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Boston University Diversity Statistics

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

students studying together outside

Boston University Diversity Statistics: An In-Depth Overview

Boston University’s diversity statistics highlight its commitment to creating an inclusive and multicultural academic community. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University (BU) is a private research university that offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

With a student body that comes from all 50 states and over 100 countries, BU boasts a vibrant and diverse campus life. The university is known for its strong emphasis on research, with numerous opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge projects and collaborations with faculty. BU’s urban campus allows students to connect with the city’s rich historical and cultural resources, enhancing their educational experience.

The university’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity is reflected in its student demographics and variety of programs and initiatives designed to support students from various backgrounds.

How many students attend Boston University?

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the university welcomed 36,714 students, comprising 29,251 who were enrolled full-time and 7,463 part-time learners. 

Boston University is selective, with acceptance rates reported between 10.7% to 19%, indicating a competitive admissions process. The SAT scores of admitted students typically range from 1360 to 1520, demonstrating the high academic standards expected at BU. Furthermore, the average GPA of admitted students is around 3.79, reflecting the university’s focus on academic excellence.

Boston University’s diversity statistics showcase its dedication to a varied and inclusive educational environment. This blend of competitive admissions, strong academic performance, and diverse student body underscores Boston University’s commitment to inclusivity and educational quality, making it a vibrant hub for learners from various backgrounds and experiences.

View of students walking in the school campus.

Boston University Undergraduate Population

The undergraduate population at Boston University for the 2022-2023 academic year stood at 8,459, making up approximately 50.2% of the university’s total student body. 

The student-to-faculty ratio for undergraduates is 11:1, suggesting a relatively intimate learning environment where students can engage closely with their instructors. On the other hand, graduate classes at Boston University typically have around 30 students each, indicating a focus on smaller, more concentrated learning settings.

Popular undergraduate fields of study at Boston University include Business Administration and Management, Communications, Economics, Psychology, and International Relations. These programs reflect the diverse academic interests of the student body and contribute to the rich educational background of the university.

For the fall 2023 admissions cycle, Boston University attracted a substantial number of applicants, with 6,866 applying for early decision and 73,629 for regular decision, totaling 80,495 applicants. Despite this competitive pool, the university maintains a selectiveness that enriches its community’s diversity.

Approximately 41% of applicants submitted test scores, and the enrolled students often rank in the top 10% of their high school class. The incoming Class of 2027 is notably diverse, with 21% being first-generation college students and 22% Pell-Grant recipients, enhancing the Boston University diversity statistics and contributing to a dynamic and varied campus environment.

Boston University Graduate Population

During the 2022-2023 academic year, Boston University hosted 18,255 graduate students, who accounted for approximately 49.1% of its total student body. 

This statistic underscores the significant role that graduate education plays at the university, highlighting its commitment to advanced learning and research.

Graduate programs at Boston University have an acceptance rate of around 46%, reflecting a competitive but accessible selection process. This rate aligns with the institution’s reputation for providing quality education across various disciplines.

Among the graduate offerings, Business Administration and Management, Law, Chemistry, Social Work, and Business Analytics stand out as particularly popular programs. These courses of study attract a diverse group of students, contributing to the rich academic and cultural environment that defines the campus.

This blend of rigorous academic programs and a substantial graduate student presence enriches Boston University’s diversity statistics, illustrating a vibrant community where students from varied backgrounds and disciplines come together to advance their knowledge and skills.

Three people talking on a table with a laptop.

Boston University International Student Population

At Boston University, international students constitute approximately 23.3% of the total student body, with over 7,000 international scholars from nearly 100 countries, including 3,578 undergraduates.

This diverse group is part of the broader 30,000 students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate programs, illustrating the university’s global appeal and its significant role in an international academic environment.

The number of international students in the U.S. reached 1,159,798 in 2020, and Boston University has mirrored this trend with an average growth rate of 6.3% in its international student population over recent years. China has been a major contributor to this increase, with around 3,865 students, underscoring the university’s strong appeal to students from across the globe.

Boston University is recognized for offering a high-quality educational experience to its international students, ranking 7th among 1,232 colleges and universities in the U.S. for this distinction. Business Administration & Management, Economics, and Basic Developmental & Remedial Education are the most popular programs among international students at Boston University.

These statistics and trends underscore the significant impact of international students on the Boston University diversity statistics, highlighting the institution’s status as a global academic hub.

Boston University Gender Distribution

At Boston University, the gender distribution reveals a composition of 41% male and 58% female students, with 13,684 male students and 19,034 female students. This demographic breakdown shows a predominant female presence on campus. When comparing these figures to the national average for U.S. colleges, Boston University has a slightly higher proportion of female students.

Boston U Student Population

No. of Students

Percentage

Female

19,034

58%

Male

13,684

41%

Specifically, the university’s gender ratio stands at 57% female to 43% male, while the national average is closer to 56% female. This discrepancy suggests that Boston University has a somewhat greater representation of female students than the typical American college, pointing towards a gender dynamic that is less balanced in favor of male students.

Such gender distribution data are crucial elements of Boston University diversity statistics, highlighting the university’s unique demographic makeup in the context of higher education in the United States.

View of students lounging in the common room.

Boston University Age Distribution

The age distribution at Boston University reveals that the largest group of students is between 22 and 24 years old, making up 22.60% of the student body. This is followed closely by those aged 20-21 (23.32%) and 18-19 (20.53%), indicating a significant concentration of students in the traditional college age range. Students aged 25-29 represent 17.07% of the population, while those in the 30-34 age bracket account for 7.18%. The percentages decrease progressively for older age groups.

Age Range

Percentage

Under 18

0.75%
18-19

20.53%

20-21

23.32%
22-24

22.60%

25-29

17.07%
30-34

7.18%

35-39

3.71%
40-49

3.39%

50-64

1.18%
Over 64

0.26%

Unknown

0.0%

Boston University’s age diversity is reflective of a student body that leans towards younger individuals, particularly those in their early twenties. With 32.03% of its students falling into the traditional college age group of 18-21, Boston University has a younger demographic compared to the national average, where 60% of students are typically within this age range. Despite this, Boston University has a good track record of attracting students across various age groups, as indicated by its student age diversity score of 77.99 out of 100.

This data points to Boston University’s ability to draw a predominantly traditional-aged student population while still maintaining a diverse age range, contributing to the broader Boston University diversity statistics.

Boston University Statistics and Racial/Ethnic Demographics

The racial and ethnic composition at Boston University presents a diverse background, with the largest group being White undergraduates (5,552), followed by a substantial international presence (3,450), and notable numbers of Asian (3,023) and Hispanic (1,910) students.

Among graduate students, the pattern is similar, with White students (3,965) leading, closely followed by international students (3,512), and smaller numbers of Asian (1,024) and Hispanic (689) students.

Race/Ethnicity

Percentage

White

48.37%
Asian

20.71%

Hispanic

12.61%
Black/African American

6.26%

Two or more

4.82%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

0.10%

American Indian/Native American

0.07%
Unknown

7.06%

Boston University diversity statistics reveal a campus rich in racial diversity, with 57% of its students identified as minorities or people of color (BIPOC). The Class of 2027 alone boasts 24% international students, drawing from a global pool across 181 countries, including all 50 U.S. states and territories like D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.

The breakdown of international student origins further illustrates this diversity, with the majority coming from Southeast Asia/East Asia (55.5%), followed by students from Europe (9.9%), Central Asia (14.3%), and smaller percentages from other regions like Canada (5.1%), Latin America/Caribbean (4.8%), and North Africa/Middle East (8.8%).

These statistics underscore Boston University’s global appeal and its success in cultivating a multicultural learning environment, reinforcing its commitment to diversity and inclusion across its student and faculty populations.

Two people talking in a table.

Boston University Racial/Ethnic Diversity Among Faculty

At Boston University, 61.83% of faculty members are of color, showcasing the institution’s evolving racial and ethnic diversity among its academic staff. However, a predominant 78.27% of the faculty are White, indicating that while diversity has improved, the majority of faculty still belong to this demographic. Asian faculty represent 8.18%, followed by Black or African American at 6.10%, Multi-Ethnic at 1.13%, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander at a mere 0.04%.

Faculty Race/Ethnicity

Percentage

White

7%
Asian

8%

Black or African American

6%
Multi-Ethnic

1.13%

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

0.04%

Over the years, Boston University has seen an increase in faculty diversity, a change aligned with its strategic objectives to have a more inclusive academic environment. The university’s Task Force on Faculty Diversity & Inclusion plays a crucial role in this endeavor, aiming to enhance the representation of underrepresented minorities among faculty members. This task force is instrumental in developing policies and strategies that prioritize diversity and inclusion.

Boston University has established clear objectives to boost the faculty of color through various programs and initiatives, including promoting the normalization of Black and Brown faculty in departments, broadening networks for faculty and emerging scholars from underrepresented groups, and inviting outstanding scholars from these groups into academia. Programs like the Antiracist Curricula Fellowship and Emerging Scholars Programs are designed to support this mission, focusing on course redesign, professional development, and networking.

Boston University emphasizes community building among faculty of color, LGBTQIA+ faculty, and first-generation faculty, facilitating social connections and a supportive atmosphere. The establishment of Faculty & Staff Community Networks and the provision of Research Grants further demonstrate the university’s commitment to diversity and social change. Recruitment efforts also include committees specifically aimed at increasing the presence of faculty of color and LGBTQIA+ faculty.

These concerted efforts illustrate Boston University’s dedication to enhancing the diversity, equity, and inclusion of its faculty, contributing significantly to the Boston University diversity statistics, and reflecting its broader commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive academic community.

View of students using computers.

Boston University Geographic Diversity

Boston University exhibits significant geographic diversity, with a large portion of its student body coming from outside Massachusetts. Specifically, 78.42% of students are from out of state, and an additional 25.02% are international, representing various countries around the globe. This diversity places Boston University 20th out of 2,183 institutions for geographic diversity, highlighting its appeal to students from across the United States and around the world.

The university’s geographic diversity score of 99 out of 100 reflects its success in attracting a wide array of students. Notably, the top five states contributing to its student population are Massachusetts, New York, California, New Jersey, and Florida, with Massachusetts leading but only representing a small fraction of the overall student body. This underscores that a significant 86% of students hail from outside Massachusetts or from international locations.

Boston University’s commitment to geographic diversity is part of its broader mission to have a campus environment enriched by a mix of racial, ethnic, and cultural perspectives. The institution aims to be a place of intellectual openness, free from the constraints of parochial thinking and cultural insularity.

Embracing geographic diversity is crucial for the university to succeed in a competitive global context, as it seeks to integrate the wisdom, creativity, and aspirations of people from diverse backgrounds. This approach contributes to the vibrant Boston University diversity statistics, showcasing the university’s dedication to creating a globally inclusive academic community.

Boston University Financial Diversity

Boston University actively promotes financial diversity and ensures that higher education is accessible to students from all economic backgrounds. The university’s commitment to financial diversity is reflected in its policies and programs designed to meet the financial needs of its students.

For instance, Boston University guarantees to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all domestic, first-time, first-year undergraduates. This commitment is fulfilled through a combination of aid mechanisms including grants, work-study programs, scholarships, and student loans.

The AffordableBU initiative is a testament to Boston University’s dedication to financial accessibility. This program ensures that need-based scholarships for students remain consistent or increase alongside any tuition hikes throughout their four-year college journey. The university offers grant assistance to students lacking health insurance that complies with Massachusetts regulations, positioning Boston University as a leader in student financial support.

Underrepresented students at Boston University benefit from a range of financial resources tailored to support their educational journey. These include the AffordableBU Financial Aid program, which provides comprehensive financial aid packages covering the entire demonstrated financial need. These packages can include grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and low-interest student loans, designed to make education affordable and accessible.

Boston University’s Inclusion Catalyst Grants offer up to $2,000 to students, faculty, and staff for projects that encourage inclusion and promote learning on campus. These grants facilitate innovative and collaborative projects, empowering individuals to realize their creative and inclusive initiatives.

Work-study opportunities are another significant resource, allowing students to earn money to help cover their educational expenses through part-time employment on or off campus. Furthermore, the university offers scholarships and grants that students do not have to repay, which are crucial in ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder access to education.

With an average financial aid package of $57,882 for underrepresented students, Boston University demonstrates its strong commitment to making education accessible regardless of financial background. These financial aid initiatives and resources underscore the Boston University diversity statistics, reflecting the university’s commitment to an inclusive and financially accessible academic environment.

View of students staring at a laptop and talking to each other.

How diverse and inclusive is Boston University?

Boston University is deeply committed to enhancing diversity and inclusion, creating a campus culture that embraces people from a myriad of backgrounds and experiences. The university’s historical commitment to diversity is continuously reinforced through various programs and initiatives aimed at supporting a broad spectrum of voices and backgrounds.

This dedication is evident in the university’s admissions policies, which are inclusive of students from all races, religions, and genders, and in its efforts to offer resources and programs that promote success and community-building for every member of its diverse community.

Boston University’s diversity statistics reflect its commitment through strategic initiatives such as the Antiracist Curricula Fellowship Program, which supports faculty in developing courses with an antiracist perspective, and inclusive pedagogy practices that recognize and leverage the diverse strengths of its student body. The establishment of the LGBTQIA+ Center also offers a dedicated space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to connect and advance their academic and professional lives.

Financial accessibility is another critical aspect of Boston University’s diversity and inclusion efforts. With programs like AffordableBU, the university meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for new domestic undergraduates, ensuring that financial challenges do not prevent students from accessing higher education.

Boston University also supports underrepresented students through targeted initiatives, such as the Underrepresented Graduate Student Organization, which provides academic, professional, and personal support. The university’s active recruitment and retention efforts aim to mirror the diversity of both local and global communities, enhancing the campus environment with a wide array of diversity programming and professional development opportunities.

Boston University supports underrepresented groups and encourages an inclusive environment that acknowledges and celebrates the diverse perspectives and contributions of all its members, reinforcing the significance of Boston University’s diversity statistics in shaping a vibrant and inclusive academic community.

Is diversity important at Boston University?

Diversity is a fundamental value at Boston University, as reflected in its mission, policies, and the diverse community it has cultivated. The Boston University diversity statistics clearly illustrate the university’s commitment to an inclusive environment that values a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.

For instance, the campus is home to students from over 100 countries and supports a significant number of individuals from various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.

Boston University’s dedication to diversity includes its strategic initiatives to enhance the representation of minority groups among its students and faculty. The university’s efforts, such as the Inclusion Catalyst Grants and the Antiracist Curricula Fellowship Program, aim to promote inclusivity and equity across campus. Moreover, the establishment of the LGBTQIA+ Center and various cultural and resource centers underscores BU’s commitment to supporting a broad spectrum of identities and perspectives.

The university also prioritizes financial diversity through its AffordableBU program, meeting 100% of demonstrated financial needs for domestic, first-time, first-year undergraduates. This initiative ensures that students from various economic backgrounds can access higher education without financial barriers.

Boston University’s emphasis on diversity extends to its academic and social environment, striving to create a setting where students and faculty from all walks of life can thrive and contribute to the vibrant intellectual community. The diverse demographic makeup, combined with targeted programs and policies, makes Boston University a place where diversity is not only important but is actively cultivated and celebrated.

View of two students talking in their dorm room.

Clubs at Boston University that promote diversity

Boston University has undertaken various measures to enhance diversity and inclusion within its campus community through organizations and resource centers. These efforts include:

Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground (HTC)

The Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground (HTC) at Boston University is a focal point for cultural engagement, offering a range of activities, discussions, and seminars that celebrate diverse forms of expression.

The center, originally a Cadillac-Oldsmobile dealership built in 1927 and designed by Albert Kahn, has been transformed into a vibrant space for student interaction and cultural programming. Today, the HTC features a student lounge, event areas, classrooms, and an art gallery, all dedicated to cultural awareness and community interaction.

The center organizes a variety of events and programs that appeal to the diverse interests of students, including regular coffee and conversation meetings, book clubs, and the student-run Charcoal Magazine, which is designed by and for students of color.

The HTC also boasts an art gallery wall displaying student art and a listening room/meditation room, offering a quiet, technology-free environment for reflection and personal discovery. Through these facilities and programs, the HTC at Boston University aims to promote community engagement, relaxation, and individual development among its students.

India Club

The India Club at Boston University, founded over three decades ago, has grown to become the most significant cultural organization on the university’s campus, with a membership exceeding 250 active participants and a network of over 1,000 alumni. This club is renowned for its dynamic range of activities, including regular meetings, community engagement initiatives, social gatherings, sports events like basketball tournaments, and cultural festivals.

Among its various activities, the India Club is particularly famous for its biannual cultural extravaganzas held in the fall and spring. One of the highlight events, “Rangeela,” is a fall festival that captivates audiences with a spectrum of Indian dance styles, from the traditional garba raas to the energetic bhangra, and modern hip-hop fusion performances. The club is also home to Suno, a Hindi-fusion a cappella group that adds a musical dimension to its cultural showcase.

While the club primarily focuses on celebrating South Asian culture, particularly music, dance, and fashion, it is inclusive and open to students from all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. This openness reflects the club’s commitment to promoting cultural diversity and understanding within the Boston University community.

Group of students walking on the school campus.

Brazilian Association

The Brazilian Association at Boston University, known as BUBA, aims to promote the understanding and appreciation of Brazilian culture among students. BUBA’s mission is to spread the vibrancy and spirit of Brazilian heritage throughout the BU community, offering a nurturing space where students can gather and immerse themselves in Brazilian traditions. Through a variety of events and activities, BUBA enables students to explore the diverse aspects of Brazilian culture, from its music and dance to its festive traditions.

The association is committed to providing educational and engaging experiences that allow BU students to connect with and appreciate the cultural wealth of Brazil. BUBA focuses on an inclusive atmosphere that encourages cultural exchange and deepens understanding among students from different backgrounds at Boston University.

Minority Engineers Society

The Minority Engineers Society at Boston University, affiliated with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Boston Professionals, is a dedicated non-profit entity focused on promoting the educational and professional achievements of Black/African American engineering students and professionals.

Established in 1988, originally known as the Boston “Alumni Extension,” NSBE Boston has been instrumental in providing avenues for professional development and career progression for its members.

Each year, NSBE Boston positively affects over 250 students through various programs, including the ambitious “Be 1 of 10,000 Black Engineers” campaign, which seeks to enhance diversity within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) sectors.

By partnering with college chapters of NSBE and supporting Black STEM professionals, NSBE Boston Professionals plays a pivotal role in nurturing the academic and career development of minority engineers at Boston University, thereby enriching the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in STEM disciplines.

Group of students walking in the school campus.

Admissions Student Diversity Board (ASDB)

The Admissions Student Diversity Board (ASDB) at Boston University strives to boost minority presence on campus, aiding new students and enhancing the diverse cultural landscape for the entire student body.

The ASDB is proactive in engaging with multicultural communities to recruit students, works alongside the university to improve enrollment strategies, and organizes events aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion at BU.

This board is crucial in molding the university’s future, offering students a chance to participate in the admissions process and volunteer efforts, thereby helping to forge a supportive and inclusive educational atmosphere for people from varied backgrounds.

Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism (CGSA)

The Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism (CGSA) at Boston University is a dynamic, student-led organization that prioritizes creating a supportive space for individuals of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Situated within the George Sherman Union, the CGSA has a 10-member coordinating board and is guided by two faculty advisors. This center is dedicated to advancing gender equality, combating gender-based oppression and violence, and ensuring comprehensive inclusion of women, queer, and trans individuals within the university.

CGSA is active in stimulating thoughtful conversations, student activism, and providing educational opportunities across the BU campus. It organizes various activities, including volunteer engagements, social events like free bagel Fridays, and planning meetings for coordinators to brainstorm and organize events that resonate with the center’s goals. The CGSA encourages everyone within the BU community to get involved, particularly those who identify with any gender, activists, and individuals with diverse gender identities.

The center advocates for the use of gender-neutral pronouns and supports the availability of all-gender restrooms, reinforcing its commitment to an inclusive, respectful, and activist-driven environment. Through these efforts, the CGSA seeks to nurture a campus culture that is open, inclusive, and actively engaged in promoting gender inclusivity and activism.

Group of students reading in a room.

Is Boston University The Right Fit For You?

Deciding if Boston University (BU) is the right fit for you involves understanding its culture, and offerings, and how they align with your personal and academic aspirations. A key aspect of this decision is examining the Boston University diversity statistics, which reflect the institution’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse environment.

Academic Offerings and Research Opportunities

Boston University offers a broad range of academic programs across various fields, including liberal arts, business, engineering, and the sciences. With a strong research focus, BU provides students with opportunities to engage in groundbreaking research alongside experienced faculty. For example, BU’s participation in large-scale research projects like the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) highlights the university’s commitment to solving global challenges.

Campus Life and Student Activities

BU’s vibrant campus life is characterized by a wide array of student activities, clubs, and organizations. From the BU India Club, one of the largest cultural groups on campus, to the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, which promotes inclusive community engagement, BU encourages students to explore their interests and identities in a supportive environment.

Group of students smiling and talking in front of a computer.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

The university’s dedication to diversity is evident in its programs and policies designed to enhance inclusivity. Boston University’s diversity statistics showcase a rich variety of student backgrounds, with initiatives like the Admissions Student Diversity Board (ASDB) and the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism (CGSA) underlining its commitment to a welcoming and supportive community for all students.

 

Global Perspective

With a significant percentage of international students and numerous global programs, BU stands out for its international perspective. The university’s global outreach is supported by a variety of study abroad programs and international partnerships, offering students a chance to gain a broader understanding of the world.

Boston University might be the right fit for you if you value a dynamic and diverse academic environment, extensive research opportunities, vibrant campus life, and a global perspective. By considering BU’s diverse community and inclusive initiatives, you can decide if its environment aligns with your educational and personal goals.

a female student looking at the camera smiling

Final Thoughts

The Boston University diversity statistics provide a clear picture of the university’s vibrant and inclusive community. With a wide range of cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds represented on campus, BU is a place where diversity is acknowledged and celebrated.

These statistics underscore the university’s commitment to creating an environment where all students can thrive and learn from each other’s unique perspectives. Through its academic programs, student organizations, and campus initiatives, Boston University continues to develop a culture of inclusivity and respect, making it a dynamic and enriching place for students from around the globe.

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