Visiting Students

Effective fall 2020 

University faculty may invite visiting students who meet the criteria set out below to Boston University using the procedures set out below.

Criteria for Appointment

The following are the minimum eligibility criteria for a visiting student designation at Boston University:

  • the individual must be enrolled as a student at an institution outside Boston University; and
  • the individual must have a source of financial support, including health insurance, from outside Boston University.

Visiting students do not receive financial support from Boston University. Visiting students are not University employees.

Schools and colleges may establish more restrictive eligibility criteria and may establish minimum levels for the outside financial support of visiting students.

Duration of Visit

Visiting students collaborate or learn at BU for a limited period, generally a semester or less. An extension beyond a semester must be approved by the school’s or college’s dean’s office and the Associate Provost for Graduate Affairs and should be granted only for extraordinary and compelling reasons.

Appointment Procedures

The inviting department, program, center, or institute is responsible for ensuring that a visiting student meets the criteria above. The inviting organization should submit a recommendation to the Chair or Dean of the inviting department, program, center, or institute, which should include:

  • a description of the student’s reasons for visiting;
  • the name of the student’s home institution mentor and a letter of support from that mentor;
  • details/evidence of the student’s enrollment at an institution outside Boston University;
  • all sources of financial support for the student, including home institution stipend support or other compensation from the student’s home institution or other source, including government;
  • the identity of the faculty member issuing the invitation;
  • the duration of the visit of the student at BU;
  • a description of the research or scholarly project on which the visiting student will collaborate or a description of the skills or capacities the student will obtain at BU and a statement of why the student should come to BU to obtain these skills or capacities;
  • a description of the space and facilities that the host academic unit will make available to the visiting student; and
  • a signed acknowledgment that:
    • no salary or other financial compensation, including insurance or other health and welfare benefits, will be provided by Boston University in conjunction with the student’s visit;
    • the visiting student agrees to the Intellectual Property Agreement for Visitors; and
    • the visiting student will satisfy all regulatory requirements and comply with all University policies, as applicable.

A template recommendation form is available here.

After ensuring that the recommendation is complete, the chair or dean should:

  • ensure that the expected activities of international visiting students are appropriate and disclosed as required;
  • ensure that all visa requests are addressed by the University’s International Students & Scholars office;
  • ensure that any export control issues are addressed;
  • identify all required University training (e.g., sexual misconduct or other mandatory training);
  • issue an appropriate invitation letter; and
  • provide a copy of the recommendation, the appointment letter, and the signed student acknowledgment package to the Associate Provost for Graduate Affairs and the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research at

A template appointment letter is available here.

To recap, copies of all three forms need to be submitted to the Associate Provost for Graduate Affairs and the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research at the following email address:

Responsibilities of Host Faculty, Departments, Programs, Centers, or Institutes

The host academic unit should ensure that the appointment does not improperly limit the participation of University faculty or students in research projects and that the visiting student can participate as necessary without undue interference with responsibilities from the visitor’s home institution. The University faculty member issuing the invitation should ensure that the visiting student is disclosed to research sponsors, including federal funding agencies, as appropriate. The University faculty member issuing the invitation should identify all required research compliance training (e.g., lab safety) for the visiting student. In addition, the hosting academic unit is responsible for assuring that the visiting student:

  • receives all required University and research compliance training;
  • understands that they should not conduct proprietary work for their home institution or any other third party in Boston University’s facilities during the visit;
  • complies with all University policies and external requirements related to the performance of work at Boston University.


Visiting students at Boston University hold their status at the pleasure of Boston University. BU may revoke the status at any time, including during the duration of the designation in its sole discretion, without the necessity of a reason. Similarly, there is no right to a renewal of the status at the end of the term. Visiting students are not students or employees of the University, and therefore are not entitled to University compensation or other benefits available to regular students or staff, including health insurance. A visiting student may not serve as a Principal Investigator on grants or internal protocols, or apply for funding through Boston University pursuant to the Policy on PI Status. A visiting student may, however, be entitled to library and Wi-Fi privileges.


Students enrolled at an institution outside BU who accompany a faculty member recruited to BU from that institution must follow relevant appointment procedures and comply with the rules and regulations set forth in this policy. However, these students may remain in residence at BU until completion of their degree from their original institution. These students may also receive financial support from their faculty mentor’s recruitment package or the appointing BU department.

This policy does not cover fourth-year medical students visiting BU as part of a rotation. Fourth-year medical students from elsewhere who do a rotation at BU are participants in a nationally organized program. They are not invited by BU.