Graduate Admissions

Application Procedures For International Applicants:

Step-By-Step Application Guide

1. Graduate Application

All graduate applications to USF St. Petersburg must be submitted online. Mail official transcripts to:

USF St. Petersburg
Graduate Admissions – PNM 102
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Note: Many programs require additional materials such as resumes, personal statements, letters of recommendation and writing samples. These items may be attached electronically to your online application.  In addition, applicants should request test scores be sent automatically to USF St. Petersburg by the testing agency.  See section on test scores below for instructions.

A separate application must be submitted for each graduate program to which you are applying.

2. Application Fee

All applicants are required to submit an application fee of $30.00 foreach graduate program – even if you attended a USF institution as a former degree-seeking student or a non-degree seeking student.

Applicants have the option to pay their application fee by credit card (Discover, Master Card, Visa), E-check (personal checking/savings account) or by Flywire through the online application.


3. Transcripts/Foreign Transcript Evaluation

One (1) official transcript from all institutions of higher learning where the applicant has earned a degree is required, but applicants may provide unofficial copies (photocopies or student-accessed transcripts) to expedite the application process. Any admissions granted using unofficial transcripts will not be finalized until official transcripts are received in a sealed envelope by Graduate Admissions. (Hint: Some applicants prefer to have transcripts mailed to their home so that they can be sure the request has been filled and then either mail the transcripts themselves – still in the sealed envelope from the Registrar’s office of their previous institution – or, if local, hand-deliver them to Graduate Admissions at USF St. Petersburg).

All transcripts must be in English; it is the applicant’s responsibility to have transcripts translated and evaluated before submitting them as part of their graduate application packet. International students must have their foreign transcripts evaluated and show U.S. equivalency of a domestic bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment if accepted.

U.S. Equivalence of a Bachelor’s Degree

In most cases, the bachelor’s degree must include the number of credits associated with four years of post-secondary academic study. Applicants with three-year degrees from Bologna signatory countries may be considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition to supplying all other application documents required by USF St. Petersburg and the desired graduate program, applicants with 3-year Bologna degrees must include an official diploma certificate and diploma supplement (in English) from the degree granting institution.

We consider evaluation reports from any member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) and/or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE). The following agencies also provide foreign transcript evaluation services. We do not approve or reject any of these agencies. This information is provided only as a possible resource.

Academic Evaluation Services, Inc.
11700 N 58th Street Suite G & H
Tampa, FL 33617
Phone: (813) 374-2020
Fax: (813) 374-2023

Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
International Education Consultants
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Ph: (305) 273-1616
Fax: (305) 273-1338
Translation Fax: (305) 273-1984

4. Test Scores/English Langugage Proficiency

If standardized test scores are a requirement of admission to the graduate program, only scores of tests taken within five (5) years of the desired term of entry will be accepted. Some programs will waive the standardized test requirement if another measure can be used to determine the potential for success in the program. See specific program requirements.

Official scores must be submitted directly from the testing agency. However, applicants may provide unofficial copies of their test scores to expedite processing of their applications while awaiting the official scores. Any admission granted using unofficial scores will not be finalized until official scores from the testing agency are are received.

Scores are sent electronically to USF St. Petersburg from the testing agency. To request that your scores be sent to USF St. Petersburg, provide the testing agency with the following institution codes:

  • For GRE: institution code 0079
  • For TOEFL: institution code 5828
  • For GMAT: institution code VP9-M4-25

English Proficiency: Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the United States must also submit TOEFL scores earned within two (2) years of the desired term of entry. A minimum score of 79 on the internet-based test, or 550 on the paper-based test is required. Applications submitted with TOEFL scores that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied.

The TOEFL requirement may be waived if the applicant meets one of the following conditions:

  • The applicant’s native language is English, or
  • Has scored 153 or higher on the GRE Verbal Test (500 or higher if taken prior to August 2011), or
  • Has earned a college degree at a U.S. institution of higher learning, or
  • Has earned a college degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English (must be noted on the transcript), or
  • Has scored 6.5 on International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Has scored at least a 53 minimum on the PTE-A exam.

Note: International students whose native language is not English and who want to be considered for a teaching assistantship must show proficiency in spoken English even if their TOEFL has been waived for admission to a graduate program. A minimum score of 26 on the spoken portion of the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) or 50 on the SPEAK test administered through INTO-USF is required.

5. Conduct Clearance Policy (Legal Disclosure Statement)

All graduate applicants are required to answer the Conduct Clearance questions of the graduate application. The applicant will not be notified of the admission decision until the answers to the two questions have been received and cleared by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs or his or her designee, if warranted.

6. Residency Policy/Student Visas

Most international students come to USF St. Petersburg on F-1 or J-1 student visas. Eligibility documents from USF St. Petersburg (I-20s for F-1 visas or DS-2019s for J-1 visas) are required to apply for a J1 or F1 visa.

F-1 Student Visa – I-20

The F-1 is the most commonly used student visa. Students must have a valid educational purpose for coming to the United States, be a full-time student, and provide proof of their ability to fund their education. Upon admission to a USF St. Petersburg program and receipt of financial documentation, the student is issued an I-20 to be used to obtain the F-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate. The spouse or children of an F-1 student enter the US on F-2 visas and are not eligible to attend university or work in the US.

J-1 Student Visa – DS-2019

The J-1 visa is an “exchange visitor” visa which is managed under the auspices of the Exchange Visitor Program of the US Department of State. The J-1 visa is used primarily by exchange students (non degree-seeking) and students sponsored by US government agencies. Students who meet the criteria for the J-1 visa will be issued a DS-2019 by USF or by a United States government agency (IIE, OAS, USF, etc.). The spouse or children of a J-1 student enter the US on a J-2 visa. Spouses in J-2 status may apply to USCIS for permission to work after their arrival in the U.S. Spouses and children may also attend school.

See #7 below for Financial Support Requirements for students seeking F-1 and J-1 student visas.

For other questions related to student visas, or to obtain the I-20 or DS-2019s, please contact the USF St. Petersburg Office of Global Initiatives at +1 (727) 873-4270 or

As of July 1, 2009 all non-resident graduate students must have established residency in Florida for 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment in an institution of higher learning. This change to the residency law may have the effect of preventing out-of-state students from reclassifying as residents for tuition purposes while continuously enrolled at USF St. Petersburg.

Certain non-U.S. Citizens who have applied for and been approved for such status and who otherwise meet the 12 consecutive months legal residence requirements prior to enrollment in an institution of higher learning, may be eligible to establish Florida residency for tuition purposes. Persons in non-immigrant visa categories not listed herein shall be considered ineligible to establish Florida residency.

The following Non-U.S. citizens shall be considered eligible to establish Florida residency for tuition purposes:

  1. Permanent resident aliens
  2. Parolees
  3. Asylees
  4. Refugees
  5. Or other permanent status persons (e.g., conditional permanent residents and temporary permanent resident aliens), who have applied to and have been approved by the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services with no date certain for departure.

Visa categories and U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services classifications:

  1. Visa category A – Government official.
  2. Visa category E – Treaty trader or investor.
  3. Visa category G – Representative of international organization.
  4. Visa category H-1 – Temporary worker performing professional nursing services or in a specialty occupation.
  5. Visa category I – Foreign information media representative.
  6. Visa category K – Fiancé, fiancée, or a child of a United States citizen(s).
  7. Visa category L – Intracompany transferee (including spouse or child).
  8. Visa Category N – Parent or child of alien accorded special immigrant status.
  9. Visa Category O-1 – Workers of “extraordinary” ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  10. Visa category O-3 – Only if spouse or child of O-1 alien.
  11. Visa category R – Religious workers.
  12. Visa category NATO I-7 – Representatives and employees of NATO and their families.
  13. Visa category T – Victims of trafficking, who cooperate with federal authorities in prosecutions of traffickers, and their spouses and their children.
  14. Visa category V – Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents.

Non-U.S. citizens who fall within the following categories shall also be considered eligible to establish Florida residency for tuition purposes:

  1. Citizens of Micronesia.
  2. Citizens of the Marshall Islands.
  3. Beneficiaries of the Family Unity Program.
  4. Individuals granted temporary protected status.
  5. Individuals granted withholding of deportation status.
  6. Individuals granted suspension of deportation status or cancellation of removal.
  7. Individuals granted a stay of deportation status.
  8. Individuals granted deferred action status.
  9. Individuals granted deferred enforced departure status.
  10. Applicants for adjustment of status.
  11. Asylum applicants with U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services receipt or Immigration Court stamp.

7. Financial Support Requirements

U.S. immigration law requires the university to verify that any student seeking an F-1 or J-1 student visa has sufficient funds to finance their studies for the duration of their graduate program. Financial documentation and the Affidavit of Support  must be completed before an I-20 can be issued to an admitted student through i-Start.