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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Completing the Application Later?
  • Tuition Waivers?
  • Deadlines for Applications?
  • When and How are Selections made for Admission?
  • Number of Students Selected for Admissions?
  • Grade Point Average Minimums?
  • Letters of Reference – How Many and Who Should They be From?
  • Transcripts Required, English Translations and Grade Conversions?
  • GRE Test, Codes and Scores?
  • TOEFL Test, Codes, Scores and Subscores?

SCBME Graduate Program
(405) 325-5814

Sustainable Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering
University of Oklahoma
100 E. Boyd, T-301
Sarkeys Energy Center
Norman, OK  73019-1004  USA

Yes, you can start the application and return to it at later times to add more information.  Follow the instructions on the application website.  

Do remember that it will NOT be forwarded to our department for review until it is complete and submitted. 

Transcripts and recommendations are especially important to include as they are required by the application.  

The waivers include the tuition, both resident and non-resident, for the number of courses that apply towards the degree, and the basic health insurance.  

The waiver does not include the course fees or insurance coverage beyond the basic policy.  Insurance coverage beyond the basic policy is available but the additional coverage and cost is at the student’s expense.  

Cost of enrollment fees beyond the waivers is around $5,800 per year for a non-Oklahoma Resident or an international student.  International students will have an additional $250 to 550 in fees related to the visa requirements.

Our tuition and fees costs are figured per credit hour of registration for each semester and based on a resident and nonresident system.  Each course is for a certain number of credit hours. Oklahoma residents pay the resident portion of tuition plus fees and expenses. Non-residents pay both the resident and non-resident portion of tuition plus fees and expenses.  For example, a first year graduate student with typically enrolment would have tuition and fees costs of around $20,900.

This does not include food, housing, and transportation. A full list of tuition costs and fees is available at the Bursar’s Office web page:

A first year non-resident graduate student taking the typical enrollment of 17 credit hours during the first year would receive tuition waivers and health care waivers of around $15,000. Waivers cover tuition for the hours taken that apply toward their degree, both resident and non-resident, plus the basic health care coverage. Expenses a student typically pays that are not covered by the tuition and health care waivers for a non-resident graduate student would include other enrollment fees, books, and parking permit fees and would be around $5,800 for the year (not including housing).  

Tuition, fees, waivers and regulations are set by the State of Oklahoma Board of Regents.  

University Graduate Admissions Office deadlines:

For U.S. Citizens:
No deadlines, departments do have recommended submission dates.

For International Students:
For the Fall semester (begins in August) April 1.
For the Spring semester (begins in January) September 1.
For the Summer semester (begins in June) February 1.

The Department recommends that applications arrive by:

For U.S. Citizens:

  • No deadlines for submission, though earlier is better. 
  • Fall semester (begins in August) Recommend by April 1.
  • Spring semester (begin in January) Recommend by September 1.
  • Summer Semester (begins in June) We very rarely admit new students in the summer.

For International Students:

  • Fall semester (begins in August) by March 1, though February 1 is best.
  • Spring semester (begins in January) by September 1, still accepted through September.
  • Summer semester (begins in June) We very rarely admit new students in the summer.

There is a period of time between when the university application is submitted to the University Graduate Admissions office and when it reaches us in the department.  

The applications are processed and reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Office before they are sent to us.  We recommend these earlier arrivals because of the time it takes for this process to be done and the application to reach us for review.  

An application submitted just before the university deadline may reach us two to four weeks later and may come after we have made most of the selections for admission.  Also the Graduate Admissions office is very busy and receives a large number of applications in the last three weeks before a deadline and there can be a slowdown in receiving your application is if arrives during this period.

Yes, you can still apply, though it is recommended to start the application as early as possible.

The university and program will continue to accept applications after the deadline but because of the number of applications processed through Graduate Admissions there can be a delay in the materials reaching us for consideration.  

An incomplete application will not be forwarded to us and delays your application from being considered by the selection committee.  Also be aware that later applications may reach us after all positions have been filled.  

No, the application fee must be paid or the university application will not be processed by the systems. If not paid, the application is not submitted and will shortly be deleted.  

The application can be partially completed with payment and then returned to later to complete the other items on the form. The application must be submitted to move into the system for processing and consideration.

For those students invited in for a visit to the campus, the department will pay for the application fee. 

The committee will go through the applications several times to review and select admissions for the projects. It may be several weeks before selections are made and a decision known.  

At various times during the year our faculty receive grants and other funding for their research projects.  When they learn of these, they notify the selection committee of the need for graduate students.

The selection committee will go through the applications several times and specifically look for students whose applications match the needs of the project. Because each research project is different, the skills and education needed to work on projects vary. An applicant may not match what is needed for a project that is open early in the review process but they will continue to be considered as other projects and funds become available.

Because of this, applications received in February may not be selected for an open position until late April or early May. We will notify you as soon as you are selected. If you have not heard from us, this means that your application is being reconsidered as each new position comes open.  

We select 8 to 12 students for admission to the Fall semester out of 90 to 100 completed applications and 1 to 3 for the Spring semester out of 15 to 30 completed applications. This is including M.S., Ph.D., U.S. and International applications.  

The GPA minimum is 3.00.  

The scale used is 4.00 = A, 3.00 = B, 2.00 = C, 1.00 = D, and below 1.00 = F.  

A standardized system is used to convert the grades to the A, B, C, D, and F scale. Our university has access to a service that converts the grade point systems of most schools and universities around the world into a scale that we can use for evaluations. This is used by many other U.S. schools and takes into consideration various factors about the school and the curriculum.  

Our department does not convert the grades. The Graduate Admissions office converts the grades and includes the converted GPA on the application when they forward it to us for consideration. We look for students who have grades in the top level of their grading system.  

We require three letters of recommendation.  

It is most helpful if they are from people you have worked under, faculty you have taken classes from, faculty you have done research under and/or supervising managers.  

The names, titles, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of these three people are to be submitted in the application.  It is most helpful if they are a faculty member who you have done research for or have gotten to know in a class you have taken. If you have also been employed, a supervisor or manager can also be included.

Before including their names you should contact these people so that you have their approval to include them in the list. The online system will send them a form to complete electronically and they can attach additional letters or comments.  

If you have done research and a recommendation is not included from a person who supervised you in that research, the application will be given lower consideration.

Yes, the online system allows attachments to be added or they can be sent to us by e-mail or regular mail. These will be added to your file.

Yes, but three is what there is space for in the system and is usually all that is needed.

Additional recommendations can be sent to us by mail or directly from the writer  by e-mail.  Paper recommendations should come in a sealed envelope and electronic files should be sent to us directly from the recommender.  

Transcripts for undergraduate degrees, associate degrees and, if in progress or completed, graduate degrees will need to be sent. If you have more than one degree, transcripts for all degrees are needed.

Transcripts for high schools or secondary schools are not needed.  

If your transcripts are issued by your university in a language other than English, we require the official, original language document as well as an official, or certified, English translation. Specifics about an official copy in English of the transcript from your university and/or college as required by the Graduate Admission Office is on the application system website.  

If you attended more than one university or college for your B.S. and/or M.S. degree, official transcripts are required from each university attended.  

Currently the requirements of the Graduate Admissions office regarding what is an official transcript is as follows:

Applicants form India: If your university issues mark-sheets, we require original and complete university mark-sheets.  Consolidated mark-sheets are not acceptable.  

Applicants form Iran: To be considered official, your English translation and accompanying Persian document must bear the stamp of the Department of Official Translator’s Affairs.  

Some universities do not use the scale of A=4.00. The Graduate Admissions office has experience in evaluating degrees and uses internationally recognized materials for the conversions of the grades and grade point equivalencies on your transcript when a different scale is used by the university.    

The WES is used by our department as a general guide to see if the grades are high enough for consideration. We will receive the Graduate Admission conversion numbers when the application is sent to us by them for our review.  

“The office of graduate admissions evaluates all international credentials and is responsible for determining a student’s cumulative GPA for admission purposes. They do not accept external evaluations of international credentials. Therefore, the WES grade equivalency scale should only be used as a general guide.”

Questions about the admission criteria and forms can be obtained from the Graduate Admissions Office. The address for the Graduate Admissions Office is 731 Elm Avenue, Room 318, Norman, OK  73019. Their telephone number is (405) 325-6765 and their Fax number is (405) 325-5345. Their web page is Questions about transcripts and other admissions related subjects can be answered by them through their e-mail at

Our program does not require the GRE but strongly recommends that it be included as additional information about your qualifications, especially for international students.  

There is a place in the online application to include the scores and percentages. A photocopy or original of the score sheet can be sent and should include both the separate section scores and the percentages, not a total amount.  

Since our program does not require the GRE, there is not a minimum score requirement.  

Also, what is considered a good score varies from country to country.  As example, for India, where English is spoken frequently, a good score would be above 90%.  For a country where English is not spoken frequently, a good score might be 70%.

The university code for the GRE is 6879 and the department code is 1001.

Students who are not U.S. citizens must submit the TOEFL or an accepted substitute.  The department minimum score is 100 on the iBt internet-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, and 550 on the paper-based test.  The university minimum score is 79 on the IBt internet-based test, 213, on the computer-based test and 550 on the paper-based test.  

We will accept an application with a score between the department minimum and the university minimum if the grades are high, the student is from a good university or they have significant research experience. However, those applications will be considered after those that meet the department minimum.

The department now participates in the Graduate English Pathway Program (GEPP), a collaborative initiative by the Graduate College, College of International Studies, and our department. For more information, please visit the GEPP site.

The university code for the TOEFL is 6879.  Please include the total score, section scores, and subsection scores.

Yes, the IELTS is accepted in place of the TOEFL.  The department minimum is 7.0 and the university minimum is 6.5.  

We will accept an application below the department minimum and above the university minimum if the other qualifications are very good. However, those applications will be considered after those that meet the department minimum. Please include the section scores.

The department now participates in the Graduate English Pathway Program (GEPP), a collaborative initiative by the Graduate College, College of International Studies, and our department. For more information, please visit the GEPP site.

Yes, a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited university in the U.S. or an OU-approved, English-speaking country can be substituted for the TOEFL. Please indicate this on the applications.

You can send in all of the application materials first and the TOEFL later, but the application will not be considered by our program until the TOEFL arrives.  

The university application is not considered complete and the application will not be forwarded to us for consideration until the official TOEFL is received by the Graduate Admissions office. Please include a copy with section and all subsection scores.

No. The TOEFL test or a substitute as indicated above is a required item for students for whom English is a second language.  

An official copy of the score is required by the Graduate Admissions Office and should be sent there directly from ETS. The SCBME office does not require an official copy, as we will receive the official score from Admissions. A photocopy of the score sheet is requested by the department so we can see section and sub-section scores and to help us in evaluating the application.