Application Instructions

Boston University accepts the Common Application exclusively. Please follow the application instructions for either freshman or transfer applicants. In addition, international applicants must submit the items outlined below.

Please read the following instructions carefully before beginning your application.


Boston University defines an international student to be a non-U.S. citizen or non-U.S. Permanent Resident Green Card Holder. Exceptions apply if you are currently in the U.S. 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). You must have either an appropriate diploma or leaving certificates.

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.

Additional Required Supporting Credentials

Secondary School Records

Along with your application, you must submit official secondary school academic records of the last four years of study, plus a copy of any terminating or qualifying examination results or certificates.

Check the Required Secondary School Credentials to see the specific requirements for your own country.

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. Applicants must submit all of the following credentials to Boston University. Your teachers and guidance counselors can do this electronically or by mailing them to:

Boston University Admissions
881 Commonwealth Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215

Documentation of Financial Support

Since you and your family or sponsors must assume all responsibility for your 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 both of the following by the application deadline:

a) the completed Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support form

b) documents confirming available funds for the annual costs of study. All documented sources of support must be:

  • addressed to Boston University
  • current (within twelve months of starting date at Boston University)
  • written in English and documented in U.S. Dollars
  • signed and stamped by a bank official

Students who are academically admissible to BU will receive conditional admission until we receive official financial documentation. We encourage students to submit this documentation with their application.

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 U.S. Consulate, 2) U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon entry to the United States, or 3) transfer from another U.S. school.

Financial aid is available only for U.S. citizens, applicants who hold a U.S. Permanent Resident or Immigrant Visa Green Card, or other eligible non-citizens as confirmed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

A limited number of merit scholarships are available for international students. For further information, contact International Admissions at 617-353-4492 or

Passport Requirements

All international students must supply a photocopy of the photo/data page of their current, valid passport. This can be uploaded via the Common Application, emailed to or faxed to 617-353-5334.

English Proficiency

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 the 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):

    The Internet-based TOEFL has four subsections, with a grading scale for each section from 1 to 30 (30 being the best possible score). We look closely at the score for each section rather than the total. The minimum scores for each section are as follows:

    College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, School of Hospitality Administration, and College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College:

    • Writing: 22
    • Speaking: 23
    • Reading: 21
    • Listening: 18

    College of Communication, College of General Studies and School of Management:

    • Writing: 22
    • Speaking: 23
    • Reading: 25
    • Listening: 21

    Paper-based exam:

    • 600 or above for the College of Communication, School of Management and College of General Studies
    • 550 or above for other BU programs

    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 information about the TOEFL, contact:

    TOEFL Services
    Educational Testing Service
    P.O. Box 6151
    Princeton, NJ 08541-6151

    For testing in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories, call 877-863-3546.

    For testing in other countries, call 609-771-7100.

    Send email to

    You can also find information online at the TOEFL website.

    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.

    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 enroll in intensive English courses at our 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.