Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is financial aid available?
  2. Who should I talk to about whether or not I am qualified for admission into the GPR?
  3. How do I apply?
  4. What additional materials need to be submitted with an application?
  5. What about test scores?
  6. Are there teaching opportunities for graduate students?
  7. How many students apply to the GPR each year? How many are admitted?
  8. Can I take classes at other universities?
  9. Does BU offer housing for visiting students?
  10. Does BU offer housing for graduate students enrolled in the University?
  11. I am an international student. What special requirements and procedures should I be aware of?
  12. Can visits to the Program be arranged?
  13. When will I hear from the GPR regarding my admissions status?

1. What financial aid is available?

The GPR is now able to offer all accept Ph.D. students 5 years Dean’s Fellowships with full tuition and a living stipend. Please refer to our financial aid page for more information.

2. Who should I talk to about whether or not I am qualified for admission into the GPR?

Because applicants are required to choose a field of specialization, a faculty member working in that field can best assess an applicant’s qualifications, as well as whether or not a student’s goals are well-suited to our faculty and resources. There are relevant faculty members listed.  Please use the lists to find faculty relevant to your interests.

3. How do I apply?

For application procedures please consult the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Admissions page where you can apply online.

Answers to general questions regarding the application process can be found on the GRS General Information page.

4. What additional materials need to be submitted with an application?

  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Official transcripts are only required if you are admitted to BU and accept the offer of admission
  • Three Letters of recommendation. While we do accept professional letters of recommendation, academic recommendations are preferred.
  • A writing sample of about 20 pages. Academic writing is preferred.  The size limit for submitted documents is 5 MB.
  • A two-to-three page personal statement. Personal statements are the place to describe your qualifications for graduate studies, including a proposed area of study, previous work related to that proposed area of study, and resources at BU that are particularly suited to your goals.
  • All international students must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Scores must be from a test taken during the last two years.

NOTE:  All materials must be submitted electronically. Official transcripts will only be requested if a student is offered admission.

    5. What about test scores?

    The GPR does not require GRE scores to be submitted.

    For information about TOEFL scores please visit the GRS website to learn more.

    6. Are there teaching opportunities for graduate students?

    Ph.D. students awarded the new 5-year Dean’s Fellowships will typically work as Teaching Fellows (in the Department of Religion) during years 2 and 3. There are also teaching opportunities for GPR students in the BU Writing Program and the BU Metropolitan College.

    7. How many students apply to the GPR each year? How many are admitted?

    Past iterations of our doctoral program have had about 100 applicants and 6-9 accepted students.

    8. Can I take classes at other universities?

    As part of the Boston Theological Institute, the GPR offers our students the opportunity to take courses at Harvard Divinity School, Boston College, and other member institutions. For a full listing of currently available courses see the BTI course catalog.

    9. Does BU offer housing for visiting students?

    Unfortunately, we cannot offer housing for visiting students. There are many hotels and inns close to BU, and some offer a discount to students visiting the university.  If you wish to find the closest hotels to the Program we suggest searching for hotels close to “Kenmore Square, Boston.”

    10. Does BU offer housing for graduate students enrolled in the University?

    BU offers limited graduate student housing, right on the main campus (very close to the GPR offices) in a newly built apartment complex. The building is purely graduate housing and has over 200 studios and 11 one bedroom apartments. Prices range from $1400 to $1800. There is more information about BU graduate housing at the Rental Property Management website. Students can contact the Office of Rental Property Management at 617-353-4101, or the Office of Off-Campus Services at 617-353-3523 or oocs@bu.edu, for assistance finding off-campus housing.

    11. I am an international student. What special requirements and procedures should I be aware of?

    The Graduate Program in Religion at Boston University promotes diversity and welcomes international students. As an international student, there are several special requirements and procedures of which you should be aware. We encourage you to review the international student application procedures section of the Graduate School website.

    All transcripts that are to be submitted with the graduate application package MUST be translated by an accredited translation service. There are several services available, but the best are those that offer not only a translation but also an evaluation (qualitative assessment of credits) of the international transcript. Two websites that you might visit include:

    The GRS policy is listed here. For more information on the TOEFL exam, visit the company’s website at www.ets.org.

    We would also like to call your attention to the ever-changing guidelines for obtaining a United States student visa. For more information, visit www.bu.edu/isso/.

    12. Can visits to the Program be arranged?

    Click here for information about visiting the Graduate Program in Religion.

    We strongly recommend that students who choose to visit make an appointment to see the Coordinator of the specialization to which they are applying. To make appointments with Specialization Coordinators or other faculty members, contact them directly.

    • Buddhist Studies – David Eckel
    • Islamic Studies – Kecia Ali
    • Jewish Studies – Jonathan Klawans
    • Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean World  – David Frankfurter
    • Religions of North America – Stephen Prothero
    • Religion in Philosophy, Politics, and Society – Anthony Petro

    13. When will I hear from the GPR regarding my admissions status?

    GPR Ph.D. Admissions decisions are made and announced between the end of February and the middle of March.
    For further information about the GPR, please contact religiob@bu.edu.