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Degree Requirements | Academic Policies | Expenses | Financial Assistance


Clarkson offers programs of study during the regular academic year leading to the Master of Business Administration, Master of Engineering, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees. The M.S. is offered in the following fields: chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, information technology, engineering and global operations management, mathematics, environmental science and engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, and engineering science. Programs leading to the Ph.D. are offered in chemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering; engineering science; environmental science and engineering; chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics.

Graduate work during the entire year leading to the Master of Business Administration is available both on campus and online on a part-time basis for employed individuals.

Interdisciplinary programs leading to master of science degrees in Engineering and Global Operations Management (EGOM), Information Technology, and in Computer Science are offered. The MS in EGOM can be obtained through a hybrid format of accelerated residency sessions and interactive distance learning (see the interdisciplinary graduate programs page). The M.S. in Computer Science offers an academic year program that provides both computer science and computer engineering perspectives (see the interdisciplinary graduate programs page). Information Technology courses range from disciplines in math and computer science, electrical and computer science, technical communications, and management information technology (see the interdisciplinary graduate programs page). Clarkson also offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering (see the interdisciplinary graduate programs page).

Admission to graduate study is on a merit basis. The applicant must have received a bachelor’s degree from a college accredited by its regional association and must have achieved a record distinctly above average. Nonengineering majors may do engineering graduate work, but the degree they receive may not make them eligible to sit for the professional engineering licensing examinations immediately upon graduation.

International Applicants: Language Verification Requirement
Clarkson University must verify all international students' English language proficiency when English is not a first language.   This requirement, as part of the application process, must be completed prior to the issue of an I-20.   Once the university has verified this requirement, and the applicant is accepted, the I-20 may be used to obtain a student visa.

Clarkson University requires one of the following language proficiency exams:

In the School of Business, the minimum required TOEFL score is 600 (paper), (CBT - 250; IBT - 100).   The minimum IELTS score is an overall band score of 7.0.   If the applicant completes the paper or computer-based TOEFL, or the IELTS, then the student must complete a TSE (test of spoken English) by calling the Office of Graduate Business Programs for a brief telephone interview.   If the applicant submits an iBT TOEFL score of over 100, the TSE requirement may be waived. In the Coulter School of Engineering, the minimum TOEFL score is 550 (CBT -213; IBT - 80) or minimum IELTS band score of 6.5.   

The School of Arts and Science has no minimum requirement for TOEFL or IELTS exams, however a solid understanding of speaking/writing English is expected.   A TOEFL/IELTS official score must be submitted as part of the application requirement.  

Lastly, all matriculated international students for whom English is a second language are required to complete the ESL placement exam upon arrival to campus and complete any resulting requirements.   Any language courses required as a result of the placement exam are not counted toward degree requirements.

Applicants for all graduate programs in science, engineering and interdisciplinary programs are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations, GMAT/GRE is not required for EGOM in lieu of professional experience.

All admission must be approved by the applicant’s departmental graduate representative, by the director of the program and/or the dean of the appropriate school. While there is a rolling admission policy, the recommended application deadlines are January 31 for the fall semester and August 31 for the spring semester for applicants for students requesting financial aid. International applicants are encouraged to apply by April 15 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester.

Superior Clarkson undergraduate students, with the permission of their department chair and the dean of the appropriate School, may enroll in engineering, science, and information technology graduate courses. When such courses are completed with a grade of C or better beyond the normal credit hour requirements for the bachelor’s degree, credit may be applied toward a graduate degree. Graduate-level courses in the School of Business are restricted to matriculated graduate students.

For applications and other inquiries about the status of an application, contact the specific department of interest or see Clarkson’s Web site at .

Accelerated Admission Graduate School Policy
This policy is intended to encourage early consideration and preparation for graduate work at Clarkson by highly qualified students. Such students would likely participate in undergraduate research experiences and would have identified a graduate advisor prior to baccalaureate graduation. These students may accelerate their undergraduate course of study to graduate early and begin their graduate work as soon as possible.

Any student who completes at least two years of residential study at the University and who has received a baccalaureate degree from Clarkson will automatically be accepted into any Clarkson graduate program for a master’s degree, at minimum, if he or she meets the conditions below at the time of entry to Graduate School. Eligible students must have:

  • graduated in good standing from Clarkson within the previous year and have taken any necessary prerequisite courses for entrance to the graduate program in question;
  •  exhibited the quality of character expected of an entering graduate student of Clarkson University, as indicated by a letter from their academic advisor, department chair, or the dean   of the school in which their baccalaureate degree resides;
  • maintained a minimum grade-point average of 3.50 in their major;
  • achieved a School-defined minimum score on a designated national exam; the CUSB requires the GMAT exam and all others, with the exceptio of Clarkson students, require the GRE.

Applications for graduate admission from students receiving a Clarkson University baccalaureate degree who have not met all conditions specified above will still be considered, but admission will no longer be automatic.

Graduate Application Procedure
Application for admission is made on forms furnished by the University, obtained from the appropriate graduate studies office. Applicants to the Graduate School from within the U.S. and Canada are required to pay a $25 application fee. All other applicants are required to pay a $35 application fee. The fee will be waived for applicants from within the U.S. and Canada who apply for admission before December 31 for the following fall semester, or June 30 for the following January. The fee is waived for all Clarkson University undergraduates. Applications should be sent to the appropriate School office as indicated on the application. Information about the graduate program offerings, including application materials, is available at .

Fellowships and Instructional or Research Assistantships
Applicants who submit their applications by January 31 for entry the following August (fall semester) or by August 31 for entry the following January (spring semester) will receive priority for assistantships and other financial aid. Fellowships, instructional or research assistantships, and tuition scholarships are available in the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Physical Therapy, and Physics; and in interdisciplinary Engineering Science, Computer Science and Information Technology. Notices of appointment will generally be made on or before April 15. Merit-based scholarships and graduate assistant positions are available in the School of Business. All assistantships will be awarded on a merit basis (see Financial Assistance).


Requirements for the Master’s Degree
The minimum graduation requirements for students in all Master of Science degree programs at Clarkson are listed below. Additional graduation requirements are set by each degree program. Consult the department Graduate Handbook for details.

  1. A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, as follows.
    a. At least 20 credit hours of course and seminar work. The balance of coursework must be consistent with the research or professional experience component.
    b. Only courses numbered 500 and above are accepted for graduate credit.
    c. 10 credit hours of transfer credit (B grade or better) may be accepted.
  2. Satisfactory completion of a research or comparable professional experience, as follows.
    a. A written thesis based on independent research;
    b. A comprehensive examination; or,
    c. An appropriate, professionally oriented special project.
  3. At least one academic year of study beyond the B.S
  4. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in courses used to meet graduation requirements
  5. All work must be completed in five calendar years

A thesis or project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Science degree will be examined by a committee of at least three Clarkson faculty appointed by the student’s department. After approval by the examining committee, the thesis requires signature approval by the dean of the Graduate School, and two copies of the thesis will be deposited in the University library. 

The minimum graduation requirement for students in all Master of Engineering degree programs at Clarkson is 30 hours of graduate credit. Each semester, full-time M.E. students must register for 15 credits, possibly including required and elective coursework, a seminar, and project work. Each department has its own specific requirements, but the common element throughout is the practical orientation of the program.

To be eligible to receive a degree during Commencement exercises at the end of the spring semester, a student who has submitted a thesis acceptable to the advisor and committee must file the completed final copies with the appropriate School office no later than 10 working days before commencement to award degrees. 

Students failing to perform satisfactorily will be separated from the University upon the request of the department chair and with the concurrence of the dean of the respective School.

Any changes in the student’s degree program must be approved by the department chair and dean of the school.

Requirements for the Doctoral Degree
The minimum requirements for all students in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs are described below. Please consult your departmental Graduate Handbook for additional requirements. Requirements for students enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program vary from those outlined here and are described at  General Requirements for DPT Curriculum

  1. A minimum of 90 credit hours, as follows.
    a. A minimum of 24 credit hours coursework.
    b. A minimum of nine course credit hours taken in residence (includes distance learning courses offered by Clarkson University).
    c. A minimum of six credit hours of seminar.
    d. A maximum of 30 credits transferred from an M.S. degree towards Ph.D. degree requirements (B grade or better).
  2. A minimum of three academic years of full-time graduate study or the equivalent in part-time study. Two years of study must be in residence at Clarkson. Students matriculated in the off-campus Ph.D. program are exempt from this residency requirement (see below).
  3. Satisfactory completion of the Ph.D. candidacy procedure within two years of full-time study after admission to the Ph.D. program or, for part-time students, before completing 66 credits.
    a. After completion of the candidacy procedure, the student will be identified as a “Ph.D. Candidate.”
    b. Students who fail the candidacy procedure may make a second attempt according to department guidelines.
    c. A student who does not successfully complete the candidacy procedure within the time allowed may be dropped from the graduate program.
  4. A written dissertation must be submitted by each candidate and defended orally as part of   the final examination (see below).
  5. All work must be completed within seven years after the student is identified as a Ph.D. candidate.

Any changes in the student’s degree program must be approved by the Department Chair and Dean of the school.

Off-Campus Ph.D. Program Policy
The program has been designed to assist qualified non-resident candidates to matriculate at Clarkson University as doctoral degree candidates. It is conducted through direct contact and quality distance learning.

  1. The minimum-credit-hour requirement after the bachelor’s degree is 90 hours (current requirements). The normal course requirements for the student’s department and the University must be met. There is a maximum of 9 credits of coursework offered through distance learning. The remaining credits, up to 30 hours, can be transferred in accordance with the normal procedures or taken on campus. Students who enter the program with an M.S. degree may transfer up to 30 credits toward the Ph.D. from their master's program.
  2. The student must satisfy all the entrance requirements of the academic department. This is beyond the basic University requirements already in place for admission to the Ph.D. program. The experience and specialization of each candidate will be considered in the admission evaluation process.
  3. It is essential that the dissertation committee includes one qualified representative from the student’s employer. The representative will act as a co-advisor within the organization. Each department will decide if the representative should be appointed as an external committee member of the student's Ph.D. Committee.
  4. The student must fulfill all degree requirements according to each department’s policy. It is considered essential that each candidate be carefully examined for both the depth and breadth of his/her knowledge in the chosen field of study.
  5. The dissertation should be defended at Clarkson University in the normal manner and according to the University and department requirements and regulations. The candidate must demonstrate a sufficient fundamental knowledge in his/her field.
  6. The department will specify the period of time the student spends on campus (at the department) and the number of visits (each semester).
  7. The relationship between the student’s employing organization and Clarkson University must conform to the Clarkson Conflict of Interest Policy.

The courses for this program will be delivered using a video conference/classroom facility or through the Internet. Graduate classes that include off-campus students are scheduled at a video conference facility at Clarkson. An appropriate faculty member is assigned to oversee the courses, coordinate the examinations and evaluation of the student’s performance. Courses may also be given through other means of delivery, provided they meet the University and department requirements. These courses shall meet the matriculation requirements set forth in the University catalog.

Comprehensive Examination for Admission to Candidacy
A comprehensive examination based on general preparation in the major field must be taken within two years after admission to the Ph.D. program. If the student fails, studies cannot proceed until approval is obtained from the department chair and from the Dean of the respective School and arrangements are made to repeat the comprehensive examination in the major field. If the comprehensive examination is failed twice, the student will be dropped.

Tine Limit
After the comprehensive examination is passed, all work done specifically for the doctorate is to be completed within a period of seven calendar years.

Final Examination
A final examination must be passed. This examination will include, as a minimum, an oral examination based on the dissertation. For the final oral examination, a committee will be selected by the faculty advisor and approved by the department chair and dean of the respective school. The committee will consist of a minimum of five members. The members should include at least four Clarkson faculty of assistant professor rank or higher and possessing an earned doctoral degree. At least one of the members must be from a department other than the candidate’s major department. With the approval of the Provost, an external examiner with appropriate credentials from another University or industry may also be appointed to serve as one of the five committee members. This committee will judge the technical competence of the dissertation and the oral presentation. Final copies of accepted dissertations must be received in the student’s School office no later than 10 working days before commencement to confer degrees to qualify a student to receive a degree at the end of the spring semester. Before final submission of the Ph.D. thesis, each student must pay a fee, subject to change,* to cover the cost of microfiche and binding the dissertation.

*For the current price, contact the Graduate Coordinator in your school's office.

Grading System
The grades A, B+, B, C+, C, and P are acceptable for credit toward the degree. For graduation an average of B or better must be earned in nondissertation courses and seminar work. The grade of P will not affect the average.

Students failing to perform satisfactorily will be separated from the University upon the request of the department chair and with the concurrence of the dean of their School.

Graduate grades at Clarkson are defined as follows:

A passed with 4.0 quality points per credit hour
B+ passed with 3.5 quality points per credit hour
B passed with 3.0 quality points per credit hour
C+ passed with 2.5 quality points per credit hour
C passed with 2.0 quality points per credit hour
F failure
P passing: this grade may be employed for seminar courses and special projects, and under limited circumstances for MS thesis credits. Approval for a "P" grade for project or thesis credit requires the approval of the department chair, (or comparable administrative unit), Dean of the school, and the Dean of the Graduate School/Provost.
S Satisfactory progress towards the completion of on-going project thesis, or dissertation work for the semester. The S grade is removed and replaced with a "P" grade when the final report, thesis or dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School.
U Current Unsatisfactory progress towards the completion of on-going project, thesis, or dissertation work for the semester. The U grade is removed and replaced with a "P" grade when the final report, thesis or dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School.
I incomplete grade given only in cases described in the paragraph below. An I grade must be replaced by one of the above letter grades as required by the rules in the paragraph below.

Incomplete Grades

  • a. A student who is unable to complete the requirements of a course because of extenuating circumstances may seek an Incomplete grade (I) for the course. Whether or not an "I" grade is given is entirely at the discretion of the faculty member for the course, although the faculty member may ask the Dean of Students' Office if it has relevant information regarding students' requests. The conferring of an "I" grade carries the presumption that it is possible for the course to be completed with a passing grade; in cases where the missing work is such that it cannot be completed after the end of the semester, or where completion of the missing work could not possibly result in a passing grade for the course, an "I" grade should not be given.
  • b. Requests for an "I" grade shall be made on a form available from Student Administrative Services. Faculty members indicate on the form whether they approve or disapprove the "I" grade request for their course(s) and return the completed form to Student Administrative Services. If the faculty member approves the request, he or she lists on the form the work that must be completed to remove the "I" grade and the due date for this work and submits an "I" for the student on the course grade roster. If the faculty member disapproves the request, he or she submits a letter grade for the student on the course grade sheet. Unless otherwise stated on the form, or if no form is received, the work required to remove an "I" grade must be completed no later than the end of the 7th week of classes of the next semester in which the student registers at the University, otherwise a grade of "F" is recorded. All requests for "I" grades by a student in the same semester shall be made on a single form, and students seeking more than two "I" grades in the same semester must consult with the Dean of Students prior to seeking faculty approval for their requests.
  • c. To remove an "I" grade, the instructor shall submit a completed Change of Grade form to the instructor's department chair (or comparable administrative officer), and upon approval, it is sent to Student Administrative Services. Then the specified grade shall replace the "I" grade in the semester(s) in which the student registered for the course.


In order for a graduate student to receive a diploma at the May Commencement ceremony:

  • All coursework and seminar credits must be completed as specified by the degree requirements.
  • Master’s theses or Doctoral dissertations must be approved by the student’s research committee, department, school, and dean of the Graduate School. All associated final and signed copies and paperwork must be submitted to the appropriate school office by the published deadline. This deadline is generally 10 working days before commencement to confer degrees.
  • Projects for non-thesis Master’s students must be approved by the advisor and department. All associated paperwork must be submitted to the appropriate school office by the published deadline. This deadline is generally 2 working days before the faculty vote to confer degrees. Students who do not meet these requirements and deadlines may be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies in the following cases.

A student may receive a diploma “on condition” at the May commencement if:

  • He or she is in the CUSB MBA program at Clarkson and is registered for up to three hours of coursework in the Clarkson international summer program. OR
  • He or she is enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program for the final three hours of coursework that is not complete at the time of the faculty vote.

Requests for graduation with “on condition” status must be approved by the dean of the appropriate school or comparable unit administrator and submitted to the dean of the Graduate School at least 10 working days before the faculty vote to confer degrees at the May graduation.

For students voted “on condition,” the degree will be awarded when the respective School receives a final grade for the remaining course(s), as appropriate. All conditions for graduation must be met by June 15 to ensure accurate reporting of May graduates to the New York State Education Department.

A student may “walk through” the May graduation ceremony if:

  • The student has defended his or her dissertation, thesis or presented their project, yet has failed to meet the published deadline for submission of the final signed thesis copies and completion documentation. OR
  • The student is in the DPT degree program and is currently enrolled in the final six (or less) credits of coursework. OR
  • The student is in a Master’s degree program, has submitted an approved and signed thesis or project report, and requires no more than three additional credits of coursework.

Student requests to walk through the graduation ceremony require explicit approval by the dean of the appropriate school or comparable unit administrator and submission to the dean of the Graduate School at least 10 working days before the faculty votes to confer degrees at the May graduation.

In the case of an incomplete dissertation, thesis or project, the petition must be initiated by the thesis or project advisor and be approved by the department or program chair, and the Dean of the respective School or comparable unit administrator. This petition should (a) certify that a successful presentation or defense of thesis had occurred prior to the published deadlines, and (b) carry the signatures of the thesis or project advisor, and all other members of the thesis examining committee.

Students who are allowed to walk through the graduation ceremony under these conditions will receive their diploma and be counted as graduates at the next graduation ceremony following the completion of their degree requirement.


Tuition and other charges at Clarkson are set at the minimum permissible for financially responsible operation and are considerably less than actual costs. Gifts and grants received through the generosity of alumni, industry, foundations, and friends play an important part in reducing the difference. Although Clarkson will make every effort to maintain charges at current levels, the University reserves the right to revise or change financial requirements.

A $75 security deposit is required when a graduate candidate is accepted for admission. For the Graduate Business programs, the security fee is $300. A graduate student will not be officially enrolled until this fee is paid. The deposit is not refundable if the student decides not to attend Clarkson. It is credited to the first term’s charges.

Tuition for the 2010–2011 graduate program is at the rate of $1,136 per credit hour. Under normal circumstances, full-time graduate students must register for a minimum of nine credit hours per semester for each semester in residence until the credit hour requirements for the degree have been completed. Graduate students (other than MBA candidates) may not register for more than 15 credit hours per semester. Full-time graduate students are subject to a $440 facilities usage fee each semester.

In order to remain a candidate for a graduate degree, a graduate student not on campus who has not completed all degree requirements must continue to register for one credit hour each semester until all degree requirements have been completed. These students are not required to pay an activity fee, but are required to begin paying outstanding loans. Exception from payment of the tuition for this credit hour may be granted to the student (when circumstances warrant) by the dean of the respective School upon written request or personal interview.

A wide range of financial assistance is available to full-time graduate students. The schedule for student eligibility for New York State financial assistance can be found in the Clarkson Regulations. The programs currently available include the following:

During 2010-2011 these assistantships carry stipends of $21,580 plus tuition. Instructional requirements are 12 hours of service per week in laboratory or other designated work for the University. (Not available in all graduate programs.)

These assistantships permit concentration in the student’s research field during the period of study. Stipends for 2010-2011 are $21,580 or more per year plus full tuition. Forty hours of service per week, inclusive of classroom work and research duties, are required. (Not available in all graduate programs.)

These permit concentration on the student’s research problem during the entire period of study. Stipends for 2010-2011 range from $20,670 to $30,000 per year plus full tuition.

Funding may cover full or partial tuition and/or a stipend. The stipend must be at least minimum wage and duties may not exceed 40 hours per week including time to attend classes.

A number of partial tuition scholarships/assistantships are made available each year. These scholarships may be awarded to deserving students or in addition to other types of financial assistance.

LOAN FUNDS — U.S. Students
Clarkson participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs and we have developed a list of lenders that you may want to consider when making your financing decision. Graduate students may obtain information on financing their education by contacting Student Administrative Services.

Full–Time Status
A graduate student will be classified as full-time in any semester in which he or she is registered for at least nine credit hours or until the credit-hour requirements for the degree have been satisfied. When such degree requirements have been met, the student will be required to register for at least one credit hour of project/thesis, be in residence, and be actively engaged full-time in completing the project/thesis in order to be classified as a full-time student.

If the student withdraws:

  •      on or before the first day of classes 100% refund
  •      after 1st day through first 10% of the enrollment period  90% refund
  •      after 10% through 25% of the enrollment period  50% refund
  •      after 25% through 60% of the enrollment period  25% refund

The percentage of the enrollment period is determined by the number of days enrolled divided by the total number of days in the period (75 during the academic year).

Since Potsdam is a college town, a wide range of housing accommodations are available near the Clarkson campus. For detailed information or for copies of the listings of off-campus private rentals of rooms, apartments, or houses, contact the graduate coordinators for each program.

Residence halls are primarily for single undergraduate students, although single or married graduate students may request assignment if desired. Graduate students may contract for meals in any of the University dining halls on a semester basis even though they do not reside in a residence hall. They may also eat on a cash basis in cafeterias in dining halls or in the Cheel Campus Center.

All graduate students, appointed for one year under a Research Assistantship, Teaching Assistantship, or Fellowship are entitled to receive two weeks vacation plus all holidays when the University is officially closed.