The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences takes pride in our large international student population, and we welcome applications to our master’s degree programs from all over the world. Our students from around the globe ensure a richly diverse and stimulating environment.
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If your transcript or academic records are in a foreign language, you will need to provide a certified English translation of each document. This can be provided directly from your home institution; however, if your home institution does not provide an English translation of your academic records, a third-party translation will be required.
Proof of English proficiency
All international applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English, typically through English proficiency scores.
Accepted standardized tests include Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), TOEFL iBT Home Edition, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Duolingo. Please note, the TOEFL ITP exam will not be accepted as proof of English proficiency.
English proficiency waiver
Applicants will not need to submit these scores if they:
- are a citizen of the United States (including permanent residents), Australia, Belize, Canada (except Quebec and Nunavut), Guyana, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or an English-speaking country of Africa or the Caribbean
- are currently enrolled as a full-time student in a degree-granting program at a university in one of the countries listed above for at least two consecutive years by the time of graduation
- have received, or expect to receive, an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in one of the countries listed above, after at least two consecutive years of academic study
- have received, or expect to receive, a graduate degree from an accredited institution in one of the countries listed above. Dual-enrollment and satellite programs may not qualify
- will have completed at least two consecutive years of academic study in a country not listed above, at an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English, up to two years prior to pursuing studies at Boston University. An acknowledgment that English is the primary language of instruction must be on the transcript, or provided on a letterhead by your home institution when submitting your application
- are currently a resident, or have been pursuing post-graduate work in one of the countries listed above, for at least two years immediately prior to starting at Boston University
Applicants will need to submit English proficiency scores if do not satisfy any of the conditions outlined above, or if they:
- were enrolled remotely (excluding those adhering to the COVID-19 policies of their home institution) in an institution referenced above
- have received, or expect to receive, their undergraduate degree in a country referenced above via a partnership or dual degree program that did not require at least two consecutive years of academic study at an institution in said country
- have received, or expect to receive their undergraduate degree in a country different to those listed above, via a partnership or dual degree program that did not require at least two consecutive years of academic study at an institution where the language of instruction is English
- earned their degree at a foreign satellite campus affiliated with an institution in one of the countries referenced above
- have only studied as an exchange student in an English-speaking country
Applicants who are unsure if they need to submit English proficiency scores, or those who do not qualify based on the criteria listed above but who would like to petition for a waiver, are invited to submit the form below. Please provide at least two weeks for a decision to be reached and time to register for an English proficiency exam should your request be denied. to this: Applicants who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver based on the criteria listed above, but who would like to petition for a waiver based on other evidence or extenuating circumstances, are invited to submit the form below. Those who are unsure if they need to submit English proficiency scores after reviewing all of the criteria listed above may also submit this form. Please do not submit this form if you qualify for a waiver based on the criteria listed above, as your English proficiency requirement will be waived in the application review process. Please provide at least two weeks for a decision to be reached and time to register for an English proficiency exam should your request be denied.
Minimum English proficiency testing requirements
Unless otherwise indicated by the department/program to which you are applying, the minimum score requirement is:
- Internet-based test: 21 in each section
- Paper-based test: 550
- IELTS: overall band score of 7.0
- Duolingo: 115
Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements of English proficiency are not eligible for admission.
Submitting official English proficiency scores
It is important that you schedule your TOEFL test well in advance of the application deadline so your scores will be received before the application review. Please send your official score report to the Admissions Office through ETS with our institution code 3087. You do not need to designate department or program codes and may therefore leave these fields blank. If the system requires you to enter a program code, you may use “99”.
It is important that you schedule your IELTS test well in advance of the application deadline so your scores will be received before the application review. Applicants submitting IELTS scores will need to contact their testing center and request official test scores be sent electronically to Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences via our e-delivery account name: Boston University – Graduate Programs.
When you complete your Duolingo exam, please select Boston University Graduate & Professional Programs as a score recipient.
After you submit your admissions application and have completed the exam, please email GRS Admissions at email@example.com with Subject Line “Duolingo,” and include your first and last name, exam date, and the name of the master’s program to which you are applying in the email.