Tuition and Financial Aid

Graduate music students in the College of Fine Arts pay either a flat rate tuition or pay on a  per-credit basis, depending on the program of enrollment.

In the School of Music, the Opera Institute is the only program that charges a flat full-time tuition.  This rate is $25,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Students enrolled in the Master of Music or Doctor of Musical Arts programs are considered full-time when enrolled for 8 credits per semester. Students enrolled in the Performance Diploma or Artist Diploma programs are considered full-time when enrolled for 7 credits per semester.  The per-credit charge for 2014–2015 is $1,428 per credit. School of Music students taking private lessons also pay half the normal per credit charge ($714 per credit) AND  an applied music fee of $1,750 per semester for 14 one-hour lessons.

This results in a yearly tuition of approximately $22,064 for Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts students, and a yearly tuition of approximately $19,208 for Performance Diploma and Artist Diploma students. This tuition is substantially lower than the standard Boston University full-time tuition and is an acknowledgment of the University’s support of the College of Fine Arts.

Below is a sample of yearly tuition for a student taking 8 credits per semester—3 credits of applied music lessons and 5 academic/other credits:

10 credits at $1,428 per credit $14,280
6 credits of applied music at $714 per credit $4,284
Applied music fees ($1,750 per semester) $3,500
MM/DMA Yearly Tuition Total $22,064

Below is a sample of yearly tuition for a student taking 7 credits per semester – 3 credits of applied music lessons and 4 academic/other credits:

8 credits at $1,428 per credit $11,424
6 credits of applied music at $714 per credit $4,284
Applied music fees ($1,750 per semester) $3,500
PDipl/ADipl Yearly Tuition Total $19,208

In addition, all students who attend classes on campus are charged the Health and Wellness Fee ($167 per semester) and the Student Services Fee ($151 per semester).  A Community Service/Program Fee of $20 is assessed one time per year, in the fall semester.  Explanation of these fees can be found here.

Full-time students enrolled in the College of Fine Arts are required to participate in a qualifying medical insurance plan.  New students are automatically enrolled in the Boston University Student BASIC Plan and their student accounts are charged for the coverage ($1,941 per year).  If the student has a comparable level of health insurance coverage, a Medical Insurance Waiver must be completed by the Medical Insurance Waiver deadline to waive participation for the 2014-2015 Plan Year.  International students are required to enroll in a Boston University Medical Insurance Plan.  Please see the Medical Insurance Waiver Guidelines and carefully read the Comparable Coverage guidelines here.

Music Education courses taught after 4 p.m. are charged at half the normal tuition rate ($714 per credit) if the student is taking fewer than 12 credits that semester.

The College of Fine Arts Graduate Financial Aid Office is located at 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 230. This office is a resource for graduate students and prospective students in the College and can assist graduate students with scholarships, assistantships, work study, stipends and loan processing.  Students are welcome to drop by the office, call 617-353-3350, or email us.


The College of Fine Arts offers merit scholarships based on the strength of a candidate’s artistic promise and program needs; financial need is not a factor. As there is no separate application process for scholarship consideration, all (both domestic and international) admitted graduate students are automatically considered for scholarship aid.

Scholarships given to master’s-level, certificate and diploma students are a two-year commitment, while scholarships awarded to doctoral candidates are a three-year commitment. Scholarships, as well as the Federal Direct Stafford Loans, are split between the fall and spring semesters. Scholarships are based upon full-time registration; if you are considering dropping below 6 credits per semester, please contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office to find out how that may affect your merit scholarship.


Assistantships are positions within the College of Fine Arts having instructional, research, or administrative responsibilities. There is no separate application required to apply for an assistantship. Both domestic and international students are automatically reviewed for these positions. Assistantships are awarded based on artistic merit and the needs of the school.


Funding for the graduate Work-Study program is provided by the federal government. The purpose of these grants is to assist U.S. citizens or permanent residents who demonstrate financial need. Students are given an amount of money that they may earn though hourly paid positions in the University. College of Fine Arts students generally work within the College. As funds are very limited, not all interested students receive an award. To apply for Work-Study, students must complete both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a Work-Study application.  Summer work-study applications are now available herePlease return completed applications to the Graduate Financial Aid Officer, CFA Room 230.  The deadline for summer work-study applications is Wednesday, May 14th.


Students enrolled in the Opera Institute may receive stipends, in addition to other scholarship aid. Opera Institute students receive their stipends split between fall semester and spring semester in the form of a direct deposit or check on the last business day of September and January.


The Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program provides low interest loans to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents pursuing graduate education.  The maximum loan eligibility is $20,500 per academic year.

To be eligible for federal financial aid (loans and Work-Study), a student must:

  • Be accepted to a graduate program at Boston University
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours per semester
  • Not be in default on previous Federal Stafford, Perkins, or other educational loans
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident

Applying for a Stafford Loan is a two-step process.

Step One

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

BU School Code: 002130

The FAFSA must be submitted in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. Both prospective and currently enrolled students are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA form online, as this will decrease the processing time for your loan. The Federal Student Aid Program generates a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the FAFSA data. Boston University uses the information from the SAR to determine student eligibility for Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Federal Work-Study.  The FAFSA alone is not a loan application.

FAFSA website

Step Two

Complete the Stafford Loan Request Form upon acceptance.

The Stafford Loan Request Form  is used in conjunction with the FAFSA. The student uses this form to indicate how much he/she would like to borrow under the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. Without this form, the Financial Aid Officer cannot begin the process of determining a student’s eligibility for the loan amounts requested. Complete the Stafford Loan Request Form here.

You cannot receive a loan if the Stafford Loan Request form is not completed.

Additional requirements for first-time Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrowers at Boston University:

  • If a student is a first-time borrower, s/he must fulfill an entrance counseling session, which is required by the federal government. This requirement should be completed online.
  • First-time borrowers also need to complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) which should be completed online. Potential borrowers will need their federal personal identification number (PIN). If a borrower does not have a PIN or cannot recall it, a duplicate PIN can be requested online. Boston University will be notified within 48 hours when an online promissory note has been completed.

Entrance Counseling
Promissory Note
Duplicate PIN

How Much to Borrow?

Deciding how much to borrow is a personal decision and one that should not be taken lightly. While it is possible to borrow sufficient funds to cover tuition, fees, rent, and other expenses, you must consider carefully whether you are able to meet the financial responsibilities associated with borrowing. As an estimate, you will incur student loan payments of approximately $12 per month for every $1,000 that you borrow. Thus, borrowing $10,000 will result in a monthly loan payment of $120 for 10 years. If you were to borrow $10,000 each year for two years, your monthly payments would increase to $240.

The opportunities afforded you through your graduate education are significant and financing a portion of your educational program can be a reasonable choice. Make sure that you borrow realistically with a reasonable expectation that your later income will be sufficient to meet your borrowing expense.