Before You Go

All students considering external study abroad should review carefully the following important information before they leave for their study program. If you have specific questions about the policies or procedures detailed below please consult the Program Manager for External Programs at BU Study Abroad, Emily Whalen (

Withdrawal/Leave of Absence

You must complete a Leave of Absence form (LOA) at the University Service Center, 881 Commonwealth Avenue before the start of the new semester at BU (preferably before you leave campus for the semester).

Failure to submit the form can result in being charged for tuition at BU, complications in financial aid, etc.

Financial Aid

Grants and scholarships awarded by BU can not be used to fund participation in an external study abroad program. However, students who wish to use Federal Direct Stafford Loans or Direct PLUS loans for an external program should visit BU Financial Assistance. You will need to submit all required loan application materials to BU Financial Assistance as you do when studying at BU.

In addition, you will need to complete a Financial Aid Consortium Agreement form from BU Financial Assistance. You will be responsible for making sure that the relevant sections of the form are completed by the program you will be attending, and by the Assistant Director for External Programs at Study Abroad. Be aware that not all external study abroad arrangements are eligible for application of Federal aid; you probably will remain eligible to use Federal loans if you will be registered through another United States institution, but in direct enrollment situations, Federal loans are usually not transferable. Whatever your enrollment plans, be sure to confirm Federal aid eligibility with the program and with BU Financial Assistance. If you do apply for Federal aid for the program, be sure to complete a form authorizing transfer of funds from your BU student account once the aid is processed. Make sure all required signatures have been obtained for your aid disbursement and that a “power of attorney” form has been filed with BU Financial Assistance should you be unavailable to sign documents during your absence.

Students who wish to apply for financial assistance for their academic period at BU following the study abroad program should contact BU Financial Assistance regarding application materials and deadlines. Make sure you arrange with a friend or family member to obtain and process application materials on your behalf if necessary.

If you do not plan to return to BU after studying abroad, and have received financial aid at BU, you must meet with an officer in the BU Financial Assistance Loan Area for your exit interview before you leave.

BU On-Campus Housing (Charles River Campus)

Going away on an external program for the fall semester:
If you are assigned to University housing on the Charles River Campus for the upcoming academic year and plan to go on a non-BU study abroad program for the fall, in addition to taking a leave of absence from the University prior to the first day of classes, you must notify BU Housing, 25 Buick Street, Boston, MA 02215, in writing, of your intent to cancel your Residence License Agreement and housing assignment. If you submitted a housing guarantee payment, it will be rebated or forfeited in accordance with the schedule outlined in the Terms and Conditions of your Residence License Agreement.

Going away on an external program for the spring semester:
If you reside in University housing on the Charles River Campus for the fall semester and plan to participate in a non-BU study abroad or internship program during the spring semester, in addition to taking a leave of absence from the University, you must also officially move out of your on-campus residence by completing the following checkout procedures prior to the end of the fall semester (by 10 a.m. on the morning after the last day of exams for the fall semester). Housing charges assessed to your account for the spring semester will remain valid until you take a leave of absence and complete these housing checkout procedures.

Removal from the BU housing pool:
When you take a leave of absence and withdraw from the University residential system (for whatever reason), you are no longer guaranteed an on-campus accommodation for the current or any subsequent semester or academic year. If you wish to return to on-campus housing after taking a leave of absence, you must apply and submit a request to do so, in writing, to BU Housing or via e-mail at Applications may be submitted up to one month prior to the first day of classes for a semester. If you feel your application should be given special consideration, you should state the reasons as a part of your application. The Housing Committee will notify you via mail, at the home address you have on file with the University, of the decision made on your application. If you would like the Housing Committee to send notice of its decision to another address also, please provide that address in your application. Again, please note there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. If you are not offered an on-campus accommodation, you must reapply to be considered for subsequent semesters.

Issues for Students with Non-U.S. Passports

Visa issues:
If you are traveling on a non-U.S. passport, you should check with a consulate of the country in which you will be studying and that of your home country, in order to determine whether a special visa will be required. Do this as far in advance as possible. You also should investigate whether you will need to apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S. after your program. Please consult your advisor in the BU International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO).

Study Abroad Program Transcripts

Your study abroad credits cannot be reviewed for transfer unless an official transcript from the program school or host institution is on file at BU Study Abroad. It may take some time for your transcript to be received by us and for your credits to be transferred. You should call our office to verify the transcript’s arrival. Keep in mind that your graduation date may be affected if you are a senior.

An official transcript from your semester abroad must be sent to:
Boston University
Study Abroad
888 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Attn: Assistant Director for External Programs

Transfer Credit Limits

CAS policies:
Students are only allowed to transfer 20 courses toward their degree. Students should also note that their date of graduation may be delayed if they study abroad during their senior year.


Most students may study abroad during their senior year. However, some departments and schools or colleges require that you be in residence for a portion of the senior year. Check the requirements of your department and school or college.

Waiver of residency:
CAS students planning to study abroad during their senior year must petition to have their on-campus residence requirements waived. (Some majors require one semester of residence in the senior year.) These petitions are available in CAS 105.

CAS students who study abroad during any portion of their senior year must also complete their CAS Graduation Application Form prior to departure. The program of study overseas must be outlined on this form. (It is extremely important that all seniors inform CAS of any course changes while abroad, as these may also affect their ability to graduate on time.) The Graduation Application Form must be signed by the student and the academic advisor, and then sent to CAS Records. The applications are due one year before the date of graduation, so this is typically done May of junior year. Following is a checklist of the items needed to complete your file with BU Study Abroad: Checklist.