements

What are your minimum requirements for the GRE exam?
GRE scores can be waived if the applicant’s undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or higher. For those who do not have a 3.0 GPA, we usually accept students with GRE scores above 400 in the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections and 3.5 or higher in the analytical writing section.

What are your minimum requirements for the TOEFL and IELTS exams?
The minimum TOEFL-iBT score is 90. The minimum scores for the subsections are: Writing 22, Speaking 23, Reading 21, and Listening 17. Student whose subsection scores haven’t met the minimum requirements may be granted a conditional admission and required to take English courses through PALS. Students with score at or above 80 but below a 90 on TOEFL may be granted a conditional admission and required to take English courses through PALS. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5 in each of the subsections. Students that score at or above 6 but below a 6.5 on IELTS may be granted a conditional admission and required to take English courses through PALS.

Should I retake my GRE or TOEFL?
The Admissions Committee carefully reviews all items a candidate submits in support of the application. If the candidate is strong in other areas, but submits test scores that fall below the minimum requirements, the Admissions Committee may recommend that the candidate retake the test. Candidates who retake the test will be reconsidered for the original term of entry or for up to one year from the term of the original application.

If I take a GRE more than once, which score do you use?
You may retake the GRE without penalty. The highest score will be considered in the admission process.

Will you accept GRE score that is more than 5 years old?
No, all GRE scores must be within the past 5 years from the date of applying for the program.

Can the GRE requirement be waived?
Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA above a 3.0 in order to be eligible for the GRE waiver.

Can the TOEFL or IETLS requirement be waived?
In general, the TOEFL or IETLS is required of all applicants whose first language is not English. However, if you have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in the U.S., the TOEFL and IETLS may be waived.

How do you decide if I need PALS program?
The Program in American Language Studies (PALS) is the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Rutgers University-Newark. All incoming international MPA students must take an assessment exam with PALS. Students may be required to enroll in English proficiency courses provided by PALS based on their exam results. Students will pay tuitions and fees for their English courses. PALS offers core courses in reading, writing, grammar, listening, and speaking. Additionally, students can take Pronunciation, Vocabulary, TOEFL Workshop, or IELTS Workshop electives if they choose. For more information on PALS, please visit: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/pals

Housing and Transportation

Can international students apply for on-campus housing?
Rutgers University-Newark provides on-campus housing to both undergraduate and graduate students. However, on-campus housing is NOT AUTOMATICALLY available to admitted students. Students who have been admitted to Rutgers University-Newark MUST APPLY for on-campus housing separately. For information on-campus housing, please visit office of Housing and Residential Life website: http://housing.newark.rutgers.edu. On campus housing is not designed to accommodate families. Students with families should seek off-campus housing options.

How can I start my housing application procedure?
Please follow the steps below:

  1. Home page of Rutgers Newark
  2. Campus Life
  3. Living on campus
  4. Application online for Fall & Spring Housing
  5. Apply Now

Please note: You may be asked to enter your emergency contact information first; otherwise, you cannot complete the application. You may use any contact information you feel convenient for you by following the instructions carefully.

How can I find a room off-campus? Can you give me suggestions for housing off-campus?
SPAA doesn’t provide assistance in finding off-campus housing. For listings of off-campus housing and transportation, you may visit the links below:

For Chinese students, you can also find more information through the forum for Rutgers Chinese Students and Scholars Association at http://www.rcssa.org.

For Korean students, you can find more information on the Rutgers Newark Korean Students Association Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NewarkKSA.

Does Rutgers-Newark have school buses? What are the routes?
Yes, RU-N has a transportation system to meet the needs of all students, faculty and staff. We have three core routes: Campus Connect, Newark Penn Station and Kearny, in addition to the existing Rutgers Newark Penn Station Midnight Express security shuttle. More information can be found at http://rudots.rutgers.edu/nwktransport.shtml.

What are the transportation Options from airports to local residence?

  1. Rutgers Newark OISS provides Airport Pickup Service (fall semester only):
    Every August, when large numbers of new students are arriving, OISS provides airport pickup services to help alleviate some anxieties the new students and their families may experience caused by their departure to another country to study. Due to limited resources, we can only pick up students whose flights arrive at the Newark Liberty International Airport. Those who fly to JFK or LaGuardia airports may take the airport shuttle services directly to the Newark Airport for OISS pickup service. New students who have received Forms I-20/DS-2019 from OISS AND will enroll at Rutgers University-Newark may email newintl@andromeda.rutgers.edu to request an airport pickup application form with instructions.
  2. There are Ground Transportation Services at the Airports:
    -From Newark Liberty Airport, please check "Ground Transportation" on the website of Newark Liberty International Airport at http://www.panynj.gov/airports/ewr-ground-transportation.html
    -From JFK International Airport, please check "Ground Transportation" on the website of JFK International Airport at http://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk-ground-transportation.html
    -From LaGuardia Airport, please check "Ground Transportation" on the website of LaGuardia Airport at http://www.panynj.gov/airports/lga-ground-transportation.html

How can I find more about Newark?
Please visit the links below to find more information about the City of Newark.

Students may also download a highly interactive app “My Newark” that was developed in collaborative between the City of Newark and Rutgers University-Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA). This app provides a variety of information resources about Newark. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.publicstuff.newark_nj&...)

Tuition and Fees, Registration, and Visa

How can I pay my tuition and fees? Can I pay it from an overseas bank?
You can review your term bill online by logging in your student account at: https://finservices.rutgers.edu/otb/.

You have payment options:

  • Pay Online By Electronic Check
    You may pay by e-check, which is an electronic withdrawal from your checking or savings bank account. No additional fee is charged for the e-check, unless the electronic payment is returned as unpaid from your bank to the university. Returned e-checks are assessed a $10.00 return check service fee and $50.00 late fee.
  • Pay Online By Credit Card
    MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover Card may be used to pay tuition and fees online. A service fee will be assessed to your credit card for this convenience. The University Cashier’s Offices no longer accept in-person credit card payments. NOTE: Any payments made online will be reflected on your account within three to five business days.
  • Pay in Person or by Mail
    A printable term bill has been provided for your record keeping and payment. You may PRINT YOUR TERM BILL and bring it to your local Cashier’s Offices to pay in person or mail your payment to: Blumenthal Hall, 249 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102-1896.

Payment from an overseas bank is receivable. Please adhere instructions on the student account page and acquire information and professional help from your banker and Cashier’s Office. http://studentabc.rutgers.edu/cashier-offices

I can’t get my term bill online. What should I do?
Your term bill will only be available after you successfully register for courses.

How can I register for courses?
You can register for courses online using Rutgers WebReg (https://sims.rutgers.edu/webreg/). This service is available to all students at the University. Students with prerequisites, time conflicts, and maximum credit override problems must add courses in person at the Registrar’s Office. Log in to WebReg using your RUID and your Personal Access Code (PAC). PAC is comprised of the first four digits of your birthday. For example, if your birthday is September 5th, your PAC code is 0905. WebReg is available at the following times:

  • Monday-Friday: 6:30am – 11:59pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 6:30am – 6:30pm

Who is my academic advisor? Can I contact him/her?
Academic advising for MPA students is by appointment only. To make an advising appointment, you will need to contact:
Ms. Gail Daniels, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs
Email: gaild@newark.rutgers.edu
Phone: 973-353-1122.

Prior to your advising appointment:

  • Review the Rutgers Online Schedule of Classes
  • Fill out advisement forms as best you can and bring them with you

How do I pay the SEVIS I-901 fee?
Before you pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, make sure your information on your Form I-20/DS-2019 is correct. This information must match the information that is on your SEVIS I-901 fee form.

All F-1/J-1 students and J-1 scholars must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to cover the government's cost of administering and maintaining the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the web-based system for collecting, maintaining and managing information about nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors in the United States. You may not apply for a visa until you pay this fee.  Your dependents, if they are coming to the United States, do not have to pay this fee, but will have SEVIS records in their name.

Visa exempt students and exchange visitors from Canada and selected British subject residents must also pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.

  • The SEVIS I-901 fee for F1 students: $200
  • The SEVIS I-901 fee for J1 students or scholars $180
  • SEVIS Fee Payment Confirmation Receipt

You must present the SEVIS fee payment confirmation receipt as proof of having paid the SEVIS fee in order to apply for an F-1/J-1 visa and in order to enter the U.S. If you choose to pay online, be sure to print out the online “confirmation” receipt at the time it appears on your computer screen!

To pay the SEVIS I-901 fee or print out a payment receipt, go to www.FMJfee.com

For more information about the SEVIS I-901 fee, please visit the Department of Homeland Security's Study in the States website.

How can I obtain a Rutgers student ID?
All incoming students can obtain a photo student ID card (RUconnection card) for free from the Photo ID Office located in Blumenthal Hall, 249 University Avenue - 3rd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102. All new students must be registered for classes to be eligible for a student ID card. For more information, please visit: http://businessoffice.newark.rutgers.edu/students.

Does the school require newly admitted students to attend orientation?
Yes, SPAA requires all newly admitted students to attend orientations. Normally, there are two orientations held for international students. The Office of International Student & Scholar Services (OISS) conducts the first orientation, and the second orientation is conducted by SPAA.

How can I request my I-20 or DS-2019?
Steps to obtain Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status or Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status:

Step 1. Submit copy of passport, and financial documentation to Admissions Office

NOTE to students currently attending another U.S. school in F-1 status or on OPT: you must also submit The International Student Advisor's Report and request SEVIS record to be transferred to from your current school to "Rutgers University - Newark".
During the admission process, the Admissions Office collects from the student  a copy of passport, Financial Statement and original financial documentation that proves the student has sufficient funding to cover educational and living expenses for the first full year.  Dollar amount required for issuing Form I-20/DS-2019 varies depending on different tuition costs for different degree programs. For the amount required for a specific degree program, please contact the specific admission office below: 

Office of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions (For any undergraduate or graduate program OTHER THAN the graduate programs in Rutgers Business School or Law School)
Email: newarkadmissions@ugadm.rutgers.edu
Phone: 973-353-5205
Fax: 973-353-1440

RBS Office of Graduate Admissions (For MBA or Masters degree programs in Rutgers Business School)
Email: admit@business.rutgers.edu
Phone: 973-353-1234
Fax: 973-353-1592 

RBS Ph.D. Program  (For PhD in Management or Masters Degree in Information Technology program at Rutgers Business School)
Email: phdinfo@business.rutgers.edu 
Phone: 973-353-5371
Fax: 973-353-5888 

Law School Admissions Office 
Email: lawinfo@andromeda.rutgers.edu
Phone: 973-353-5554 

Step 2. Admissions Office passes admission letter/certificate, completed Financial Statement, original financial documentation, copy of passport and enrollment info to Office of International Student  and Scholar Services (OISS)

Step 3. OISS issues new I-20/DS-2019 and emails the student to sign up on University Express Mail Services for mailing I-20/DS-2019 with instructions about visa application.

I am currently attending another university and have been admitted by Rutgers. How can I transfer my I-20 or DS-2019?
If you're already in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, you must complete a transfer of your immigration sponsorship if you intend to begin a full-time program of study at Rutgers University. Follow the procedure below if you wish to transfer your immigration sponsorship to pursue full-time study at Rutgers.

  • Inform the admissions office that you are an international student, and will need an I-20 (for F-1 status) or a DS-2019 (for J-1 status) accordingly.
  • Once you have been admitted to a full-time program at Rutgers, you will be asked to provide certification of funds and have your current school complete an "International Student Adviser's Report." After you have submitted both these documents to the right admissions office, you will become eligible for transfer.
  • Contact the international services office of your current school and request them to transfer your SEVIS record to Rutgers. Provide the right name of the school and campus that you will be attending at Rutgers to facilitate a smooth transfer process.
  • Rutgers (admissions office) will be able to issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019 only after your SEVIS record has been transferred out from your previous school and received by the right school at Rutgers. You will then receive an I-20 or DS-2019 from Rutgers for the purpose of a transfer (it should say "Transfer Pending" for F-1 students).
  • In order to complete your transfer process, you must "check in" at the Center for Global Services no later than 15 days after the program start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019 and register for a full course of study before the registration deadline for that semester. Failure to check in at the Center and to register for a full course of study will result in a termination of your immigration status.

Health, Insurance, and Immunization

I don’t have enough time to finish the physical examination and vaccine injection. Can immunization be exempted?
No, immunization is a pre-entrance requirement for all students admitted into Rutgers and cannot be exempted. Exemption for required immunizations will be allowed only on bona fide religious or medical grounds with written statements from the student explaining the conflict with religious beliefs for a religious exemption, and from a doctor explaining the medical contraindication for a medical exemption. In the event of a contagious outbreak, any student who has been exempted from immunization may not be allowed on campus. For more details, please see: http://health.newark.rutgers.edu/our-services/immunization.

Can I receive required vaccines on campus after arriving to the US?
Yes, newly admitted students may receive the required vaccinations at Rutgers University Newark, Health Service Center. After arriving to the US, you should contact the Center at 973-353-5231 to schedule an appointment.

What is Rutgers' Health Insurance Requirement?
Rutgers University requires all F and J nonimmigrants that hold a Rutgers I-20 or DS-2019 to have health insurance that meets or exceeds the University's minimum required level of coverage. Please note that the requirement includes not only F-1 and J-1 visa holders on Rutgers' visa sponsorship, but also F-2 and J-2 visa dependents on Rutgers' visa sponsorship, as well. For more information on health insurance and coverage, please visit: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/office-international-student-and-scholar-ser...

How can I be exempt from the health insurance requirement?
Students on Rutgers University F or J visa sponsorship, who have been billed for the insurance fee on their current term bill and meet a reason for insurance exemption, can be exempt from the health insurance requirement. For information on how to be exempt from the health insurance requirement, please visit: http://internationalservices.rutgers.edu/content/Center_Staff_Services_a...

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