About Policies

Boston University policies help connect our daily activities with the University’s mission by setting expectations and clarifying processes for individual members of our community.

A University Policy meets all of the following criteria:

  • It has broad application throughout the University;
  • It helps ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promotes operational efficiencies, enhances the University’s mission, or reduces institutional risks; and
  • It mandates actions or constraints, contains specific procedures for compliance, and articulates desired outcomes.

Features of this Policy Website

Each Policy/Procedure hosted through the www.bu.edu/policies website includes the following features:

Renovated Policies website tips: Each policy has a permanent URL; Each policy has a red rectangle link on the top left-hand side of the page. Clicking the link downloads a PDF and printer-friendly version of the Policy; The Policy Header contains information about the policy, including the following: (1) The top right-hand side of the Policy provides the date the Policy is effective and when the Policy was most recently revised; (2) the type of document (Policy, Procedure, or Guidelines) is located above the name of the Policy; (3) Each policy falls under one or more related categories. The related categories are found just above the name of the policy; (3) The Policy title is prominently displayed, and (5) Below the Policy title is the Responsible Office (Policy owner) with a link to other Policies from the same Policy owner. In addition, a red circle with a white up arrow appears on the bottom right-hand side of the screen as a scroll tool that returns the user to the top of the Policy. At the bottom of each policy page is a section for additional resources including: related policies, BU websites and information, forms, appendices, and other useful information.
Graphic Showing Policy Features

Scope of the Policies Available Through this Website

This website features institution-wide Policies and Procedures, so not all  of the institution’s policies, procedures, and related documents are available through this site. Some of the Policies and Procedures available through this site are externally hosted on other Boston University webpages, including Dean of Students policies,  the Provost’s Office Faculty Handbook and Academic policies, Research policies, and Environmental Health and Safety policies.

This site does not include:

  • Localized Policies, Procedures, and business processes
    In addition to University-wide policies, schools, colleges and departments may have policies or policies specific to their particular area.  These should be clearly written, approved and communicated through appropriate channels, and consistent with (though they may be more restrictive than) University Policies.
  • Policies of the Individual Schools and Colleges
    In addition to University-wide policies, schools, colleges and departments may have policies or policies specific to their particular area.  These should be clearly written, approved and communicated through appropriate channels, and consistent with (though they may be more restrictive than) University Policies. A list of the individual schools and colleges with links to their Policy pages is available here.

Website Policy Categorization

Policies  and Procedures on this website are divided into subject-matter categories to help the community locate then. Many Policies and Procedures appear throughout multiple categories. The categories are:


These policies govern all academic programs across the University. Policies for individual schools and colleges are available through the individual schools and colleges webpages. The University Bulletin is the document of authority for all academic programs.


Boston University employees power a global, innovative research institution. The policies on this page describe the processes and activities around employment, define the expected conduct of employees, and confirm the University’s commitment to a safe, vibrant, and diverse workplace. Faculty, Non-Represented Staff, and Union-Represented Staff policies apply to the employees within these groups. Access to a specific school or college policy is available here.

Ethics The single most important core value of the Boston University community is ethical conduct in all we do.  The University is committed to dealing with others honestly and in good faith and avoiding conflicts of interest and commitment, both in fact and in appearance. Here you will find the policies that specify the commitment to ethical behavior expected of all members of our community.
Finance and Administration Boston University is no small operation.  From its nearly 2,000 sponsored research projects to its substantial endowment, finances are a critical part of the University’s success.  Here you will find the policies that govern the University’s finances, including buying goods and services, arranging travel, and managing sponsored research.
Information Management Information  is a critical asset to the University, and so it must be managed appropriately. This category features policies governing records retention, and ways in which information can and must be managed and shared.
International The University has a global footprint. This category features policies specific to international activities, or policies that apply in an international setting.
Privacy and Security Information is the cornerstone of the University’s teaching, research and administrative efforts.  Although much of that information is open to the world, it is important to understand what types of information must be secured and how to secure each type, and the individual privacy constraints for specific types of information, like health information subject to HIPAA.  The security and operation of the University’s technology systems depend on the cooperation and vigilance of everyone.
Research and Scholarly Activities With 17 schools and colleges and more than 250 fields of study, Boston University is a hub of research and scholarly activities. Here you will find policies that govern those activities, including policies concerning research generally, grant application and administration, and research compliance.
Safety The University is committed to maintaining a safe campus community. This category features Policies that outline standards and procedures to make on-campus and university activities safer.
Student Life These policies describe the responsibilities of Boston University students as individuals, members of the community, and representatives of the institution, as well as the rights, protections, and privileges that come with being part of the BU family.


Policy Governance and Approval Processes

Proposals for additions and modifications to Boston University’s Academic and Administrative Policies are subject to careful review at many levels. Successful policy proposals should provide a compelling rationale that meets the highest standard of clarity and institutional necessity and is in alignment with the University’s and individual school and college strategic plans. Both Academic and Administrative University Policies go through the University’s development and approval process  to ensure that a broad range of stakeholders are consulted.

University Policy development should include consultation with the constituencies (schools/colleges or other operating units) affected by the proposed policy. The chair of the policy drafting body is the sponsor of the policy and is responsible for moving it through the approval process. Proposals successfully vetted by the appropriate consultative bodies are then brought forward to University Council (academic policies) or the Council of Deans and Administrative Council (administrative policies) for a vote before going to the University President for final approval. Proposal development should begin with a review of the recommended issues to consider and follow the University’s uniform template.

When necessary to comply with laws or regulations, the President or Provost may approve issuance by senior leadership of University-wide policies that have not been considered by the University Council, Administrative Council, Council of Deans or Faculty Council. If the requirements of a University Policy are inconsistent with federal, state or local laws, follow the law.  If you have questions about the requirements of federal, state or local laws contact the Office of the General Counsel or Compliance Services.

If you have questions about University Policies or the process by which they are developed, contact the Compliance Services Office or the Office of the Provost. To request that changes be made to a Policy on the website, contact the Compliance Services Office. They can help you understand the process for updating Policies and Procedures.

Academic Policy Approval Process

Administrative Policy Approval Process