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    Saybrook University
  May 28, 2024
2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Admissions Process

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Applying to Saybrook

Saybrook University is proud of its history of more than 40 years applying humanistic principles to the world’s problems. That means that we believe the human experience, and human potential, are the most important parts of education and engagement with the world. Whether you’re studying psychology, counseling, leadership and management, mind-body medicine, or nutrition at Saybrook the emphasis is on creating experiences and systems that bring out the best in people and encourage human potential.

That’s something we’re passionate about, and we bring that passion to the world: from providing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder to civilians in war zones to developing new programs for companies that want to become socially responsible, our faculty, students, and alumni are actively engaged in creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world through both scholarship and activism. If that’s something you’re passionate about, you have a community here.

We encourage applicants from all disciplines, backgrounds and interests to apply. We hope you will explore our graduate degree programs and participate in our faculty and staff-led admission events to discover which program of humanistic education is best suited for your interests. By doing so, you will get a feel of what it is like to thrive in our community, collaborate with our excellent faculty, and study in our graduate-level academic environment.

Rolling Admissions

Under our rolling admissions plan, Saybrook accepts applications year-round for multiple upcoming terms. You do not need to wait until a fixed date to hear about acceptance: we will notify you a few weeks after we receive all the materials required to complete your application.

The process is simple:

  • Select your program from the list on our Areas of Study. If you’re not sure which program is best for you, please contact Admissions and we’ll help you figure it out. You can apply for only one program at a time.
  • Complete the online application form.
  • Send in your application fee.
  • Upload the necessary application materials (transcripts, references, writing sample, personal statement, resume, etc.) through your student portal.
  • We recommend completing your FAFSA application for Financial Aid at the same time you complete your Saybrook application.
  • You will then be asked to participate in a telephone or in-person interview.

Admission Requirements

At a minimum, you must have received, or anticipate receiving prior to the start of the semester you are applying into, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university before applying for a master’s degree at Saybrook.

Application for a PhD also requires a master’s degree from Saybrook or another regionally-accredited college. An exception is made for students who are applying to the PhD Clinical Psychology program, who must have completed a BA/BS in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work, or 12 semester credits/20 quarter credits of Psychology coursework completed at a regionally accredited college or university.

The minimum expected grade point average (GPA) requirement is 3.0 from the last degree-granting institution, though exceptions may be made.

Admissions Criteria

Saybrook University is committed to identifying students who will be a “good fit” for the Saybrook experience. Rather than grade-point averages or standardized test scores, we emphasize:

  1. Academic history and professional experience
  2. Compatible background and interests with the offerings at Saybrook
  3. Ability to work well in a distance-education format
  4. Demonstrated critical thinking and writing skills
  5. Personal motivation and readiness for graduate level work
  6. Potential for scholarly research and/or ability to work actively in the field

Summary of Admissions Requirements for New, Degree-Seeking Students

For students who are seeking one of our masters or doctoral degrees, one of our certificate programs or non-degree coursework, please refer to the admissions requirements page  of our website.

Certificates & Workshop Programs

Saybrook offers a variety of alternatives to a full-degree MA/MS or PhD program of study: certificate programs, workshops and continuing education courses.

Certificate Programs

If a master’s or PhD seems like more than you want to attempt at the moment, try one of our certificate programs. Costs vary by certificate. These programs offer you:

  • An opportunity to explore a particular field or topic
  • A chance to improve job qualifications by obtaining certification in a field that complements your original training
  • A cost-effective way to start acquiring knowledge when a longer MA or PhD degree program is too much of a commitment
  • A means of supplementing your degree studies at Saybrook with detailed learning in a specific topic area.

While some certificate programs are a subset of standard online course offerings; others are independent.

Continuing Education Courses

In collaboration with the Behavioral Medicine Research and Training Foundation, Saybrook University offers superb distance-learning continuing education programs in many areas of behavioral medicine and psychology including biofeedback and related topics, intended for professionals such as clinicians, coaches, educators, and academic researchers. The continuing education courses are accredited by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. .

  • Ethics for Biofeedback Providers
  • General Biofeedback/Psychophysiological Assessment and Intervention
  • Anatomy and Physiology/Human Biology for Behavioral Clinicians
  • Basic EEG Biofeedback/Neurofeedback
  • Pain Assessment and Intervention for Behavioral Clinicians
  • Behavioral Assessment and Treatment of Pelvic Floor Disorders
  • Neuropsychophysiology (Nervous System Functions in Psychophysiology)
  • Biological Basis of Behavior/Introduction to Psychophysiology
  • Research Techniques for Clinicians
  • Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback

The Behavioral Medicine Research and Training Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The BMR&T Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Seattle Workshop - InterAct: Skills for Adaptive Leadership

At the Seattle campus, students and non-students have the opportunity to enroll in a short, intensive workshop in leadership development and communication. This engaging, three-day workshop helps develop the skills necessary to advance in organizational leadership and management. This program is for individuals who play strategic roles in organizational settings-executives, managers, and staff in the private and public sectors seeking to learn advanced leadership skills designed to strengthen working relationships, increasing productivity. All of our workshops blend applied behavioral science skills with experiential learning methodology.


Students withdrawn from Saybrook for 365 days or more must formally apply for readmission.  Students after having been withdrawn for less than 365 days may contact the Office of the Registrar directly for re-entry to the University. Students withdrawn not in good standing (see Satisfactory Academic Progress policy) can only be considered for readmission after all financial obligations have been met and/or an acceptable plan for remedying any academic deficiencies has been considered and approved by Saybrook. Saybrook reserves the right to determine if any terms stated at the time of administrative withdrawal have been satisfied in full.

Readmission is not guaranteed. The faculty review committee makes all readmission decisions based on the student’s academic record at Saybrook and any other factors deemed relevant.  Applicants for readmission must meet the admission requirements in effect at the time of readmission.

Readmission requirements mirror all standard admission specifications. Students on Academic & Financial Aid Warning or Probation at the time of withdrawal may be readmitted if approved, but remain subject to Warning, Probation and other guidelines in effect at the withdrawal date. These students will be readmitted on the same SAP status they had upon withdrawal.

Students returning less than 365 days from their last date of attendance return under the academic requirements that were in effect at the time of withdrawal.  Students withdrawn over 365 days from their last date of attendance are subject to the academic requirements and catalog in effect at the time of readmission.  

Readmitted students who have been out more than three years will be subject to the degree requirements in effect at the time of their readmission AND will be required to attend another Residential Orientation.

International Applicants

International Student Admissions

The Global Enrollment Management department conducts international student recruitment and admissions on behalf of Saybrook University. The GEM department will follow these policies and procedures, informed by institutional knowledge and best practices in international admission. Saybrook defines an international student as a student who does not currently hold U.S. citizenship nor U.S. permanent residence.

International Degree Requirements

In addition to meeting all general and program-specific admission requirements, all international applicants are also subject to the following requirements:

  1. Official scores from either the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required of all international applicants who indicate on their application that English is not their primary language
  2. Minimum scores required are:
    1. 79 iBT TOEFL/550 PBT TOEFL
    2. 6.5 IELTS

English Language Exam may be waived:

  1. If the applicant has completed a prior degree or at least 60 transfer credits from a college/university in the United States or from a college/university where coursework is taught entirely in English (example: American University of Cairo)
  2. If the applicant has successfully completed the required level at an ESL institute with which Saybrook has a Memorandum of Understanding

English Language Exam may be made a contingency of acceptance:

  1. If the applicant is currently completing a degree in the United States or is currently completing a degree at an international institution where coursework is taught entirely in English. The contingency will be fulfilled upon receipt of a final transcript from the aforementioned institution showing degree earned and date conferred or upon receipt of a passing TOEFL/IELTS score.
  2. If the applicant is planning to enroll or is currently enrolled at an ESL institute with which Saybrook has a Memorandum of Understanding. The contingency will be fulfilled upon receipt of a final transcript or letter from the aforementioned institution showing the required level was successfully completed or upon receipt of a passing TOEFL/IELTS score.

Final decisions regarding exceptions to this policy will be made by the Vice President of Enrollment Management in collaboration with the Director of Global Enrollment Management.

Accepted international applicants may matriculate once they have earned the U.S. equivalent of their program’s prerequisite degree (or equivalent required course credit hours for B.A.-completion) from either a regionally accredited U.S. school or the equivalent as determined by a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services)-approved transcript evaluation agency.

Regarding 3-year Bachelor’s degrees: 3-year degrees will be recognized providing a NACES-approved evaluation agency equates the degree to the U.S. equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university. Other 3-year degrees will require additional post-graduate coursework commonly completed by those interested in applying to U.S. graduate schools (as determined by a NACES-approved evaluation agency).

Regarding Bologna Degrees: Bologna Accord degrees are recognized by NACES-approved evaluation agencies (see World Education Services example) and will be recognized by Saybrook provided the credential evaluator equates the degree to the U.S. equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university. 

Regarding Professional Degrees: Final decisions regarding professional degrees earned overseas (ex: Bachelor-level Medical degrees) will be made by the Vice President of Enrollment Management in consultation with the Director of Global Enrollment Management after reviewing a NACES-approved transcript evaluation.

Regarding applicants with 3-year Bachelor’s degrees completing additional study in the United States: As transcript evaluation agencies will not combine international coursework with domestic coursework when performing an evaluation, this uncommon situation will be evaluated by the faculty admissions committee. Guidelines for decision will include the completion of an overseas Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum of 120 undergraduate credit hours earned (when summing total international credits earned and U.S. credits earned).

International Transcript Evaluation Policy

An international applicant must have non-U.S. transcripts evaluated by a NACES-approved ( evaluation agency.  The evaluation must include a “course-by-course” transcript evaluation of academic records from the foreign institution where the pre-requisite degree was earned is required for consideration for admission. The transcript evaluation must also include a general evaluation showing U.S. degree equivalency and grade point average (GPA).

Transcript evaluations are not required from American universities operating overseas, provided the institution is regionally accredited by a recognized U.S. regional accrediting body (Example: The American University of Cairo).

International Degree Conferral Admission Requirements

A graduate student must submit documentation proving conferral of the qualifying degree for their academic program by the start of the second semester of enrollment. The qualifying degree conferral date must be a date prior to the term/semester of entry. Any individual who fails to meet this requirement by the designated due date will be removed from the institution. This documentation must be presented as follows.

International Institution Conferral:

While a student may submit documentation listed in letters (a) through (d) below to meet the designated due date, submission of the official transcript evaluation is required for all students who attended an institution outside of the United States A Saybrook student who fails to provide an official transcript evaluation showing degree conferred by the start of the second semester of enrollment will be withdrawn from the institution on the Add/Drop deadline of the second semester.

  1. Official transcript showing qualifying degree conferral. An official transcript is printed on official transcript paper and bears the embossed or raised college seal, date, and the Registrar’s signature. An official transcript is delivered in a sealed envelope with the Registrar’s signature stamped across the seal. An official transcript can also be sent electronically directly from a transcript vendor.
  2. Unofficial transcript showing qualifying degree conferral. An unofficial transcript is printed on plain paper and does not bear a college seal or registrar’s signature or is an opened transcript submitted by a student, marked as a student copy or stamped unofficial. An unofficial transcript must document: student name, institution name, courses completed with grades earned, specific degree conferred and the conferral date.
  3. An official letter on school letterhead from the qualifying degree granting institution’s Office of the Registrar that includes the specific conferral date, degree level, and name of degree conferred.
  4. An official or unofficial transcript evaluation of an international transcript from a National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES)-approved evaluation service that includes the specific conferral date, degree level, and name of degree conferred, along with US equivalency.

Study Abroad & Saybrook-sponsored education abroad programs

Students participating in any program sponsored by Saybrook that includes travel outside of the United States fall under all policies and procedures as outlined within the catalog, and include additional guidance as noted below.


If the travel portion of a study abroad course concludes after the end of the term/semester, all students will receive a temporary grade of “Incomplete” (I). Deadline for submission of remaining assignments cannot extend more than six (6) weeks from the final day of required travel. Once final course deliverables have been submitted and evaluated, the I grade will be changed to a final grade.

If a student does not meet the assignment submission deadline, the student will earn a grade of “F/NC/NP” in the course. Refer to Grade Change/Appeal section of catalog and Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for more information.

Disciplinary process for Saybrook-sponsored education abroad programs

The following process applies to resolve allegations that a student participating in a study abroad program sponsored by Saybrook has violated the Student Code of Conduct or any policy or rule enforceable under the Code or the student’s international education rights and responsibilities agreement (including this policy):

As a first step, the Faculty Lead of the course in which the student is participating and/or a Saybrook representative will attempt to address any instances of disruption by meeting and speaking directly with student to resolve the violation.  If the violation was minor and not of a serious nature and no further disruptions or conduct violations occur, the issue may be considered resolved. This procedure is reserved for first time violations of a non-serious nature.  For multiple or more serious infractions of any provisions of the policies described above, the institution reserves the right to pursue a more rigorous course of discipline.

If the Faculty Lead determines that further action must be taken, the Faculty Lead and/or Saybrook representative will provide the student written notice of the alleged violation and immediate required action resulting in the alleged violation, sent to the student’s Saybrook email account. The Faculty Lead may consult with Saybrook representatives, which may include legal counsel and Global Engagement staff members, before imposing serious sanctions such as removal from the program. If the Faculty Lead determines that the health and safety of any program participant is at stake, the Faculty Lead reserves the right to immediately dismiss the student from the program, which may result in failure of the course and lost monies that will not be reimbursed to the student.

A copy of this notice will be shared with the student’s Program Director and the Director of Student Affairs. The notice will briefly describe the alleged conduct and the policy or rule in violation and will provide the student with the opportunity to respond to the alleged wrongdoing. This process is described in the next paragraph. In rare cases, action to prevent disruption or harm may be taken before the student has a chance to be heard, although that opportunity will be given to the student as soon as possible thereafter. The Director of Student Affairs will be notified of the action and will recommend as appropriate upon return that the alleged violation be submitted to the Director of Student Affairs for review and further sanctioning as stipulated under Saybrook’s Code of Conduct. A student may appeal the decision or file a complaint or grievance pursuant to Saybrook’s procedures as stated in this handbook.

Study Abroad Program Fee and Fee Refund Policy

The study abroad program fee for courses is 100% non-refundable past the Add/Drop deadline of the semester/term in which the course runs, even if the study abroad course is scheduled to run in the second term of the semester, i.e. fall II, spring II, summer II.  Students who wish to independently withdraw from the course, for any reason, will not receive a refund of their fee if the Add/Drop deadline has passed, and must request an appeal of a refund of their fees through the Financial Appeals Committee.

Transcripts and Testing


Saybrook requires that transcripts submitted to the Admissions Office be “official.” If you open a sealed transcript envelope, you will invalidate the transcript as an official document. We encourage you to visit your previous institutions’ websites to request that official transcripts be sent directly to the Saybrook University Admissions Office at the address below. On other websites, look for Registrar’s Office, Transcript Office, or Transcript Request Form.

All applicants must provide official, sealed transcripts from all previously-attended, degree-granting, post-secondary institutions. You may submit transcripts from non-degree granting, post-secondary institutions (e.g., from a certificate program) if you feel it would strengthen your application, or if the transcripts contain graduate coursework that may qualify for transfer credit.  An official review of transfer credits cannot occur until official transcripts are received.  Official transcripts must be received by the end of your first semester in the program. Failure to submit all final official documents, including proof of required degree conferral will result in a registration hold being placed on your account.

Mail official transcripts to:

Admissions Operations
c/o Saybrook University
350 N. Orleans Street, Suite 1050
Chicago, IL 60654-1822

Standardized Testing

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to Saybrook University.  If you wish to supplement your application with optional test scores, please request that the scores be sent directly to the Admissions Office at the address above.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Saybrook Institutional Code: 4211
Phone: 800.473.2255

Miller Analogies Test (MAT by the Psychological Corporation)

Saybrook Institutional Code: 1950
Phone: 800.872.1726


International applicants are required to submit a TOEFL score directly to the Admissions Office. Saybrook Institutional Code: 9007
Phone: 1-877.863.3546 (US)
Website: http://www.ets.orgtoefl

Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines

Transfer credits based on equivalent graduate courses taken at another regionally accredited institution in the same or similar discipline where the student received a grade of B or better may be transferred and will reduce the number of course credits required to be completed at Saybrook. Allowable transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree as determined by the Registrar and the degree Program Director. Transfer course credits do not affect the minimum number of credits required for the degree.

Transfer credits from an institution that uses the quarter system will be converted to semester credits. Transfer credits appear on the Saybrook transcript as a single block of credits, not as specific course titles. While matriculated at Saybrook University, students may not receive academic credit or credits for coursework to apply to their Saybrook degree in process from another institution.

Per external guidelines, master’s students cannot transfer more than 20% of their total program credits towards their Saybrook master’s degree.  Doctoral students cannot transfer more than 30 graduate semester credits towards their Saybrook doctoral degree, unless the degree leads to a profession or an occupation requiring state licensure and a different standard is adopted by the licensing body.  These guidelines are applicable to all Saybrook programs and modalities, and additional restrictions may exist as noted in specific programs of study.

How To Apply: Application Made Simple

To apply for federal aid, complete the FAFSA℠ (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online at The Web is by far the quickest and easiest method of applying.

Important Notes

Be sure to enter Saybrook University’s school code: G21206.

You must apply annually by filing the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA. You must maintain your eligibility throughout your time at Saybrook.

We recommend that you complete your financial aid application no later than 90 days prior to the beginning of the relevant semester of enrollment.

If you are selected for verification, you are required to submit certain documentation as requested in writing from the Saybrook Financial Aid office.

Apply for a FSA ID

An FSA ID allos students to complete the following tasks:

  • Electronically sign your FAFSA application, dramatically decreasing the processing time
  • Make online corrections to your FAFSA Access your Student Aid Report
  • Access your federal student aid records online, including your student loan history information on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at

Helpful Links

Enjoy the following links for a visual walk-through the FAFSA and Financial Aid Process

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