International Student FAQ

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In a recent live online chat session, prospective international master’s students posed questions to our International Student Ambassadors, who shared their personal perspectives and experiences as BU College of Engineering graduate students.

Pre-arrival Information

When should I apply for my visa?
Boston University typically begins issuing I-20 documents in April for Fall enrollment. We recommend that students make a visa appointment once they receive their visa document. It takes BU approximately 3 weeks for visa documents to be prepared and mailed to students via Federal Express. The sooner we receive students’ documents, the sooner our office is able to request a visa for students. For more visa application tips please visit bu.edu/international/visas/

If I want to preview class textbooks before school starts, where can I find the syllabus and recommended textbooks for classes?
If you don’t find published syllabi on your course Blackboard, you may contact the professor for the information prior to the start of classes.

What are my housing options as a graduate student?
On campus housing is limited and must be secured as early as possible. The majority of our graduate students find housing in one of the many communities surrounding campus. BU Rental Property Management  provides on-campus housing. See their website  at bu.edu/rpm/.  Our Off-Campus Services Office provides a listing of available apartments, typical rental rates, as well as tips and resources for students new to the area. See their website at bu.edu/offcampus/.
The Student Association of Graduate Engineers (SAGE) has created a ‘Graduate Survival WikiGuide’ that includes helpful tips about housing at busage.wikispaces.com/

Tuition & Fees

How much does it cost for 2 years’ of study at BU ENG?

Full-time international students will need approximately $78,143 for tuition and living expenses, including fees, healthcare, housing and food, transportation, books, and other personal expenses. Master’s students can complete their program in as little as one academic year (two semesters), depending on their program of study. A detailed breakdown of expenses can be found on the Graduate Admissions website at bu.edu/eng/prospective-graduate/apply/graduate-tuition-fees/

Why do I have to submit financial documents?
Federal guidelines require that we obtain proof of a student’s ability to cover their tuition and living expenses before a visa document may be issued.

Scholarship & Financial Aid

What financial aid opportunities are available?
Various forms of financial aid are available to support your studies at the College of Engineering. You can find the fellowships and scholarships ENG offers at bu.edu/eng/prospective-graduate/apply/graduate-fellowships-and-financial-aid/

How do I get financial aid/scholarship?
All master’s students who indicate on their application that they wished to be considered for aid will be considered for a merit-based scholarship of up to half tuition.

What suggestions would you give to international students who want to ease the financial burden?
We understand that graduate school requires a significant investment. Students can find part-time work to help ease the burden. International students are eligible for on campus jobs. Additionally, international students in the master’s program may find an approved internship through our “engineering with practice’ degree option bu.edu/academics/eng/programs/engineering-practice/ Our Office of International Students and Scholars (ISSO) offers tips and resources for finding employment and internships at bu.edu/isso/employment-internships/on-campus-student-employment/on-campus-jobs/

Study at BU College of Engineering

What should students expect in the classroom?
The College of Engineering is finding ways to increase student engagement by adopting new teaching formats as alternatives to the traditional lecture. Students are expected to get evolved in teamwork and class discussions. Learn more about Strategies for Success in the Engineering Classroom.

I’ve heard students have to study very hard to succeed in the classroom. I am wondering whether it will be difficult for international students to adjust themselves into this highly competitive environment. Will students face a lot of study pressure?
Graduate engineering study at BU is rigorous; however, there are many resources available to students to help them manage this effectively. Creating a study group of your peers, taking advantage of tutoring services and seeking help from professors ensure students are making good progress and get the help and support they need.

How many credits are required for graduation?
Students must complete 32 credits for the master’s degree, with the exception of the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering which requires 36 credits.

How long will it take to complete my master’s program? 
Students can finish their program in as little as two academic semesters (1 year) with full-time study, however, some students, including those completing a thesis, may take 3-4 semesters (1.5 – 2 years) to complete.

How do I choose my classes?
Students have a variety of course options available to them and make their selections based on their area of interest and career goals. Students will be contacted by their department regarding course selection and will be assigned an academic advisor who can provide advice and guidance.

I was asked to choose my track interest when I was applying for ENG. Am I allowed to change my interest after I get accepted?
Information gathered about interest areas on the application does not require the student to pursue that area. Students can certainly change their areas of specialization within their program/department at any time.

Can I transfer credits gained in other programs to BU ENG?
Students can transfer up to 8 credits of coursework, subject to review and approval from their department.

Will I be assigned to an advisor once I enroll?
Yes, students will be assigned an academic advisor from their department. Students will find it easier to make connections with faculty once they are here.

Career Support

Am I allowed to have a part-time job or internship in the first year of enrollment?
International students must be enrolled for two full-time semesters before they are eligible to take an internship; however, they are eligible for on-campus jobs at any time. More information on requirements can be found at bu.edu/isso/employment-internships/on-campus-student-employment/

Where do I look for on-campus jobs?
Students can search for on-campus position at our Student Employment Office bu.edu/seo/. Jobs are posted and updated continually.

Is it hard to find an internship in Boston?
International students who wish to use their CPT and OPT will find many resources available to assist with their job search, including two engineering career fairs which attract employers looking to hire for both internships and full-time positions. Students interested in internships need to start looking early. BU has a central Career Services Office and the College of Engineering has a dedicated Career Development Office, both of which can assist students looking for employment. Many of our international students have found internships in local companies.

Can you list some companies who are the main employers of ENG alums?
There are a wide array of both large and small companies who employ our graduates, including Google, Amazon, Accenture, Medtronic, Raytheon, General Electric, Philips, The Mathworks, Microsoft….and many, many more.

What’s the average salary rate for ENG alums when they first start working after graduation?
This can vary depending on the company, but students who graduated last spring reported starting salaries of $75,000 – $130,000.

What kind of career development support does BU ENG offer?
BU has a central Career Services Office as well as a dedicated Career Development Office in the College of Engineering, Both centers host several career fairs on campus as well as maintain a database of jobs/internships, bring in employers for information sessions and on-campus interviews, and host a wealth of professional and career search workshops to assist students with their preparation for the job search.

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