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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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Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, and Statement of Purpose

Do I need to have transcripts sent for every college-level class that I have taken?

Applicants to every degree program offered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are required to submit official transcripts of each college or university attended. A college senior should submit an official transcript of work completed in the first semester of the senior year as soon as it is available.

If you attended a study abroad program or enrolled in college courses while in high school, we do not need separate transcripts sent if the course names, credits, and grades are listed on your main institution’s transcript.

Applicants who have received degrees from institutions outside the U.S. must provide certified copies and certified English translations of transcripts or records of all previous post-secondary education. Photocopies or faxes of these documents are not acceptable.

I attended and/or graduated from an institution outside of the U.S. Should I submit a transcript from that school?

Applicants who have attended and/or received degrees from institutions outside the U.S. must provide certified copies and certified English translations of transcripts or records of all previous post-secondary education and of all degrees conferred.  If your university will not send another copy of your transcript, you have the option to use an official notary to translate your original transcript and send the original, notarized documents to GRS Admissions.

Applicants with degrees from Chinese institutions should request transcripts and degree certificates be sent in sealed envelopes from their university. If your university will not send the transcript and degree certificates in sealed envelopes,  we recommend you contact the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC).

Please note that applicants who have earned three-year bachelor’s degrees from an Indian institution must have both a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with a post-graduate diploma in a relevant field to be eligible to apply to any master’s or post-bachelor’s PhD programs at the Graduate School. Applicants with questions on eligibility are encouraged to email scanned transcripts to for assessment.  When applying, applicants must submit individual mark sheets from their institution. Consolidated mark sheets are not able to be reviewed without individual mark sheets. Please note that if your school has not received accreditation through NAAC or you received your degree more than five years before your expected matriculation date, you may be required to submit a WES evaluation.

Do you accept electronic copies of transcripts as official?

Electronic transcripts will not be accepted as official if they are emailed from the student, or uploaded by the student through the online application.  We do accept secured electronic delivery of transcripts through the following companies: Avow, eSCRIP-SAFE, Interfolio, National Student Clearinghouse, Parchment (also called Docufide), and Digitary.   You should contact your university if you are unsure of their delivery method.  If your institution does not use one of these services, you must request your transcript be mailed to our office in order to ensure it will be marked as official and reviewed with your application.

How can I ensure my transcripts and letters of recommendation are considered official?

All transcripts (including mark sheets and degree certificates) and letters of recommendation sent through the mail must be received in signed, sealed envelopes directly from the institution/recommender. You may have your prior institutions mail your official transcripts directly to GRS Admissions. Please keep in mind that there are many offices at Boston University; be sure you provide your university with the GRS Admissions Office address.

If you are sending your transcripts or recommendations through the mail yourself, you must ensure they remain sealed in their original envelope from the institution/recommender and are placed in a larger envelope before being sent to GRS Admissions.

I will not receive my degree until the summer. Must I submit another transcript showing the degree was conferred?

Applicants are required to submit official final transcripts or a certified document showing all degrees earned. If you are offered admission, you must submit transcripts or certified documents showing all degrees conferred as soon as they become available, even if the degree will not be conferred until the semester of matriculation begins.

How many copies of each transcript should I send?

The Graduate School requires only one official transcript from each school attended. Photocopies of transcripts will not be accepted.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Two letters of recommendation are required for the Graduate School; however, most departments/programs require three letters. Please refer to our Application Requirements and Deadlines page for more information. Please remember that letters of recommendation should be in English and written by faculty members in your proposed field of graduate study who are familiar with American higher education.

Can letters of recommendation be faxed or e-mailed to the Admissions Office or to the department?

No, we will not accept emailed or faxed recommendation as official credentials for your application. Recommenders must either submit a paper recommendation or an online recommendation. The paper recommendation form can be downloaded here. Please read the instructions on the online application for sending the online recommendation link to your recommenders.

If your recommender has not received emails with username and password information in order to access our online recommendation system, we suggest your recommender add to their email contacts.  They should also check their spam folders and filters to ensure the emails from can be received.

Will you accept letters of recommendation mailed from my university’s career center, letter service or Interfolio?

Yes, we do accept letters of recommendation from university or college career services centers sent through the mail directly to the GRS Admissions Office. Your letters should be up-to-date and pertain to the program or area of study to which you are applying. Please note that recommendations sent by university or college career services centers should not be submitted through the online recommendation system.

We also accept letters of recommendation electronically through Interfolio. To submit your recommendation through Interfolio, select Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as the delivery destination.  Ensure you add all documents to the delivery packet before sending.  If you have multiple recommendations, you should send all the recommendations in one packet and not individual packets.

We only accept recommendations through Interfolio that are sent electronically.  On the BU online application, be sure to select your recommenders as paper recommendations.  When you contact Interfolio, you should select the recommendations and send them via the electronic delivery option. Please do not try to submit your recommendations through Interfolio using the email or paper delivery option.

Where do I send letters of recommendation and transcripts?

Any transcripts, letters of recommendation and other supplemental application materials not being submitted electronically should be mailed in one packet, if possible, for the fastest possible processing, to the Admissions Office at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 705 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 112, Boston, MA 02215. Supporting credentials that are being sent separately from the application package should be sent to the same address and they will be matched to your application. Uploaded copies of credentials on the online application will not be considered official.

My recommender is out of the country and cannot access the recommendation form from the paper application. Can the recommendation be submitted without the form?

Your recommender can submit a letter of recommendation without the form; however, your full name and the department to which you are applying should be present on each page of the recommendation letter. This will ensure that the recommendation is matched with your application. However we encourage our students to ask their recommenders to fill out the recomendation form for ease and clarity of application processing.

What should I write in my statement of purpose?

Applicants to every degree program offered by the Graduate School are required to submit a Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose of not fewer than 200 words. This statement must describe your qualifications and the objectives of your intended educational program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. If you need any further details about the contents of the Personal Statement, please contact the department to which you are applying.

How do I submit my statement of purpose?

When applying online, you can upload your statement. Your uploaded document should be no more than 5 pages and should be in a Western European or other English-language setting. Whichever way the statement is submitted, it should contain on every page the following identifying information: your name, date of birth, and the department to which you are applying.