International Students

Boston University hosts a vibrant community of international students, scholars, and faculty. At BU, you’ll have the opportunity to join one of the largest populations of international students in the city of Boston. International students contribute exciting new ideas and cultures to our campus and are an integral part of Boston University’s community. The College of Engineering welcomes applications from all over the world.

We’re opening new doors to communicating with international students via social media. First in our expanding global network is the Chinese­-language channel, Weibo. We encourage Chinese­-speaking applicants to join Weibo.

English Proficiency Requirements

In addition to the required credentials for applications, international students must demonstrate an understanding of English, including the ability to read and write with ease. International students are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) that meet our minimum requirements. If the TOEFL is not available, we will accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

In order to receive financial assistance as research assistants or graduate teaching fellows, international students are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS results with additional minimum requirements.

English Proficiency Minimum Scores Requirement


Overall: 90

Students interested in Teaching or Research fellowships are encouraged to provide an overall score of 100 on the TOEFL.

In order to be successful in the rigorous curriculum at BU, international students are encouraged to have the following minimum scores in each section:

Reading: 21
Listening: 18
Speaking: 23
Writing: 22


Overall: 7.0

Students interested in Teaching or Research fellowships are encouraged to provide an overall score of 7.5 on the IELTS.

** We will not accept scores compiled from multiple tests to prove English proficiency.

***Only the most recent TOEFL and IELTS exams are considered the student’s official score. This means that a test taken in March will be considered official over a test taken in January of the same year, regardless of when the score was reported to our institution.

Applications will be considered complete as long as applicants have provided TOEFL or IELTS scores that are still valid; we do not mark applications incomplete if they have provided valid scores that are below our required minimums. However, we are unable to admit students directly to our Graduate Programs if you do not meet the minimum requirements. If your TOEFL score does not meet our minimum requirements we strongly recommend retaking the exam during the admissions review process to obtain an admissible TOEFL score.

You can take the exam as many times as you would like. If you are offered admission and your TOEFL score is below our required minimum, you will have until your deadline to respond to our offer of admission to provide updated scores that meet the requirements.

English Proficiency Requirement Waiver

The English Proficiency Requirement will be waived only if the student meets one of the following requirements:

  1. Student has studied in the United States at an accredited college or university for at least TWO (2) years.
  2. Student has earned a degree in the United States at an accredited college or university.
  3. Student is expecting to have earned a degree in the United States from an accredited college or university prior to matriculating at Boston University.

Additional Information on TOEFL and IELTS Exams

It is important that TOEFL exams are scheduled well in advance of the application deadline. These tests can take up to 6 weeks to be reported from ETS to our institution; students should plan accordingly. TOEFL scores should be reported directly from ETS to our institution code: 3087. Unfortunately we do not accept paper score reports from ETS.

Obtaining Testing Information

Information on these tests may be obtained at:

  • United States embassies and consulates
  • US Information Service offices and Information Agency offices
  • Visiting the TOEFL website
  • If you cannot find TOEFL information locally, request them (well in advance) from the TOEFL/TSE Services: P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA; 609-771-7975

We prefer international students to submit TOEFL exams. In instances where the TOEFL is unavailable, students may submit IELTS test results. IELTS official score reports should be sent directly from the testing center to the College of Engineering’s Application Processing Center:

BU College of Engineering
Graduate Programs Office
44 Cummington Mall, Room 114
Boston, MA 02215

More information about the IELTS can be seen through the IELTS website.

Additional International Student Documentation

All international students who are recommended for admission to Boston University are required to submit additional documents prior to receiving the formal offer of admission. All students who are recommended for admission will be notified via email by the Graduate Programs Office exactly what documents are required and how they should submit these documents.

The following is a list of additional documents that may be requested:

  • Copy of Passport Information Page
  • International Applicant Coversheet or International Student Data Form
  • Valid overseas mailing address
  • Copies of previous or current visas and I-94, if applicable

Do not mail documents to the Graduate Programs Office or the Application Processing Center. These documents will not be stored and if you are offered admission you will be required to provide them in a specific manner.

Providing Financial Documentation

The following information is provided as an overview of financial documents that may be required for international students who are recommended for admission. For information regarding the financial aid available for the College of Engineering at the graduate level, please visit our Fellowships and Financial Aid website.

Who is required to send financial documentation?

International students not receiving financial aid will be notified by the Graduate Programs Office of the financial documentation necessary to be offered formal admission and issued an I-20. Boston University is required by the US government regulations to provide documentation of adequate funding for educational expenses for the first year of studies.

Students should not send financial documents until they are requested to do so by the Graduate Programs Office.

Offered a Full Financial Aid Package by Boston University

Students who are offered a full financial aid package will not be required to submit any additional financial documentation (unless traveling with dependents). This includes all of our PhD students.

Not Offered Merit-Based Financial Aid

Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of merit-based financial aid offered on any given year and we cannot provide all of our incoming students with financial aid.

  • Students who are not offered financial aid are required to provide proof of financial support to cover the cost of their first year at Boston University. This amount will be listed in the letter from the Graduate Programs Office. Students can review the Estimate of Expenses chart below.
  • There are various manners in which students can provide financial documentation to prove support for their first year of study. Please reference our Financial Declaration section below for more details.

Cost of Dependents

Dependents are those family members who will accompany you to the United States. Dependents can be spouses and/or children under the age of 21.

International students who have dependents coming to the United States with them will be required to submit additional financial documentation to prove financial support for their dependents. Additionally, dependents traveling to the US should be listed on the International Applicant Coversheet or the International Student Data Form

Financial Declaration

All students recommended for admission will be contacted by the Graduate Programs office directly and should not submit financial documents before they are instructed to do so.

Students funding their own education will be required to provide official bank statements to cover their educational and living expenses for their first year of study. All documents submitted to provide proof of financial support must be:

  • Original Documents, photocopies are not accepted
  • Written in English
  • Showing in US Dollars
  • No more than one (1) year old

Financial Documents must be issued in student’s name. If someone else is funding your education, please review the list below and locate the type of funding you will be using to review the required documents.

If you will be funded by a sponsor—your parents or relative

  1. An original, signed Financial Sponsorship Certification which indicates that your sponsor is willing and able to support you financially for your academic fees and living expenses for the first year of your studies at Boston University.
  2. An official bank statement or credit reference from a bank stating the availability of the minimum estimated expenses. The name on this document needs to match the name on the signed Financial Sponsorship Certification. This document should be written in English and the sum should be indicated in US Dollars.

If you are funded by your government, an organization, a company, etc.

The sponsoring organization must submit an official Letter of Sponsorship which states:

  1. That your funding is valid for Boston University specifically.
  2. Exactly what expenses will be covered. For example: academic fees, living expenses (how much), health insurance, financial support for family members, travel costs, etc. Letter will need to be written in English and amounts should be listed in US Dollars.
  3. Letter should list the length of time your sponsoring organization is funding you for.

If you will be funded by a Bank Loan

  1. Submit an official letter of certification from the lending institution. Letter must be an original document, photocopies will not be accepted.
  2. Letter will need to be written in English. Amount of funding should be listed in US Dollars.

All documents submitted in support of an application will become the property of Boston University and neither originals nor copies will be returned.