Frequently Asked Questions Answered
How much does it cost to take a class online at BU?
Tuition and fees are set by each college at Boston University. Check the Tuition & Fees
page for each program’s costs.
Is an online degree any different from the one that is earned on-campus at Boston University?
No, there is no difference. You will receive an official Boston University diploma. Boston University’s online degrees carry the same excellence as those earned in a traditional classroom setting.
Who accredits BU’s online programs?
How long will it take me to complete all the courses required for my program?
Most online master’s degree programs can be completed in two to three years, although this varies by program. Check with your academic department for more information.
How do I attend online classes? Do I have to be at my computer at a certain time each day?
As an online student at BU, you will be enrolled in your classes through an online learning management system (LMS). You will log on to each class and complete assignments and exams as you would in a traditional college course. You may interact frequently with faculty and fellow students through lively discussion forums, group projects, and live classroom sessions. Coursework can be accessed online anytime, day or night, but assignments must be completed by the due dates specified by your professor.
Many courses will schedule a live classroom meeting each week. Using web conferencing tools, you will join the classroom for a session that might include a live lecture, presentations, office hours, or other interactive activities. These sessions are recorded so that you can review them later.
As an online student, what types of support are available to me?
A variety of academic, technological, and program support is available to students.
- The academic department where you are enrolled has advisors who administer the academic aspects of the program. They can answer questions about admissions, registration, and graduation; assist you in choosing courses and making decisions about professional placements; and are the primary resource for any academic-related topic.
- The office of Distance Education has a dedicated support staff who work with you during the course of your studies at BU. Your faculty and student support administrator (FSSA) will orient you to the online environment, provide timely information on ordering textbooks, answer questions about the learning management system (LMS) functionality, prepare you for milestones such as course launch, final exams, and course evaluations, and generally help you have a positive experience.
- BU’s Information Services & Technology (IS&T) office provides technical support to the whole BU community, including troubleshooting, providing software and productivity tools, and managing virtual computer labs. Contact information and hours of service are available on the IS&T website.
How many students will be in my class?
Class sizes will vary. In most classes you will be working in a group of approximately 15 students, guided by a facilitator, as part of a larger class.
How do I apply?
Each Boston University program has specific application requirements and procedures. We have admissions representatives located in offices all around the U.S. who will guide you through the process. For details, visit the program page
for the online program you’re interested in.
Is financial aid available?
Boston University provides a number of resources to help you make decisions about tuition payment. The Financial Aid page
provides links to guidance on loans, scholarships, and grants that may be available to Boston University students studying online. Each individual program will also provide its own information and guidance regarding financial assistance.
Is there orientation for online students?
Yes. As a new student, you will be enrolled in a Student Orientation class to familiarize you with the BU online environment.
I have some credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Can I finish my undergraduate degree at BU?
If you have completed 52–64 transferable credits from regionally accredited institutions—including the equivalent of a freshman-level English writing course and a college-level course in mathematics or a related quantitative area, you can apply to BU’s online Undergraduate Degree Completion Program (UDCP). Please complete the Information Request form
to help us direct you to the best admissions advisor for your area of interest.
Can I get a tutor for my online classes?
Yes. Boston University is pleased to work with Smarthinking™, an award-winning online tutor service available to all online students free of charge. See the services and subjects
offered by Smarthinking.
How much time will I need to spend to take an online class?
For accelerated seven-week courses, students generally spend between 15 and 25 hours per week on a single course. This will vary depending on the course and your familiarity with the material.
Can I work full-time while studying in my program?
Yes. Our programs are designed for working professionals who have full-time careers and commitments. The flexible online environment lets you study and complete coursework during the hours you choose. Please note, students in the online MSW
program will need to consider how they will accommodate the hours required for field education (minimum requirement 16 hours per week).
How are faculty members selected?
BU’s faculty are seasoned, successful professionals who bring high levels of scholarship and years of practical industry experience to the online classroom. They engage students with case studies, enlighten with hands-on examples, and challenge with rigorous examination of the ideas, concepts, and methods that drive innovation. Accessible, supportive, and attentive to students’ educational and professional needs, BU’s faculty share the most advanced knowledge available in their fields. Most faculty who teach online also teach in BU’s on-campus programs.
I have low vision/poor hearing/mobility issues. Can I still enroll in an online program?
Many students with disabilities have been successful earning a degree online at BU. We encourage you to discuss your circumstances with the staff at BU Disability Services
, and to understand the process for requesting accommodations in your online courses.
What kind of computer will I need?
Can I use library resources?
How do I check my BU email?
BU online students receive a BU forwarding email address. Emails sent to their BU email will be forwarded to the personal email address associated to their BU account.
How will I get my books and other required course materials?
Textbook lists become available about a month prior to the start of the semester. You will receive your course textbook list from your faculty and student support administrator (FSSA), and you can order your textbooks on the Barnes & Noble @ Boston University website
How do I change my address?
To change your address, visit the Student Link
and click Personal
, then Address and Phone
Where can I find my BU ID number?
You can locate your BU ID on the Student Link
under Academics, Transcript Preview and Ordering
. Click the link for your BU school or college, then click Login
under Current Students
. Enter your Kerberos ID and password. Click View: With Name and ID
in the upper right corner of the window, and your BU ID will appear on the page.
When is graduation? Can I walk in the ceremony?
Yes, online students are invited to campus to walk in graduation! Visit BU’s Commencement page
for information about Commencement.
Do I get a student ID?
If you visit campus you can get your picture taken and receive a student ID in the Terrier Card office
. You can also submit a request via email to receive a non-photo student ID card.