FAQs for the College of General Studies


What is the College of General Studies (CGS)?

The College of General Studies is a small, liberal arts college within Boston University, offering first- and second-year students an interdisciplinary and global curriculum. Upon completion of the two-year program, which includes electives toward your major, you will continue to one of BU’s nine degree-granting undergraduate schools and colleges to complete your degree. The College of General Studies provides the strong foundation for a specialized field of study, and it fulfills most BU Hub general education requirements.

The College of General Studies is a unique program at BU—it’s the only one that lets you study abroad during your first year of college. You begin the year in January with a semester in Boston and study abroad in London during either the Summer 1 or the Summer 2 term, completing a full first-year course load by the end of summer. Whether in Boston or London, courses are taught by CGS faculty members, and classroom material is reinforced by experiential opportunities such as trips to museums, historical sites, and theaters.


Why was I admitted for the January 2021 semester when I applied for September 2020?

This was a very competitive year for admission to Boston University. We received more than 61,000 applications for an incoming first-year class of 3,100 students. To accommodate this exceptional class, we selected a group of well-qualified students for January 2021 admission who we feel will excel in CGS.


Can I change my admission to the fall instead of January or be placed on the waitlist

Unlike students on our waitlist, you have received full admission to BU through CGS. It is not possible to change your semester of entry.


If I start in January, will I graduate on time?

Yes. You will earn a total of 32 credits for the spring semester and summer term, which fulfills first-year credit requirements. In the fall of 2021, you will continue into the second year of the program to take CGS required courses and electives toward your major.

After you have completed the CGS curriculum, which includes electives for your major, you will transition into one of BU’s nine degree-granting schools or colleges to complete your BU degree.


Is the London semester required?

Experiencing Europe as part of the CGS Program deeply enhances the carefully designed interdisciplinary course curriculum and participating in the experience is strongly encouraged. However, if for any reason you’d prefer to stay in Boston for the summer, you can pursue the Boston-New England experience, which offers a similar interdisciplinary educational experience.


Can I transfer in September 2021 to other schools or colleges in Boston University?

You will continue in CGS for your second year in the fall of 2021. After you have completed the CGS curriculum, which includes electives for your major, you will transition into the school or college of your choice to complete your BU degree.


When will I register for classes and learn more about the Summer Terms?

Shortly after you accept BU’s offer of admission and submit your enrollment deposit, a CGS academic advisor will contact you to provide one-on-one guidance to help you plan your courses. You will officially register for spring semester classes in the fall of 2020. Your course schedule will determine the timing of your summer term in London or Boston . The faculty who teach you during the spring semester will teach your summer courses as well.


What are the dates for the summer 2021 terms?

Summer 1 Session:

  • May 22 and May 23 – Summer 1 students arrive
  • July 3 – Summer 1 students depart

Summer 2 Session:

  • July 3 and July 4 – Summer 2 students arrive
  • August 14 – Summer 2 students depart

Where will I live on campus?

All incoming first-year students are guaranteed on-campus housing. You will be assigned to a residence for January 2021. On BU’s Boston campus, you will be housed in one of our on-campus residences. Housing in London is located on the BU campus in the Kensington neighborhood.


Costs, billing, financial aid; how do I learn more?

Information about the tuition, fees, room, board and other expenses is available on our CGS tuition page. There, you will also find information about University charges and the financial aid notification and disbursement process for the spring semester in Boston and the summer term in London.


How many students will begin their studies in CGS?

Approximately 600 students will begin their first semester in January 2021.


How do CGS students fit in with the rest of the student body?

CGS students fit in seamlessly. You will attend University Orientation in the summer or winter to connect with your class, meet your faculty, and explore the city of Boston. You will also be invited to winter welcome events in January 2021. You will engage in BU’s dynamic community through your residential experience, where you will live with students from all undergraduate schools and colleges.


How should I spend the gap semester?

Many student accomplish incredible things during the gap semester. You may take this time to volunteer, participate in an internship, work, travel, take a class, or pursue a special interest. We are always impressed with the myriad experiences students bring to BU in January. See how other students have spent their gap semester.

Your CGS academic advisor will contact you in the summer to discuss any courses you might plan to take and will continue to be in touch throughout the fall. We recommend that students also stay connected to BU through BU Today, The Daily Free Press (BU’s student newspaper), the CGS website, and your class page on the CGS website. Be sure to join the BU Class of 2024 Facebook group, like the CGS Facebook page, and follow CGS on Twitter and Instagram.


Will I be able to enroll at another college or university for the fall semester?

Once you have accepted your place in the College of General Studies, you are considered a Boston University student and, thus, are ineligible to matriculate at another college or university. If you do matriculate elsewhere, BU will be unable to honor your admission and enrollment. Students may take non-degree courses elsewhere in the fall, and we encourage you to speak with your CGS academic advisor to ensure the coursework will fulfill CGS requirements and not jeopardize your enrollment at BU.


Helpful links and contact information:

CGS Experiences Page & CGS Professors
CGS Student Services
Phone: 617-353-2850
Email: cgs@bu.edu

BU Admissions
CGS Student Next Steps
Phone: 617-353-2300
Email: admissions@bu.edu

BU Financial Assistance
CGS Financial Assistance, Costs, and Payment Plan
Phone: 617-353-2965
Email: finaid@bu.edu