Notification of Admission Decision

Applicants will be formally notified of the admission decision by an official letter from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS). Notification that the admission decision has been made will be sent to the applicant via both email and post, using the contact information provided in the application. It is our policy not to provide admission decisions by phone.

The official letter will indicate whether the student has been offered admission, put on our waiting list, or not offered admission.  For admitted students, it will also indicate the student’s status with regard to merit-based aid (see below for more information).  The admission letter will not provide information on student loans.  For information or assistance with this issue, contact the GRS Financial Aid Office (, 617-353-2696).

The notice of the admission decision will consist of only a letter indicating the above information; it will not be accompanied by a packet of information on the university, housing options, etc.  Much of this information can be found on our website, and we do send additional information (particularly regarding logistical issues) to students when they accept the offer of admission.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Notification Timeline

We take care with every application that we receive.  We want to be certain that each application is given a fair and thorough evaluation.  As a result, the application process does take some time.  Although we will certainly provide you with a decision as early as we are able, please be patient.

For Spring Semester admissions, we normally provide responses to all applicants by the end of November.

For Fall Semester admissions, we receive over 500 applications each year. As a result, it requires a considerable length of time  for us to finish processing all of them. We normally complete evaluations of all applicants who met the January 3 aid deadline by late March.  Applications received after January 3 are not evaluated until we finish with all applications received by the aid deadline.  Students who applied after January 3 will begin hearing from us in April.  We normally complete the evaluation of all applications by the end of May.

We evaluate applications in the order in which they are completed. Thus, an application that is completed on January 1 will be evaluated before an application that is completed on January 10, for example. By ‘complete’, we mean that the application form and all required credentials have been received. For example, an application that is received on December 15 but for which we do not receive the GRE test results until January 15 will be processed after an application which was submitted and complete as of January 1.

Merit-Based Aid Notification

If a student is admitted to the program, the admission letter will also indicate the student’s status with regard to merit-based aid (if the applicant requested aid).  There are three possibilities:

  • A Graduate Assistantship (details here)
  • Decision Pending
  • No Aid

We have limited funding available for aid and are unfortunately unable to offer merit-based aid to many qualified students each year.

If you receive notification that an aid decision is pending, it means that you are not being offered aid in the first round of offers, but that you have been placed in the aid ranking queue  and may receive aid in a future round of aid offers.  Please be patient.  We cannot make subsequent aid offers until we have received notice from applicants currently being offered aid.  We often go through four or five rounds of aid offers, which means that our last round of aid offers typically doesn’t go out until mid-June.

Further information on merit-based financial aid is available here.