General Policies

The following policies apply to all students in Pardee School/GRS graduate programs. In most cases, these are college level policies, summarized here  for the convenience of our students. Exceptions to these policies are noted below.  No other exceptions will be permitted.

This is not a complete listing of Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) policies.  Additional information on GRS policies can be found here.

Minimum Grade Requirement

Students must achieve a grade of B- or higher in a class in order to receive degree credit toward any of our MA programs. Any grade lower than a B- will be considered as failing. Students who receive two or more grades below a B- may be terminated from the program by the Pardee School.

The Graduate School of Management permits students to count classes towards their MBA even if the grade in the class is lower than a B-. For students in the dual-degree IR/MBA program, that policy applies only to the MBA portion of the degree program. Students must earn a B- or better in any class that they wish to count toward the requirements of the Pardee School portion of the program.

Limitations on Courses Outside of GRS

GRS regulations limit the amount of credits that students may take  toward their MA degree outside of GRS/CAS. Courses taken in other schools within Boston University as well as courses taken at other universities through the cross-registration consortium count against this total, as do credits taken at another university and transferred to the student’s BU record through petition.

Students in an IR MA program may take no more than 25% of their credits from outside of GRS.

Students in dual or joint degree programs with other schools within BU (GDP, IRIC, IR/MBA, IRJD) may, of course, take as many courses as necessary for their degree requirements from the partner school.  They cannot, however, take more than 25% of their coursework from a school that is not a partner in their degree program.

Limitations on Transfer Credits

See the immediately preceding section for information on limitations on the allowed quantity of transfer credits.  Courses already used toward a different degree program (at BU or elsewhere) may not, under any circumstances, be transferred as credits towards a BU degree program.  Additionally, BU will not accept courses taken prior to the senior year of students’ undergraduate degree nor will BU accept credits taken on a correspondence or online basis, or from an extension school. Finally, courses must have been taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail) in order to be accepted at BU.

Students in the LAS program, which requires a semester of study in Latin America, may, of course, count all courses in their study abroad program toward the MA degree.

Limitation on Credits per Term

Students may not take more than 18 credit hours of coursework in any term unless they obtain prior written approval from the Pardee School and GRS for doing so.

Exception:  Students in the dual-degree programs should follow the policies of their home school with regard to credits per term regulations.

Directed Study Coursework

Students  engaged in any IR MA program may take up to 12 credits of Directed Study.  Directed Study can be registered for in two credit increments.

Continuing Study

The majority of students complete all of their coursework and other requirements and then spend a summer or one additional semester at BU working on, and then defending, their MA Paper. During this final semester, students do not pay full-time tuition. Instead, they register as a ‘continuing student’ and pay tuition equal to that for a two-credit class. Click here to see current tuition and fee information. Students must register as a continuing student every semester until they complete their degree, unless they take a formal leave of absence from the university.

Residency Requirement

GRS mandates that students must be registered in the term in which they graduate as well as the immediately preceding term.  Students graduating in the Fall Semester may register for either the preceding Spring or the preceding Summer term.

Leave of Absence

Students may take up to two semesters of leave of absence from the university, for any reason. Students should discuss this with the Graduate Programs Administrator. A certain amount of paperwork is required in order to take a leave of absence — simply not registering for a semester does NOT constitute an official leave of absence.

Students should note that they must still fulfill the residency requirement, outlined above. This means that a student who takes a leave of absence must register at the university for at least two consecutive terms after the leave of absence in order to graduate.

Time to Degree Limit

In accordance with GRS policy, all students in the Pardee School and joint degree programs must complete all courses and examinations within three years of matriculation into the Graduate School at Boston University. Time spent on a leave of absence does count toward the time to degree limit.

Students enrolled part-time in an MA program may be permitted to exceed the usual time to degree limit, at the discretion of the Pardee School, provided that they are making regular progress toward their degree.

Students in the dual-degree programs (IRJD and IR/MBA) should check with the Law School and Graduate School of Management, respectively, for the time to degree limits of their programs.

Exclusivity Requirement

Boston University does not permit students to be enrolled concurrently in a degree or certificate program at BU and in a degree or a certificate program at another college or university. Students may take classes as a non-degree student at another institution while enrolled at BU, but they may not enroll in a degree program at another institution. Students who violate this policy will be required to terminate their degree status at one of the two institutions immediately.