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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

GRE Requirements Supsended for Fall 2022 Admission

We are aware that the COVID-19 situation may prevent applicants for enrollment in Fall 2022 from taking the GRE exams. We will therefore make the GRE optional for this year. Applicants who have already taken the GRE exam may still submit their scores. 

Applicants required to take the TOEFL exam must also submit their scores. Applicants required to take the TOEFL exam who have not yet done so may be required to participate in an interview with one or more members of the admissions committee via Zoom, Skype, or a similar program.  

All applicants must submit all other application materials. 

The IMS Admissions Committee will review each file and may request additional writing samples or interviews as alternative means of assessing the qualifications typically measured by these standardized tests. 

What will I learn from an M.A. in International Migration Studies?

You will acquire important analytical tools, including qualitative and quantitative methods, for studying immigrant communities; new cultural, racial, and gender identities; and interactions between immigrants and host societies. Students with a quantitative bent can develop expertise in demographic and statistical analyses. Those more qualitatively oriented can immerse themselves in immigrant communities and engage in ethnographic, historical, and cultural studies. You will also learn about the politics and policies of immigration as well as immigrant integration, often in comparative perspective. You will have freedom to define your own research agenda, in consultation with your faculty advisor, and to frame and develop your own master’s thesis or capstone project.

What kinds of specializations do you offer? Can I create my own?

Students may choose to take courses addressing different areas of international migration. They may also design their own area of specialization, in consultation with their faculty advisor. Possible areas of specialization include Comparative Immigration, Global Immigrant Cities, Assimilation and Integration, and Immigration Politics and Policies. By focusing their coursework, students can acquire notable expertise within one important area of international migration; doing so will also allow students to be better prepared for Ph.D. programs and careers in the field.

What will the program prepare me for?

The program will prepare you for work in a wide range of social service agencies, human rights groups, and research or advocacy organizations. It will also enhance your qualifications for admission into doctoral programs in a range of social science fields. You will study with experts in migration studies; they will discuss your goals with you and help you frame your experience to achieve them.

What kinds of backgrounds do you expect students to have?

Students come to the study of international migration from many different backgrounds. Some have practitioner backgrounds in government or advocacy organizations or nonprofits focused on helping immigrants and refugees. Others have academic backgrounds in a wide range of disciplines, including in the social sciences (such as sociology, political science, international relations, public policy, anthropology, or urban studies) or humanities (such as cultural studies, theater and film, history, or literature). All in all, the International Migration Studies program is open to students who want to understand many aspects of international migration, including the social, cultural, economic, and civic and political dynamics of immigrants’ interactions with their host societies.

How do I apply?

You apply online, and applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for admission:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the United States, or its equivalent abroad, with a cumulative overall GPA of 3.0 (B average) or higher;
  2. Submit transcripts of all college and graduate work;
  3. Submit two letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your strengths and preparedness for graduate study (e.g. professors/academics, supervisors, colleagues).
  4. Submit a personal statement of up to 1,000 words, explaining why you want to obtain this degree and how your interests and academic/professional background are relevant to the degree; 
  5. Submit a sample or samples of writing (in English) of no more than 20 pages in total (e.g. term paper, essay, published academic or journalistic article, report, op-eds, blog posts).
  6. Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical parts of the exam. The GRE must have been taken within the last five years;
  7. Submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for students who have not earned a degree in an English-speaking country.

How important are the GRE scores?

GRE scores taken within the past five years are required for admission, and they cannot be waived. Program faculty recognize, however, that GRE scores do not always fully capture applicants’ talents or preparation, especially so for those from other countries or those who have been out of school for some years. We carefully consider applicants’ entire admissions packages, of which GRE scores are only one element.

How can I meet professors and other prospective students?

The best way is to come to the program’s Open House, which will be held in the Sociology program lounge (Room 6112 at the Graduate Center at 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street, in New York City) on March 6, at 5:30pm. You are also warmly invited to attend an immigration talk right before the Open House in the same location. The Open House will allow you to informally meet other interested applicants, faculty members, staff, and current doctoral students with interests in migration studies.

How long will the program take to complete?

The M.A. program is a 30-credit program, and how quickly students complete it depends on their chosen course load. For example, full-time students taking 9 credits (3 courses) or more per semester can finish in a year and a half to two years; part-time students taking 6 credits (2 courses) per semester will finish in two and half years.

How much does the program cost?

Information on Graduate Center tuition and fees can be found here.

Does the program offer online courses?

All courses are offered at the Graduate Center as face-to-face courses, which usually meet once a week.

Will I find a community at the Graduate Center?

You are likely to find many other students, in the International Migration Studies program and in related master’s and doctoral programs, who share your interests. Students at the Graduate Center participate in many student groups and advocacy organizations. You will be invited to a regular speakers’ series on immigration, which draws faculty and students from varied Graduate Center academic programs and other universities in the area.