Application Instructions (International)

The Board of Admissions conducts a rigorous and holistic review of each application. View a checklist of our application requirements and learn more about each of them below:

Our application fee is $80 and can be paid via the Common Application. You must specify a BU school or college when applying. Please refer to our list of majors with the corresponding BU school or college. As a transfer applicant, you may not apply as an undeclared major in any school or college.

Please note that all materials and documents submitted as part of an application for admission become the property of Boston University and cannot be returned.

Fee waivers
BU Admissions is here to support students and families and to make sure that an application fee does not pose a barrier to anyone who wishes to apply for admission. While we are more than willing to discuss the fee waiver process with you, please begin by reviewing the eligibility guidelines for a fee waiver on the Common Application website. If you have any questions about this process or your eligibility, please contact BU Admissions at admissions@bu.edu or 617-353-2300.

Submit official transcripts of university coursework completed at the time of application. Please submit either original transcripts or officially certified copies. Submit all documents in their original language with English translations by a licensed translator.

To determine your placement at BU, we’ll examine the level and status of your former institution as judged by the most respected authority in its own country. In some cases, we may also consult international and U.S. authorities. The same is true for any diplomas, credentials and degrees you’ve earned.

A syllabus is an official outline and summary of topics covered in a course, usually including the instructor’s name, class location, course outline, content, expectations, and other important information such as weekly reading assignments and topics, course objectives, grading scales and lab components. Syllabi must be officially issued by the instructor or department. Students may need to submit table of contents of textbooks if the syllabus is insufficient. If the overseas university you attend does not provide course syllabi, we will assist you. Please contact International Admissions at intadmis@bu.edu for help in transferring your credits.

Transfer applicants from Chinese Universities: In order to be considered for admission and/or transfer credit, please arrange for a verification report of your university transcript with the China Academic Degree and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). The report must be mailed directly to Boston University Admissions by the CDGDC, rather than by you or any third party.

The Transfer College Report form is found on the Common Application. Please ask a Dean or other college/university official with access to your disciplinary record at each institution you attended to complete and submit this form.

To facilitate our review of courses for credit evaluation, we request that transfer applicants submit syllabi for all courses taken. We will need a separate syllabus for every course for which you would like to receive credit, both completed and current courses. For all course syllabi, include your name and date of birth at the top of each page. PDF is our required file format.

Syllabi from colleges and universities within the United States should be sent via email to credeval@bu.edu.

Syllabi for courses taken outside of the United States should be sent via email to intadmis@bu.edu. If your course syllabi are written in a language that is not English, you must submit an official English translation, notarized as a true translation with a seal, along with the original document in its original language.

Documents may also be mailed to:
Boston University International Admissions
881 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA, 02215, USA

Along with your application, you must submit official secondary school academic records of your four years of study, plus a copy of any terminating or qualifying examination results or certificates.

All documents written in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarized English translation. Please note that both documents are required—the original in your first language and the English translation. Applicants must submit all of the following credentials to Boston University. Your teachers and guidance counselors can do this in the manner that is most convenient.

If you enrolled in a college degree program before graduating high school (such as Early Admission, Dual Enrollment or Running Start), indicate your enrollment on the Common Application.

Homeschooled Students should follow instructions on the Homeschooled Students page.

Proof of secondary school graduation.

You must submit proof of secondary school graduation. If you were enrolled in a foreign curriculum with national exams, submit these results as well as your transcripts. Please refer to the Secondary School Credentials chart to find the U.S. equivalent of a secondary school diploma for the country (or countries) where you studied.

Print the Instructor Evaluation form found on the Common Application and give it to a faculty member who is directly familiar with your work. Please allow enough time for your instructor to write the evaluation and stress the importance of returning the form by the application deadline.

You must submit your essays in the space provided on the Common Application.

English is the language of instruction at Boston University. You must be able to understand rapid, idiomatic English and express yourself clearly in speech and writing.

If your first language or the primary language spoken in your home is not English, you must take either the:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
or
International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Read on to learn more about fulfilling our English proficiency requirements.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Boston University accepts results for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as evidence of English proficiency.

Internet-based TOEFL exam (iBT):

Students who are most competitive for admission will have a composite score of at least 90-100 and minimum scores of 20 in each section. The Board of Admissions looks closely at the score for each section as well as for consistency across all subscores within each single language proficiency test.

Indicate on the TOEFL registration form that you want your test results sent directly to Boston University. The TOEFL code for Boston University is 3087.

For information about the TOEFL, contact:

TOEFL Services
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
USA

For testing in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and US Territories, call 877-863-3546.

For testing in other countries, call 609-771-7100.

Send email to toefl@ets.org.

You can also find information online at the TOEFL website.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

In lieu of the TOEFL exam, you may submit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A score of 7 or higher will also satisfy BU’s English Language proficiency requirement for all programs. Learn more on the IELTS website.

InitialView and Vericant Interviews

As an additional way to demonstrate your English language proficiency, BU recommends scheduling an optional interview with InitialView or Vericant. These interviews will provide you with an opportunity to display your communication and reasoning abilities, as well as your enthusiasm for becoming a successful university student. Please note that the submission of a TOEFL or IELTS is also required.

Since you and your family or sponsors must assume all responsibility for student expenses, you should review the estimates in the Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support Confirmation before deciding to apply to BU. Applicants should use the previous year’s form when estimating the cost of attendance for their academic year.

To complete your application and receive the necessary papers for obtaining a visa, you must submit:

a) the completed Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support form

b) documents confirming available funds for the annual costs of study (such as savings deposits, checking accounts, or a signed bank letter verifying the ability to pay educational expenses). All documented sources of support must be:

  • photocopies or original documents
  • current (within 12 months of starting date at Boston University)
  • written in English and documented in US Dollars
  • signed and stamped by a bank official

You may submit this form and supporting documentation as PDFs with your Common Application. On the My Colleges tab, select Boston University. You will find the link to upload your documents in the Other Information section of the Application Questions. Make sure your documents are less than 500 MB in size. You may also send these materials via email to schforms@bu.edu.

If you prefer to submit your documentation by mail (courier recommended), please use the following address:

Boston University Admissions
881 Commonwealth Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215, USA

Be sure to keep copies of all documents sent to the University. You will need this information for: 1) getting a student visa from the US Consulate, 2) US Customs and Border Protection upon entry to the United States, or 3) transferring from another US school.

Please note that the Board of Admissions will be able to proceed with an academic review of your application without the above documents.

All international students must supply a photocopy of the photo/data page of their current, valid passport. This can be uploaded via the Common Application, emailed to intadmis@bu.edu, or faxed to 617-353-5334.

Please do not submit portfolios, videos, CDs, DVDs, tapes, PowerPoint presentations, or other multi-media materials or artistic work through email. These materials will not be considered by the Board of Admissions or reviewed by faculty. Artistic portfolios and auditions are considered for College of Fine Arts applicants only.

Portfolios and Auditions

Applicants to the College of Fine Arts, with the exception of Music (Nonperformance) majors, must complete an audition, submit a portfolio, or both. For more information and to schedule an audition or portfolio review, go to the College of Fine Arts Undergraduate Admissions Information pages for each school.

Interviews

Interviews are not required for admission with one exception: applicants to nonperformance majors in the School of Theatre.

Also, please read the following detailed instructions carefully before beginning your application.

In order for Admissions to stay in contact with you, it’s crucial that you include a valid email address on your application and notify us whenever you change this address. Once your application is processed, we will email you instructions for setting up a secure account on the Applicant Link. This will allow you to:

  • check for missing application credentials
  • view your admission decision online

Please add admissions@bu.edu and intadmis@bu.edu to your email contacts or approved senders list to ensure that our messages can reach your account.

International students who have demonstrated English proficiency are still required to take an English placement examination before the first semester of study. Depending on your results, you may be required to take noncredit English courses to strengthen your language skills.

Many programs have a January Admission option but some don’t. Please check your chosen program on the Program Requirements chart.

If you previously applied and were denied admission to Boston University, you may reapply only after completing one full academic year of coursework elsewhere. If you were offered but did not accept admission to the College of General Studies, you can reapply to the College of General Studies after one semester of coursework elsewhere.

Admitted transfer students cannot defer their offer of admission to a future term. If unable to attend, students must reapply for a future term.

Boston University does not require standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) for transfer admission. However, if your first language or the primary language spoken in your home is not English, you must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams (see the English Proficiency Testing Results section above).