Cross-registration Procedures

The Pardee School encourages students to look into courses outside of GRS in order to take full advantage of the wealth of resources available at BU. However, students must be careful to follow proper procedures when doing so. Do not assume that a class outside of GRS will count toward your degree, even if it is being taught at another school or college within BU. All students must obtain approval from the Pardee Graduate Programs Administrator and Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) before registering for a class outside of GRS. Exception: Students in joint or dual degree programs with another school may register for classes in the partner school as per normal procedures.

Keep in mind that all classes must be graduate level, which means (at BU) that the course number needs to be 500 or higher, in order to count toward a graduate degree. In many cases, registering for a class outside of GRS will require the permission of the course instructor. Schools usually give priority to their own students – please be respectful of the needs of the host school.

GRS regulations mandate that students in Pardee School graduate programs may take no more than 25% of their credits outside of GRS/CAS. Both courses taken at other schools within BU and at schools outside of BU count against this total. Exception: students in joint or dual degree programs with another school may, of course, take as many classes as needed in the partner school.

Boston Area Consortium

Boston University is a member of a consortium of Boston area schools that have agreed to allow their graduate students to cross-register for classes offered by other member schools. In addition to BU, the consortium includes Brandeis University, Boston College, Tufts University (except the Fletcher School), and Hebrew College.

Students may take one course per semester through cross-registration. Up to two cross-registered courses may be counted towards an MA degree. Cross-registration cannot be used for summer term. The cross-registration form, as well as additional details, are available on the website of the BU Registrar. Once all required signatures have been obtained, the form should be submitted to the BU Registrar’s Office.

The proper order for obtaining the four signatures is:

  1. Home Registrar’s Signature
  2. Student’s Adviser (the BU Pardee Graduate Programs Administrator)
  3. Course Instructor at the partner institution
  4. Host Registrar (the registrar at the partner institution)

Current semester course listings can be found at:

Boston College Course Listing
Brandeis University Course Listing
For the other colleges, students should contact the appropriate departments at those schools in order to obtain current term offerings.

Students in their final term should keep in mind that in order to graduate they must satisfy all degree requirements by BU’s deadlines. Not all colleges follow the same calendar as BU, which means that classes at some colleges may still be in session past BU’s degree certification deadline, in which case students would not be able to graduate that term.

Boston Theological Institute (BTI)

The BTI is a consortium of ten Boston area Theology schools that enables students to register for classes in the Theology division of any member school. Registration through the BTI is available to students in the IRRN program only. Students may take no more than 50% of their coursework though the BTI in any semester. The BTI cannot be used for summer term.

Students should talk with the faculty coordinator for the IRRN program to obtain permission to register for BTI classes. Once they have obtained proper approval, students go to the BU School of Theology Registrar’s Office (STH 108). That office will guide students through the remainder of the registration process.

Students in their final term should keep in mind that in order to graduate they must satisfy all degree requirements by BU’s deadlines. Not all colleges follow the same calendar as BU, which means that classes at some colleges, Harvard in particular, may still be in session past BU’s degree certification deadline, in which case students would not be able to graduate that term.

BU College of Communication (COM)

College of Communication classes are normally open only to students in the joint IRIC program. However, COM does sometimes permit students from our other degree programs to take their courses. Such instances are handled on a case by case basis and always require written permission from the instructor.

COM classes can be found on the Studentlink by entering COM for college and either JO (Journalism) or CM (Mass Communication) for department.

Once proper approval has been obtained, actual registration for COM classes is handled by either the Mass Communication or Journalism departmental staff, as appropriate.

BU School of Law (LAW)

It is not uncommon for Law professors politely to refuse to accept non-Law students into their classes due to the specialized knowledge required to understand Law School course material. However, in exceptional cases, we have had Pardee School students take Law courses. Exception: The Morin Center, which focusses on banking law, welcomes Pardee students in its classes LAW BK 935, Microfinance & Development, and LAW BK 971, Lessons from the Financial Crisis.

Law classes can be found on the Studentlink by entering LAW for college. Law classes are typically worth 3 credits (and sometimes only 2) whereas GRS courses are normally worth 4 credits. Students will need to complete additional credits to make up any shortfall in their credit count.

In order to register for a Law class, a student begins by getting written approval from the instructor of the class. The student takes that written approval to Assoc. Dean Gerald Leonard at the Law School to get his approval. The student then takes written approval from Dean Leonard to the Law School Registrar’s Office (fourth floor of the Law Building) and that office will register the student.

BU Graduate School of Management (GSM)

Most GSM classes cannot be counted towards Pardee School requirements, but a few have been pre-approved (see the IR track lists page on the website). The Pardee DGS may accept petitions for other classes.
GSM gives registration priority to GSM students and will only register students from other schools if they are confident that there will be sufficient spaces in the class (normally two weeks or less before the term begins). GSM classes can be found on the Studentlink by entering GSM for the college. Most GSM electives are worth three credits. Students will need to complete additional credits to make up for any shortfall in their credit count.

In order to register for a GSM class, students go to the GSM Advising Office, Room 104 in the SMG Building. Students will need to contact the course instructor and obtain the permission of that professor, and will also need to obtain several signatures on the registration paperwork. The GSM Advising Office will guide students through this process.

BU School of Public Health (SPH)

The International Health and Environmental Health Departments at the School of Public Health offer a range of courses pertinent to development and environmental issues. Some IH/EH classes will require more advanced knowledge of biology or more developed quantitative skills than the majority of Pardee School students possess. Talk with the instructor and, if possible, peruse a syllabus for the course to make sure that you have the requisite skills. SPH classes can be found on the Studentlink by entering SPH as the college and IH/EH as the department.

Registration requires written approval from the instructor of the course. Once this approval has been obtained, students can register via the studentlink. SPH classes often fill up very quickly, so students should obtain approval prior to the opening of registration. Some SPH classes are restricted to SPH students only.

Transfer Credits from Another University

It is also possible to transfer credits to BU from another university not part of any formal arrangement with BU. However, GRS sets a number of restrictions on such transfers:

  • Courses already used toward a different degree program (at BU or elsewhere) may not, under any circumstances, be transferred as credits toward a BU degree program.
  • GRS will not accept courses taken prior to the senior year of a student’s undergraduate degree.
  • BU will not accept credits taken on a correspondence or online basis, or from an extension school.
  • Courses must have been taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail). Additionally, it can be difficult to get coursework taken at a school outside of the U.S. accepted toward a BU MA degree.

Students should talk in detail about transferring credits to BU with the Pardee Graduate Programs Administrator prior to registering for such classes. Students should also make certain to get classes pre-approved by the Pardee School DGS prior to registering for them. Please note that while classes approved for transfer by the Pardee DGS normally are accepted, official and final approval is given by GRS, not by the Pardee School.