FAQs on the Admissions Process

Q. Where do I submit forms and supplementary materials?

A. Do not sent materials to the History Department. Send all supplementary application materials to:

Admissions Office
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Boston University
705 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 112
Boston, MA 02215.

Q. Are there any common problems the admissions committee experiences in reviewing applications?

A. One of the most commonly overlooked sections of the application is the request for information on your knowledge of foreign languages. The department staff records whatever information you provide, but it does not have the time to search your transcript or résumé for language proficiency. The department requires that you submit a separate sheet describing your foreign language competence (beginning, intermediate, advanced level) and including a list of language courses taken.  Please upload this page to the Graduate School site (use the “Upload Documents” tab on the online application).

Q. What are the minimum GRE scores required by the department?

A. The department does not have a minimum required GRE score, since the admissions committee looks at many other factors, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts.

Q. Is a writing sample required for the application?

A. Yes, it is. Please upload it with the online application. No writing sample may be longer than 40 pages.

Q. Do I have to take the TOEFL exam?

A. Aside from the following exception, all applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL requirement is waived only if an applicant has received, or expects to receive, an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand. The minimum TOEFL score requirement is:

  • paper-based test: 550
  • internet-based test
    • Reading section – 21
    • Listening section – 18
    • Speaking section – 23
    • Writing section – 22

For more information please visit http://www.bu.edu/cas/prospective-students/graduate-admissions/international-students/.

Q. When will I learn of the department’s decision on my application?

A. Beginning in January, the admissions committee meets every two or three weeks to consider all complete applications. The committee will inform applicants who are admitted of its recommendation after the entire review process is completed.  Those who are not accepted will generally receive official notification from the Graduate School shortly after their file has been considered.  Two factors may delay action on your application: You may have sent your application by the deadline, but any missing credentials will delay its consideration. In addition, a large number of applications reach the Graduate School near the deadline date; time is required to open or download and then process this material.

Q. How many applicants does the department accept each year?

A. The number of incoming graduate students varies from year to year.  For 2015/2016, the department received 138 applications and accepted fourteen students into the graduate program.

Q. Of entering students, how many received financial aid?

A. All students admitted to the Ph.D. program receive a financial aid package.

Q. How long do I have to let you know whether I am accepting an offer of admission?

A. A deadline will be stated in the letter offering admission.

Q. I was admitted and accepted your offer. When will I hear more?

A. You will receive a welcome e-mail from the Graduate School confirming the fact that your acceptance has been processed. In early summer the department’s Director of Graduate Studies will be in touch with more details regarding orientation and registration.