Attracting and Nurturing the Best Students

Class of 2019 Profile

Profile of the Class of 2019, Registered and Settled Through Fall 2015 Final (Official Mid-Semester)

Total Number of Entering Students, Fall 2015: 1,655

Male 35% (580)
Female 65% (1,075)

Top 10 Programs/Majors

Undeclared 369
Biology 176
Economics 130
Psychology 98
International Relations 86
Biology-Cell/Molecular/Genetics 72
Computer Science 70
Neuroscience 65
Political Science 57
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 53


Academic Accomplishment

The class entering in Fall 2015 was the most accomplished academically in the college’s history.

Credentials Average Middle 50%
SAT Critical Reading 632 580–680
SAT Math 683 630–740
SAT Writing 653 610–700
SAT Composite 1969 1870–2070
ACT Composite 30 28–31
High School Rank in Class 89.6 --
High School GPA 3.64 --


Rank in Class
Top 5% 43.6%
Top 10% 65.2%
Top 15% 80.7%
Top 20% 87.5%
Top 25% 95.7%
Top 30% 99.6%
Top 50% 99.6%


The Class of 2019 demonstrates a wide range of ethnic diversity; 28.3% of the class identifies as international.

Ethnicity Number % of Class % of Domestic Known
African American 101 6.1% 9.0%
Hispanic 213 12.9% 19%
Native American 4 0.2% 0.4%
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 6 0.4% 0.5%
Asian 255 15.4% 22.7%
Caucasian 546 33% 48.4%
International 469 28.3% --
Unspecified 61 3.7% --
Total: 1,655 100.0% 100.0%



Most domestic students who entered in Fall 2015 are from the Northeast and California, with Massachusetts leading the way. The largest contingent of international students is from the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong) (241 freshmen).

# of states 48
% from out of state 84.6%

Top States
Massachusetts 255
New York 160
California 145
New Jersey 92
Pennsylvania 58
Connecticut 46
Florida 79
Illinois 39
Maryland 38
Georgia 36
Texas 36
Other states, DC 233
Territories, APO 14
Foreign address 468
Territories represented: PR, VI, GU, APO
State(s) not represented: ID, ND, WY

New England 20.8%
Mid-Atlantic 23.3%
Midwest 6%
South 9.7%
Southwest 2.8%
West 1.5%
Pacific 10.4%
Other 28.5%

The majority of entering international students in Fall 2015 came from Asia, with the greatest number coming from China.

# of countries 52

Top Countries by Citizenship
China (Incl. Hong Kong) 241
Republic of Korea 35
India 42
Taiwan, R.O.C. 12
Turkey 10
Canada 11


First-Year Student Enrollment

The table below shows the intended majors of first-year students who matriculated at CAS for Fall 2015 and Fall 2014.

Intended Majors
Program/Major 2015 2014
American Studies 0 1
Ancient Greek & Latin 2 1
Anthropology 14 11
Anthropology & Religion 4 0
Archaeology 13 16
Architecture 6 7
Astronomy 4 3
Astronomy & Physics 13 14
Asian Studies 3 1
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 53 54
Biology 176 173
Biochemistry 1 1
Biology—Ecology & Conserv. Biology 5 10
Biology—Cell/Molecular/Genetic 72 68
Biology—Quantitative 3 2
Biology—Behavioral 9 14
Biology—Neurobiology 26 32
Chemistry 43 38
Chemistry—Biochemistry 25 26
Chemistry—Teaching 1 0
Chinese Language & Literature 0 0
Cinema & Media Studies 2 -
Classical Civilization 2 1
Classics & Philosophy 0 2
Classics & Religion 0 1
Comparative Literature 3 1
Computer Science 70 76
Earth Sciences 1 1
East Asian Studies - 2
Economics 130 167
Economics & Mathematics 36 31
English 37 29
Environmental Analysis & Policy 4 5
Environmental Earth Sciences - 1
European Studies 2 0
Environmental Science 14 17
French & Linguistics 1 1
French Studies 2 0
Geography—Human Geography 1 3
Geography—Physical Geography 2 1
Geophysics & Planetary Sciences 0 0
German Language & Literature 0 0
Hispanic Language & Literature 1 0
History of Art & Architecture 8 9
History 12 18
International Relations 86 91
Italian Studies - 1
Japanese Language & Literature 1 1
Japanese & Linguistics 0 1
Latin 1 2
Latin American Studies 1 0
Linguistics 4 10
Linguistics & Philosophy 2 3
Marine Science 14 13
Mathematics 48 69
Mathematics & Computer Science 12 11
Mathematics & Philosophy 2 3
Middle East/North Africa Studies 0 -
Music 3 1
Neuroscience 65 51
Philosophy 6 5
Philosophy & Physics 4 1
Philosophy & Political Science 5 7
Philosophy & Psychology 4 4
Philosophy & Religion 0 0
Physics 23 41
Political Science 57 37
Predentistry 0 0
Prelaw - 0
Premedical 0 4
Psychology 98 111
Religion 0 2
Russian & Eastern European Studies 1 -
Russian Language & Literature 0 1
Sociology 24 28
Undecided 369 423
Accel. Medical program 19 26
Accel. Dental program 1 0
Total 1,655 1,795


Enrollments and Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded by Major, AY 2015/2016

The table below lists the number of enrolled students in each CAS major and the total number of degrees awarded in each major during academic year 2015/2016.

Major Fall 2015 Enrolled Students Degrees Awarded (AY 2016)
Undeclared 824 --
Economics 696 170
Psychology 640 230
International Relations 579 190
Biology 462 98
Computer Science 442 85
Neuroscience 328 86
Mathematics 309 95
Political Science 271 87
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 241 50
Bio Cell, Molec, Gentc 228 42
English 159 49
History 133 57
Economics & Math 128 22
Chemistry 113 37
Sociology 102 28
Physics 84 20
Biology, Neurobiology 79 24
Environ Analysis & Policy 73 28
Environmental Science 65 12
Medical Science 58 25
History of Art & Architecture 55 21
Anthropology 51 15
Philosophy 50 13
Marine Science 49 10
Archaeology 46 10
Biology w/ spec Beh Bio 41 7
Chemistry: Biochemistry 40 6
Architectural Studies 38 9
Math Computer Science 36 4
Linguistics 35 16
Astronomy & Physics 35 22
Bio, Ecology & Consv 34 14
Philosophy & Political Science 21 4
Classical Civilization 16 10
Philosophy & Psychology 13 4
Spanish & Linguistics 11 3
Religion 11 4
Earth Sciences 10 5
European Studies 9 2
Ancient Greek & Latin 9 2
Comparative Literature 9 1
Japanese Language & Literature 8 1
French & Linguistics 8 3
Geophysics & Planetary Science 8 4
Cinema & Media Studies 7 2
Music 7 1
Hispanic Language & Literature 7 4
Math & Philosophy 7 1
Astronomy 7 2
Italian Studies 6 3
Japanese & Linguistics 6 1
Anthropology & Religion 6 2
Middle East/North Africa Studies 5 2
Chinese Language & Literature 5 5
French Studies 5 1
American Studies 4 3
Asian Studies 4 0
Philosophy & Physics 4 1
Math & Math Education 4 1
Independent Concentration 4 3
East Asian Studies 3 1
Linguistics & Philosophy 3 1
Geography Human 3 2
Geography Physical 3 0
Predental Science 3 2
Latin American Studies 2 1
Biology w/ spec in Quantitative Biology 2 7
Spanish 2 2
Latin 2 0
Russian Language & Literature 2 0
Philosophy & Religion 2 1
Teaching Chemistry 1 0
Germanic Language & Literature 1 1
Italian & Linguistics 1 0
Classics & Religion 1 0
Classics & Philosophy 1 1
Biology Neuroscience 0 0
Modern Greek Studies 0 0
Environmental Earth Science 0 0
Total Students 6,777 1,651


New Academic Programs

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences introduced the following majors, minors, and graduate degree programs during AY 2015/16:

  • BA in Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • BA in Linguistics and Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • BA in Philosophy & Neuroscience
  • BA/MA in Linguistics
  • MA in Linguistics
  • MA and PhD in Statistics
  • Minor in Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Minor in Holocaust & Genocide Studies
  • Minor in Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies

New Courses

In addition to these degree programs, CAS/GRS introduced 129 new courses. Broken down by division, we introduced:

  • Humanities: 53 new courses
  • Natural & Computational Sciences: 34 new courses
  • Social Sciences: 42 new courses

Courses displayed the vast range of study at CAS. A random sampling:

  • Say What? Accents, Dialects, and Society
  • The Evolutionary Biology of Human Variation
  • The Prevention of Genocide

Post-Graduation Destination Profile CAS Class of 2015

BU surveys its undergraduate degree recipients each year to learn about paths taken following graduation, including employment, graduate school, military service, and volunteer or service activities. View the PDF.


Strengthening the Graduate Education

GRS-Registered MA/MFA/MS Students (by Department):

The following table lists Fall 2015 admissions statistics for MA/MFA/MS programs.

Program # Applications % International # Admitted % Admitted # Accepted
African American Studies 4 25% 3 75.0% 1
Applied Linguistics 45 33.3% 25 55.6% 6
Biostatistics 43 74.4% 24 55.8% 6
Computer Science
(All Programs)
569 92.8% 110 19.3% 32
Earth & Environment
(All Programs)
95 64.2% 53 55.8% 8
(All Programs)
663 86.0% 541 81.6% 91
English 76 14.5% 49 73.7% 6
History of Art & Architecture 102 25.5% 56 54.9% 8
Pardee School
(All Programs)
328 41.8% 240 73.2% 31
Mathematics & Statistics 401 93.5% 93 23.2% 22
Psychology 211 28.4% 98 46.4% 24
Creative Writing (MFA) 475 16.4% 28 5.9% 17
Playwriting (MFA) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total (All Programs) 3,349 60.5% 1,430 42.7% 257

Program Total Enrollment Fall 2015 AY 15-16 Graduates
African American Studies 2 2
Applied Linguistics 12 5
Biostatistics 9 5
Computer Science (All Programs) 51 20
Earth & Environment (All Programs) 14 10
Economics (All Programs) 164 129
English 7 5
History of Art & Architecture 16 7
Pardee School (All Programs) 93 43
Mathematics & Statistics 19 35
Preservation Studies 27 1
Psychology 32 33
Creative Writing (MFA) 27 17
Playwriting (MFA) 5 N/A
Total (All Programs) 519 390


GRS-Registered PhD Students (by Department):

The following table lists Fall 2015 admissions statistics for PhD programs.

Program # Applications % International # Admitted % Admitted # Accepted
AMNESP 50 10.0% 10 20% 6
Anthropology 88 34.1% 10 11.4% 8
Archaeology 50 10.0% 5 10.0%
Astronomy 87 20.7% 22 25.3% 3
Bioinformatics 127 46.2% 22 17.3% 6
Biology 163 32.5% 18 11.0% 9
Biostatistics 181 56.9% 10 5.5% 6
Chemistry 271 41.7% 66 24.4% 17
Classical Studies 39 7.7% 7 17.9% 4
Computer Science 183 83.6% 6 3.3% 4
Earth Sciences 29 55.2% 7 24.1% 5
Economics 638 76.2% 91 14.3% 33
Editorial Studies 4 0.0% 3 75.0% 3
English 146 13.7% 9 6.2% 5
French Language & Literature 11 36.4% 4 36.4%
Geography 43 53.2% 8 18.6% 5
Hispanic Language & Literature 37 29.7% 8 21.6% 3
History 106 19.8% 12 11.3% 8
History of Art & Architecture 75 26.7% 12 16% 6
Mathematics & Statistics 263 53.6% 25 9.5% 8
MCBB 117 33.3% 7 6.0% 2
Musicology 29 17.2% 2 6.9% 2
Philosophy 186 17.7% 14 7.5% 7
Physics 280 54.3% 62 22.1% 15
Political Science 98 57.1% 12 12.2% 7
Psychology 780 11.2% 10 1.3% 8
GDRS 75 16.0% 6 8.0% 4
Sociology 132 36.4% 11 8.3% 5
Total (all programs) 4,288 40.0% 479 11.2% 189

Program Total Enrollment Fall 2015 AY 15-16 Graduates
Anthropology 34 3
Archaeology 30 5
Astronomy 32 4
Bioinformatics 38 12
Biology 60 10
Biostatistics 38 5
Chemistry 95 16
Classical Studies 20 1
Computer Science 59 8
Earth Sciences 22 8
Economics 141 26
Editorial Studies 21 1
English 38 7
French Language & Literature 15 2
Geography 26 5
Hispanic Language & Literature 25 4
History 39 6
History of Art & Architecture 48 7
Mathematics & Statistics 47 8
MCBB 32 3
Musicology 15 5
Philosophy 40 2
Physics 91 15
Political Science 47 7
Psychology 68 10
GDRS 57 8
Sociology 34 2
Total (all programs) *1,244 203

*Totals include programs no longer admitting students.



Enhancing a World-Class Faculty

Promoted, Tenured, and Retired Faculty AY 2015/16

In 2015/16, 14 CAS assistant professors were promoted to the ranks of associate professor with tenure: Jonathan Appavoo, computer science; Kevin Black, physics; Cynthia Bradham, biology; Peter Buston, biology; David Carballo, archaeology; Luis Carvalho, mathematics & statistics; Timothy Gardner, biology; Angela Ho, biology; William Huntting Howell, English; Sean Mullen, biology; Teena Purohit, religion; Daniel Star, philosophy; James Uden, classical studies; Min Ye, international relations.

Five CAS faculty were promoted to the rank of professor: Marc Howard, psychological & brain sciences; Anatoli Polkovnikov, physics; Björn Reinhard, chemistry; Karen Warkentin, biology; Catherine Vance Yeh, world languages & literatures.

Finally, nine CAS faculty members retired from active service as professors and, after a vote of the faculty, were granted the title of emeritus or emerita, a mark of respect for colleagues who exemplify the highest values of the academic profession. These newly retired faculty include: David Barlow, psychological & brain sciences; Walter Connor, political science; Vincent Dionne, biology; Marilyn Halter, history; Manfred Kuehn, philosophy; Hillel Levine, religion; Kathleen Malley-Morrison, psychological & brain sciences; Francis Monette, biology; and Keith Morgan, history of art & architecture.

New CAS Faculty, AY 2016/2017

Each year, the College of Arts & Sciences recruits leading scholars and researchers from around the world to grow the ranks of its faculty. The faculty members listed below arrived new on campus for the 2016/17 academic year, unless stated otherwise.


  • Eva Garrett, Assistant Professor of Anthropology (starts 1/1/17)

    Eva Garrett comes to BU after completing a doctoral thesis at CUNY on the hard and soft anatomy of the primate vomeronasal system and a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University working on the evolution of primate olfactory-receptor genes. Her multidisciplinary research encompasses comparative anatomical studies of the anatomy and histology of chemoreceptor organs in living primates, their anatomical correlates in fossil primates, and their genetic correlates in living primates, including variation within and between modern human populations. Garrett has done paleontological fieldwork in Egypt, France, and the United States. She has also been published in high-ranking journals such as Brain Research and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and delivered more than 25 presentations and invited lectures on her research at professional meetings and leading universities in the US, Sweden, Vietnam, and Japan.
  • Merav Shohet, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

    After graduating from Harvard College, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis on the anthropology of anorexia, Merav Shohet entered graduate study at UCLA. Her subsequent fieldwork in Vietnam led to a 2010 doctoral dissertation focused on the relations between subjectivity, language, culture, and emotion in Vietnamese culture and society. She comes to BU from the University of Toronto at Scarborough, where she earned glowing reports for her teaching across a wide range of courses. A rising young figure in her discipline, Shohet has chaired five sessions on psychological and medical anthropology at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association. She has published articles in two leading journals—American Anthropologist and Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute—and is currently working on a book-length monograph.


  • Wen Li, Assistant Professor of Astronomy

    Wen Li received her PhD in atmospheric and ocean sciences in 2010 from UCLA, where she was an assistant scientist before joining BU. Li is an expert in the ionized gas (plasma) in the Earth’s magnetosphere and how that plasma reacts to the solar wind of particles that stream from the sun, a phenomenon known as “space weather.” She has written about 100 journal papers on the topic—24 as first author—during her brief career, and has been well funded by NSF, NASA, and Air Force grants as a researcher. She has also been recognized as a rising young scientist at international conferences. Li’s research concentrates on waves that arise in the magnetosphere’s plasma as the solar wind varies in velocity and density. Magnetic “storms” on the sun increase the impact of charged particles as they enter the magnetosphere, sometimes disrupting communications and electrical power grids. Her research is advancing our understanding of such space weather events and therefore has the potential for significant practical importance.


  • Christine Cheng, Assistant Professor of Biology

    Christine Cheng obtained a PhD in biology from the University of California at San Diego in 2010, working with Dr. Alexander Hoffmann, a leader in bioinformatics and systems biology. Since 2011, she has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University under the mentorship of Aviv Regev, a prominent researcher in systems biology. She was supported by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship. Cheng’s current research uses modern molecular, cellular, and computational tools to study genomic changes for biological function at the single-cell level. In particular, she has pioneered the use of the ATAC-Seq technique for analyzing transcription factor binding to genomic regulatory elements. Cheng’s research and molecular tools will bring prominence to BU in the emerging area of single-cell heterogeneity in gene expression, an area that will have broad importance for understanding basic molecular and cellular processes and may have importance for molecular diagnostics. She also has an excellent publication record, including first-author papers in Nature Communications, Cell Systems, and Science. Cheng will contribute to the research and teaching missions of the cell & molecular biology and systems biology groups.
  • Juan Fuxman Bass, Assistant Professor of Biology

    Juan Fuxman Bass earned his PhD in biology from the University of Buenos Aires in 2010. Since 2011, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School under the mentorship of Marian Walhout, noted researcher and systems biology director. Fuxman Bass’ current research uses modern molecular, cellular, and computational tools to study gene expression networks for disease and immune cell diversification. In particular, he has pioneered the use of a yeast one-hybrid technique for analyzing transcription factor binding to genomic regulatory elements, which can then be combined with computational and cell-based assays of regulatory elements. Fuxman Bass has an excellent publication record, including two first-author papers in 2015 in the highly regarded journal Cell. He also co-authored papers in the emerging online journal Elife, as well as a paper in Nature Methods on his computational approaches to gene networks. Based on his postdoctoral research, Fuxman Bass brings with him a coveted NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). He will contribute to the research and teaching missions of the cell & molecular biology and systems biology groups.


  • Malika Jeffries-EL, Associate Professor of Chemistry (started 1/1/16)

    Malika Jeffries-EL received her BA in chemistry and Africana studies at Wellesley College, and her PhD in chemistry from the George Washington University. After spending one year at Smith College as a Mendenhall Fellow, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow under the direction of Richard D. McCullough at Carnegie Mellon University. She comes to BU from Iowa State University, and her researching focuses on the development of organic semiconductor materials. Jeffries-EL’s publications have garnered over 2,000 citations, and she has given more than 80 lectures in the US and abroad. She’s also won numerous awards, including the ACS Women Chemist Committee Rising Star Award, NSF CAREER Award, and the Lloyd Ferguson Award from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
  • Xi Ling, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

    Xi Ling received her PhD in physical chemistry at Peking University, where she developed a novel sensing application for grapheme-based materials. She won several exclusive awards in China in recognition of her academic potential and achievements. Ling’s postdoctoral work at MIT focused on studies of the synthesis and properties of several novel low-dimensional materials and their optical properties with application in many fields of optoelectronics and energy conversion. She’s co-authored 40 publications, has more than 1,900 citations to her work, and already has an h-index of 20. Ling’s expertise lies in the development of scalable fabrication techniques for 2D materials and their integration into devices. She has unique skills and knowledge that allow her to generate well-defined junctions between different 2D materials, giving her access to an entirely new and important space of physical and chemical properties. Ling’s work will explore the fundamental properties of these novel nanoscale materials as well as their applications in such wide-ranging fields as health monitoring, multifunctional displays, and wearable electronic devices.

Computer Science

  • Alina Ene, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

    Alina Ene received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013, where she won awards for her teaching. Following her PhD, she took a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, and since 2014 she has been an assistant professor at the University of Warwick. Ene does research broadly in the area of theoretical computer science, optimization, and theoretical machine learning. Her primary focus is on algorithms, with particular interest in approximation algorithms for combinatorial optimization problems and submodular function optimization. Applications of her work include designing fast algorithms for partitioning networks, labeling pixels in an image, or operating on massive datasets.
  • Kate Saenko, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

    Kate Saenko earned her PhD from MIT in 2009 and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. She has been on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell for the past four years. Her research covers machine learning and computer vision. Most recently, Saenko has focused on learning for joint vision and language understanding, and transfer of learning across domains. For example, she uses deep learning to develop systems that can analyze a video sequence and produce a written summary of the action taking place. This work—and more—has brought her national recognition and a strong record of external funding. Saenko’s work has been recognized with multiple best-paper awards, and her teaching has been recognized by UMass Lowell with a teaching excellence award.
  • Charalampos (Babis) Tsourakakis, Assistant Professor of Computer Science (starts 1/1/17)

    Babis Tsourakakis received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 2013 and completed postdoctoral research at Brown and Harvard University. Currently, he is spending the fall 2016 semester at Google Research. Tsourakakis works in algorithms for data mining, with particular focus on solving problems that involve massive networks. His research has resulted in state-of-the-art, provably fast algorithms for attacking machine learning and data mining problems involving networks. Applications of his work span biological, social, technological, and web networks. His research regularly appears in conference best-paper collections, and he won the best-paper award at the 2009 International Conference on Data Mining.
  • Abbas Attarwala, Lecturer

  • Perry Donham, Lecturer

  • Nahar Erbas, Lecturer

Core Curriculum

  • Emily Allen, Lecturer

Earth & Environment

  • Cedric Fichot, Assistant Professor of Earth & Environment

    Cedric Fichot earned his PhD in marine science from the University of South Carolina in 2013. Since then, he has served as a postdoctoral associate at the University of South Carolina and for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab at Cal Tech from 2014 to 2016. Fichot’s expertise covers a range of topics in aquatic optics and remote sensing, biogeochemistry, photochemistry, and water quality. His research is interdisciplinary by nature and uses a combination of field-based studies, laboratory analyses, remote sensing, and modeling to provide a better quantitative understanding of the interactions between the land and ocean and their perturbations. His research at BU will focus on developing and leveraging new optical and geochemical techniques to study ongoing changes in the biogeochemical cycles of the Arctic Ocean and of other sensitive coastal environments, and to assess the effects of human- and climate-driven changes on the water quality and ecosystem health of our water resources. His new Aquatic Photo-biogeochemistry & Remote Sensing laboratory in the Department of Earth & Environment will facilitate his research and the development of new, exciting field- and laboratory-based courses for Earth & Environment and the Marine Semester of the BU Marine Program.
  • Jeffrey Geddes, Assistant Professor of Earth & Environment

    Jeffrey Geddes earned his PhD in atmospheric chemistry in 2013 from the University of Toronto. Since that time, he has served as a visiting postdoctoral associate at MIT and a postdoctoral associate at Dalhousie University. He is an expert in atmospheric science, focusing specifically on the links between air quality and environmental health. Geddes’ research combines satellite-based remote sensing observations with computer modeling and targeted fieldwork in order to understand the physical and chemical processes that impact human exposure to air pollution. His work has provided an understanding of the changing conditions in rapidly developing regions of the world where air pollution monitoring has historically been missing. Geddes’ expertise on this topic led to his consultation in the Yale Environmental Performance Index that was released at the 2016 World Economic Forum, where he was recently selected as one of the top emerging senior scientists in atmospheric chemistry.
  • Christoph Nolte, Assistant Professor of Earth & Environment (started 11/1/16)

    Christoph Nolte earned his PhD in natural resources and environment from the University of Michigan in 2014. Since then, he has served as a postdoctoral associate at Stanford University where he led several large-scale analyses on the allocation and impact of conservation interventions in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and the United States. Nolte is a highly successful early-career scholar in the field of international forest conservation. His work combines econometrics, remote sensing, large-scale data analyses, and mixed methods to quantify and explain the impacts of forest conservation policies and investments in tropical countries. His early analyses produced novel findings on the determinants of success of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon, Colombia, and the Congo basin. Nolte’s results have been published in high-impact journals, such as PNAS, Conservation Biology, Environmental Research Letters, and Land Use Policy.


  • Ishita Dey, Lecturer


  • Edmund Russell, Professor of History

    Edmund Russell earned his PhD at the University of Michigan. His current research focuses on two topics: the role of anthropogenic evolution in human history and the environmental history of telegraphy. His forthcoming book is titled Greyhound Nation: A Coevolutionary History of England, 1200–1900. Before working on these topics, Russell studied the environmental history of war. His monographs are War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring (Cambridge) and Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth (Cambridge). He has edited two collections of essays, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of War (with Richard Tucker), and the CQ Guide to U.S. Environmental Policy (with Sally Fairfax). Russell’s articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Environmental History, Technology and Culture, and the Washington Post, among others. His research has received five prizes in three fields (environmental history, history of technology, and history of science), including the Edelstein Prize, the Rachel Carson Prize, the Leopold-Hidy Prize, and the Forum for the History of Science in America Prize. His teaching has received two awards.

History of Art & Architecture

  • Daniel Abramson, Professor of History of Art & Architecture

    Daniel Abramson earned his PhD at Harvard University and is an architectural historian specializing in English and American architecture from the Enlightenment to the present. In his scholarship and teaching, he pays particular attention to issues of urbanism, landscape design, and economics. Abramson is the author of three books: Skyscraper Rivals: The AIG Building and the Architecture of Wall Street (2001); Building the Bank of England: Money, Architecture, Society, 1694–1942 (2005); and Obsolescence: An Architectural History (2016). His scholarship has been supported and rewarded by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Abramson holds a joint appointment in the American & New England Studies Program and directs HAA’s Architectural Studies Program.

Mathematics & Statistics

  • Jennifer Balakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

    Jennifer Balakrishnan earned a BA and MA in mathematics from Harvard University in 2006 and a PhD in mathematics from MIT in 2011, where her research was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Since completing her PhD, she’s held a prestigious NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Harvard University and was a Titchmarsh Research Fellow in Mathematics at Oxford University and a Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College. In the fields of number theory, arithmetic geometry, and computational number theory, Balakrishnan has made a series of fundamental and pathbreaking contributions to the theories of p-adic integration, rational points on curves of high genus, elliptic and hyperelliptic curves, p-adic cohomology, p-adic L-functions, p-adic heights, abelian and non-abelian varieties, the p-adic Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture, and non-Archimedean analysis. She has written over 25 research articles, many of which have been published in the leading pure mathematics and computational mathematics journals. Balakrishnan has also mentored a series of students at Oxford University on research projects, presented over 80 invited lectures, colloquia, and seminars on her research, and served as a leading organizer of over 15 major workshops and conferences in her fields of study.
  • Daniel Sussman, Assistant Professor of Statistics

    Daniel Sussman earned a BA in mathematics at Cornell University in 2008, where he conducted research at the NIH. In 2014, he received his PhD in statistics and applied mathematics from Johns Hopkins University, where his thesis research was supported both by a Charles and Catherine Counselman Endowed Fellowship and a Centennial Fellowship from the Whiting School of Engineering. Since completing his PhD, Sussman has been a postdoctoral researcher in statistics and applied mathematics at Johns Hopkins University, and a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Statistics at Harvard University. He has a broad research program in statistics that spans the gamut from method development to applications. He has developed cutting-edge methods in the fields of data on networks, causal inference, big data, uncertainty quantification, spectral analysis, latent position models, random-graph models, and stochastic block models, applying them to important problems in neuroscience, computational biology, and the social sciences. Unifying many of these research topics is the theme of developing principled yet practical approaches. Sussman has also taught extensively at the undergraduate level in statistics, developed new courses, organized seminars, and served as a statistical consultant.
  • Haviland Wright, Professor of the Practice of Statistics

    Haviland Wright earned a BA, MBA, and PhD in statistics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an assistant professor of statistics and operations research at the University of Denver (1981–1984), and an adjunct professor of statistics and operations research at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1985–1989). Since 1985, Wright has held an array of posts in the corporate sphere, including as an entrepreneur, CEO, director, co-founder, mutual fund director, senior VP, and principal scientist. He founded a software startup, Avalanche Development Company, which focused on pattern recognition and statistics, and was involved with nearly all aspects of the company, from raising capital and investment to hiring to software development to sales. His work at Avalanche helped facilitate the development of languages like HTML and XML. Next, Wright worked for approximately 15 years in the hardware industry, first as founder and CEO of Displaytech, Inc. (1995–2002) and then as co-founder and director of Nano Loa, Inc. (2005–2010), both focusing on liquid-crystal flat-panel display screens. Since 2010, he has further leveraged his significant experience as a leader and consultant for corporate turnarounds. Wright is a core faculty member in the MS in Statistical Practice program.
  • Masanao Yajima, Associate Professor of the Practice of Statistics

    Masanao Yajima earned an MA in statistics from Columbia University in 2006 and a PhD in statistics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2013. Before, during, and after his degree programs, he worked at a number of different companies, civic agencies, and research institutes. Early in his career, Yajima worked for four years with software and statistical problems in industry and government in Japan as part of some of the earliest data science teams. He worked as a research associate at Columbia on projects involving data and statistics in the social sciences, education, and the financial sector. At UCLA, Yajima worked as a university statistics consultant in a role similar to that which he now has at Boston University in the MS in Statistical Practice program and the MSSP Consulting Service. Yajima also carried out research involving statistics and the analysis of biomedical data at Washington State’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. His research has been published in a broad array of journals, including Genome Biology, Journal of Biostatistics, IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Journal of Statistical Software, and the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Yajima is also an experienced mentor for young data scientists and aspiring consultants.


  • Michaela McSweeney, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

    Michaela McSweeney received her BA in philosophy, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2005 and her PhD from Princeton University in 2016. She works in the areas of metaphysics, philosophical logic, and epistemology. Her dissertation on “The Metaphysical Basis of Logic” took up the difficult question of logic’s relation to the structure of the world (does logic “carve the world at its joints”?), setting out a distinctive position that was carefully defined against some of the leading metaphysicians of the day. Before heading to graduate school, McSweeney taught middle school math in the Boston Public Schools. An active organizer of and participant in several prominent philosophical workshops in contemporary metaphysics, she has wider interests as well in such areas as philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of gender, and philosophy of sport.


  • Anushya Chandran, Assistant Professor of Physics

    Attaining an All-India Rank of 92 on the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Joint Entrance Exam, Anushya Chandran earned her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the IIT-Madras. She went on to do her PhD work at Princeton University, where she held a Centennial Fellowship. After graduating from Princeton, she took a postdoctoral fellowship at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada—one of the most prestigious theoretical physics institutes in the world. In a broad sense, Chandran examines the fundamental quantum nature of reality, its novel manifestations, and how it might be controlled or utilized in new ways. More specifically, she studies quantum mechanical systems in which disorder “localizes” particles, and the non-equilibrium behavior of quantum mechanical systems. Chandran has published approximately 20 papers, including two in Physical Review Letters. The Web of Knowledge lists almost 300 citations to her work with rapid growth year-over-year. She has given a large number of invited lectures and seminars internationally, including at many of the most prestigious universities (Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford) and theoretical physics institutes.
  • Christopher Grant, Assistant Professor of Physics

    Chris Grant earned his bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and his PhD at the University of Alabama. He studies one of the most mysterious particles in the universe, the neutrino. Understanding the neutrino has become a focus in the field of particle physics, which investigates the most basic physical nature of the cosmos. It is widely believed that better understanding the neutrino could be key to “physics beyond the Standard Model,” i.e., physics beyond the known. Grant’s doctoral work on the KamLAND experiment in Japan perfected the large experiment to carefully measure the flux of neutrinos from the sun. As a Nuclear Science and Security Consortium Postdoctoral Fellow and Fermilab Intensity Frontier Fellow at the University of California, Davis, Grant worked first on the Double-Chooz nuclear reactor–based experiment in France to precisely measure the neutrino mixing effect. More recently, he has been working on the SNO+ experiment in Canada and the CAPTAIN and DUNE experiments at Fermilab. He has approximately 17 publications with over 650 citations.
  • Christopher Laumann, Assistant Professor of Physics

    Chris Laumann graduated from Harvard College in 2003, Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, with a double major in physics and mathematics. Winning a Marshall Scholarship, Laumann earned an MSc in informatics from the University of Edinburgh and a CASM in mathematics from Cambridge University, both with distinction. He then entered the physics PhD program at Princeton University, where he won an NSF Graduate Fellowship, two Princeton fellowships, and their departmental teaching award. Following graduation in 2010, Laumann was named the Lawrence Golub Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. In 2014, he became an assistant professor at the University of Washington, where he won a 2016 Sloan Research Fellowship and garnered a highly competitive NSF grant to support his research. Laumann’s research examines the fundamental quantum mechanical nature of the universe, particularly how that nature manifests itself in the dynamics of systems and in quantum information processing. He currently has over 35 publications, including 10 in Physical Review Letters. According to the Web of Knowledge, they have garnered over 350 citations. He has given many invited talks about his research at conferences and institutions internationally.
  • Manher Jariwala, Lecturer

Political Science

  • Spencer Piston, Assistant Professor of Political Science

    Spencer Piston earned his BA at Grinnell College in 2001, and his PhD at the University of Michigan in 2014. His dissertation was titled “Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and their Political Consequences.” From 2014 to 2016, Piston was on the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and the Political Science Department at Syracuse University. His research is centered on attitudes about social groups, particularly as defined by race and class, and he also closely studies political behaviors, again with a focus on race and class and the impact of prejudice. Piston has won numerous grants and awards from the likes of the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and was named Distinguished Political Psychology Junior Scholar by the American Political Science Association. He is widely published in leading scholarly journals, including Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Psychology, Journal of Public Policy, Political Behavior, Political Communications, Political Science Research and Methods, and the Journal of Politics. He has also contributed chapters to books published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, and he chairs the Race, Class, and Ethnicity section of the Midwest Political Science Association. Piston’s teaching roster includes undergraduate and graduate courses in theories of American politics, the logic of political inquiry, public opinion, and race and class in American politics.

Psychological & Brain Sciences

  • Robert Reinhart, Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences

    Robert Reinhart earned his PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2016 and already has more than a dozen first-author peer-reviewed journal articles. He studies cognitive control mechanisms in the human brain, employing both electro-encephalography (EEG) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to study and influence the brain circuitry that underlies human executive functioning and behavioral performance. With tDCS (an emerging technique with tremendous therapeutic potential), he has had remarkable success in increasing (or decreasing) cognitive performance for humans over a five-hour time window and has also achieved similar success in treating cognitive deficits in schizophrenic patients over a similar time window. Reinhart is already a leader in the application of tDCS methodology. His research has been published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Trends in Neurosciences, Journal of Neuroscience, and Psychological Science, and he has received popular press attention from news outlets such as NBC, Yahoo News, and the Boston Globe.


  • April Hughes, Assistant Professor of Religion

    April Hughes received her PhD in religion from Princeton University in 2014, having previously completed MA degrees in East Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and UCLA. She comes to Boston University from Gonzaga University (Spokane), where she taught for two years as assistant professor of religious studies. Hughes’ research situates medieval Chinese religion within broader cultural and social contexts. She is especially interested in medieval Chinese Buddhist manuscripts and mural paintings discovered at Dunhuang (northwest China). With an article forthcoming in Journal of Chinese Religions (“Chinese Visions of the Apocalypse: A Reexamination of the Canonical and Apocryphal Maitreya Scriptures”), Hughes’ current book project is titled Personifying the Buddha: Politics, Gender, and Religion in Medieval China. Where many historians have assumed that political authority in medieval China was expressed and debated chiefly in Confucian terms, the book investigates the different symbol systems (Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist) that emperors employed to validate their reigns. For example, emperors and their opponents sometimes solidified their claims to the imperial throne by declaring themselves Buddhas incarnate, descended to earth in order to rule and revive Buddhist teachings. Hughes’ book thus highlights the centrality of Buddhism to Chinese notions of kingship.

Romance Studies

  • Elena Carrion-Guerrero, Lecturer
  • Ines Garcia de la Puente, Lecturer


  • Jessica Simes, Assistant Professor of Sociology

    Jessica Simes earned her PhD in sociology from Harvard University in 2016. Her dissertation, “Essays on Place and Punishment in America,” looks at the social problem of mass incarceration that is concentrated in disadvantaged communities. Focusing on the spatial distribution of incarceration, Simes examines the relationship between neighborhood, place, and incarceration patterns, drawing on a creatively assembled dataset that includes prison records, census data, and observational data from a survey of a reentry cohort. To analyze these materials, she uses mapping, spatial regressions, and a variety of other quantitative techniques. Simes’ work has been published in the DU Bois Review, Contexts, and Social Science Journal. She is the 2015 winner of the Graduate Student Paper Competition, Crime and Juvenile Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. And, in 2012, Simes was awarded the Harvard University Certificate of Excellence and Distinction in Teaching.
  • Ana Villarreal, Assistant Professor of Sociology

    Ana Villarreal received her PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016. Her dissertation, “Drug Violence, Fear of Crime and the Transformation of Everyday Life in the Mexican Metropolis,” explores emerging patterns of urban seclusion in Latin America. She conducts intensive, ethnographic studies of San Pedro, an upper-class suburb of Monterrey, Mexico, in order to examine the social and cultural character of endemic violence in the region and its consequences for the social fabric. Villarreal is the recipient of several fellowships, including a Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Fellowship and an AAUW International Fellowship. She has published articles in Work and Occupations and Global Dialogue. In 2010, she was named Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor by UC Berkeley’s Department of Sociology.

World Languages & Literature

  • Saturo Ishikawa, Lecturer
  • Svitlana Malykhina, Lecturer
  • Shilpa Parmani, Lecturer


Campaign for CAS

Status Report

Thanks to the generosity of our many alumni and friends, the Campaign for CAS is making tremendous progress. As of the end of June, we were well ahead of our target for the year.

FY16 Goal Vs. FY16 Total YTD
FY16 Goal $12,000,000
FY16 Total YTD $10,547,703
FY16 Pledge Goal $3,000,000
FY16 Pledge YTD $7,994,899
CAS Campaign Status
Campaign Goal $100,000,000
Campaign total as of June 30, 2016 $106,636,751
Percentage toward campaign goal 106.6%
Campaign Goals for FY2017
Secure $13,000,000 in cash and pledges.
Cash Goal $12,000,000
Pledge Goal $3,000,000
Annual Fund Goal $1,000,000

Stewarding Our Resources

CAS/GRS Budget

The college achieved a balanced, unrestricted expense budget of $115,673,260 at the close of the 2015/2016 fiscal year, compared with $111,212,274 the previous year.

This budget covered faculty salaries ($78,352,525), staff salaries ($14,688,783), student salaries ($12,562,201 for fellowships, internships, etc.), and operating expenses ($10,069,751).

Annual Report 2015/2016

  • From the Dean The Difference a Year Makes
    From enhancing research excellence to recruiting ever-better faculty and students, academic year 2015/16—the first under Dean Ann Cudd’s leadership—saw CAS continue to grow its capacities.
  • Improving Undergraduate Education Improving Undergraduate Education
    Providing a world-class undergraduate education is the core of what we do at CAS. In 2015/16, we made curricular improvements, launched new career preparation programs, and welcomed a tremendous class of 2019 that will benefit from our ongoing efforts.
  • Strengthening Graduate Education Strengthening Graduate Education
    The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ continued evolution in and out of the classroom has resulted in a 5.6% increase in master’s applications in 2015/16, as well as an affirmation of the strength of its humanities and social science PhD programs, with more than half of students accepting their offers.
  • Enhancing a World-Class Faculty Enhancing a World-Class Faculty
    The quality of CAS’ academics and research depends on the quality of its faculty, and so we work hard to hire the best and brightest. In 2015/16, CAS hired 28 new professors across the humanities, mathematics, and the social, natural, and computational sciences.
  • Conducting Pathbreaking Research Conducting Pathbreaking Research
    Discoveries and innovations at CAS helped make BU one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 35 research universities in the world. Faculty received nearly $61 million in funding this past year, advancing understanding in the fields of subatomic physics, Alzheimer’s disease, and classical studies, to name a few.
  • Growing Our Capacity and Stewarding Our Resources Building Our Future Together
    In 2015/16, the sixth year of the Campaign for Boston University, we achieved our initial goal of raising $100 million for CAS—and we reached that goal a year early. More than 26,000 alumni, friends, and parents have generously made gifts of $106,636,751 to the college via the ongoing campaign.
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