International Students

Take a look at BU!

For most of us, the present is defined by COVID-19. But soon, this pandemic will pass and life will resume. As you look toward your future, take a moment to view this short video about the experience you can expect as a graduate student at Boston University. Graduate study at BU is an exciting prospect—from our diverse campus life to rigorous studies, professional opportunities to essential support for international students. We look forward to seeing you on campus soon. Until then, stay well.

At the heart of the Boston University College of Engineering’s mission is preparing the world’s citizens to advance the global economy and quality of life for all people. We invite and sustain a vibrant national and international student population, and a deep appreciation of global and cultural awareness and respect is a critical component of an engineering degree.

Recently, the Times Higher Education ranked the employability of BU graduates 11th compared to all universities in the world and 7th in the United States.

At BU, you’ll have the opportunity to join one of the largest populations of international students in the city of Boston. International students contribute exciting new ideas and cultures to our campus and are an integral part of Boston University’s community. The College of Engineering welcomes applications from all over the world.

We’re opening new doors to communicating with international students via social media. First in our expanding global network is the Chinese­-language channel, Weibo. We encourage Chinese­-speaking applicants to join Weibo.

English Proficiency Requirements

In addition to the required credentials for applications, international students must demonstrate an understanding of English, including the ability to read and write with ease. International students are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) that meet our minimum requirements. If the TOEFL is not available, we will accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  TOEFL and IELTS tests are valid for 2 years. For example, a student applying for Fall 2021 must have taken the test after January 1, 2019. 

English Proficiency Minimum Scores Requirement

TOEFL

Overall: 90*

Students interested in Teaching or Research fellowships are encouraged to provide an overall score of 100 on the TOEFL.

IELTS

Overall: 7.0*

Students interested in Teaching or Research fellowships are encouraged to provide an overall score of 7.5 on the IELTS.

* We will not accept scores compiled from multiple tests to meet the total score of 90 or above, or 7.0 or above for the proof of English proficiency.

English Proficiency Requirement Waiver

The English Proficiency Requirement will be waived only if the student meets one of the following requirements:

  1. Student has citizenship or permanent residency in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, Puerto Rico, or New Zealand.
  2. Student has studied in the United States (or one of the above countries) at an accredited college or university for at least TWO (2) years. The University must be located in the countries listed above.
  3. Student has earned, or will earn prior to the start of the program, a degree from an accredited college or University located in the United States (or one of the above countries: UK, Australia, etc.).
  4. Student has earned or will earn prior to the start of the program, an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where the official language of instruction is English.
    • If your transcript does not clearly state that the language of instruction is English, then please upload supporting documentation on institutional letterhead along with your transcript (in Additional Documents section of application).

Students will not need to request a TOEFL waiver. Our office will review the application and waive the TOEFL based on the scanned official transcripts provided during the review process and the educational history in the application.

This waiver does not apply to students who have earned or are earning undergraduate or graduate degrees from an institution outside the United States while enrolled in a “dual degree” program with an institution in the United States. Studying as an exchange student in an English-speaking country is not sufficient to waive the English proficiency requirement.

Additional Information on TOEFL and IELTS Exams

It is important that TOEFL exams are scheduled well in advance of the application deadline. These tests can take up to 6 weeks to be reported from ETS to our institution; students should plan accordingly. TOEFL scores should be reported directly from ETS to our institution code: 3087 (no department code). Unfortunately we do not accept paper score reports from ETS.

Obtaining Testing Information

Information on these tests may be obtained at:

  • United States embassies and consulates
  • US Information Service offices and Information Agency offices
  • Visiting the TOEFL website

We prefer international students to submit TOEFL exams. In instances where the TOEFL is unavailable, students may submit IELTS test results. IELTS official score reports should be sent directly from the testing center to the College of Engineering. BU College of Engineering now only accepts electronic IELTS results.

E-download Account Name: Boston University College of Engineering Graduate Admission

E-download Account Address: 44 Cummington Mall, Room 114, Boston, MA 02215.

Please be sure to report your IELTS TRF number in the application (in Standardized Tests or in Additional Documents).

More information about the IELTS can be seen through the IELTS website.

Additional International Student Documentation

All international students who are admitted to Boston University are required to submit additional documents prior to enrolling at BU. All students who are admitted will be notified via the offer of admission letter by the Graduate Programs Office exactly what documents are required and how they should submit these documents.

The following is a list of additional documents that may be requested:

  • Copy of Passport Information Page
  • International Student Data Form
  • Valid overseas mailing address
  • Copies of previous or current visas and I-94, if applicable

Do not mail documents to the Graduate Programs Office. These documents will not be stored and if you are offered admission you will be required to provide them in a specific electronic manner.

Providing Financial Documentation

The following information is provided as an overview of financial documents that may be required for international students who are recommended for admission. For information regarding the financial aid available for the College of Engineering at the graduate level, please visit our Fellowships and Financial Aid website.

Who is required to send financial documentation?

International students will be notified by the Graduate Programs Office of the financial documentation necessary to be issued an I-20. Boston University is required by the U.S. government regulations to provide documentation of adequate funding for educational expenses for the first year of studies.

Students should not send financial documents until they are requested to do so by the Graduate Programs Office.

Offered a Full Financial Aid Package by Boston University

Students who are offered a full financial aid package will not be required to submit any additional financial documentation (unless traveling with dependents). This includes all of our PhD students.

Not Offered Merit-Based Financial Aid

Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of merit-based financial aid offered on any given year and we cannot provide all of our incoming students with financial aid.

  • Students who are not offered financial aid are required to provide proof of financial support to cover the cost of their first year at Boston University. This amount will be listed in the letter from the Graduate Programs Office. Students can review the Estimate of Expenses chart here.
  • There are various manners in which students can provide financial documentation to prove support for their first year of study. Please reference our Financial Declaration section here for more details.

Cost of Dependents

Dependents are those family members who will accompany you to the United States. Dependents can be spouses and/or children under the age of 21.

International students who have dependents coming to the United States with them will be required to submit additional financial documentation to prove financial support for their dependents. Additionally, dependents traveling to the U.S. should be listed on the International Student Data Form.

Financial Declaration

All students who are admitted, will be contacted by the Graduate Programs office directly and should not submit financial documents before they are instructed to do so.

Students funding their own education will be required to provide official bank statements to cover their educational and living expenses for their first year of study. All documents submitted to provide proof of financial support must be:

  • Original Documents, photocopies are not accepted
  • Written in English
  • Showing in US Dollars
  • No more than one (1) year old from the date of the start of your program (for Spring 2021: not older than January 19, 2020; for Fall 2021: Not older than September 2, 2020).

Financial Documents must be issued in student’s name. If someone else is funding your education, please review the list below and locate the type of funding you will be using to review the required documents.

If you will be funded by a sponsor—your parents or relative

  1. An original, signed Financial Sponsorship Certification which indicates that your sponsor is willing and able to support you financially for your academic fees and living expenses for the first year of your studies at Boston University.
  2. An official bank statement or credit reference from a bank stating the availability of the minimum estimated expenses. The name on this document needs to match the name on the signed Financial Sponsorship Certification. This document should be written in English and the sum should be indicated in US Dollars.

If you are funded by your government, an organization, a company, etc.

The sponsoring organization must submit an official Letter of Sponsorship which states:

  1. That your funding is valid for Boston University specifically.
  2. Exactly what expenses will be covered. For example: academic fees, living expenses (how much), health insurance, financial support for family members, travel costs, etc. Letter will need to be written in English and amounts should be listed in U.S. Dollars.
  3. Letter should list the length of time your sponsoring organization is funding you for.

If you will be funded by a Bank Loan

  1. Submit an official letter of certification from the lending institution. Letter must be an original document, photocopies will not be accepted.
  2. Letter will need to be written in English. Amount of funding should be listed in U.S. Dollars.

All documents submitted in support of an application will become the property of Boston University and neither originals nor copies will be returned.