History of GRS

Graduate Information

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Boston University: A Rich History in the Heart of Boston

The students, faculty, and researchers in GRS have expanded the boundaries of knowledge for over 150 years. The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) was founded in 1874 as the School of All Sciences to provide advanced programs of study and research leading to MA and PhD degrees. The first degrees were granted in 1877: the MA to Isaac Newton Lewis and the PhD to James Barclay Hall and Helen Magill. Helen Magill was the first woman to receive a PhD from an American university. In 1910, the School of All Sciences was renamed the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, as we know it today.

In 1955, Martin Luther King, Jr. received his PhD in systematic theology from GRS. Author, speaker, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel taught our students in the College of Arts & Sciences from 1976 until 2013 as Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Religion. Our distinguished alumni continue to make an impact as leaders and innovators in their fields in the U.S. and around the world.

Today, approximately 2,000 candidates are registered in MA, MFA, MS, and PhD programs in nearly 50 major fields.

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  • A deserted campus during a blizzard
  • BU campus and BU beach
  • CAS and Marsh Chapel