Frequently Asked Questions
General International Student FAQ
1. Where should I live?
Rutgers–New Brunswick has various types of residences depending on your preferred living situation.
Please be advised that not all on-campus residence options are open during the school breaks such as Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring breaks. This means that you won't be able to stay in those residences during breaks, but you will be able to leave your belongings there. If you are not interested in this option, you will want to look for buildings that have nine-month contracts. We advise looking into the New Gibbons residence on the Cook/Douglass campus or any apartment-style housing options as they are on 9-month contracts and are open during the breaks.
For undergraduate students
We highly encourage our new students to live on campus for a minimum of one semester in order to become familiar with the campus and the surroundings. Once you get a better feel for the area, you will be more knowledgeable about finding a suitable place for you to live. Please visit Residence Life's information page for international students to learn more about housing for international students.
For graduate students
Rutgers' Residence Life is a great resource for more information about housing. Please see their Graduate and Family Students Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about housing for graduate students and families, information on moving in and amenities, and other questions you may have along the way.
- Traditional residence halls and apartment-style living for single graduate students: Most single graduate students live on the Busch Campus or Cook/Douglass Campus. There are also roughly 100 spaces available in the Livingston apartments. It is your choice where you wish to live, but housing on the Cook/Douglass Campus would be your closest option for studying at SEBS.
- Two-bedroom apartments for graduate students living with their families: All graduate family housing is on the Busch Campus.
Housing assignments will be sent out by Residence Life in early August.
Off-campus housing is an option for all students, regardless of their situation. However, if you are a new student, we highly recommend that you live on campus at least for one semester.
Rutgers University Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships provides an online database where you can find housing suitable to your needs. These are rental properties submitted by local, private landlords and apartment complexes. You can also find listings for roommates and post your own listing on this database.
Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships also works with you if you are having issues with your landlord or co-tenants.
2. Can I apply for a driver's license?
In the State of New Jersey, you are eligible to apply for a driver's license if you are on an F or J visa. Please read the DMV Factsheet (PDF) created by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for more details about necessary documents and how to apply.
3. Where can I buy textbooks?
The Rutgers University Official Bookstore can be found both online and in person to purchase your textbooks, Rutgers apparel, and other Scarlet Knight gear. The bookstore storefront can be found in the Barnes and Noble at Rutgers University at the Gateway Transit Building, 100 Somerset Street in downtown New Brunswick.
4. What student organizations and recreational opportunities are available to me at Rutgers?
Rutgers' Division of Student Affairs offers information on all kinds of extracurricular activities and student groups on their website.
Don't forget to attend the Fall Involvement Fair! Here you can discover all the student groups available on campus and meet the student leaders in person to learn more about their groups and how you can join.
International Undergraduate Student FAQ
1. Do I have health insurance coverage as an undergraduate international student?
If you are an F-1, J-1, F-2, or J-2 Rutgers Visa Sponsored student, you are automatically enrolled each semester in a student health insurance plan by the Center for Global Services. This health insurance fee will be added to your term bill as "Rutgers Student Health Insurance Plan."
To learn more about health insurance for international students, please visit the Center for Global Services page on health insurance.
2. Can I work while I'm studying?
If you are interested in working while you are completing your studies, it is important to know the limits and regulations in place which correspond to your visa status. The Center for Global Services Employment page details this information for you on their website so you can learn what your options are and how to find employment.
F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on-campus during their studies. However, there are limits on how many hours you may work. The Center for Global Services provides workshops for you to learn more about this option.
F-1 students may participate in off-campus employment opportunities, as long as they are directly related to their field of study. The two options are Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Both CPT and OPT can be pursued during your studies; however, OPT is the only option for employment once you have finished your degree while still maintaining your F-1 status. Please see your international student adviser for more information on the best option for you.
J-1 students are eligible to participate in 18 months of academic training for a specific job. To learn more about this option, please discuss with your international student adviser and consult Global Services' Academic Training for J-1 Students page for more information.
Volunteer Work and Unpaid Internships
It is important to know the difference between volunteer work and an unpaid internship, because one requires work authorization and the other does not. If you are unsure of which category your opportunity falls into, please visit your international student adviser. You can learn more about the specifics on the Global Services Unpaid Internships and Volunteering page.
Graduate Student FAQ
1. How can I find funding?
The Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships' GradFund website has a wealth of information on securing grants for newly admitted students, master's students, predissertation doctoral students, as well as dissertation doctoral candidates. They will help you through the process of finding and applying to merit-based, external research grants and fellowships to support your graduate work.
You can also find a list of Fellowships and Awards which are only available to students in the School of Graduate Studies.
2. Do I have health insurance benefits?
If you are appointed to a full academic-year assistantship, you have comprehensive health insurance as employees of Rutgers.
All full-time students are insured for up to $5,000 in medical expenses brought about by illness or injury, which is included in paying the student fee portion of your tuition bill. Please note that this is not an extensive coverage, and is meant only to provide excess coverage over other insurance plans. You have the option of purchasing a major medical policy sponsored by the university which provides a more extensive coverage. To learn more, please see SGS's Health Services and Benefits page.
You can find more information from the Center for Global Services' page on health insurance for international students and scholars.
2+2 Student FAQ
1. How many credits may I transfer?
Students in 2+2 programs are eligible to transfer 90 credits from their home institution.
2. Are transfer courses included in my GPA?
Your grades for courses transferred from your home institution will not be applied to your cumulative grade point average at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
3. If I transfer as a 2+2 student in my 3rd year, can I graduate early?
Regardless of what year you may have completed at your home university, you can only transfer a maximum of 90 credits to SEBS. Additionally, the minimum amount of credits to graduate from SEBS is 128, and this number may be larger depending on your major. This means that in order to fulfill all of the 2+2, school, and Rutgers requirements for graduation, you will need to be at the school longer than one year.
4. Can I have a double major? A minor?
While your main priority is to complete your primary major, as a Rutgers and SEBS student, you are allowed to have a second major and/or any minor that interests you. It is especially important for dual-degree students to prioritize their primary major before taking on another major. Depending on which school you are coming from, it may be mandatory to complete your major program within 2 years of being at SEBS. While some majors are easier to pair with your declared major, some may take some additional planning to accomplish within a certain timeframe. Please discuss with your academic adviser as soon as you know you want an additional major, as this may lead you to be at Rutgers for a longer period of time.
5. How many English Writing courses will I need to take?
Students must complete Expository Writing and Writing in the Discipline in order to fulfill graduation requirements. Students must take a writing placement test to determine the level of writing that best represents their skills. Depending on the results of the placement test, students may be required to take preparatory courses in advance of the Expository Writing Requirement. This means that many students take up to 4 semesters of English writing, which prepares them for graduate studies and careers in international industry and research.
Writing courses include the following:
- EAD I (01:356:155). This is a 4-credit course that meets 3 times a week and counts towards your Grade Point Average. It introduces non-native English and bilingual speakers to critical reading and writing, helping to develop students' ability to verbally conceptualize and articulate complex academic arguments in English. Students will also learn how to respond critically to and make connections between different texts they read.
- EAD II (01:356:156). Just like EAD1, this is a 4-credit course that meets three times a week and counts towards your Grade Point Average. This course strengthens the skills learned in EAD I. Students will learn to revise their papers as well as focus on critical reading skills in order to practice complex intellectual academic discourse and academic integrity.
- Basic Composition with Reading or Grammar (01:355:100R/G). This is a credit-bearing course which is meant to prepare students in critical reading and writing in order to succeed at Rutgers and in Expository Writing. Students may be placed in 100, 100R, or 100G which determines how many credits this course bears for them. At the end of this course, students will be able to compose a clear, well-thought 5–6 page paper with original ideas which reflect their comprehension of complex texts. Students will be able to analyze a paper and improve their own writing skills at the sentence, paragraph, and paper level.
- Expository Writing 1 (01:355:101). Often referred to as "Expos", this is a mandatory course for all Rutgers-New Brunswick students in order to give them the necessary writing skills to be successful for the rest of their academic careers and in their professional lives. The three fundamental activities students will work on in this course are: reading articles, reports, or books intended for an educated audience; making connections among multiple sources; and using this knowledge to develop an independent thesis that responds to the ideas of others. This course will develop critical thinking skills needed to not only read and interpret, but also to respond to ideas and problems with original opinions. Students will receive credit based on their scores from five five-page papers throughout the course.
- One 3-credit Discipline-Based Writing and Communication requirement. This course builds upon all of the students' previous writing skills and teaches them to communicate effectively within their discipline or area of inquiry. Students will be able to critically assess and cite sources correctly, according to the standards of their discipline. They will also be able to make connections between sources and synthesize new ideas from these insights.