Standardized Tests

The GRE is required of both domestic and international students. We require only the general test scores, not a subject score. All students must submit GRE scores; there are no exceptions to this policy.

The TOEFL is required only of applicants whose native language is not English (see below).

For both the GRE and TOEFL, applicants must order an official score report from ETS, to be sent directly to BU.  We do not accept scores sent from applicants.  In cases in which an applicant has taken the exam multiple times, it is our general policy to base our admission decision on the most recent sitting of the exam only.

For more information on the GRE and TOEFL, please contact:

GRE Educational Testing Services
P.O. Box 60000
Princeton, NJ 08541-5000
Phone: 609-771-7670
TOEFL TSC Services
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
Phone: 609-951-1100

Instituation Code

The ETS institution code for applications to the Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is 3087. No department code is necessary. Please note that Boston College is a completely separate institution from Boston University. When selecting the institution that their scores are sent to, applicants should be careful to choose Boston University, not Boston College.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Non-native English speaking students who did not receive an undergraduate or higher degree from a university in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting a TOEFL score report. A degree from an English language university located in a country other than these does not exempt an applicant from the TOEFL requirement. There are no exceptions to this policy. Please click here for further information for international applicants.

The TOEFL is required in addition to, not in place of, the GRE.

Score Expectations

Median GRE scores for admitted students are as follows:

  • Verbal 159
  • Quantitative 152
  • Essay 4.5

Note:  On August 1, 2011, ETS changed the GRE test format, which involved a change in the scoring system for both the Verbal and Quantitative scores.  The above numbers are based on the new format of the GRE.

Minimum IBT TOEFL score requirements are as follows:

  • Reading – 21
  • Listening – 18
  • Speaking – 23
  • Writing – 22

In addition, the student’s total TOEFL score must be at least 94.

For students who live in areas where the IBT TOEFL is not offered, the PBT TOEFL is acceptable.  The required minimum score for that exam is 600.

Applicants should not submit scores from the IELTS exam. We require the TOEFL and will accept the IELTS in lieu of it only in exceptional circumstances and with prior permission from the department.