Admission to the College of Arts and Sciences

The university selects new students each year on the basis of merit, admitting those individuals whom it believes to be best prepared academically and personally for the university's educational program and most likely to contribute to and profit from the life of the Brandeis community. Although it chooses a class varied in its interests, talents and experience, it uses no quotas of any kind — geographic, racial, religious or economic.

In its evaluation of candidates, the admissions office weighs evidence of accomplishment and development; school and teacher statements based on previous study and experience; relevance to the application of test results; and impressions gained through the application.

Admission Requirements for Freshman Candidates

All applications and supporting credentials for regular decision must be received no later than January 1. Decisions will be mailed by April 1. Applications for spring entry must be submitted by November 1. Decisions will be mailed by December 1.

To be considered for freshman admission, a candidate should be enrolled in a college preparatory course of study. An adequate course in preparation for Brandeis should include four years of English, three years of math, three years of social sciences, and a minimum of three years of a foreign language, including study during the senior year whenever possible (two years each of two languages is acceptable).

Brandeis has adopted a pilot test-optional policy, wherein domestic students are no longer required to submit SAT or ACT scores for the purposes of admission. This policy allows applicants to decide for themselves whether their test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential and is consistent with recommendations from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.

Eligible applicants can choose one of the following three submission options for testing:

Option 1: Submit SAT or ACT with writing

Option 2: Submit three exams from the approved list. One exam must be from a Science or Math discipline, one exam must be from an English or Social Science discipline, and the third exam may be from a discipline of the student’s choice.

Option 3: Submit an academic portfolio through the Common Application, Universal College Application, or Brandeis Application, including:

  • One graded analytical writing sample from 11th or 12th grade, including the grades and comments for the paper from the instructor. Examples of acceptable writing samples include expository writing, essay exams, or research papers. We cannot accept creative writing.
  • One additional recommendation written by an academic teacher from an 11th or 12th grade course.

Additionally, international students for whom English is not their native language should submit results from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Applicants who, for four or more years, have attended a high school where the primary language of instruction is English are exempt from this requirement.

Full information concerning testing may be obtained from secondary school counselors or directly from the agencies administering the exams.

For information on the SAT contact the College Board Headquarters.

For information on the ACT, contact the American College Testing Program.

For information on TOEFL, contact the Educational Testing Service.

For information on the IELTS, contact the International English Language Testing System.

Early Decision

Freshman candidates who, after careful consideration of various college options, have decided firmly that Brandeis is their first choice university, are encouraged to apply for admission under the Early Decision Plan.

Early decision candidates, their college counselors, and a parent or guardian must sign a statement on the application indicating that they understand the implications of the Early Decision Plan and that the student will enroll if admitted. Although early decision candidates may file regular applications to other colleges, it is with the understanding that those applications will be withdrawn when candidates are offered admission to Brandeis under the Early Decision Plan.

All applications and supporting credentials for early decision must be received no later than November 1 for Early Decision I and no later than January 1 for Early Decision II. Supporting credentials should include the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT with Writing. Decisions will be mailed by December 15 for Early Decision I and by February 1 for Early Decision II.

Admission Requirements for Transfer Candidates

The Committee on Admissions welcomes transfer applications from individuals whose current college record demonstrates the academic promise necessary to continue their scholarly pursuits at Brandeis. Brandeis undergraduate students, including transfer students, must spend a minimum of two years as full time matriculated Brandeis students. To be considered for admission, a candidate should present evidence of good standing (academically and personally) in his or her preceding colleges and sound reasons for wishing to transfer. The availability of financial aid for transfer students is evaluated on an annual basis.

Selection of transfer candidates is based on applicants’ performance in both secondary school and college, faculty and dean evaluations, personal achievements, and test scores when required.

Transfer candidates are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, though it is recommended. International transfer candidates who do not speak English as a first language are required to submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS.

Transfer candidates should apply by the deadline of March 15 for the fall semester or November 1 for the spring semester.

Admission of International Students

To be considered for admission as an international student, a candidate should have successfully completed a pre-university program (the duration of which was at least 12 years) with strong results on nationally administered examinations where applicable.

International undergraduate applicants are required to submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT with writing. Additionally, international students for whom English is not their native language should submit results from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Applicants who, for four or more years, have attended a high school where the primary language of instruction is English are exempt from this requirement.

For the most current information on deadlines and admissions requirements for international applicants, candidates should visit the admissions website.

Need-based scholarships are awarded to international students. These awards are intended to assist as many students as resources permit through award packages of scholarship, on-campus employment and loan funds. All international applicants who would like to be considered for need-based aid must submit the International Student Financial Aid Application or the CSS Profile or the International Student Financial Aid Application. International students who are not requesting financial aid must submit the Certification of Finances form.

Gateway Scholars Program

The Gateway Scholars Program is designed to give non-native speakers of English the skills they need to become successful students and scholars at Brandeis. Students join the Brandeis community in July for courses focused on developing skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Upon completion of the summer session, Gateway Scholars participate in first-year orientation before beginning the fall semester. In the fall semester, scholars take a combination of undergraduate courses and Gateway English courses. Upon completion of the program, students will continue with a full undergraduate curriculum in the spring.

Special Students

Brandeis University accepts as special students for the fall and spring semesters a small number of individuals who are not candidates for a degree at Brandeis and who wish to elect to take up to two courses per semester, for which they are qualified and can demonstrate special need. Special students could be a high school student, college student, or adult.

Special-student status is subject to approval on an individual and semester basis. Students whose academic performance does not meet Brandeis standards may be denied permission to register for a second semester.

Neither residence nor financial aid is available to special students, and no special student may take precedence over a degree candidate in any limited-enrollment course.

Persons interested in special-student status should apply through the Rabb School of Continuing Studies by July 15 for the fall semester and by Nov. 1 for the spring semester.

Waltham Scholars

Students who attend Waltham High School are allowed to apply to take 1 course in their senior year for free at Brandeis. For further information about this program, interested students should speak with their guidance counselor at Waltham High School.

Visiting Students

Visiting Student status is available for students who are interested in spending a term or a year studying at Brandeis University. To be eligible, a student must be currently enrolled in college and have completed at least one year of full-time work. If you are currently enrolled in full-time, undergraduate study and have a strong academic and personal record, you may apply to study as a Visiting Student. Students interested in visiting student status should contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for further information and an application.

Once approved for admission, the Visiting Student must plan his/her studies within these guidelines:
Visiting Students may apply to begin in either the fall or spring semester. Application deadline is November 1 for spring and April 1 for fall. Students must carry at least 12 credit hours of courses each semester and earn a minimum GPA of 2.0. The Visiting Student status will not exceed two semesters. No visiting student may take preference over a degree candidate in any limited-enrollment course. Students whose academic performance does not meet Brandeis standards may be denied permission to register for a second semester.

Tuition and fee charges are the same as for regular full time undergraduate students in the College. There is no financial aid available for Visiting Students. Visiting Students may apply for the university's residential and dining programs. Because the availability of on-campus housing fluctuates from year to year, accepted Visiting Students should be prepared to obtain off-campus accommodations.

Undergraduate Enrollment for Brandeis Employees

Brandeis employees who wish to seek a Baccalaureate degree, mainly on a part-time basis, may apply for admission through the Adult Scholars Program with the undergraduate admissions office. Brandeis employees are charged on a course-by-course basis, taking as few as one or as many as five and a half courses per semester. (Please note, eligible employees may enroll in Brandeis University courses on a space-available basis and receive up to 100 percent tuition remission. As a rule, employees may enroll in one course per semester, for a total of three courses per calendar year using tuition remission.)

In order to receive the baccalaureate degree, individuals must meet all degree requirements, except rate-of-work requirements, that apply to full-time students. The residency requirement is modified as the semester count does not apply.

Credit will be given for course work done elsewhere if it meets University transfer credit criteria. Furthermore, allowances may be made for Brandeis summer school courses counting towards credit. There is also no time limit on the completion of degree.

Individuals interested in an application or in learning more about this option should contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

College-Level Work Done While in High School

While no numeric credit is awarded, students may satisfy general education requirements for college-level work taken during American high school study (grades 9-12) or before entering Brandeis as freshmen. Such courses must be offered by accredited postsecondary institutions; designed for and accessible to regular college students and taught by instructors whose institutional responsibilities are primarily at the postsecondary level; acceptable for degree credit at the host institution; and comparable to Brandeis courses in content, scope and level of instruction, as judged by Brandeis faculty.

To receive approval for courses taken at institutions other than Brandeis, the student must achieve grades of B- or higher, as certified by an official college transcript received by Brandeis, and must not have applied the credit toward high school graduation requirements. For students in dual-enrollment programs, elective courses exceeding the total number required for high school graduation will be considered for evaluation. Students must petition through the Office of the University Registrar. Courses that are considered credit worthy by sponsoring and cooperating colleges and universities may not meet Brandeis requirements.

Advanced Placement

Brandeis participates in the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board. Qualifying scores necessary to receive credit are recommended by the academic departments to their school councils and administered by the Office of the University Registrar.

Exams must have been taken prior to matriculation at Brandeis in order to be considered for credit.

Generally, especially in the sciences, advanced placement credit may not be applied toward satisfaction of requirements for a major or minor. It may, however, permit students to begin work in a field at a higher level. Advanced placement credit may be applied toward satisfaction of university degree requirements; please download the AP chart (pdf) for specific information on each exam.

Unlike for some other languages, there is no Advanced Placement exam in Hebrew. Therefore, the Hebrew program at Brandeis offers students who are non-native, have studied Hebrew as a second language in high school, have had no college-level courses, and have demonstrated advanced knowledge in the Brandeis Hebrew placement exam, an opportunity to take an additional exam for credit. Upon successful completion of that exam, a student will receive one course credit. This opportunity is available to students only at the time they first enter Brandeis.

Students who receive qualifying scores and wish to apply eventually for Brandeis course credit must contact the College Board and request that their scores be reported to the Coordinator of Advanced Placement, Office of the University Registrar, Brandeis University, Mailstop 068, 415 South St, Waltham, MA 02453-2728.

Brandeis' school code number is 3092. Requests for additional information on the Advanced Placement Program should be addressed similarly.

During the student's second semester at Brandeis, the student should come to the Office of the University Registrar to submit the paperwork that will allow the office to process the request for credits. Students who apply Advanced Placement exam credits to the Brandeis degree may not enroll in courses here or elsewhere that are regarded as equivalent without experiencing the revocation of the Advanced Placement exam credit. Course equivalents are determined by the academic departments and posted by the Office of the University Registrar.

A maximum of 16 credits from Advanced Placements exams may be applied toward the overall 128 credits required for graduation. Additional exams (beyond those resulting in the 16 credits) can be used for placement purposes, general degree requirements and major/minor requirements as allowed by individual departments.

The award of advanced placement credit is determined by the policies in effect during the student's entry year into Brandeis; students should consult the AP chart published in the Bulletin for their year of entry.

Any questions about the use of Advanced Placement credit should be directed to the coordinator in the Office of the University Registrar.

International Baccalaureate

Brandeis recognizes the International Baccalaureate diploma and will award eight credits (two four-credit courses) for each higher level examination with a score of 5 or better, for a maximum of sixteen credits (four four-credit courses). Additional exams with scores of 5 or better can be awarded purpose credit. Requirement purpose credit has no numeric credit value. Please download the chart (pdf) for specific information on each exam.

A-Level Examinations

Brandeis recognizes the A-Level Examinations and will award eight credits (two, four-credit courses) for each subject with grades of A, B, or C, for a maximum of 16 credits (four, four-credit courses). Additional subjects with appropriate grades can be awarded requirement purpose credit. Purpose credit has no numeric value. If you expect to receive credit for university work covered by the credential, you should not take the corresponding course at Brandeis. Please download the chart (pdf) for specific information on each exam.

French Baccalaureate Examinations

Brandeis recognizes the French Baccalaureate Examinations and will award eight credits (two, four-credit courses) for each subject with grades of 14 or better, for a maximum of 16 credits (four, four-credit courses). Additional subjects with appropriate grades can be awarded requirement purpose credit. Purpose credit has no numeric value. If you expect to receive credit for university work covered by the credential, you should not take the corresponding course at Brandeis. Please download the chart (pdf) for specific information on each exam.

Foreign School-Leaving Examination

International students are obliged to supply the results of their advanced secondary school examinations to the Office of the University Registrar for evaluation.

Brandeis accepts credit toward the B.A. or B.S. degree for a number of such examinations, including the British Advanced Level examinations, the German Abitur, the French baccalaureate, and others; credit is contingent upon level of performance and details may be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar. Credit from such sources will not be applied to the Brandeis record until the student has completed two semesters at the university.

Students may not enroll in courses deemed equivalent to the foreign work without loss of the foreign credit. A maximum of 16 credits (four four-credit courses) may be used toward the 128 credits required for graduation.

Transfer Credit Policies

Transfer students are obliged to supply official transcripts documenting all previous college-level work. All such work is evaluated and each incoming transfer student is furnished by the registrar with an evaluation based upon existing faculty policies. The evaluation will indicate the number of course credits granted and the number of degree requirements that have been met.

No more than 64 credits (equivalent to 16 four-credit courses) may be granted, because residence requirements specify that a minimum of 64 credits in four fall/spring semesters must be successfully completed at Brandeis.

Courses must have been taken at accredited, degree-granting institutions from which an official transcript has been received. The courses must be generally equivalent to courses offered at Brandeis, and the grade received must be equivalent to at least a C-, though credit is usually awarded for a "pass" grade in a system allowing nonletter grades. 

Only selected overseas study programs are acceptable for Brandeis credit; for further details on the transfer of credit from overseas study sources, consult the Office of the University Registrar. Students may not be concurrently enrolled at Brandeis during a term in which transfer credit is sought, except as allowed under the provisions of cross-registration.

Credit is granted on an equivalent semester basis with four course credits being awarded for completion of a normal semester's work at the other institution. Normally, one quarter-course receives no credit, two quarter-courses are granted one course credit, and three quarter-courses are awarded two course credits.

Students who do not initially receive credit for a particular course taken at another institution may petition the registrar for reconsideration. Such a petition requires the signature of the appropriate Brandeis faculty member and must indicate the Brandeis course to which it is considered equivalent. In an unusual situation, the petition may be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing for final resolution.

In determining progress toward the requirements of a major, departments may consider only non-Brandeis courses that have been accepted for degree credit. Departments may limit the number of such courses that they will apply toward the major. Rules governing the application of transfer credit to majors may differ from department to department.

Application and Admissions Procedures

For the most current information regarding admissions procedures and deadline dates, prospective candidates should consult the admissions website.

The contact information for the forwarding of all inquiries, materials and test results is:

Brandeis University
Office of Admissions
Mailstop 003
415 South St
Waltham, MA 02453-2728

781-736-3500 or 800-622-0622
781-736-8502 TTY/TDD

www.brandeis.edu/admissions