At CAS, we provide students with an education for the 21st century—one that is flexible, forward-looking, grounded, and rigorous.

Student Recruitment

This past September, we welcomed another class of outstanding and eager undergraduates to CAS.

The Class of 2021 includes 1,578 students from 42 states and 44 different countries. Female students comprise 60 percent of the class. White Americans make up 35 percent of the students, 38 percent are Americans of other ethnicities, and 23 percent are international students. The largest number of domestic students (242) comes from Massachusetts, while the largest number of international students (176) comes from China (including Hong Kong).

The most popular intended majors are biology, economics, psychology, and computer science.

The Class of 2021 recorded an extremely high level of SAT performance, with an average score of 1393 (out of 1600). We continue to attract students from the very top of their high school classes, with 45 percent of students coming from the top 5 percent of their classes and 69 percent coming from the top 10 percent.

For the complete snapshot of this past year’s incoming class, see the Class of 2021 profile and the chart on First-Year Student Enrollment.

BU Hub: Affirming the Arts and Sciences

The Class of 2022 will be the first group of students at BU to undertake a new general education curriculum, revamped for the 21st century: the BU Hub. BU Arts & Sciences faculty members helped lead the development of the new University-wide curriculum, which launched this fall and emphasizes important skills for today’s economy. Through the Hub, every BU student will take coursework (usually 10–12 courses) that together covers six areas, or “essential capacities”: philosophical, aesthetic, and historical interpretation; quantitative reasoning; scientific and social inquiry; communication; diversity, civic engagement, and global citizenship; and the intellectual toolkit (including skills like critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation).

The BU Hub places the arts and sciences at the core of a modern university education. Over two-thirds of the courses offered in the Hub are through CAS, with the college contributing approximately 500 Hub-approved courses in the first year. In this way, the new curriculum continues and enhances the college’s role in providing a liberal arts and sciences education to all BU students. The Hub also allows CAS students to take more classes in BU’s professional schools, which will enhance their arts and sciences education. In recent years CAS undergraduates have taken around 90 percent of their courses in CAS, but that is expected to change as the Hub continues to evolve.

The process of developing the Hub also stimulated many CAS departments and programs to revamp their curricula and course designs. The CAS Writing Program, for instance, took the opportunity to move its pedagogy forward by integrating oral and digital multimedia more deeply into its curriculum. While CAS already had a strong writing requirement, the Hub stimulated a number of academic departments to include more writing-intensive courses and further incorporate writing into their curricula, along with multimedia and oral presentation skills.

Experiential Learning

This past year, BU and CAS administrators and faculty members continued their efforts to create and improve learning opportunities for students outside of the classroom. One of the most ambitious of these efforts, which launched in fall 2018, is Global House. Global House provides a living-learning space for students studying one or more of 10 different languages. Those who are admitted to live at Global House are housed together on one floor of the newly renovated Myles Standish Hall in Kenmore Square. This gives students the opportunity to interact with peers who are learning the same language as well as students who are studying different languages. They meet weekly for learning, discussion groups, and activities with their language cohort. Native speakers and more advanced students lead these discussions and activities. All of the students are responsible for proposing, researching, and hosting cultural or linguistic events, many of which are open to students across BU.

The new arrangement replaces separate living-learning houses. It allows students studying less-popular languages to have, for the first time, their own living-learning opportunity. As most language learning at BU takes place in CAS, the impact on CAS language students will be profound. For 2018/19, we have enrolled over 75 students across the 10 languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

In recent years, we have developed other experiential learning programs to empower our students to connect their liberal education to real-world challenges. We have pioneered several new internship programs, including the CAS On-Campus Internship Program, BU in San Francisco, humanities internships in publishing, and public humanities internships in nonprofit civic, educational, and arts organizations. CAS staff and faculty have also played leading roles in developing new programs that help students match their talents and creative energies with community and industry needs, including MetroBridge, BU Spark!, and Innovate@BU. And we have supported the creation of Earth House, another living-learning house, for students interested in majoring in Earth or environmental sciences. Through these and other experiential learning programs, students learn how to navigate the working world, so they can turn their education into impact.

Career Preparation

In recent years, CAS has added new programming to help prepare seniors for the transition into their careers after college. We created Senior Year 101, a course that helps seniors prepare for the professional world through résumé development, job search strategies, self-assessment, and the creation of a career plan. This past year, the college added a new course for seniors titled SY101: Intro to Adulting. Intro to Adulting introduces students to other life and job-related skills they will need: financial planning, understanding job benefits, finding an apartment, even cooking for themselves and making friends after college and dorm life. Both sections of the new class filled quickly, and feedback from participants has been very positive.


At CAS, we are continuously looking for ways to measure the results of our educational programming and career services, and to improve upon our offerings to ensure our graduates are prepared to thrive in the professional world. The First Destination Report, a survey of recent graduates’ employment and activities, concludes in December following graduation and provides us with a means to track and evaluate the results of our efforts. This year’s report helps to highlight areas in which our programs and services are helping students take critical first steps in their post-graduation lives, while also showing areas in which we can continue to improve moving forward.

As of December 2017, 89% of the previous academic year’s graduates were either employed full time, attending graduate school, preparing for graduate school, engaged in military service, traveling, or involved in volunteer/service activities. The remaining 11% of graduates were still seeking employment.

The information from the survey illustrates the strong affiliation between student participation in an internship and post-graduation employment. Of respondents who participated in at least one internship, 53% reported that they were employed full time, while only 42% of students who did not participate in an internship had full-time employment. Additionally, students with internship experience had a much higher salary, on average $49,580, while those without internship experience were at $42,654. These data help to underscore the important work being done at CAS to increase undergraduate participation in internships through the CAS Internship Program. This past year, 82% of graduating students had participated in at least one internship (with the average number of internships being two). This was up 4% from the year before. The benefits of internships are clear, and we will continue to grow our highly successful and popular internship programming.

The work being done at CAS is not only exposing our students to opportunities that will help them in the beginning stages of their careers, it’s also imparting to them the skills necessary to succeed throughout their careers and lives. When asked how well their BU education had helped them develop five key skills identified by employers as the most important for college graduates entering the workforce (teamwork, communication, problem solving, organization, and gathering and processing information), respondents said that it had helped a moderate amount to a great deal—a fairly positive response but pointing to room for improvement. The survey results indicate that a CAS education, combined with the internship opportunities available to them during their undergraduate years, is having a positive impact on our students’ initial success in and preparedness for the working world.

Undergraduate Highlights

  • In the space of one week, biochemistry and molecular biology major Katie Tiemeyer (CAS’20, CFA’20) was selected as both a Barry Goldwater Scholar and a Beckman Foundation Scholar. Katie is the only BU student in 2018 to receive a Goldwater scholarship, a national honor awarded to students based on a strong commitment to, and potential for, a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. Katie, a sophomore who has been supported by UROP, is conducting research with Biology Professor Kim McCall on neurodegeneration, using the fruit fly model system.
  • The Student Government Executive Board elected in spring 2018 may be the first comprised entirely of students of color: Devin Harvin (CAS’19), president, Hafzat Akanni (COM’20, CAS’20), executive VP, Hector Meneses (Questrom’19), VP of finance, and Lovie Burleson (CGS’17, CAS’19), VP of internal affairs. This CAS-led group proposed bold new ideas: free course textbooks, if feasible; gender-neutral dorms and bathrooms; opening Mugar Memorial Library 24/7 at least seven days before finals week; investigating whether grade deflation is a problem at BU; an online list of college scholarships globally that Terriers might tap; and a larger campus monument to BU’s most famous alum, Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59).

Annual Report 2017/2018

  • From the Dean From the Dean
    Leading a dynamic college and graduate school of arts and sciences within a major research university is by definition a team effort. Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences Stan Sclaroff is determined to build on the accomplishments of former Dean Ann Cudd. The dean search that gets underway this fall is also an exciting opportunity for the school’s leadership, staff, and faculty to continue to imagine what is possible for our college.
  • A Year of Building A Year of Building
    During the 2017/18 academic year, the college and graduate school continued their forward momentum from recent years, strengthening and growing existing programs and initiatives. We helped lead the creation and launch of BU’s new general education curriculum, the BU Hub; launched a new living-learning program, Global House; and continued a pattern of growth in the number of master’s students while maintaining and enhancing the strength and excellence of our PhD programs.
  • Strengthening Undergraduate Education Strengthening Undergraduate Education At CAS, we provide students with an education for the 21st century—one that is flexible, forward-looking, grounded, and rigorous. In 2017/18, we matriculated one of our most talented ever classes of first-year students. And we worked hard to expand the experiential learning opportunities available to them, most notably with the launch of Global House. We also took the lead in developing a new BU-wide general education curriculum, the BU Hub.
  • Enhancing Graduate Education Enhancing Graduate Education
    A year ago, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) welcomed a new associate dean: sociologist Emily Barman. Since taking the helm, Barman has focused on expanding support services for students, enhancing diversity and inclusion efforts for our graduate programs, and continuing a pattern of growth in the number of master’s students while maintaining and enhancing the strength and excellence of our PhD programs.
  • Maintaining a World-Class Faculty Maintaining a World-Class Faculty
    In order for CAS to provide its students with a world-class undergraduate and graduate education and maintain its reputation as a leading research institution, the college must continually renew and enhance its faculty. In 2017/18, CAS hired an excellent and diverse group of new lecturers and junior and senior faculty members.
  • Conducting Pathbreaking Research Conducting Pathbreaking Research
    In 2017/18, our faculty continued pushing the boundaries of research in a vast array of fields. Discoveries both major and incremental will have a real, positive impact on people’s lives. One of the biggest leaps forward came with the opening in fall 2017 of the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering.
  • Building Our Future Together Building Our Future Together
    In 2017/18, the eighth year of the Campaign for Boston University, numerous alumni, friends, and parents have helped to raise $136.2 million for CAS—far exceeding our ambitious goal of $100 million.
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