Practical Information for Visiting Scholars

We encourage scholars from abroad to engage with our faculty and students, and with the Boston community. Because we receive a large number of requests from potential visiting scholars, we are unable to accept all opportunities. While the decision process is decentralized to a departmental level (in some cases school or college level), there are some common elements of consideration:

  • The prospective visitor’s educational and experiential background, scholarly achievements, area of academic interest, and English language skills
  • The specific research proposal
  • Institutional affiliations (possibilities of longer-term collaboration)
  • Most importantly, the availability and interest of a BU faculty member to supervise or collaborate in the proposed research project or otherwise mentor the prospective visitor

Applying to be a Visiting Scholar at BU

We recommend that you contact prospective BU faculty hosts or departments directly with your request. Here are some helpful components of a formal request:

  • A résumé or curriculum vitae
  • A description of the proposed research, including a statement explaining why BU is an appropriate setting for the work
  • The name of the BU faculty member or members whom the prospective visitor proposes to serve as his or her mentor
  • A letter of recommendation from an academic colleague
  • The proposed length and dates of the visit
  • If the prospective visitor is interested in observing a particular course, a statement indicating the course and the reasons for the interest

If the prospective visitor’s native language is not English, a description of relevant experience and training in English and the degree of their proficiency with the English language. Proficiency expectations may vary by discipline and research project, and is ultimately decided by the host department or faculty member.

Prospective visitors may research our academic offerings and faculty interests, and reach out directly to faculty with shared interests and expertise to discuss their proposal and to explore the possibility of being hosted at BU. If there is mutual interest, then the BU faculty host/mentor will reach out to our International Students & Scholars office (ISSO) for next steps.

Applying for a Fulbright or other financial support

We are not involved in the review of Visiting Scholar applications. For information about programs, how to apply and deadlines, please contact the granting agency directly. For Fulbright, contact your country’s Fulbright commission or the public affairs section of the US embassy.

Most visitors are supported by funding sources in their home countries or through sabbatical leave salaries from their home institutions. In general, no financial aid, stipends, or housing are available for visiting scholars.

Visa and immigration questions

Boston University’s International Students & Scholars office (ISSO) assists visitors with immigration processing to support the University and our diverse scholar population in achieving its academic goals. For more information, contact:

Sharon Ralston
Assistant Director for Scholar Services

Visiting scholars will be provided with information about visas and other important details. They will also be asked to supply financial documentation to support their visa applications. Such documents must be originals, in English, which certify financial ability in terms of US dollars.

All scholars sponsored by Boston University in J-1 classification are required by US Department of State regulation to report to the ISSO and attend a New Scholar Orientation upon arrival in the US. This orientation is provided weekly at both the Charles River Campus and at the Medical Campus. Further details including locations and times are available from the ISSO.


The nearest airport to Boston University is Logan International Airport. It is a 15-minute drive to the University from the airport. Rental cars, taxis, and public transportation are readily available at the airport. The cost of a taxi from Logan Airport to Boston University is approximately $35–40. The airport also has access to the Silver Line and the Blue Line of the MBTA subway.

Boston University is located on the Green Line of the MBTA subway system, better known as the “T.” There are six possible T stops along the campus, beginning at Kenmore Square and continuing to St. Paul Street.


Prospective visitors should realize that, unless their visits coincide with the academic year, securing reasonably affordable short-term housing in the Boston area may be difficult.

Rental Property Management has limited, fully furnished housing on campus for visiting scholars.

The Off-Campus Housing Listing Service maintains an online list of off-campus apartments and rooms in the local area. Also, there are many local real estate agents in the Boston University area who cater to the temporary scholar and faculty market. ESL Townhouse has been used by many short-term visiting scholars.

Boston University Off-Campus Services
ESL Townhouse
81 Park Drive #1
Boston, MA 02215
Contact: Christopher Malenfant, President