Application Process

The deadlines to apply for the fall 2018 semester are:

PhD in Emerging Media Studies

  • January 15

All Master’s Programs

  • Priority deadline: February 1 (for consideration of all scholarships)
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until our final deadline: May 1. Please note that some programs (such as Screenwriting, Film and TV Studies, and Television) may fill prior to May 1. If programs close, we will list them below. We encourage you to submit your application well before the May 1 deadline.

Apply via our online application, which contains detailed application instructions. All application materials must be uploaded through the online system.

You may apply to up to two COM graduate programs. Applicants must pay an application fee for each program they apply to.

Several items are part of a student’s application for admission:

  • Completed online application
  • A non-refundable application fee of $95
  • Uploaded transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing requirements/program specific requirements
  • Official standardized test scores (if required for your program)
  • Resume/CV
  • International Student Requirements (see International Application admission information)

Please note that students who are admitted and decide to enroll must have earned a Bachelor’s/undergraduate degree prior to matriculating at COM.

The GRE is required for the following programs:

  • Advertising
  • Emerging Media Studies
  • Film & Television Studies
  • International Relations & Communication
  • Journalism
  • Mass Communication: Communication Studies
  • Mass Communication: Marketing Communication Research*
  • Public Relations
  • Science Journalism

*Applicants to the Marketing Communication Research concentration of Mass Communication may submit either the GRE or the GMAT.

The GRE is not required for the following programs:

  • Cinema and Media Production
  • Media Ventures
  • Screenwriting
  • Television
  • Dual degree JD/MS (LSAT is required)
  • Boston University undergraduates applying to a COM master’s program immediately following completion of their bachelor’s degree

The requirements vary among programs. There are no GPA or standardized test score cutoffs. Applicants are considered holistically based on their entire application, including their experience and credentials. However, higher standardized test scores and a higher GPA may increase one’s chances for merit scholarships.

For international students, the minimum required TOEFL score is 100. The minimum required IELTS score is 7.0.

After you have submitted your application and paid the application fee, you can log into your account to check the status of your application materials. Please use the “Manage My Programs” section of the application to view your checklist of missing and/or received application materials. The checklist is updated as the required application documents are received.

Your application is a self-managed process, which means that it is the applicant’s responsibility to regularly monitor the status of the application and to see if any application items are missing. Please note that incomplete applications will not be reviewed for admission.

It may take several weeks for a program to contact you about your application. Typically, it takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive a decision.

  • GRE institution code: 3087
  • TOEFL institution code: 3087

January 15 PhD Application Deadline
February 1 Master’s application deadline (priority deadline for full scholarship eligibility)
Mid-March Admission & financial aid decisions e-mailed for PhD and February 1 master’s applicants
Mid-April Admission response and tuition deposit due for PhD and February 1 master’s admits
May 1 Final deadline for master’s applications
Early May May 1 applicants are sent to admission committee
Mid-May May 1 applicants are e-mailed decusions
Early June Registration materials emailed to all incoming students

The admission committee looks at your entire application, and admission is holistic based on multiple factors, including your credentials and experience. The personal statement and/or writing samples are typically the best way to distinguish your application from the rest of the application pool. Throughout your application, you should articulate your passion about your area of interest, why you want to complete your graduate degree at Boston University, and what you want to do after completing the program.

The minimum required number of recommendations is three, though you can enter up to five recommenders. The recommendation requires both a rating of attributes and a letter submitted through the online recommendation portal. Applicants cannot send recommendations directly to COM; all recommendations must come directly from the recommender via the online portal.

Recommendations are required to be completed electronically by your recommenders. We suggest that you contact the individuals writing the recommendations to confirm that they will be able to write your recommendation letter and to confirm their preferred email address. An email request from COM will be sent to these individuals directing them to a secured website for completion. After your recommenders complete the recommendation, they will submit it electronically to COM through the secured website.

Because recommendation requests may be caught by spam filters, applicants should contact their recommenders to ask them to allow their email systems to “permit” COM’s recommendation email address: If the COM email request was not received by your recommender, please contact COM Technical Support and the email will be sent again. You may contact technical support at (857) 304-2003 or

As you self-manage your application, you may notice three types of recommendation statuses:

  • “Requested” – the recommender has been entered into our online system.
  • “Accepted” – the recommender has logged onto the online portal, but has not submitted the recommendation.
  • “Completed” – the recommender has completed and submitted the recommendation to COM.

If the recommendation status is still “Requested” or “Accepted,” you may delete that individual and add the new reference information. If the status is “Completed,” changes cannot be made.

Interviews are not required, though faculty members may contact some applicants for an interview or Skype meeting if more information is needed by the admission committee. Informational interviews are conducted at the student’s request but do not have an effect on admission into the program. Please contact COM Graduate Affairs if you would like to schedule an appointment.

No. Only applications completed by either our PhD deadline (January 15), our priority master’s deadline (February 1), or our final master’s deadline (May 1) will be reviewed.

Applicants should regularly monitor their status via the “Manage My Programs” section of the online application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete by the deadline.

Master’s applicants whose applications are complete by the February 1st deadline will likely begin receiving decision notifications in late March. Applications which are submitted after the February 1st deadline (by the final May 1st deadline) will be reviewed on a rolling basis and typically receive notification within 6 to 8 weeks of completing the application. PhD applicants typically receive a decision by mid- to late-February.

We encourage you to visit the “Manage My Programs” section of the online application, as well as browse the rest of the Frequently Asked Questions, to see if the answer to your application question is addressed. If not, please contact COM’s Office of Graduate Affairs at or (617) 353-3481 with questions about:

  • Admission requirements and policies
  • Supplemental application materials
  • Status of your application after it has been submitted
  • Content and duration of a particular COM graduate program

Please review all instructions and FAQs prior to contacting us, as many common questions can be answered by these instructions. If you have any questions regarding technical application issues, please contact BU COM Application Services:

  • Application Services phone: (857) 304-2003; open Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm EST.
  • Application Services e-mail:

No. It is not possible to apply for the spring semester; all of our programs operate on a fall-intake only. Prerequisite classes for many of our degree programs are only offered in the fall, so it is impossible for students to enroll in the spring semester.

Students can transfer into COM via the regular application process. Please note that graduate students cannot normally transfer credit from other institutions. In certain circumstances, however, the Department Chair and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs may approve up to 8 credits of transfer credit after the student has been enrolled for one semester of full-time graduate study.

COM does not offer conditional admission.

No prior academic or professional experience is required or expected of applicants in order to be eligible for admission, except for applicants to the MFA in Cinema and Media Production program.

Yes, international and domestic students alike are considered for merit scholarship.

No, official transcripts are not required for the application process. Applicants can send in screenshots, pictures or PDFs of their unofficial transcripts. We will need students to submit official transcript(s) after they have been admitted and accept our offer of admission.

International Applicants

Yes, you are still eligible to apply to COM. Please note that the Bachelor’s/undergraduate degree must be received prior to fall matriculation, which typically starts at the beginning of September.

International applicants require additional materials beyond the standard application materials, including an English proficiency requirement and a video requirement.

Yes, all transcripts must be in English OR accompanied by a certified English translation. This includes unofficial transcripts that you upload with your application.

In general, a WES evaluation is not a required part of your application. However, if your institution does not provide a grade point average (GPA) on the American 4.0 scale, the admission committee may ask you to submit a WES evaluation or an explanation of the grading scale.

You will be able to upload your transcript in the “Documents” tab of the “Program Materials” section of the application. If your transcript is double sided, please include both sides and be sure to include the transcript legend (the part of the transcript that explains your institution’s grading scale).

Students who received their undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking institution must take the TOEFL or the IELTS. Minimum scores in order for your application to be reviewed are:

  • Minimum Score: 100 (TOEFL iBT)
  • Minimum Score: 7.0 (IELTS)

We must receive an official TOEFL or IELTS score by the application deadline. Therefore, we recommend taking the exam at least 20 days prior to our deadline to assure that we receive the score.

To Submit TOEFL Scores:

    1. Visit to request that scores be sent to BU College of Communication. Our institution code is 3087.
    2. Your scores may take up to 20 business days from the date of your request to post to your application.

To Submit IELTS Scores:

Official IELTS scores are provided to BU College of Communication directly from IELTS in paper format. You must contact IELTS to have your scores released to BU College of Communication. When you sit for your test, add BU College of Communication as one of the institutions you would like your score report released to. Please use the following address for this purpose:

BU College of Communication Test Scores
P.O. Box 9203
Watertown, MA 02471

***If applicants have already requested an electronic IELTS score report then applicants can email a copy of this electronic score report or a screenshot to If an applicant is accepted and matriculates to the College of Communication at Boston University, an official IELTS score report will need to be mailed to the following address before orientation:

Att: Graduate Affairs
640 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

No. Students who have earned a degree from an English-speaking institution will not need to submit an English proficiency score. However, they will still need to complete the International Student Video as part of their application.

Please visit the international student website for details about visas. You can also find helpful information on the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) website.

COM does not offer conditional admission. We will help all accepted international students through the visa process after they have officially enrolled in COM.

Yes; BU has on-campus employment opportunities, and COM offers a limited number of graduate assistantships. Please note that students who are awarded a graduate assistantship must have a valid U.S. Social Security Number in order to be paid for their work. International students may apply for a Social Security Number, which is outlined on the ISSO website.

Students may apply for on-campus employment. Positions can range from an administrative assistant at the library to a lifeguard job at the FitRec Center. International students should review the Employment Guide for International Students before starting a position.

Financial Aid

All full-time students who apply for admission are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. Students are notified about scholarships with their admission decision. Additionally, assistantship and loan information will be given to students once they are admitted.

Our website provides information on the different types of loan options available to graduate students.

For domestic students, the FAFSA form is required to apply for federal aid. On the FAFSA, list “Boston University” and our federal code number, 002130, in the College Release Section.

The College of Communication’s financial aid resources include various scholarship funds and graduate assistantships (teaching, research, and administrative). In addition, graduate students can apply for educational loans to help cover their cost of attendance. Numerous on-campus and off-campus employment opportunities are also available.

Scholarship: All full-time students who apply for admission are automatically considered for COM merit-based scholarships. Students who are admitted are notified at the time of admission if they have been awarded a merit scholarship to be applied toward their cost of tuition.

Graduate Assistantship: Graduate assistantships may be available to qualified full-time graduate students. All graduate assistants, including international students, must have a valid U.S. Social Security number in order to be paid for their work. Assistantships are limited and are not normally awarded until students have completed one semester of full-time study. Assistantship amounts vary from $1,000 to $6,000 per semester; they do not cover the cost of tuition and are separate from any merit-based scholarship a student may receive.

Federal Stafford Loan: Students are eligible to participate in the Federal Direct Stafford Program if they are: 1) U.S. citizens or permanent residents; 2) enrolled in a degree program at least half-time (six credits); 3) making satisfactory academic progress; and 4) demonstrate need as determined by federal regulations. A separate application is required to apply for the Stafford loan. The loan form can be found here and must be emailed to

Federal Graduate PLUS loan: To be eligible, you must complete the FAFSA, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have never defaulted on a government loan, and also pass a minimal credit check. A separate application is required to apply for the grad PLUS loan. The loan form can be found here and must be emailed to

Private Educational Loans: BU has identified some private loans if you are interested in researching additional options. This list of options is certainly not all inclusive and we encourage you to search for other outside private loan options that may be available to you.

We strongly encourage you to report your SSN in the personal information section of your application. This will allow us to expedite the financial aid process by matching your admission application with your FAFSA. If you plan to borrow federal aid (federal loans) to finance your graduate education, Boston University will need your SSN on file.

After filing the FAFSA, eligible students must complete separate loan form applications in order to receive their federal aid. Please email if you have any questions about the process of applying for federal aid.

To protect sensitive taxpayer data, the IRS and FSA announced that the Data Retrieval Tool on and will be unavailable until extra security protections can be added. While they are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, students and families should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season.

COM graduate students are not required to submit the CSS PROFILE to be eligible for federal aid.