Boston University defines an international student to be a non-US citizen or non-US Permanent Resident Green Card Holder. Exceptions apply if you are currently in the US in one of the following statuses: Refugee, Asylum, Parolee, or Confidential Entrant.
You are eligible to apply for admission to Boston University as an international undergraduate student if you’ve completed the equivalent of a United States secondary school education (approximately 12 years of formal education starting at age six) or are a GED recipient or completed a secondary school equivalency exam. You must have either an appropriate diploma or leaving certificates.
To apply to BU as an international freshman please submit your application and credentials as required for Freshman Applicants.
International transfer students should follow instructions for Transfer Applicants.
In addition, international students are required to submit:
Secondary School Records
Some secondary certificates represent an education that exceeds or falls short of the preparation required for entering BU. Please refer to Required Secondary School Credentials to find the admission requirements for the country (or countries) in which you studied.
You will need to send original or certified copies of your home country’s credentials as part of your application. You must also submit a copy of any terminating or qualifying examination results or certificates.
All documents written in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarized English translation. Please note that both documents are required—the original in your first language and the English translation.
Final Year Grades
Early Decision Applicants
- All Early Decision applicants are expected to submit first marking period grades, which may be first quarter or first trimester grades, as soon as they are available.
Regular Decision Applicants
- If you are on a semester schedule, please send your first marking period or first quarter grades if available. Your counselor must submit first semester grades once they are available. If you are on a trimester schedule, please have your counselor submit your first trimester grades once they are available. They can use the Mid-Year Report Form through the Common Application.
- If you are on a trimester schedule, please have your counselor submit your first trimester grades once they are available. They can use the Mid-Year Report Form through the Common Application.
English Proficiency Testing Results
English is the language of instruction at Boston University. You must be able to understand rapid, idiomatic English and express yourself clearly in speech and writing.
If your first language or the primary language spoken in your home is not English, you must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Boston University accepts results for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as evidence of English proficiency.
Internet-based TOEFL exam (iBT):
Students who are most competitive for admission will have a composite score of at least 90-100 and minimum scores of 20 in each section. The Board of Admissions looks closely at the score for each section as well as for consistency across all subscores within each single language proficiency test.
Indicate on the TOEFL registration form that you want your test results sent directly to Boston University. The TOEFL code for Boston University is 3087.
For testing in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and US Territories, call 877-863-3546.
For testing in other countries, call 609-771-7100.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
In lieu of the TOEFL exam, you may submit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A score of 7 or higher will also satisfy BU’s English Language proficiency requirement for all programs. Learn more on the IELTS website.
As an additional way to demonstrate your English language proficiency, BU recommends scheduling an in-person interview with Vericant. This is offered for students in China, Taiwan and Korea. Please note that the submission of a TOEFL or IELTS is also required.
Documentation of Financial Support
Since you and your family or sponsors must assume all responsibility for student expenses, you should review the estimates in the Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support Confirmation before deciding to apply to BU.
To complete your application and receive the necessary papers for obtaining a visa, you must submit:
a) the completed Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support form
b) documents confirming available funds for the annual costs of study (such as savings deposits, checking accounts, or a signed bank letter verifying the ability to pay educational expenses). All documented sources of support must be:
- photocopies or original documents
- current (within 12 months of starting date at Boston University)
- written in English and documented in US Dollars
- signed and stamped by a bank official
You may submit this form and supporting documentation as PDFs with your Common Application. On the My Colleges tab, select Boston University. You will find the link to upload your documents in the Other Information section of the Application Questions. Make sure your documents are less than 500 MB in size. You may also send these materials via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you prefer to submit your documentation by mail (courier recommended), please use the following address:
Boston University Admissions
881 Commonwealth Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215
Be sure to keep copies of all documents sent to the University. You will need this information for: 1) getting a student visa from the US Consulate, 2) US Customs and Border Protection upon entry to the United States, or 3) transferring from another US school.
Please note that the Board of Admissions will be able to proceed with an academic review of your application without the above documents.
Also, please read the following information carefully before beginning your application.
Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP)
If your TOEFL or IELTS score is below the required minimum, it is possible that you can still be admitted to BU by attaining the minimum score before classes begin. You may choose to come to campus early and enroll in intensive English courses at our BU Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP). Once you’ve achieved proficiency in English, you can continue your studies at BU. For more information, please visit the CELOP website.
English Placement Examination
International students who have demonstrated English proficiency are still required to take an English placement examination before the first semester of study. Depending on your results, you may be required to take noncredit English courses to strengthen your language skills.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid is available only for US citizens, applicants who hold a US Permanent Resident or Immigrant Visa Green Card, or other eligible non-citizens as confirmed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
To enter the United States to study, you’ll need a visa—usually an F-1 Student Visa. To apply for it, you must submit to the United States Embassy or Consulate in your own country:
- A valid Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility
- A passport
- Evidence of financial support
If you are admitted to Boston University and chose to enroll and have submitted evidence of financial support, a Form I-20 will be issued.
View further information on acquiring a Student Visa here.