Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any requests or instructions for those who will be writing my letters of recommendation?

Please ask two individuals qualified to evaluate your educational background and/or academic and professional achievement to complete a recommendation for you. These recommendations are usually from the applicant’s former professors who are able to give an in-depth evaluation of the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to academic work.

For more information about the application requirements visit Application Requirements.

The application asks for a writing sample in the form of an academic paper or thesis. Is there any particular type of paper you’re looking for?

As part of the application and review process we require a sample of your academic writing. This should be a college-level research paper written for one of your classes, or, if your college or university has it as graduation requirement, a senior thesis.

Does the academic paper need to be on the topic of education?

Less important than the topic is that the paper you submit is the strongest sample you have of your writing and research skills as a student.

For the academic paper, should I include the grade and instructor’s remarks?

No. It is not necessary to include the grade or the instructor’s comments with your submission.

For more information about the application requirements visit Application Requirements. 

As an international applicant, am I also required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?  If so, how do I find out where and when to take it in my country?

Yes.  The GRE® score is required of every applicant.  Be sure to request that official GRE® scores be sent directly to the SUA Office of Graduate Admission. Student copies and self-reported scores are not accepted. The GRE® school code for SUA is 4720.

The GRE® is offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in different formats and times depending on a test taker’s location. For test centers and dates in your area, please consult the Educational Testing Service’s website:

For more information about the application requirements visit Application Requirements.

English is not my first language; however I received my Bachelor's Degree at an English speaking institution. Am I still required to take the TOEFL Exam?

The Office of Graduate Admission does have a process to waive the TOEFL requirement for non-native English speakers. Receiving a degree from a college or university where English is the primary language is a circumstance that can lead to the TOEFL requirement being waived. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at or 949-480-4111 for further instructions on how to waive the TOEFL requirement. 

The application requires college/university official transcripts. I’m currently in another graduate program. Do I submit both my undergraduate and graduate transcripts?

Yes.  As part of your application please arrange with your former undergraduate institution as well as with your graduate institution (former or current) to send directly to our Office of Graduate Admission an official transcript of your academic record.

For more information about the application requirements visit Application Requirements. 

What is the SUA Graduate School’s transfer policy for similar graduate-level courses?

Courses completed at other recognized graduate institutions, not exceeding 6 semester credits, may be applied toward the requirements for the MA degree, provided that the studies are of acceptable quality, have been completed with a minimum grade of 3.0, and are equivalent to parts of the approved program of study. The Program will not accept as transfer credits courses completed on a P/NP basis. Accepted students who wish to transfer in prior graduate course-work may be asked to submit course syllabi and other materials to determine quality, relevance, and equivalency.

Please contact the Office of the Registrar for more information. 

What sort of financial aid will be available to accepted students?

Since graduate students in the master’s program will all be considered full-time students, they will have access to the services available through the University’s Office of Financial Aid. Both international and domestic students will have access to institutional and/or federal financial aid programs for which the students are eligible (e.g., institutional scholarships, institutional and federal loans). SUA is currently eligible to receive Title IV funding from the US Federal Government and will continue to use fair and equitable financial aid policies to determine continued eligibility for its graduate students. 

Will there be any merit-based scholarships available?

Highly qualified applicants will be considered for the Soka University of America Scholarship(s). This scholarship is awarded each year based on merit as determined during the admissions process. The top ranking applicant(s) who accepts the admission offer will receive the scholarship award. Scholarship awards are renewable annually and subject to the student’s continued Satisfactory Academic Progress. Recipient(s) will be informed when the admissions process is complete of any amount they have been awarded. 

Does the MA Program provide either a teaching or an administrative services credential?

No.  This program is not a credential program. It does not qualify students for the State of California Teaching Credential or for the State of California Administrative Services Credential.  Accepted students seeking teacher and/or administrative services credentialing in California or elsewhere should consult the Program Director at the time of their matriculation.  The Program is not designed to prepare students for P-12 teaching professions. The course work is conducive however to the process of administrative services examination and credentialing. 

I work a full-time job; can I enroll in the program as a part-time student? 

No.  This is a full-time program – i.e., students will be enrolled on a full-time basis (9 or more credits per semester). It will take 2 years to complete the program, which requires 40 semester credits to graduate. The program does not offer evening or weekend classes. Students move through the program in a cohort with the same students and through the same sequence of courses. Students can work a maximum of twenty hours per week.