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Impact x2 Qais

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How can we work together to promote better cultural understanding worldwide?

Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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With your help, students like Qais gain the skills they need to tell their story and give us a broader understanding of the world.

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Graduate Admissions

Each year we admit over 500 new students who contribute to the scholarly work being conducted by our academic departments, interdisciplinary programs, research centers, and institutes. We welcome your interest in joining the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Qualifications for Admission

Any well-qualified person with a bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university or with equivalent international education may apply. Also:

  • Your undergraduate program should include introductory studies in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences; completion of specified courses without credit may be required to make up any deficiency.
  • You may apply to a master’s or MA/PhD program if you have a bachelor’s degree (if you hold a 3-year degree, you may be required to complete a one-year’s master’s degree program or post-graduate diploma in a relevant subject).
  • You may apply to any program if you have both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
  • You may not enroll simultaneously in more than one graduate program unless the programs are part of a BU-approved combined degree.
  • If you have twice been rejected for admission to the same degree program, you must submit a letter of approval for application from the current director of graduate studies for the department to which you seek admission.

Applications for upcoming fall and spring admission periods become available in early September every year.  Application deadlines are subject to change so applicants are encouraged to check the applicant deadline information of your department.  An application is considered complete when all required credentials, as listed on the Application Deadlines and Requirements page, have been received by the Admissions Office.

All PhD applications, submitted and complete by the program deadline, are considered for admission with five years of fellowship funding.  Master’s applications must be submitted and complete by the program deadline in order to be considered for admission and financial assistance as departmental funds allow.  Please be aware that some programs have earlier deadlines for master’s applications to be considered for all available forms of merit-based financial aid, both University-wide and departmental.  Applicants are encouraged to check the Application Deadlines and Requirements page for information or contact the department directly.

The Admissions Process Timeline

2–3 months before application deadline

  • Contact recommenders and inform them that recommendations should be submitted weeks before the deadline.
  • Contact ETS and request an official copy of your GRE results (and TOEFL for international students) to be sent to institution code 3087.
  • Contact all previous colleges/universities and request that official transcripts are sent to:

    Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

    Admissions Office
    Boston University
    705 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 112
    Boston, MA 02215

2–3 weeks before application deadline

  • Complete the application and prepare to submit it before the deadline.
  • Contact any recommender who has not submitted a recommendation and request he/she do so before the deadline. Applicants can check the status of their online recommendations by logging into their application and checking the recommender tab.

Submit application to GRS Admissions

  • Submitted applications and credentials will be processed and forwarded to the relevant department within ten business days of receipt by GRS Admissions. An email acknowledgment will be sent to the applicant when their application is forwarded to the department.
  • Departmental Admissions Committees review completed applications according to the department’s schedule. Departments are not required to review applications that are not complete by the deadline.
  • Once reviewed, the department returns admission and financial aid recommendations to the GRS Admissions Office.
  • Within ten business days of receiving departmental recommendations, the GRS Admissions Office conducts a final application review. Once the final review is complete, the GRS Admissions Office will email an unofficial copy of the decision letter to the applicant’s listed email address and mail an official decision letter via regular post.