The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences has a wide-ranging international student population that ensures a richly diverse and stimulating environment. We welcome applications from all over the world.

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A Note from President Brown

International Students & Scholars Office

We advise international students to apply 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.

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 only if you have received, or expect to receive, an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university in any of the following countries prior to enrollment in GRS: the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland.  This waiver does not include undergraduate or graduate degrees earned from an institution in a country listed above while enrolled in a “dual degree” program with an institution in another country.  Studying in the medium of English in a country other than the ones previously listed or studying as an exchange student in an English-speaking country without completing a degree program 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.

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

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