Please feel free to contact us with your questions at any time during the application process. You may also want to look for answers to your questions by browsing our FAQs below.

My university transitioned to credit/no credit or pass/fail grades during the COVID-19 pandemic. How will this impact my chances for admission?

We know that universities have been using a variety of grading policies, and our admission committees will be flexible in evaluating transcripts. Students will not be disadvantaged in the application process. In addition, since applicants are considered holistically based on their entire application, the admission committees have a variety of other information with which to assess applicant fit with our programs.

Is COM Graduate Affairs open for tours?

We are currently offering tours/visits of the College of Communication building by appointment. We also will continue to offer Zoom meetings and phone calls for prospective students as well. Please feel free to schedule a tour or Zoom/phone call here:

Application Process

When is the deadline?

PhD in Emerging Media Studies: Application review will begin December 15 and will close when the desired cohort size is reached, which is typically in mid-March.

All Master’s Programs: Priority deadline: February 1 (for consideration of all scholarships). Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until our final deadline: May 1. Please note that some programs may fill prior to May 1. If programs reach their desired cohort size and are no longer admitting applicants, we will list them on our website. We encourage you to submit your application well before the May 1 deadline.

Please note that we do not offer spring admission. All deadlines are for fall entry only.

How do I apply?

Apply via our online application, which contains detailed application instructions. All application materials must be uploaded through the online system.

How many COM programs can I apply to?

You may apply to up to two COM graduate programs. Applicants must pay an application fee for each program they apply to.

What is required in my application?

Please see our application requirements page for detailed application instructions.

Is the GRE required for COM programs?

The GRE is optional for our Master’s programs. The GRE is required for the PhD in Emerging Media Studies. Our GRE institution code is 3087.

What are the minimum requirements for admission?

The requirements vary among programs. There are no GPA cutoffs. Applicants are considered holistically based on their entire application, including their experience and credentials.

For international students, the minimum required TOEFL score is 100; the minimum required IELTS score is 7.0; the minimum Duolingo is 130.

How can I check the status of my application?

You may email our office at at any time to check the status of your application. Please note that we cannot check the status of your application until it has been submitted.

Your application is a self-managed process, which means that it is the applicant’s responsibility to regularly monitor the status of the application and to see if any application items are missing. Please note that incomplete applications will not be reviewed for admission.

All admission decisions & notifications will be sent via email.

What are the GRE and TOEFL institution codes?

  • GRE institution code: 3087
  • TOEFL institution code: 3087

What is the admission timeline?

  • December 15 (priority deadline) – PhD application review begins
  • February 1 – Master’s application priority deadline (for scholarship eligibility)
  • Mid-March – Admission & financial aid decisions emailed for PhD and February 1 master’s applicants
  • Mid-April – Admission response and tuition deposit due for PhD and February 1 master’s admits
  • May 1 – Final deadline for master’s applications
  • Early May – May 1 applicants are sent to admission committee
  • Mid-to-late May – May 1 applicants are emailed decisions
  • Early-to-mid June – Registration materials typically emailed to incoming students

Applications submitted between February 1st and May 1st will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants that submit between 2/1 and 5/1 can expect to receive an admission decision 5-7 weeks after completing the application.

Which part of my application is most important?

The admission committee looks at your entire application and admission is holistic, based on multiple factors, including your credentials and experience. The personal statement and/or writing samples, as well as the Kira Talent questions, are typically the best ways to distinguish your application from the rest of the application pool. Throughout your application, you should articulate your passion about your area of interest, why you want to complete your graduate degree at Boston University, and what you want to do after completing the program.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

The minimum required number of recommendations is three, though you can enter up to five recommenders. We strongly prefer that at least one letter is from a professor who can address your ability to perform in an academic setting. The recommendation requires both a rating of attributes and a letter submitted through the online recommendation portal. Applicants cannot send recommendations directly to COM; all recommendations must come directly from the recommender via the online portal. If your recommender is not able to access the online portal, they may send their letter to us via email to

What is an electronic letter of recommendation?

Recommendations are required to be completed electronically by your recommenders. We suggest that you contact the individuals writing the recommendations to confirm that they will be able to write your recommendation letter and to confirm their preferred email address. An email request from COM will be sent to these individuals directing them to a secured website for completion. After your recommenders complete the recommendation, they will submit it electronically to COM through the secured website.

Because recommendation requests may be caught by spam filters, applicants should contact their recommenders to ask them to allow their email systems to “permit” COM’s recommendation email address: If the COM email request was not received by your recommender, please contact COM Technical Support and the email will be sent again. You may contact technical support at (857) 304-2003 or If your recommender continues to have trouble accessing the portal, they may send their recommendation letter via email to

As you self-manage your application, you may notice three types of recommendation statuses:

  • “Requested” – the recommender has been entered into our online system.
  • “Accepted” – the recommender has logged onto the online portal, but has not submitted the recommendation.
  • “Completed” – the recommender has completed and submitted the recommendation to COM.

I’d like to change a recommender from someone whom I initially listed on my application. How can I do this?

If the recommendation status is still “Requested” or “Accepted,” you may delete that individual and add the new reference information. If the status is “Completed,” changes cannot be made.

Are interviews required?

Although we do not require interviews, we do require online video questions, through Kira Talent, as part of your application. In some cases, faculty members may contact applicants for a Skype/Zoom meeting if more information is needed by the admission committee. Informational meetings can also be conducted with relevant program faculty at the student’s request, but these do not have an effect on admission into the program. Please contact COM Graduate Affairs if you would like to schedule an appointment.

Will incomplete applications be reviewed?

No. Only applications completed by our deadlines will be reviewed.

Whom do I contact with questions about my application?

We encourage you to visit the “Manage My Programs” section of the online application, as well as browse the rest of the Frequently Asked Questions, to see if the answer to your application question is addressed. If not, please contact COM’s Office of Graduate Affairs at or (617) 353-3481 with questions about:

  • Admission requirements and policies
  • Supplemental application materials
  • Status of your application after it has been submitted
  • Content and duration of a particular COM graduate program

Please review all instructions and FAQs prior to contacting us, as many common questions can be answered on our website. If you have any questions regarding technical application issues, please contact BU COM Application Services:

  • Application Services phone: (857) 304-2003; open Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm EST.
  • Application Services e-mail:

Can I apply for the spring semester?

No, it is not possible to apply for the spring semester, as all of our programs operate on a fall-intake only. Prerequisite classes for many of our degree programs are only offered in the fall, so students cannot begin a program in the spring semester.

Can I transfer into COM?

Students can transfer into COM via the regular application process. Please note that graduate students cannot normally transfer credit from other institutions. In certain circumstances, however, the Department Chair and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs may approve up to 8 credits of transfer credit after the student has been enrolled for one semester of full-time graduate study.

Does COM offer conditional acceptance?

COM does not offer conditional admission.

Is prior academic/professional experience required for any of the Master’s programs?

No prior academic or professional experience is required or expected of applicants in order to be eligible for admission to our Master’s programs.

Are international students eligible for merit scholarships?

Yes, international and domestic students are considered for merit scholarship.

Are official transcripts required?

No, official transcripts are not required for the application process. Applicants can send in screenshots, pictures, or PDFs of their unofficial transcripts. We will need students to submit official transcript(s) that show the date in which their Bachelor’s degree was conferred after they have been admitted and accept our offer of admission.

International Applicants

If I attended a three-year undergraduate institution, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you are still eligible to apply to COM. Please note that the Bachelor’s/undergraduate degree must be received prior to fall matriculation, which typically starts at the beginning of September.

Are there different application materials for international students?

International applicants may be required to submit an English proficiency requirement beyond the standard application materials.

Does my transcript need to be in English?

Yes, all transcripts must be in English OR accompanied by a certified English translation. This includes unofficial transcripts that you upload with your application.

Will I need to have my international transcript evaluated by an evaluation service?

In general, a WES evaluation is not a required part of your application. However, if your institution does not provide a grade point average (GPA) on the American 4.0 scale, the admission committee may ask you to submit a WES evaluation or an explanation of the grading scale.

You will be able to upload your transcript in the “Documents” tab of the “Program Materials” section of the application. If your transcript is double-sided, please include both sides and be sure to include the transcript legend (the part of the transcript that explains your institution’s grading scale).

What are the TOEFL or IELTS minimum scores?

Students who received their undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking institution must take the TOEFL or the IELTS. Minimum scores in order for your application to be reviewed are:

  • Minimum Score: 100 (TOEFL iBT), 10.5 (TOEFL Essentials)
  • Minimum Score: 7.0 (IELTS)

We must receive an official TOEFL or IELTS score by the application deadline. Therefore, we recommend taking the exam at least 20 days prior to our deadline to assure that we receive the score.

To submit TOEFL scores:

  • Visit to request that scores be sent to BU College of Communication. Our institution code is 3087.
  • Your scores may take up to 20 business days from the date of your request to post to your application.

To submit IELTS scores:

Official IELTS Scores can be sent electronically to our E-Delivery Account, “Boston University Graduate Programs.” 

If English was my language of instruction for my previous degree, am I still required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score?

No. Students who have earned a degree from an English-speaking institution will not need to submit an English proficiency score.

What kind of visa will I need in order to study at COM? How can I obtain these documents?

Please visit the international student website for details about visas. You can also find helpful information on BU’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) website.

Does COM issue visa documents based on conditional acceptance?

COM does not offer conditional admission. We will help all accepted international students through the visa process after they have officially enrolled in COM.

Am I allowed to work on campus?

Yes; BU has on-campus employment opportunities, and COM offers a limited number of graduate assistantships. Please note that students who are awarded a graduate assistantship must have a valid U.S. Social Security Number in order to be paid for their work. International students may apply for a Social Security Number, which is outlined on the ISSO website.

Students may apply for on-campus employment. Positions can range from (for example) an administrative assistant at the library to a lifeguard job at the FitRec Center. International students should review the Employment Guide for International Students before starting a position.

Financial Aid

How do I apply for financial aid?

All full-time students who apply for admission are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. Students are notified about scholarships with their admission decision. Additionally, assistantship and loan information will be given to students once they are admitted.

Our website provides information on the different types of loan options available to graduate students.

For domestic students, the FAFSA form is required to apply for federal aid. On the FAFSA, list “Boston University” and our federal code number, 002130, in the College Release Section.

Who is eligible for financial aid?

The College of Communication’s financial aid resources include various scholarship funds and graduate assistantships (teaching, research, and administrative). In addition, graduate students can apply for educational loans to help cover their cost of attendance. Numerous on-campus and off-campus employment opportunities are also available.

Scholarship: All full-time students who apply for admission are automatically considered for COM merit-based scholarships. Students who are admitted are notified at the time of admission if they have been awarded a merit scholarship to be applied toward their cost of tuition.

Graduate Assistantship: Graduate assistantships may be available to qualified full-time graduate students. All graduate assistants, including international students, must have a valid U.S. Social Security number in order to be paid for their work. Assistantship amounts vary from $1,275 to $6,000 per semester; they do not cover the cost of tuition and are separate from any merit-based scholarship a student may receive.

Federal Unsubsidized Loan: Students are eligible to participate in the Federal Direct Stafford Program if they are: 1) U.S. citizens or permanent residents; 2) enrolled in a degree program at least half-time (six credits); 3) making satisfactory academic progress; and 4) demonstrate need as determined by federal regulations. A separate application is required to apply for the Stafford loan. The loan form can be found here

Federal Graduate PLUS loan: To be eligible, you must complete the FAFSA, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have never defaulted on a government loan, and also pass a minimal credit check. A separate application is required to apply for the grad PLUS loan. The loan form can be found here and must be emailed to

Private Educational Loans: BU has identified some private loans if you are interested in researching additional options. This list of options is certainly not all inclusive and we encourage you to search for other outside private loan options that may be available to you.

I am a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident; do I need to include my social security number (SSN) on my application?

We strongly encourage you to report your SSN in the personal information section of your application. This will allow us to expedite the financial aid process by matching your admission application with your FAFSA. If you plan to borrow federal aid (federal loans) to finance your graduate education, Boston University will need your SSN on file.

After filing the FAFSA, eligible students must complete separate loan form applications in order to receive their federal aid. Please email if you have any questions about the process of applying for federal aid.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows applicants who have already filed their federal income tax returns to prefill the answers to some questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by transferring data from their federal income tax returns. This can save the family some time in completing the FAFSA. It is highly recommended that students utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA.

COM graduate students are not required to submit the CSS PROFILE to be eligible for federal aid.