Master’s Admissions

Our master’s admissions process is highly selective. However, in keeping with our international character, we recognize that students from different backgrounds demonstrate high potential in a variety of ways. A quantitative score above the eightieth percentile on the Graduate Record Exam is a good indicator of ability at the MA level; this indicator is neither necessary nor sufficient for admission, however, as the candidate’s full dossier is taken into account.

Students applying for entry into the master’s programs should have—or be expecting—a bachelor’s degree in economics, economics and mathematics, or a closely related discipline (from an institution recognized by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences). They are normally expected to have passed some advanced undergraduate preparation in economics that includes one year of intermediate macro- and microeconomic analysis and courses in statistics, calculus, and linear algebra.

Any well-qualified individual with a baccalaureate degree from a recognized college or university (or with equivalent education) may apply for admission to graduate economics programs. Our master’s programs are open for both fall and spring admissions.

Applying to the MA/MBA program? Please visit the program page for specific requirements.

GRE Requirement

Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test at least one month before the application deadline. The GRE Subject Tests are not required. The GRE is a major component in the admission decision. We do not accept the GMAT for the MA, MAEP, or MAGDE programs.

GRE scores are valid for two years. Thus, for Fall 2018 applicants, GRE scores taken in 2017 and 2016 are valid. The ETS Institution Code for the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is 3087. You do not need to specify a Department Code when requesting test scores be sent to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Language Requirement

Proof of English proficiency is required of all international applicants by submitting official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) by the application deadline. 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 at Boston University: 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.

Applicants are urged to take the test at the earliest possible date, and at least one month before the application deadline; international applicants should sit for the TOEFL at least two months before the application date. Retaking the exam after further language training is acceptable, and later results will be substituted for earlier ones in the admissions dossier. TOEFL scores over two years old will not be accepted.

If an applicant has taken the internet-based test, the scores on each individual section should be, at a minimum:

Reading 21
Listening 18
Speaking 23
Writing 22
Total score 84

For the TOEFL paper-based test, applicants must achieve, at a minimum, a score of 550.

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences requires that applicants meet the minimum requirements of each section on the internet-based test. The ETS Institution Code for the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is 3087. In addition to the TOEFL, the IELTS is also accepted as proof of English proficiency. The IELTS minimum band score required is 7.0. US Citizens and Permanent Residents do not have to submit the TOEFL or IELTS. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements of English proficiency are not eligible for admission. There are no exceptions to this policy.

 

Official IELTS score reports should be sent to the following address:

BU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Test Scores

P.O. Box 9203

Watertown, MA 02471

For more information on TOEFL and IELTS requirements, please visit the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website.

Apply

For the MA/MBA, please see specific requirements on the program page.

For the MA, MAEP, and MAGDE, please note that we will not review or evaluate incomplete applications, and we will not review or evaluate applications for candidates who did not pay the application fee. Applications must include all components. No component will be waived for any applicant. Such applications will be withdrawn and no admission decision will be made. We do not do pre-evaluations by email. Additionally, we do not accept late applications. There are no exceptions to these policies.

Materials to Submit

Please do not send any materials directly to the Economics Department.

Apply online at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website. Please use the online application; we no longer use paper applications.

2–3 months before application deadline:

  • Contact recommenders; inform them that recommendations should be uploaded weeks before deadline
  • Contact ETS and request an official copy of your GRE results (and TOEFL for international students)
  • Contact all previous colleges/universities and request official transcripts

2–3 weeks before application deadline:

    • Complete application and prepare to submit before deadline
    • Upload unofficial transcripts directly to the online application. Applicants who have attended and/or received degrees from institutions outside the U.S. must upload English translations of transcripts or records of all previous post-secondary education and of all degrees conferred. WES evaluation not required for application review.
    • Contact any recommender who has not uploaded a recommendation and request he/she do so before the deadline.
    • Upload Personal statement/statement of purpose

For more information on application requirements, please visit the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website.

 

  • Upload unofficial transcripts directly to the online application. Applicants who have attended and/or received degrees from institutions outside the U.S. must upload English translations of transcripts or records of all previous post-secondary education and of all degrees conferred. WES evaluations are not required for applications to be reviewed.

 

If you have been recommended for admission and have accepted the offer, you must submit the following to GRS Admissions:

  • Official transcripts.
  • Applicants who have attended and/or received degrees from institutions outside the US 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.
  • If you will not receive your degree until the summer, 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.
  • If you received your degree from a Chinese institution and are not able to request degree certificates in a sealed envelope, you will need to send the degree certificates through the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) at http://www.chinadegrees.cn/en/.

Please do not send any materials directly to the Economics Department. Documents should be sent to:

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Admissions Office
Boston University
705 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 112
Boston, MA 02215 USA

For more information on transcripts, please visit the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website.

We require a minimum of two original letters of recommendation. We generally prefer academic letters; however, professional letters of recommendation are acceptable in the case of an applicant who has been away from student status for more than two years. Academic recommendation letters should be written by university instructors who have taught the applicant in one or more classes, or have another basis for knowing well the applicant’s academic aptitude.

Standardized test scores (GRE and TOEFL) should be sent to BU directly from ETS.

The ETS Institutional Code for the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is 3087. You do not need to add a department code.

Applicants to every degree program offered by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences 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 Department of Economics. Additionally, applicants may submit a resume or CV with the personal statement. Writing samples are not required.

When you apply:

Proof of English proficiency is required of all international applicants by submitting official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), as administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) by the application deadline. 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 at Boston University: 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.

All applicants are urged to take the test at the earliest possible date in order to verify their level of English competence, and at least one month before the application deadline. Retaking the exam after further language training is acceptable, and later results will be substituted for earlier ones in the admissions dossier. TOEFL scores over two years old will not be accepted.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements of English proficiency are not eligible for admission. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Please review above for more information about the minimum recommended scores and submission of test scores.

Only if you are recommended for admission:

If you are an international student recommended for admission, you will be notified by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Admissions office to submit the following documents for student visa processing. You cannot be officially admitted until GRS receives and processes these documents.

You must provide a bank statement or other appropriate evidence of financial support adequate to cover travel to and from Boston, and for tuition and living costs for at least one full year at Boston University. The estimate of expenses can be found on the International Students & Scholars website. Please note the minimum amount listed may be increased by up to 5% each academic year. Immigration regulations prohibit most international students from accepting any employment except University appointments during the first year of study in the United States.

Submit this documentation promptly to ensure sufficient time to process the student visa. The GRS Admissions office will contact admitted students with instructions where to upload the documents above, as visa processing sometimes requires two months or more. It is not the policy of Boston University to send visa documents via express mail. Be sure to submit all required documentation for your visa as soon as reasonably possible so there is sufficient time for your visa documents to reach you through the regular mail. Once GRS processes these documents and notifies you that you have been officially admitted, they will let you know how you can request your visa documents be sent by express mail, but you must pay the cost of postage.

Please do not send any materials directly to the Economics Department. 

Forms should be sent via postal mail to:

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Admissions Office
Boston University
705 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 112
Boston, MA 02215 USA

All application inquiries should be directed to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at grs@bu.edu or 617-353-2696. A complete GRS Application Checklist can be found here.

Deadlines

All applications and all required credentials must be received by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences by March 1, 2018, to be considered for our fall master’s programs. Applicants who wish to be included in the First-Round Review for Fall must submit their application (with all required credentials) by December 1, 2017.  Priority for admission and merit scholarship will be given in the First-Round Review. However, it is strongly recommended that international applications (will all required credentials) be submitted by December 1, 2017.

International applicants to the MA, MAEP and MAGDE programs may be eligible for consideration for the Lu Lingzi Scholarship, which commemorates a talented BU master’s student whose life was tragically cut short in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. If you wish to be considered, your application must be submitted and all credentials received by December 1, 2017.

All applications and all required credentials must be received by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences by October 1, 2017 for spring consideration to our master’s programs. Online applications can be submitted beginning September 1. It is strongly recommended that international applications (with all required credentials) be submitted by mid-September.

The Master of Arts in Global Development Economics program (MAGDE) does not accept applications for the Spring Semester.

Questions? Visit our Master’s Admissions FAQs or visit the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Admissions website.