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Boston University?s Charles River campus at night

About Boston University

Boston University is one of the leading private research and teaching institutions in the world today, with two primary campuses in the heart of Boston and programs around the world.

Celebrating our legacy

Boston University was chartered in 1869 by Lee Claflin, Jacob Sleeper, and Isaac Rich, three successful Methodist businessmen whose abolitionist ideals led them to envision and create a university that was inclusive—that opened its doors to the world—and engaged in service to and collaboration with the city of Boston.

From the day of its opening, Boston University has admitted students of both sexes and every race and religion. It is with pride that we count Martin Luther King, Jr. among our alumni. What makes us prouder still is the fact that when he received his doctorate from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1955, Dr. King was taking his place in a long line of individuals that stretches back to the University’s founding. Other notable alumni include the first woman to earn a Ph.D., the first woman admitted to the bar in Massachusetts, the first Native American to graduate with a doctorate in medicine, and the first African-American psychiatrist in the United States.

In the heart of the city, in the service of the city

The University’s founders were also ahead of their time in engaging Boston University in direct service to the community long before such service was fashionable. The third president of the University, Lemuel Murlin, described a university “in the heart of the city, in the service of the city.” As we have evolved and diversified that notion of service has expanded to include the world. The magnitude of the University's engagement—which spans public education, health care, and the arts—is unparalleled in American higher education.

Forging our future

More than any other institution in our society, the modern university exists to serve the future. Boston University does this by educating individuals for fulfilling, productive lives and by creating solutions to pressing or anticipated problems through research. As a major research university, Boston University is both a repository for accumulated knowledge and experience and a testing ground for critically examining received wisdom, where groundbreaking research is conducted in a wide variety of fields and across disciplines. Taught by inspired, committed, and creative faculty, our programs combine the enduring value of a liberal arts education with the skills and experience offered by professional schools, to ensure that our students are engaged, adaptable, and equipped for successful careers and fulfilling lives.

At a Glance*




Degrees Awarded

Year Established






*These are the most recent numbers available. Click here for more University statistics.