Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? Chances are you’re not alone.  You’re beginning the process of transitioning to a new place and it can get complicated.  But we’re here to help.  If you don’t see your question here, Contact us!

If you have questions on acronyms and college jargon, please see the Newbury Center’s Glossary of Terms.

Course Questions

Yes, but please let your advisor know what changes you’d like to make.  The registration system will allow you to make changes (into open courses) into the beginning of the semester.  You can add and drop PDPs and FY101 sections without letting your advisor know.

Students entering Questrom must receive a grade of C or better in the following courses:  SM131, SM132, EC101, MA121 or MA123, and WR120. Of these five courses, one grade can be a C-. Boston University policy also requires you maintain a cumulative GPA above 2.0 and that you earn no more than 16 credits with the grade of D.

Students must also receive grade of C- or better in all Questrom required courses and in any courses applied towards a declared concentration.

Absolutely!  In your first semester, you’re only able to take one four-credit course in Questrom–SM131.  All your other courses will be in other schools and colleges at Boston University, mostly in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

MA121 is calculus for people who are not interested in continuing with calculus.  We recommend MA121 for the vast majority of Questrom students. MA123 is a pure calculus course designed for students who wish to continue in STEM coursework.

Beginning in Fall 2020, MA121 will carry the following hub units:  Quantitative Reasoning II, Social Inquiry II, and Critical Thinking.  MA123 carries Quantitative Reasoning II only.

FY101 is an optional one-credit first year experience course that serves as a semester-long introduction to BU and college life. Each section is taught in combination by a BU staff member and a student peer mentor.  Look for one of the Questrom-specific sections: CAS FY101 sections Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4

A PDP is an optional recreational class, usually 1 credit, which is offered through FitRec.   You are welcome to add one or two to your course schedule, just make sure you stay at or below 18 credits!

AP credit is college credit earned before you matriculate and may be applied toward your degree requirements. Most programs at Boston University award credit for test scores of 4 or 5.  Some AP courses carry hub units and some don’t. Some AP courses, like macroeconomics, microeconomics, calculus, and statistics can meet requirements that you need for your degree. You can find the AP credit guide here.

If you don’t have your scores for your advanced credit exam, please be optimistic but realistic.  If you feel like you may have earned a 4 or 5 on the exam, I recommend that you not register for a similar course at BU.  There is no need to repeat a course you earned AP credit for.  It is much easier to pick out an elective you like, that fits in your schedule, that has hub units you need, and that has seats available and later drop it in favor of calculus (for example) than it is to register for calculus now and then need to scramble for an elective later.

Not really, no.  If you retake a course you earned AP or IB credit for, you forfeit those credits and the flexibility they give you in your schedule.  If you think you’d like to retake a course, please talk to an advisor first so we can explain why that’s not your best choice.

Yes, but there are some limitations.  You cannot take any business courses outside of BU once you matriculate and any liberal arts courses you take will not carry any hub units.  Taking a course outside of BU can be a great way to make up credits towards the required 133 credit minimum, or taking courses towards a minor.

Students should be enrolled in 16 to 18 credits, including ES110 if required, and any optional courses like FY101 or PDPs.

Your tuition covers up to 18 credits per semester, though a standard course load is 16 credits (four 4-credit courses).  During your senior year, your tuition covers up to 20 credits.  Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher can register for up to 20 credits without accompanying charges. They must submit the Tuition Waiver for Credit Overload form to obtain overload approval.

Getting help: Academic & Career Advising

The UDC is the Undergraduate Development Center; it’s your homebase at Questrom, where your academic advisors are, and where you can go to ask questions if you’re not sure where to look.  We’re located in suite 102, the first glass-fronted office to the right as you walk into the Hariri Building at 595 Commonwealth Avenue.  You can also check out our website at

There are three ways to get in touch with UDC advisors once the fall semester begins. The first is coming to drop-in hours. Drop-ins are designed for quick questions and last 15 minutes or less. On the academics side, you can use a drop-in to get help with choosing classes, degree requirements, concerns about academic performance, and any other personal or adjustment topics you want to talk about. On the career side, drop-ins can help with resume/cover letter review, interview prep, and LinkedIn profile reviews. Drop-in hours and mode (in person or virtual) are listed here.

You can also schedule an appointment with your academic or career advisor on Handshake. Handshake appointments are 30 minutes in length and are designed for those longer, more in depth conversations about your long term plans or concerns about how you’re doing in class, among other things.

Finally, you can always reach out to your advisor via email. You can find your advisor’s email here

Right now, Robyn ( is your contact at the UDC for all things Orientation.  After you’ve attended Orientation, you’ll meet with your assigned Academic Advisor.  You can find your assigned advisors on the “Academic Advising” link of the Academic tab on your StudentLink.  One of the listed advisors is your academic advisor and the other is your career advisor.  Once classes start, you’re welcome to meet any of the professional academic advisors in the UDC based on our individual specialty areas, whoever is available next, or who you are assigned to on the StudentLink.  While you can see assigned academic and career advisors on the Academic Advising link, you are not required to meet with your assigned advisor, we’re all available to help!

You can talk with your academic advisor about:

  • Course planning
  • Degree requirements
  • Concentration choices
  • Concerns about academic performance
  • Study abroad options
  • Adjustment and personal issues
  • Any other issues you may have

I love your enthusiasm!  You can start full four-year planning in the fall, once you’re settled in your classes.  You should plan to take your first set of exams before you come into the UDC for a full planning meeting.  October is usually a good time.

You can meet with a career advisor beginning in September, but please come prepared with specific questions.  Career advisors are here to support your search and career exploration, but it’s a personal process that you’re in charge of!

Career Advisors partner with you so that you are self-aware and market-ready as you take on your career path, offering a variety of services to support you in your internship and job searches.  Some of the services offer include:

  • Connecting concentrations to careers
  • Internship and job search support
  • Resume and cover letter critiques
  • Interview preparation and salary negotiation advice
  • Networking advice

Handshake is your online hub for finding jobs, internships, career-related events and content all tailored to fit your needs and interests. Handshake is also used to schedule appointments with both academic and career advisors. You can read more about Handshake and watch an intro video here.

The Hub

The BU Hub is Boston University’s university-wide general education program integrated throughout the undergraduate curriculum.  Students will take Hub courses throughout all four years of their undergraduate study. Students can explore a variety of courses and innovative learning experiences while developing six essential capacities and fulfilling Hub requirements.

There are a few ways to search for hub units:

The Hub website has a ton of great information including its own FAQ page.

Most of them!  The courses you are required to take as a part of your Questrom major cover all but the following units:

  • Philosophical Inquiry & Life’s Meaning
  • Aesthetic Exploration
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Scientific Inquiry I
  • Individual in Community
  • Writing Intensive Course

Some units are covered by CAS gateway courses taken at BU (MA121, EC101 and EC102), but not by their AP or IB equivalents.  If you have the following advanced placement credits, you will need to meet the corresponding hub units another way:

  • AP Calculus/IB Mathematics: Social Inquiry II, Critical Thinking
  • AP Macroeconomics: Global Citizenship/Intercultural Literacy
  • AP Microeconomics: Critical Thinking
  • IB Economics: Global Citizenship/Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking

Registration Mechanics

Registration for incoming first year students will begin on June 1st.  Until that time, your registration is blocked.  

If it’s after June 1st, you may not be able to register because you still need to receive an advising code from your advisor.  To receive your code, please email a screenshot of your planner to   An advisor will review your schedule and send back your advising code.

Your planner is a place where you can add a ton of sections and see how they fit together, but adding a course to your planner doesn’t reserve your seat in the course.  You have to officially register for a course in order to guarantee a space for you. You must send a screenshot of your planner to in order to get the advising code you’ll need to register.

The blue push pin on the StudentLink course search tells you that there’s important information for you to know about the course.  Sometimes the blue push pin will tell you about lecture/discussion requirements (like you have to register for a A0-A9 discussion if you register for the AA lecture), the waitlist process, or other information the department might want you to know.

Different courses have different structures.  Some courses have a lecture and a separate discussion time, while other courses have just one, independent time.  If your course has the lecture/discussion model, make sure you register for all components.

If you’d like to change sections of a course (i.e. WR120 D4 to A7), click on the Change Section link from the “Reg Option” page.  The great thing about this feature is that you won’t drop your first course until you’re in the new course.  The change section feature will also help you identify the courses that are open and that fit in your current schedule (the red flags are full and the clocks indicate a time conflict).  The Change Section link doesn’t work if you’re trying to switch courses (i.e. WR120 E3 to MA121 AA).

Most CAS courses are open-enrollment, which means if you see a seat on the StudentLink, you can register for it.  If there are no seats available, please pick an alternative option.

If you’re really set on a course that’s full, you can try to use the Add/Drop period during the first two weeks of the fall and spring semesters. During this period, you can use an Add/Drop form to get into a class if you were previously unable to because the class was full.  Just print the form, fill out the top section with your information, and ask the professor of the section you hope to add to sign you into a course.  Bring the signed form to the UDC and we’ll pass it along to the Registrar’s Office to be processed. Keep in mind that professors are not obligated to sign you in if their section is full.  Their ability to add you may be limited due to space constraints. The Add/Drop period ends September 18 for Fall 2023 classes. Remember that if you can’t get the course this fall, you’ll have seven other semesters to take it!

Permission required is a designation on the StudentLink that means that the class is restricted for some BU students.  As a Questrom student, you are not the student that’s blocked from Questrom courses (though in your first semester, you’re only allowed to take SM131).  If you are able to add a course to your planner, you’ll be able to register for it.

The building code is on the StudentLink listing for each course.  You can click on the link to see the address for the building and then use Google Maps to see the distance between your classes.

You can access the course description by clicking on the course number in the StudentLink course search.  You can also use BU Course Search.

Boston University Orientation

Yes. University Orientation is required for all incoming students. 

Nope! Beginning June 17th, registration is available to all students regardless of which Orientation Session they come to.  So if you’re worried about your schedule, set up your planner early, and register on June 17th.  But even if you decide to wait to register, we’ll make sure that you have a schedule that is working towards your requirements and goals (it might not be perfect or pretty, but you’ll get what you need).

Yes! Opportunities are available for fee waivers. Students receiving financial aid who request this assistance will be considered. Students interested in applying for Orientation Fee waivers can find the form on the Financial Assistance website.

International Students

If you’re an international student, the system prohibits you from dropping below 12 credits once you begin to register.  If you’d like to drop a course that would take you below 12 credits, add an additional one before you drop.

If you got an email from Robyn asking you to complete the writing placement , then yes, you need to take it.  Yes, even if you’ve been attending an English-speaking high school.

ALL students who submit English language proficiency scores (IBT, IELTS, or TOEFL) are required to take the writing placement test regardless of previous study (including English-speaking schools), primary language, resident status, or how well they scored on those tests; even if they submitted the test results voluntarily and were not required by Admissions to submit them.

The Writing Program does not use standardized test or High School grades (including IB or AP scores) for placement in the Writing Program courses: these are just for admission purposes, as they reflect pre-college standards. Students with AP English Language and Composition test scores of 4 or 5 are eligible for elective credit, but are not exempt from the writing placement test or WR120.

If you don’t agree with your placement, remember that your placement isn’t a punishment; it’s designed to make sure you end up in a writing course at a level that will enable you to succeed in all your coursework at BU.  If you’re still concerned, you can reach out to the writing department at to find out more information.

The writing department has a great website on the writing placement test as well as an FAQ page.

More information for special populations

The Questrom Ascend Fellowship is open to Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and first-generation college students

Ascend helps students develop a support system through relationships fostered in the fellowship. You’ll expand your professional development, nurture your personal growth with a dedicated fellowship community, have access to mentorship opportunities, and more. It’s the perfect complement to your Questrom student experience.

Check out the Ascend Fellowship website to apply!

Kilachand Honors College students will register for their CAS, Questrom, and Kilachand courses together. Please visit the Kilachand website for information about your first-semester Kilachand requirements and how your Kilachand coursework can be your pathway through the BU Hub.

You should plan to take CAS CH101 in your first semester for sequencing reasons.  You should also attend a pre-med information session, which are typically offered as a part of the continuing conversations series through Orientation.  Let Robyn know if you have any questions.

Visit the pre-medical pathways website for more information.

There aren’t specific pre-law requirements or a designated track.  But you may want to be in touch with the Pre-Professional Advising Office for suggestions and help navigating the pre-law landscape.