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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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Testing Requirements

All applicants (excluding MFA applicants) must submit an official test result of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as required by the department to which you are applying. Check departmental requirements for the GRE and the GRE Subject Test on the Application Requirements and Deadlines page.  The MAT is not an acceptable substitute. For more information about GRE testing dates and score reporting, please visit the ETS website.

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.

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 – 18
    • Speaking section – 23
    • Writing section – 22

In addition to the TOEFL, the IELTS is also accepted as proof of English proficiency. The band score of 7.0 is required for admission to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Yes, we do accept the IELTS and the minimum score required of international applicants is 7.0. Please visit the IELTS website for more information regarding testing dates and score reports.

Please have official IELTS score reports send to the following address:
BU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Test Scores
P.O. Box 9203
Watertown, MA 02471

When you are ordering your score reports from ETS, please use institution code 3087 for Boston University.

You do not need to specify a department code when requesting test scores be sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

If you did not request that your test scores be sent to GRS at institution code 3087 when you took the test, you can always order additional score reports.  Visit the ETS website for more information on ordering GRE or TOEFL reports.  Please remember that photocopies of test score reports are not considered official.

The GRE program will not send official score reports for tests taken more than five years previously.  The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not accept GRE scores that are older than five years. Some departments prefer GRE scores that are less than two years old (please contact your department for more information) The TOEFL program will not send official score reports for tests taken more than two years previously.

All test scores should be submitted at the time of application. Unfortunately, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will not be able to retrieve test scores sent from a previous application cycle.

GRE Requirements

Many factors influence the admission decision and the Graduate School does not set minimum test score requirements for the GRE. Since individual departments may have a minimum score, you should consult the home page of the department to which you are applying for more information (click here to link to department website information).

English Language Proficiency Requirements

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.

Minimum TOEFL requirements

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 – 18
    • Speaking section – 23
    • Writing section – 22
Minimum IELTS requirements

In addition to the TOEFL, the IELTS is also accepted as proof of English proficiency. The 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 GRS Admissions Office before the application deadline.

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

Applicants are strongly discouraged from applying if they have not met the minimum requirements at the time of the application deadline.

No.  Your most recent TOEFL test scores will be used to determine if you have met the English proficiency requirements.   You may not combine sections from different test dates.  You must meet the minimum score set forth for every section of the test.