Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, the State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges and is the oldest institution of the 64 units of the State University of New York. Its origin was the St. Lawrence Academy, founded in 1816 by early settlers to the region and today, SUNY Potsdam enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.
With over 3,700 undergraduate students and 275 graduate students, learning at SUNY Potsdam is up close and personal. The student/teacher ratio is 15:1, and this provides international students with amazing access to faculty through mentoring programs, student research and an abundance of internships. Our faculty hold degrees from such prestigious universities as Harvard, Stanford and Yale. They are published authors, well-known researchers, accomplished artists and musicians. Like their students, they are a friendly and caring group – always ready to discuss a problem or assist with a project. Dedicated to teaching, they are not just active in the classroom, but in many facets of their students’ lives. Many of our students say they learn as much through professional interaction with their faculty as they do through classroom instruction.
Academically, we are internationally known for programs such as our world-famous Crane School of Music, along with our undergraduate programs in mathematics, science, graphic design & media, performing arts, and business administration. Graduate programs are available in music performance and education, organizational performance and technology, as well as degrees that concentrate in educational technology, language acquisition, mathematics and more.
Potsdam, NY is a tight knit community of educators, scholars and artists and our courses are designed for both undergraduate and graduate international students. There are four universities within 22 kilometers and over 13,000 students in the northern New York area. The Adirondack Mountains to the southeast offer hiking, swimming, fishing, or relaxing by the quiet streams and lakes. In winter, skiing the beautiful trails of Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid or Titus Mountain in Malone or cross-country skiing the numerous trails, are popular pastimes. For those who prefer the cultural atmosphere of large cities, Syracuse, Ottawa and Montreal are just a few hours by car away.
- Total enrollment: 4,286
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,988
- Graduate enrollment: 298
- International Student Enrollment: 50
- Male 40%, Female 60%
- Faculty-student ratio: 15/1
- Faculty: Full-Time 275, Part-Time 100
- Number of countries represented on campus: 20+
- Top five countries represented on campus: Canada, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Caribbean countries
We pride ourselves in being on the forefront of creating a diverse and welcoming campus.
English as a Second Language Program and Services
Does your institution have an Intensive English Program?
Does your institution provide courses of English as a Second Language to admitted students?
Yes, at the undergraduate level, we offer a dynamic Freshman Interest Group (FIG) program of 9 credits:
- COMP101 Writing & Critical Thinking (4 credits)
- LANG190 Conversational English (3 credits)
- FY100 First Year Success Seminar (2 credits)
Freshman Interest Group Overview: To be successful in college, you must have strong writing skills for essays, tests, emails, and more. You must have strong speaking skills to present, argue, discuss, and debate your ideas. The professors and peer mentors in this multicultural community will guide you through the art of improving your writing and speaking skills for college success. The FIG includes small classes, relaxed social settings, and peer mentors who meet you outside of class. Celebrating the skills and strengths you have, we will help you develop to a new level. This FIG is for multilingual or bilingual English language learners, including: students who took ESL classes in high school, after moving to the US in their teens; students who moved here earlier but seek more confidence in writing and speaking; and international students.
Does your institution conditionally admit students to degree programs if they have not met the English proficiency requirement?
International Student Housing Options
We encourage international students to live on campus in one of our residence halls. We do not have special housing for international students; rather, we hope that cross-cultural bonds will be made by shared living and shared experiences with domestic and international students.
Campus living provides:
- Convenient access to academic buildings, libraries, athletic facilities, support staff and services.
- A wide variety of building types and special interest housing programs like our First Year Experience (FYE) program, Arts House, Honors House, International Student House, Substance-free and Study Intensive.
- State-of-the-art technology in all rooms (i.e. Time Warner cable TV, Campus Movie Channel, phone and voice mail system, and Time Warner Roadrunner Internet access).
- Live-in Residence Life professional staff (RDs) and student staff (RAs & Mentors).
SUNY Potsdam has several partnerships that allow us to offer our students the opportunity to study, student teach, serve local communities and intern abroad. Each year, we also offer short-term faculty led programs to various countries.
Global Experiences –Internships abroad
Student teaching in Australia
York St John University, York, England, Exchange
Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham, England – Exchange for music majors
Universitat Potsdam, Potsdam Germany- Exchange
Universidad de las American Puebla, Puebla, Mexico – Exchange
Lulea University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden – Exchange
Academia Hispano America, San Miguel, Mexico – Spanish Immersion
Jamaica Field Service Abroad, Jamaica – service-learning program in Jamaica
First Year, Transfer, and Graduate Students
International students seeking to enroll as first-time undergraduates:
International students seeking to transfer into institution’s undergraduate programs:
Graduate admission requirements for international students:
Does your institution issue I-20 for F-1 visa status and/or DS-2019 for J-1 visa status?
Yes. I-20 for F-1 students and DS-2019 for Exchange students and visitors.
Cost of Attendance and Financial Assistance for International Students
Undergraduate Cost of Attendance (per semester):
Academic Fees: $800
Room and Board: $5,860
Graduate Cost of Attendance (per semester):
Academic Fees: $800
Room and Board: $5,860
International Initiative Grant
The SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholars Program is designed to provide support to our high achieving undergraduate students. This program is only for accepted freshman students entering for full-time fall admission. The value of each award begins at $1000 annually. It is renewable for three subsequent years by maintaining a minimum of a 3.25 cumulative GPA.
The SUNY Potsdam Graduate Scholarship for International Students is designed to provide support to international students intending to pursue full time graduate study at SUNY Potsdam. To determine your scholarship award, the committee will consider your application, official academic transcript and essay.
Student Activities and Campus Life
SUNY Potsdam keeps students active and entertained. Recitals, exhibitions, sports, plays, concerts, guest lectures, and more are all a part of the experience. With over 100 clubs and organizations to become involved with, students will find plenty of opportunities to try new things, make new friends, and become an active part of our vibrant community.
We also have a vibrant Potsdam International Organization: