international student application

International students should follow the admissions procedures for the degree program they are applying (listed here) PLUS :

  • Submit a valid TOEFL score taken within the last two years. We require minimum scores of: 570 (paper-based test), 230 (computer based test), or 89 with at least 22 in each of the four areas (internet-based test, or iBT). The TOEFL is waived for students who have earned a degree from an accredited institution that uses the English language for instruction and evaluation.
  • All International students are required to fill out an International Student Data Form. This form is included in the online application. If you fill out a paper application, please fill out the form located here.
  • International students are also required to verify that they have the financial resources available for their schooling. To determine what you will need, you can find an estimate of expenses here.
    • If you are receiving a sponsorship, you will need a letter from your sponsor. They can also submit the following form.
    Please note:  international applicants to master’s level programs do not need to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam or Millers Analogy Test for admission.  All international doctoral applicants are required to submit valid GRE scores. No waivers from this requirement will be granted with regard to doctoral applications.

You can apply online here

If you have any questions on the international admissions requirements, please feel free to contact us at sthadmis@bu.edu or 617-353-3036.  If you have a Skype account, you can also contact us online for a live chat.  Our Skype username is “sthadmis.”  We look forward to hearing from you.

Additional Information for International Students

English Language Requirements:

A TOEFL score of 570 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based), or 89 with at least 22 in each of the four areas (internet-based) is the minimum score required for admission to the Boston University School of Theology.  Though the Admissions Committee prefers the TOEFL, master’s-level applicants who cannot take the TOEFL may take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test instead.  A score of 6.5 on the IELTS is required for admission.  Doctoral applicants must submit a TOEFL score; the IELTS cannot be a substitution for the TOEFL on doctoral applications.

Applicants who do not meet the TOEFL requirement but are otherwise eligible for admission to the Boston University School of Theology may be considered for the “Bridge Program” between the School of Theology and the University’s Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (CELOP).  Applicants who are chosen for the Bridge Program will have TOEFL scores very near the School of Theology’s required minimum scores, and will be required to attend and successfully complete a CELOP English program as evidence of their readiness for graduate theological study in English.  If the student does not receive a positive evaluation from the CELOP instructor that taught her or his English program, that student will be asked to continue studying in the CELOP program until they do, which will indicate that they are prepared for full-time study at the School of Theology.  An applicant can always bypass the need to attend CELOP by achieving the required minimum TOEFL score prior to making an application to the School of Theology.

Admission to Degree Programs:

All degree programs at Boston University School of Theology are open to international students.  Students must provide the application credentials required for a degree program as described in the “application checklist.”  Admission to the School of Theology for international students is completed in two parts.  First, the student will be notified that he or she is “academically” admitted to the degree program, if the credentials presented merit such admission.  Second, after documentation of significant financial support from personal resources, churches, or other agencies is provided by the applicant, the University’s International Student and Scholars Office will work with the United States government to secure the necessary Student Visa.  Once a student has received notification that their Student Visa has been issued by the U.S. government they will receive a letter of full admission into the School of Theology and will be prepared for matriculation.

Financial Considerations:

All international applicants to the Boston University School of Theology are required to show original documentation of financial resources and/or sponsorship in order to be considered by the United States government for a Student Visa.  The amount of sponsorship varies from year to year depending on the cost of living in Boston.  Recently this amount was over $40,000 annually for a single student.  Students who plan to bring family members with them during their study will have to show additional sponsorship for the support of these family members.  Please consult the School of Theology Admissions Office (sthadmis@bu.edu) for current sponsorship requirements or refer to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) website (www.bu.edu/isso) for an estimate of expenses.

All financial aid and scholarship opportunities at the School of Theology are available to international students as well as domestic students. This means that some international students with excellent credentials could receive full tuition scholarships to attend the School of Theology. Those students who do not receive Scholarships for Merit still receive significant tuition scholarships that greatly lower the cost of tuition. However, even though there is generous financial aid to support tuition costs, the School is unable to provide complete financial sponsorship for international students’ living expenses during their studies.  Therefore, without personal financial support from oneself or an outside source a student will not be able to secure a student visa from the U.S. government for study at the Boston University School of Theology.  For this reason, the Admissions Office urges all international applicants to seek financial sponsorship prior to making an application to the School of Theology.

In all cases, it is the responsibility of the applicant to develop these resources and maintain them throughout study at Boston University.  The University requires payment of the semester’s tuition, fees, housing, etc., prior to the beginning of each semester.  International students are advised to collect all financial resources prior to enrolling if possible.  Students who lose their sponsorship during their degree program will not be able to be supported financially by the School, and will likely have to return home until they secure a new sponsor.

To be considered for a student visa your application must include:

  • Completed International Student data section of the online application (“International Student” tab)
  • Completed “International Student Data Form” (part of the online application, or available from the ISSO website, www.bu.edu/isso ) – You may have more than one way of spelling your name, especially in English, so make sure that the name you enter on the ISDF exactly matches the name in your passport.  The same is true for your spouse’s or children’s names.  Also, please be sure to answer every question. Unanswered questions delay the processing of documents.
  • Photocopies of your passport and any previous immigration documentation for you and anyone else who will be accompanying you to the United States on your student visa.
  • Proof of sponsorship:
    • If you are sponsoring yourself, you must provide an original bank statement showing the required amount available in U.S. dollars in a bank account.  You may not send proof of real estate ownership, stocks, or any other financial asset in order to satisfy this proof of sponsorship.  The U.S. government requires that sponsorship funds be available for your study in a bank account so they can be readily used for your support.
    • If sponsored by an individual other than yourself, you must provide the following documentation:
      • An original bank statement showing the required amount available in U.S. dollars
      • A completed “Sponsorship Certification Form,” which is available through the online application or on the ISSO website (www.bu.edu/isso).  This form requires an original signature from your sponsor as well as a statement that the funds shown in the provided bank statement are reserved for your support as you study at the Boston University School of Theology
      • If sponsored by an institution, such as a church, denomination, or grant agency, you must provide the following documentation:
        • A completed “Sponsorship Certification Form,” which is available through the online application or on the ISSO website (www.bu.edu/isso).  This form requires an original signature from a representative of your sponsoring agency as well as a statement confirming that the required amount of funds are reserved for your support as you study at Boston University School of Theology.

Once the above visa paperwork has been completed and is ready for submission:

  • Print the International Student Data Form
  • Print the International Applicant Coversheet
  • Staple all required financial documents, photocopies of passports, and other immigration documents behind the International Applicant Coversheet
  • Forward the International Applicant Coversheet and all attached documents to the School of Theology Admissions Office (745 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 108; Boston, MA 02215)