Admissions Process and Timeline
2–3 months before application deadline
- Contact recommenders and request that they write your recommendation to your intended program. When the online application is available in early September, you can send an electronic request to your recommenders by email through the online application.
- If you are applying to more than one program within the College of Engineering, recommenders will need to submit recommendations for each of your applications.
- GRE and TOEFL/IELTS exams should be taken well in advance of the application deadline. It can take up to 6 weeks for ETS to report the scores electronically. We encourage students to contact ETS 2–3 months prior to the application.
- Contact all previous colleges and/or universities and request official transcripts for your educational history at each school you have attended.
- If your official transcript is not issued in English, you will be required to provide an official translation of your transcript along with the original.
- You should begin to write your personal statement and update your resume for your application.
2–3 weeks before the application deadline
- Complete all sections of the online application.
- Upload all required credentials to your online application before submitting the application.
- Review your “Recommenders” tab on your online application to confirm that your recommenders have submitted their recommendations. You can send reminder emails to any recommender who has not submitted a recommendation using the “Recommenders” tab.
Once the application is submitted
- All applications that are submitted are reviewed by the Graduate Programs Office to ensure that they are complete. If additional documentation is required or if there was a problem with one of the uploaded documents, applicants will be notified via the email address they provided.
- Once the application is complete, the Graduate Programs Office will forward the entire application to the respective admissions committee to review. Applicants will be notified when their application is complete and forwarded via email. Please do not assume your application is complete until you receive an email notifying you it is complete from the Graduate Programs Office.
- Admissions Committees will review each individual application. We ask that all applicants have patience while this review is occurring. Unfortunately there is no way to check the status of your application online.
- When the decision is made, the Graduate Programs Office will notify applicants of the decision via email.
For information on your desired degree program, what to expect as a student in a particular program, and other current departmental information, you can visit our graduate programs page. Each program offers a unique and tailored program for their respective fields—we encourage all students to familiarize themselves with the department to which they are applying.
If you are unsure of what area may be a best fit for your goals, we encourage you to review the faculty research and areas of interest in your perspective fields. This will give applicants a better understanding of the research and areas of focus within our departments.
Can someone review my transcripts and/or test scores to determine if I qualify for admission to a graduate engineering program?
We cannot evaluate students’ transcripts and/or test scores to determine if students are qualified for admission. We strongly suggest that students look at both our admissions site, as well as the departmental site for specific details about the program(s) they’re interested in.
Our programs are not restricted to students who have an undergraduate degree in Engineering fields, and if you feel that you have an exemplary background in your desired field, we encourage you to apply to our program. While most of our students enter with a specific engineering background, we also often see students coming from math and science fields that align to the particular area of interest. If your application is submitted and complete by the application deadline, you will receive a thorough review for admission to our program. Our faculty look at the application as a whole and your previous background will not automatically limit your options.
What is the cost of tuition for your graduate programs?
The cost of tuition and fees is listed on our registrar’s website. Full time students are charged the full tuition amount per semester; any student taking 12 or more credits will be charged as a full-time student. Future tuition and fees are released by the University in the Spring before that academic year. If your tuition and fees are not listed yet, we advise students to allow for a small increase (approximately 4%) for the full tuition fees cost in the future year.
What scholarship opportunities are available?
There is a limited amount of merit¬-based tuition scholarship available each semester. Therefore we are unfortunately unable to offer scholarship to all of our qualified applicants as we would like to. If you do not initially receive a tuition scholarship award, keep in mind that opportunities for scholarship may surface at any time throughout the course of your studies. Networking is crucial for this reason among many others.
Federal loans are available for US citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate financial need via the FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov) and pursue at least half-time study. The BU code for submitting the FAFSA is 002130. Both domestic and international students may also qualify to receive credit-based private loans.
We also keep a list of fellowships offered from Federal Government agencies on our Fellowships and Financial Aid page.
Note: International students applying to LEAP Phase I are not eligible to receive Tuition Scholarship from the College. However they are eligible to receive aid once they are enrolled in a graduate degree program.
What is the mailing address for supplemental application materials?
Test scores should be submitted electronically to institution code 3087.
Recommendations should be submitted electronically through the recommendation portal.
International students will be notified when and how to submit any additional documents that will assist in issuing a visa and should not mail any documents to the College of Engineering prior to being notified.
IELTS exams should be mailed directly from the testing center to the BU College of Engineering Application Support Office:
BU College of Engineering
Graduate Programs Office
44 Cummington Mall, Room 114
Boston, MA 02215
What is the social landscape of the College of Engineering like?
Our student body here at the College is a traditionally welcoming and social community. Our Student Association of Graduate Engineers (SAGE) hosts a variety of events throughout the year and largely facilitates this sense of community shared among our graduate engineering students. In the past, SAGE has hosted a wide array of activities including hiking, rafting, and ski trips, soccer and basketball tournaments, and trips to Foxwoods and Six Flags. They also host a pub night every other week as well as a SAGE JAM performance night each semester where all engineering graduate students, faculty, and staff are invited to perform a song, play an instrument, or dance. There is free pizza in addition to prizes for performers and audience members. For more information, please visit the SAGE website.
Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE) is another supportive, social organization for our students. In the past, they have held luncheons, happy hours, book club meetings, workout groups, guest speakers, workshops, and seminars. For more information, please visit the GWISE website.
What are my housing options as a graduate student?
We invite you to explore housing options for your stay at BU at Boston University Rental Property Management. Please visit the BURPM website.
Address: 19 Deerfield Street (first floor)
Boston, MA 02215
Hours: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm
Additionally, Boston University has an outstanding off-campus housing board. If you choose to attend BU, you will have access to the housing board when you set up your BU account and email. You can visit the off-campus housing website: bu.edu/offcampus/
Off campus housing is also available for BU Graduate Students. More information about finding housing off campus, including local listings with current Graduate Student residents, can be found on our Off-Campus Services site.
SAGE has also created a “Graduate Survival Wiki Guide” that includes helpful tips about housing.
Application Instructions & Credentials
What are the application deadlines?
All Spring applications are due by October 1.
All PhD applications are due by December 15.
Master’s and LEAP applications that wish to be reviewed for scholarship opportunity should apply by January 15. All other Master’s and LEAP applications must be submitted by March 15.
*There is no Spring application cycle for Master’s programs in Biomedical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Electrical Engineering. Students should apply to the Fall cycle.
A complete list of our deadlines and documents needed to apply can be seen on our How to Apply page
How do I apply?
Students can apply online with our online application and pay the $95 application fee with a credit card. When the application opens, you can find the link to the application on our Admissions Home.
What are the required credentials for an application to be reviewed?
To apply for admission to a graduate degree program through the College of Engineering, all students will need to submit the following official credentials: a completed application and pay the application fee, official transcripts from each college or university they have attended, letters of recommendation, GRE general test results, statement of purpose, and resume.
International students will also need to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets our minimum requirement. English Proficiency Requirements can be seen on the International Student page.
What if I cannot upload one of my documents?
The file size limit for individual uploaded documents is 5 MB. All files should be in .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, or .pdf format. We strongly recommend previewing your documents prior to submitting your application. If you continue to have trouble with your uploads, please contact application support. They can be reached by email, email@example.com, or by using the question mark icon at the top right of the application.
Can I submit one application and apply to more than one department/division within the College of Engineering?
No. Students who are interested in applying to more than one department/division must submit an application for each department/division and pay the application fee.
Transcripts and test scores will be shared for all applications and you will not need to submit more than one copy of these documents.
Students will have to upload the personal statements, CV, any additional information you wish to share, and request recommendations for each individual application to which you apply.
What if I make a mistake or would like to change one of my uploaded documents?
With each document upload you will have an option to preview the document. Students should preview all of their documents to ensure the upload is legible and correct. Once the application is submitted, there will be no way to delete or change these documents.
Can the application fee be waived?
The College of Engineering offers application fee waivers to the following applicants:
- Current BU Engineering Students
- BU Employees
- Peace Corp Volunteers
- FEM and Project 1,000 applicants
- McNair Scholars
Applicants that would like to request a fee waiver and discuss what documentation is required to show membership to the fee waiver granting institution. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions on requesting your fee waiver. Please include your full name as it appears on the application, your CAS ID number (if you have started your application), and attach any letter of membership certificate to organizations outside of Boston University (if available).
Coupon Codes on the application submission page refer to our Fee Waivers. Students that are eligible for a fee waiver will receive a coupon code that will waive the application fee. If you have any additional questions regarding our fee waiver policies or if you meet our criteria, please do not hesitate to email us (email@example.com)
What is a coupon code and how can I get one for my application?
The Coupon Code that is available on the submission and payment page of the application refers to our Fee Waivers. Students that are eligible for fee waivers will get a code to enter in this space. Please contact us if you have any questions about our fee waiver eligibility and process.
Can I check the status of my application online?
You can check the status of some materials of your application after you submit.
Recommendations can be monitored by logging into the application portal and returning to the recommendations page. You will see if the recommendation is completed or requested. You can send a reminder email to your recommender from this screen or edit any information if the recommender has not yet submitted the recommendation.
You will receive a system-generated email when the recommendation is completed and submitted. If, for any reason, the recommender is unable to submit the recommendation and declines the recommendation, you will receive a critical alert email and can return to the application to request a new recommendation.
Once the application is e-submitted, the Graduate Programs Office will review each application to confirm the documents submitted and complete the application. When we review your e-submitted application, you will receive either a notification that it is complete and has been forwarded for review or a notification that it is incomplete with information on how to submit the missing documents.
Can I mail in credentials even if I haven’t submitted my online application?
Almost all of the application materials should be uploaded to the application or reported electronically. If you have taken the IELTS, you can mail the official score to the following address:
BU College of Engineering
Graduate Programs Office
44 Cummington Mall, Room 114
Boston, MA 02215
Please do not mail anything to the departments or the College of Engineering addresses directly.
When can I expect a decision on my application?
This varies according to what semester students apply for and when the supporting credentials are received. Applications are not reviewed by the Admission Committees until ALL necessary credentials are received. Therefore, we highly encourage all students to upload the required credentials prior to submitting your application. This includes submitting GRE scores (and TOEFL scores if required).
More information on the timeline of the application process can be seen on our Admissions Timeline above.
Do recommendations have to be from Professors?
Students should request recommendations from faculty and/or employers who are familiar with the applicant’s desired course of study, academic prowess, and career goals. Applicants should not request personal recommendations.
If you are unable to provide recommendations from professors or have been out of school for an extended period of time, you should provide professional recommendations from a supervisor who can speak to the aforementioned attributes.
How do I apply for financial aid?
All applications that are received and completed prior to the Scholarship deadline will be thoroughly reviewed for admission and scholarship opportunity. There is no specific application to apply for financial aid.
Please remember that financial aid deadlines are typically prior to the deadline for consideration without financial aid. Please review our application deadlines on our How to Apply page.
Can I still submit my required credentials after the application deadline?
We highly recommend that students submit all required documents prior to the application deadline. However, we understand that some of this may be out of your control— specifically the test scores and recommendations. Because of this, departments will sometimes allow a grace period after the deadline to allow for required documents to arrive and be matched to your application.
Unfortunately, if documents arrive after the application deadline, we cannot guarantee that faculty will review your application. This is dependent on when the faculty start the admissions review. If your application remains incomplete at the time the admissions reviews are complete, your application will be withdrawn from consideration.
We can match test scores and recommendations after your application is submitted and you should not delay submitting your application because you are waiting for these to arrive. The Graduate Programs office will continue to check applications that have been received and marked incomplete. When your application is reviewed in the future, we will update you on any new documentation that has been received, or notify you if your application has been completed.
I previously applied to the College of Engineering; do you still have my credentials and test scores?
We keep application records on file for one academic year. If you have previously applied and would like to re-use materials, the application system should prompt you when you first log in. If you wish to re-use materials that do not attach to your application, please contact the graduate programs office at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should include your full name, when you previously applied, and your BU ID number in this email, along with a list of documents you wish to re-use.
If you do wish to upload new materials, you can do so as part of your new application. Transcripts, personal statements, and CVs can be uploaded to the application portal, GRE and TOEFL scores should be reported to institution code 3087, and recommendations can be submitted through the online application system.
Test Scores and Requirements
Submitting GRE and TOEFL score reports
GRE and TOEFL scores should be sent electronically to BU from ETS. Please be sure to indicate the College of Engineering as a recipient of score reports—our institutional code with ETS for both the GRE and TOEFL is 3087. No department code is required. The electronic scores will be considered official.
What if my name on my test is different than the name on my application?
It is imperative that your application to Boston University and your test score report have your name written the same. A general guideline is to apply using your name exactly as it is written on your passport.
The electronic match of scores to applications only occurs if students’ names are written in the exact manner on their online application as on the GRE and/or TOEFL report. If your name is written differently on your score report from your application, you must notify our office.
To ensure your test scores are matched quickly to your application, you can report the registration number for your GRE and TOEFL on your application. This will ensure that the electronic delivery of your score from ETS is matched to your application. It is incredibly important that you log this number correctly into you application. If you take another test in the future, please return to your application and input your new test information and registration number onto the application as well.
How long are the GRE, TOEFL and IELTS tests valid?
GRE tests are valid for 5 years. For example, a student applying for Fall 2017 semester must have taken the test after Jaunary 1, 2012.
TOEFL and IELTS tests are valid for 2 years. For example, a student applying for Fall 2017 must have taken test after January 1, 2015.
A general rule: if ETS is still able to report the test scores electronically, we will match them to your application. Our faculty; however, reserve the right to request more up to date scores as part of the review process.
May I be waived of the GRE if I already have a graduate degree?
No, we cannot waive any applicants of the GRE requirement.
Do you require a GRE subject test?
Only the GRE General test is required by the College of Engineering; you are not required to submit any subject test scores.
What are the Minimum GRE test scores?
The College of Engineering does not set a minimum GRE requirement. Each application is evaluated in its entirety and GRE scores, while an important part of the admissions review, is not the only determining factor for admission.
I have taken the GMAT but not the GRE. Can the GMAT be substituted for the GRE?
No. The GRE is an admission requirement for all of our graduate programs, including LEAP. The GMAT cannot be substituted for the GRE.
What are the TOEFL score requirements?
We are unable to mix and match sections from multiple tests in order to meet the minimum requirement of English Proficiency.
Please note, the most recently taken test score is what will be considered the official score report when considering applications for admission. If you have one score report from January 2014 and a second score report from March 2014, the March score report will be considered official. These scores are based on when the exam was taken, not when it was reported to Boston University.
More information about English Proficiency requirements can be found on our International Students page.
I am applying for a Teaching Fellowship or Research Assistant, what is the minimum requirement for the TOEFL?
International students who are applying for financial aid must meet the minimum TOEFL requirements as listed above. Scores of over 100 in the TOEFL are recommended for Teaching or Research Fellowships.
Will my application be rejected if I don’t meet the TOEFL?
Applications that are completed with a TOEFL score below our minimum requirements will be eligible for review by our admissions committees. If your TOEFL score is below our minimum requirements, we strong recommend that you re-take the exam prior to an admissions decision. A TOEFL score below the minimum requirements will not automatically deny you admission to the program; if the review committee deems you to be academically qualified for the program, you may be required to submit a new exam prior to an official offer of acceptance.
Students can take the TOEFL as many times as necessary to meet our minimum requirements. If you have submitted a score that is below our minimum requirements that has completed your application, we strongly recommend that you take the exam again so that you can pass the minimum requirements and be directly admitted into the program. We will take the most recent score in its entirety; we are unable to mix and match scores from different exams to meet the minimum requirements.
More information about English Proficiency requirements can be found on our International Students page.
What are the IELTS score requirements?
IELTS scores must meet our minimum of 7.0 overall band score. Students seeking financial aid should have a minimum of 7.5 overall band score.
IELTS exams should be mailed from the testing center directly to our application processing center:
BU College of Engineering
Graduate Programs Office
44 Cummington Mall, Room 114
Boston, MA 02215
Do you offer conditional admission to any of your programs?
No, we do not offer conditional admission to any of our graduate programs. Your application cannot be reviewed until we receive all of the required application materials (for LEAP applicants, this includes an official grade of ‘B’ or higher in a college level Calculus I course).
What additional credentials or documents will international students need to submit?
International students who are offered admission will be required to submit documentation to obtain a visa through Boston University. The Graduate Programs Office will contact all admitted international students to inform them of what documents are needed and how they can be submitted.
These international student and financial documents are not required at the time of the application, nor are they used in the admissions committee review. For more information on the timeline for these documents, what documents are needed, and more information on applying as an international student, please visit our International Students page.
Do I have to submit financial documentation right away?
No, international students should wait until they are contacted by the Graduate Programs office before mailing financial documentation. If you are recommended for admission, when it is time to provide international student documentation, the Graduate Programs Office will release the Gateway for international students to upload international student documents.
If you would like to prepare your documents ahead of time, you can visit our international student page for the documents that will be required. Please do not submit anything prior to being contacted.
What is a common mistake students make on their application?
Students’ names are entered incorrectly on the application. It is critical that students enter their name on the application in the same manner that their name is listed on their passport. Failure to do so will result in a delay in matching credentials to students’ applications.
Last name refers to the applicant’s family name and the first name refers to their given name. If students have more than one last name, the name on the application and any supporting documents should match exactly what is on the student’s passport.
Does my transcript have to be in English?
All documents received for your application should be written in English. This includes transcripts and recommendations. If your original transcript is not in English, and your college or university does not provide a translation of your transcript, you can have your official transcript professionally translated. For the admissions review process, please only provide the official translation of your transcript. You should not upload any official transcript that is in a language other than English.
All students that are offered admission and choose to come to BU are required to submit a final, official (stamped and sealed) transcript directly from your previous institution to the Graduate Programs Office. This final, official document should be received from your previous institution, and should provide a final transcript, degree certificate, or other official document from your previous educational institution indicating all previous degrees conferred.
What forms of Financial Documentation is acceptable?
We offer a variety of ways to provide financial documentation for your studies at Boston University. For more information on Financial Documentation please visit our International Student and Scholars Office page.
How should I report my GPA on the online application?
Schools outside the US and Canada will not be required to report the official GPA. Our faculty reviewers will use your official transcript that has been uploaded to view your coursework and grades. You will not be asked to report a GPA for any education completed outside the United States or Canada.
How big is the LEAP class every year?
Since 2008, our applicant pool has grown fivefold and enrollment in the program has quadrupled. Last year, we had about fifty incoming LEAP students in the fall semester; however class size varies from semester to semester based on the number of qualified applicants to the program. We are excited to see more and more high caliber applicants each year as LEAP continues to grow.
I have a low GPA. Will I automatically be rejected from LEAP?
Faculty reviewers consider applications in their entirety, meaning that they evaluate applicants based on their letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, resume, and GRE scores in addition to their overall GPA/coursework. There is no formula for admission to LEAP. The statement of purpose is a particularly important application component, as it gives applicants the opportunity to discuss their experience, skills, qualifications, and interests in engineering – mainly why they think they will be successful in the program. Reviewers are looking for applicants with solid quantitative skills who have demonstrated success in their background, as these attributes are generally a strong indicator that applicants will excel in the program.
What kinds of backgrounds do your LEAP students come from?
Our LEAP students come from very diverse academic and professional backgrounds. They range from recent graduates to working professionals seeking a career change. We have had social workers, doctors, Peace Corps volunteers, teachers, and lawyers join our program. LEAP students traditionally come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, including but not limited to Natural Sciences, Humanities, Math/Computer Science, Social Sciences, Business/Communications, and Fine Arts majors. There is no typical or ideal candidate for LEAP. In fact, the diverse nature of our student body is one of the things that makes it such a rich, rewarding, unique program.
Will the Calculus course I am currently taking satisfy the LEAP Calculus I admission requirement?
Please refer to the Calculus I course description on our website and compare it to the syllabus of the course you are planning to take or have already taken. The topics covered in this syllabus should closely match those covered in whichever course you select. If you are unsure of this, it is advisable to check in with the course instructor. Please submit the course syllabus for whichever Calculus you elect to take along with your other application materials.
The course that you select must be a Calculus that is meant for an engineering student, meaning that it is geared towards math and science. Again, you may check in with the course instructor to verify this if you wish. Be aware that any Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, or Business Calculus courses will not suffice. The Graduate Programs Office must receive an official grade of a ‘B’ or higher from you in order to complete your application.
I want to begin taking some classes at another university prior to starting the LEAP program. Will they be counted for Phase I credit?
If you are planning to take or have taken classes at an outside college or university prior to being admitted to LEAP, please be aware that there is no guarantee that they will transfer for your LEAP course requirements, though it is certainly possible, and often done. If you wish to take classes, please refer to our anticipated LEAP Curricula for each department. The Graduate Programs Office is unable to assess or approve any courses for credit, and unfortunately due to time constraints, faculty members are unable to approve outside courses for students prior to their admission to the program. If you decide to take outside courses, it is up to you to use your discretion in selecting courses that are comparable to Phase I courses, and again be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be counted for Phase I.
How long does it take to complete the LEAP program?
The duration of the LEAP program varies based on a number of factors: it largely depends on your background (what classes you will need to take in Phase I), how many courses you take each semester (whether you are a full-time or part-time student), and the graduate degree you choose to pursue. Because the length of the program is dependent on several factors, it is difficult to predict or estimate how long it will take students to complete LEAP on a case by case basis.
There are approximately 12 anticipated undergraduate courses for LEAP students in each department. Assuming that you had not taken any courses that provide you with a background in these fields, it would take you three semesters to complete LEAP as a full-time student (four courses per semester is considered a full-time course load).
Upon completion of LEAP, students apply to the graduate degree program they wish to pursue. The majority of our Masters programs are 32 credits, or roughly 8 courses. Though it is possible to complete these programs in two semesters, most students complete it in three. Note that students accepted for the Fall semester may begin taking classes in the summer prior and are also able to enroll in summer courses going forward.
Additionally, LEAP students completing their final undergrad course requirements, can begin working on the Master’s program requirements. This will help cut down any time when transitioning into the Masters program.
Is it possible to complete LEAP through Distance Learning?
Phase I undergraduate courses are offered on campus only. However, after completing Phase I, if a student wishes to pursue a Master of Engineering, our Distance Learning Program offers a Master’s Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. For more information, please visit our website.
Can I meet with an academic advisor or counselor to discuss courses before I apply to the LEAP program?
Unfortunately we do not have this service available at the graduate level. Due to time constraints, faculty advisors (who are current teaching faculty) are unable to review courses for students prior to their admission to the program, and the Graduate Programs Office is unable to verify whether specific courses taken at outside colleges or universities will transfer for Phase I credit. All decisions regarding transfer credits are made by faculty advisors after students are admitted to LEAP. If you are trying to gauge how many courses you will likely be required to take in Phase I based on your background, we recommend you take a look at our Phase I Curricula that is posted on our website.
Is there a LEAP department I can be in contact with? How can I learn more about it?
Any specific questions regarding the application process can be directed to Denise Joseph. Interested students can also participate in our online information sessions offered every few weeks throughout the year.
There is also a BU LEAP Alumni LinkedIn group as well as a LEAP Facebook group. Many of our students are on both and are usually happy to assist prospective students with any questions.
As a LEAP student, will I be receiving a different degree than traditional Master's students of the College?
No, graduates of the LEAP program receive the same Master’s degree as our traditional Master’s graduates of the College.