International students applying to one of Boston University’s exchange programs must first consult the International Office at their home institution. For most exchange programs, the home institution has a separate application and selection process that must happen first. Once exchange students have been approved and nominated by the home institution, they will be invited to complete the Boston University Exchange Student Application. Please do not contact BU Study Abroad to confirm your nomination. Your exchange program coordinator should be able to answer all of your questions, or reach out to BU if necessary, before the application invite is sent out.
Exchange Student Application
All exchange student applicants must complete the Exchange Student Application and submit the following supporting documents:
- Official grade transcript in English
- Essay (1 page): Why are you interested in attending Boston University?
- One letter of recommendation from a faculty member (University Instructor)
- Photocopy of your valid passport information page. Your passport must be valid throughout your entire exchange program at BU.
- Proof of English Proficiency: Please refer to the Boston University International Admissions website for TOEFL/IELTS/DET requirements. Click on “English Proficiency.” Please note that these are the minimum requirements and exceptions for lower scores cannot be made. If sending TOEFL scores directly from ETS, please use TOEFL code 6462 for Boston University Study Abroad. Results should not be more than two years old. This requirement is waived for applicants from most schools in countries whose native language is English.
In addition to the above required documents international students who do not have U.S. citizenship must also submit the documents listed below:
- International Student Data Form:
-Your name, birth date, and birth place on the International Student Data form must exactly match the information on your passport, or the form will be rejected. Please write your name, birth date, and birth place on this form exactly as they appear on your passport.
-Please print, SIGN with a blue or blank pen, and scan/upload this form to your application. Electronic signatures are not allowed.
- Proof of Financial Eligibility showing evidence of at least US$13,200* per semester of study at BU. Instructions and requirements for the proof of financial eligibility can be found on p. 1 of the International Student Data Form. It may be helpful to view a sample Parent Bank Letter, Student Bank Letter, and Parent Support Letter. Please note that your proof of financial eligibility must:
- Be written in English
- Include the date the document was created/signed
- Be original documents with original stamps/signatures
- Show proof of at least USD $13,200* per semester of study at BU.
- *Estimation based on 2022/23 academic year figures.
All supporting documents, except for your passport copy, should be uploaded to your Exchange Student Application.
Exchange students who have a valid U.S. passport do not need a visa to enter the United States. When you come to the U.S. to begin your studies at Boston University, you are required to enter the U.S. using your American passport. Do not enter the U.S. using any foreign passport you may possess.
Holders of J-1 student visas may remain in the USA for up to 30 days after the end of the program. If your passport will expire before the end of the program, or before you wish to leave the country within that 30 day window, you should photocopy your current passport bio page for your BU Exchange Application, and apply to renew your passport immediately. Students are still experiencing delays scheduling appointments and having their visas issued in many cities, so you must take all measures to ensure that you have a valid passport in hand as soon as you are eligible to apply for your visa, usually in mid-June for Fall programs and early/mid-December for Spring programs.
March 15 for Fall (September) Admission
October 1* for Spring (January) Admission
Please review Boston University’s academic calendar to plan your semester(s) at BU. Please note that each semester will have a mandatory orientation 2-3 weekdays prior to the start of class.
An updated program budget sheet, which includes estimated expenses for a semester at Boston University, is forthcoming.
If you are accepted as an exchange student at BU, you will receive an email notification approximately 3 weeks after the application deadline has passed. Acceptance materials – including information on BU class registration, housing applications, health insurance, and orientation – will be sent to you by email in the weeks following your acceptance. Please check your email regularly, including your spam folder.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, items #4-7 from your application will be submitted to BU’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) for processing. The ISSO will issue your Form DS-2019, which you will need to apply for your J-1 visa. ISSO processing can take up to 6 weeks. When your Form DS-2019 is ready, it will be e-mailed directly to you with instructions for applying.