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Boston University is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. Located along the banks of the Charles River and adjacent to the historic Back Bay district of Boston, Massachusetts, the university is an independent, co-educational and non-sectarian institution of higher education and research.

A theological training school started by a group of lay and ministerial delegates of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1839, the school was chartered as a university in 1869 as a result of the efforts of William Fairfield Warren, then president of the theological school. The seminary (now the School of Theology) officially became the first professional graduate school of the university in 1871.

The schools and colleges maintained by the university are the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Communication, College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, College of General Studies, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Metropolitan College, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Social Work, School of Theology, the University Professors Program, School of Public Health, and the School of Hospitality Administration.

Degree programs include an Artist’s Diploma, Advanced Journalism Studies Certificate, Opera Certificate, and Theatre Certificate (11 Bachelors, 32 Masters, 3 Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study, 9 Doctorates and 6 Professional degrees).

As an integral component of research, numerous interdisciplinary centers and institutes function at the university. These centers and institutes specialize in arts and humanities, business, education, health, law, and science. Also, the university offers more than 250 major and minor programs. Boston University International Programs, a premier study abroad provider in the country, features programs in language, liberal arts, fine arts, engineering, and science.

Boston University Art Gallery (BUAG), in collaboration with the Art History Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Visual Arts of the College of Fine Arts, mainly exhibits works on 20th-century international, national, and regional art developments.

Boston University Initiative for Literacy Development (BUILD) helps to enhance the literacy skills of elementary school children in Boston and Chelsea. The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center holds a substantial collection of earlier historical documents, especially of the 20th century, and more than 140,000 rare books.

The Educational Resource Center (ERC) and University Resource Center (URC) function for the benefit of students. The university also provides equal and integrated access for individuals with disabilities.