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 (

You must complete a Leave of Absence form (LOA) at the University Service Center, 881 Commonwealth Avenue prior to departing campus for the semester.  You can do this at any time but in general, you do not want to submit this form until you have turned in all your required paperwork to the study abroad office.

Please refer to the University Service Center page regarding the specifics of a Leave of Absense of study abroad.

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

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.

To apply your approved financial aid to your program you will need to complete a Financial Aid Consortium Agreement form from BU Financial Assistance.

You are responsible for coordinating this with your external program and BU.  First, you will need to complete section I yourself.

You will then send the consortium agreement to your study abroad program or host university to complete section II.  They will send this back to you or to the Program Manager for External Programs.

You need to turn in course approvals for classes equaling at least 12 US credits before the study abroad office will evaluate your consortium agreement and send it to the Financial Aid office.

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.

If you wish to apply for financial assistance for the academic period at BU following your study abroad program you 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.

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.

Visa issues traveling to another country:

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 to determine if there are any specific requirements for citizens of your country.  Immigration requirements can vary by country and may require you to obtain additional documentation from your home country.  Check as far in advance as possible.

Taking a leave of absence from BU could jeopardize your immigration status. Please consult your advisor in the BU International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) prior to applying to a study abroad program to see how this might affect you.

Your study abroad credits cannot be reviewed for transfer until an official transcript is received by the study abroad office.  This MUST be received in a sealed envelope directly from the program.

Keep in mind that it may take some time for your transcript to be received by us and for your credits to be transferred. Once a program is finished it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for our office to receive a transcript and begin the evaluation and transfer process.  Once your credit has been processed you will receive confirmation from us about which courses met the requirements for transfer credit.

Your graduation date may be affected if you are a senior and it is your responsibility to verify when the final transcript can be sent to our office and determine if this timeframe works with your expectations for a graduation timeline.

An official transcript from your semester abroad must be sent to:
Boston University Study Abroad
C/O: External Programs
888 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02215 USA

Most students may study abroad during their senior year.  However, some departments and schools require that you be in residence (at the BU campus) for a portion of the senior year.  Make sure you check with your school to determine if you can study abroad your senior year.

Please note that studying on an external program your senior year could delay your graduation.  It is your responsibility to have all your courses approved before you study abroad and verify when a final transcript will be issued by your host university or program and determine if this timeline fits in with your own expectations of graduation.

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 at CAS 105.

CAS Students who study abroad during any portion of their senior year must also complete their 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 their college 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.