The Difference Is Our DNA

What compelled the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to award Boston University a grant to fight newborn mortality in Zambia? Why did Martin Luther King, Jr. adopt BU as a place where he could hone his message of justice and equality? Why is Boston University ranked #37 in national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2018? And what is the catalyst that prompts 33,617 students to call BU their home? It’s in our DNA: an inherent desire in each of our students, faculty, and staff to vigorously and dauntlessly pursue knowledge—and embrace the unlimited possibilities that come with it.

A Community Unlike Any Other

As you can see below, it takes people, ideas, and a little luck (Boston, you’re our town) to make BU what it is today: one of the most dynamic universities in the world.

Celebrated thinkers: On any given day, students will find themselves mesmerized by poets laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Fulbright Scholars, among others.

Extraordinary teaching: When a classroom starts to percolate with new ideas, it’s because our faculty of scholars and accomplished practitioners know how to ignite students’ imaginations. That’s why we reward our best teachers with BU’s most prestigious honor: The Metcalf Cup and Prize.

Groundbreaking research: With faculty dedicated to a creative, interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, BU has become a leading global research institution—propelled forward by over $400.7 million in grants and contract awards in FY2017. In fall 2012, BU was invited to join the Association of American Universities, an elite organization of 61 other leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

World-class students: Elite students from all 50 states and 130+ countries pursue higher education on BU campuses in Boston and at programs in LA, DC, and more than 30 other cities on six continents.

A city within a city: Today, 75 percent of our undergrads live on campus, which could explain our 450+ student activity groups alone.

The greatest college town in the world: Boston. ’Nuff said.

BU Basics (FY2017)

How many freshmen matriculated last fall? What is the student to faculty ratio? Do you know how many continents BU spans? Which professor is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner? (Hint: He also doubles as a dean around campus.)

  • 3,552 freshmen (Fall 2016)*; 3,498 freshmen (Fall 2017)
  • 10 students for each faculty member
  • Programs on 6 continents
  • COM Dean has 2 Pulitzers

There are so many numbers, statistics, facts, and figures about BU, you could scroll for miles. Here’s a quick overview for FY2017…

* Student counts are based on Fall 2016 mid-semester information. Also see 2016/2017 Boston University Fact Sheet, published September 2017.

Student body* 33,617
Undergraduate 16,598
Graduate & professional 14,622
Non-Degree 2,397
Instructional & Research Faculty 3,870
Total Employees 9,992
Living alumni 380,000+
Boston locations Charles River Campus, Medical Campus & Fenway Campus*
Campus area 134 acres
Buildings 321
Classrooms 544
Libraries 21
Laboratories 2,326

* On June 1, 2018, we welcomed the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, representing the merger of Wheelock College with Boston University’s School of Education. The Fenway Campus is now BU’s third Boston-area campus, adding a dozen buildings in the Fenway and Brookline. 

Schools & colleges 17
Programs of study More than 250
Study abroad programs Over 90 in 35 cities in 25 countries
Student / faculty ratio 10:1
Average class size 27
Total degrees awarded 9,882
Master’s, doctoral/professional degrees 5,556
Grant & Contract Awards
Research Awards $400.7 million in FY2017
BMC Clinical Research Grants $105.6 million in FY2017
Undergraduate Financial Aid & Scholarships FY2017
Total grants & scholarships (non-need-based) $23,481,120
Total grants & scholarships (need-based) $201,251,445
Average need-based grant/scholarship $33,521
Average total need-based financial aid $40,232
Student Life
Undergraduate students living on campus 75%
Community service hours 100,000+
Alternative Service Breaks participants 400+
First-Year Student Outreach Project volunteers 900+
Student organizations 450+
Art & performance organizations 69
Academic & professional organizations 125
Community service & justice organizations 78
Cultural & religious organizations 64
Concerts & performances on campus Over 500
BU on Social new accounts daily
Exhibitions 50+
Dissertation & thesis defenses 250+ open to the public
Conferences, lectures & symposia 1,500+
Faculty experts in the news 2,000+ annually
International Community
Students’ origins 9,038 international students from 131 countries
Language houses 6
Cultural student groups 40
Global initiatives 300+
Global Days of Service 25,000 hours/4,000+ participants/114 cities
Alumni abroad 180+ countries
Varsity sports 22 (13 women’s, 9 men’s)
Club sports 34 teams
Club sports participants 7,000
Intramural sports & tournaments 15+
Fitness & recreation classes 100+ for credit and hundreds of non-credit classes
FitRec users Over 6,500 visits daily