The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences takes pride in our large international student population, and we welcome applications to our master’s degree programs from all over the world. Our students from around the globe ensure a richly diverse and stimulating environment.

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A Note from President Brown

International Students & Scholars Office

If you are not a citizen of the United States or do not hold official United States Permanent Residency status, you will need to provide the following additional information with your application:

  • Certified English translations of all transcripts and academic records.  We encourage international applicants to visit our Frequently Asked Questions section on submitting transcripts.
  • Official score report sent directly from a testing organization which meets the minimum requirements for English Proficiency (see below).

Proof of English proficiency is required of all applicants by submitting official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

This requirement is waived if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a citizen of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.
  • You have received, or expect to receive, an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where the official language of instruction is English. If your transcript does not clearly state that the language of instruction is English, then please upload supporting documentation on institutional letterhead along with your transcript.

This waiver does not apply to students who have earned or are earning undergraduate or graduate degrees from an institution in a country listed above while enrolled in a “dual degree” program with an institution in another country. Studying as an exchange student in an English-speaking country is not sufficient to waive the English proficiency requirement.

NOTE:  The TOEFL ITP exam is not accepted as proof of English language proficiency.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements of English proficiency are not eligible for admission.

We are aware that many of our international applicants for fall 2020 have been impacted by the cancellation of  TOEFL® tests in areas around the globe.

To support you with an accessible way to complete the English Proficiency requirement for your application to GRS, we are allowing our international applicants to complete the online Duolingo test.

When you log in to complete the exam, please select Boston University Graduate & Professional Programs as a score recipient. Once you have completed the Duolingo exam, please email GRS Admissions at grs@bu.edu with Subject Line “Duolingo,” and include your first and last name,
exam date, and the name of the master’s program to which you are applying.

minimum score of 105 is required to satisfy the GRS English proficiency requirement.

If you have successfully completed the TOEFL or the IELTS exam and submitted your scores for your fall 2020 application, please disregard this message.

Minimum TOEFL Requirements

It is important that you schedule your TOEFL test well in advance of the application deadline. ETS should forward the official score report to the Admissions Office (institution code 3087) so that it arrives before the application deadline date.

The TOEFL Bulletin of Information and registration form can be obtained from:

  • TOEFL/TSE Services website
  • American embassies and consulates
  • Offices of the United States Information Service (USIS)
  • U.S. education commissions and foundations abroad
  • Binational centers
  • Certain private organizations

If you are unable to obtain the documents locally, request them well in advance from TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, U.S.A.; 609-771-7975.

Unless otherwise indicated by the department/program to which you are applying, the minimum score requirement is:

  • paper-based test: 550
  • internet-based test
    • Reading section – 21
    • Listening section – 21
    • Speaking section – 21
    • Writing section – 21

Minimum IELTS Requirements

In addition to the TOEFL, the IELTS is also accepted as proof of English proficiency. The overall band score of 7.0 is required for admission to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.  Applicants submitting IELTS scores will need to contact their testing center and request official test scores be mailed to the following address before the application deadline:

BU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Test Scores
P.O. Box 9203
Watertown, MA 02471

We advise international students to apply early for fall admission to allow sufficient time to process your application.  If you would like to apply for a program with spring admission, we encourage you to contact the Graduate School Admissions Office or your prospective department for useful information on submitting all required documentation within the shorter timeline.

Post Academic Review

If you are offered admission following the academic review of your application and then you accept that offer of admission, you will be notified via email to submit the following documents:

  • A completed, signed International Student Data Form or International Applicant Coversheet.
  • Copy of the personal information page of your current passport.
  • Copies of all current visas, if applicable.
  • Financial support documentation (Sponsorship Certification and Bank Statement).

You must provide a bank statement or other appropriate evidence of financial support adequate to cover travel to and from Boston and for tuition and living costs for at least one full year at Boston University.  The Estimate of Expenses can be found on the International Students and Scholars Office website.  Please note the minimum amount listed may be increased by up to 5% each academic year.  Immigration regulations prohibit most international students from accepting any employment except University appointments during the first year of study in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions