The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Pre-Enrollment Checklist

Prepare for Your Arrival

Accept or decline your offer of admission


If you decide to enroll please follow the specific instructions outlined in your admission letter. Your letter will be available on your Applicant Status Page. You will have to reply to the electronic "Reply to Offer of Admission" form by the deadline stated and must also pay a non-refundable tuition deposit. Your acceptance of the offer of admission will not be final until the deposit is received. MBA students will pay a deposit of $1,000. All other students will pay a deposit of $500. The deposit will be credited toward your first semester tuition charges and will secure your place in the entering class. 

*International applicants will also need to submit a completed VIDOF (Visa Information / Declaration of Finances) form with supporting documents. Please do not submit your enrollment deposit until you have secured funding to cover the total cost of attendance (tuition and living expenses) for your program. Please see step 4 for details. 

Please review the estimated Cost of Attendance for your program. If you have any additional questions please contact our office at


It is important that you find the best possible fit with your graduate program. Funding, geography, research interests of the faculty, or other reasons may play into why Heller is not your first choice. Please tell us your reasons for declining our offer so we may improve the admissions process for future applicants. Also, please accept our best wishes for the future. To decline, fill out the "Reply to Offer of Admission" form available on your Applicant Status Page.

U.S. Students: Apply for student loans

U.S. citizens/permanent residents are eligible to borrow through a variety of federal loan programs such as Stafford and Grad PLUS loans.  

There are three primary loan options available to students depending upon enrollment status and citizenship. Click here for an overview of all available loan options. Additional information is located on the loan section of our website.

Eligibility for all federal loan programs is determined by Brandeis University Student Financial Services

International Students: Contact EducationUSA for Pre-departure Orientation

Pre-departure orientation sessions are group or individual events to prepare students who have been accepted into programs of study in the U.S. Valuable information is exchanged during these sessions. Topics may include information on culture shock, health and travel insurance, medical and money matters, plane tickets, and visas among others.

Many EducationUSA Advising Centers offer annual pre-departure orientation sessions. Contact the center nearest to your city to find out about these sessions. You can find the location of these centers on EducationUSA.

International Students: Visa Processing

The majority of students that study at Brandeis will apply for the F-1 visa status using a Form I-20. In certain cases, students who are receiving significant funding from a sponsor other than a friend or family member may request a Form DS-2019 to apply for the J-1 visa.

After sending in your statement of acceptance and paying your tuition deposit, you will need to secure an I-20 form from Brandeis University’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) in order to apply for your student visa to enter the United States.

You will need to submit the following documents to obtain your I-20.

  • Heller Online VIDOF Form (Visa Information / Declaration of Finances) submitted electronically
  • Clear copy of your current Valid Passport including photo, expiration date, name and passport number
  • Submit Proof of Assured Funds (required financial documentation). Please follow instructions on the Heller VIDOF to determine the amount of assured funds you need to provide according to your program's cost of attendance.
  • If you have a spouse or unmarried child(ren) under the age of 21 accompanying you to the U.S. and you are requesting a visa document for your family member(s), please complete the Dependent Section on the VIDOF and submit a copy of each dependent's valid passport and additional financial support in the amount of $9,600 per dependent. Note: students should anticipate that $9,600 is the minimum estimated dependent cost per year for each dependent. Actual dependent costs may be higher depending on lifestyle choices. For more information on dependents, please see Dependents.
  • For SEVIS Transfer Students: If you are requesting to transfer your F-1 or J-1 student visa from a previous school (or from OPT/Academic Training) to Brandeis, please see Transfer SEVIS Record to Brandeis.
  • Please review the detailed VIDOF instructions on the ISSO website here. ISSO is also available to answer all VIDOF and Visa-related inquiries. If you have other questions, please email a member of the ISSO staff.

Note: You must submit your tuition deposit first before your I-20 is mailed to you.

Set up your UNET account (Brandeis email)

Instructions on setting up a Brandeis UNet account, which includes email, will be sent to you after you confirm your intention to enroll. Please note that after you set up your email address, we will consider your Brandeis email address your primary address. We will send all official notifications only to your Brandeis email address, not to the one you used during the admissions process. Please be sure that you check your Brandeis email regularly or have it forwarded to any other accounts you use and that you check it regularly.

Complete and submit required Health Forms

All enrolled students are required to submit a complete health record to the Health Center before arriving to campus. We recommend that you arrange to obtain your immunizations, physical exam records, blood work, and tuberculosis screenings as needed from your health care provider as soon as possible. For more information on the required health documentation and the secure paperless online patient portal, please go to the Brandeis Health Center webpage. Please direct any questions to the Health Center by calling directly at (781) 736-3677, or emailing

Please note the online health report must be submitted by July 1, 2019. Students will not be allowed to register for classes if health records have not been submitted to the Health Center by the registration period.

Note: International students must complete the VIDOF process prior to having access to their health forms. 

Select or waive Health Insurance

All full-time and ¾ time students must enroll in the qualifying Brandeis School Health Plan or waive the plan and report their own comparable health insurance coverage each year by Massachusetts regulations. To report your own insurance or enroll in the qualifying Brandeis Student Health Plan, please visit Please direct any questions about the plan or waiver process to University Health Plans by calling 1-800-437-6448 or emailing

Health insurance enrollment and waivers are due by July 1, 2019.

All international students will be automatically enrolled in the Brandeis School Health Plan.

Submit Official Transcripts

If the admissions committee accepted unofficial copies of your transcript to speed up the review process, you will need to submit official transcripts before you are able to register for classes. International students should bring their official transcript for verification during orientation. If you had not completed your most recent undergraduate degree (or graduate degree for PhD students) at the time of your application, please send your final official transcripts indicating the date of degree conferral. Failure to submit this transcript may prevent you from registering for classes.

Find Housing

Brandeis University does not offer on-campus graduate student housing. However, you will be able to find convenient off-campus rental housing that is either close by within the Waltham area or easily accessible by public transportation within the broader Boston metro area.

The University Office of Graduate Student Affairs has compiled excellent resources to assist you in finding housing. Please visit their website

Temporary Housing

Hotels and hostels are available around Boston for temporary housing. Please visit the following websites:

Note: If you are unable to secure housing before arriving in Boston, you must reserve temporary housing in advance at a hotel or hostel. There are many students arriving in Boston in August because of the number of schools in the area so it is important that you reserve temporary housing as early on as possible. Refer to the list of temporary housing resources provided above.

What Kind of Initial Expenses Should I Expect When Securing Housing?

Some expenses associated with securing rental housing include, but are not limited to:

  • first and last month's rent
  • security deposit (which can be up to one month's rent)
  • moving van or professional movers, storage units, furniture (if apartment is not furnished)
  • broker's fees for real estate assistance
  • temporary housing (see the question above)

Traveling to Campus

Brandeis offers a free bus shuttle service from the Waltham area to campus during the day and van service in the evenings. You can find a list of van and shuttle service times and locations here. On the weekends there is also free bus shuttle service from campus into Boston. If you are living outside Waltham or cannot take advantage of the Brandeis shuttle for some reason, you can purchase a discounted MBTA pass (for commuter rail, bus and subway) through the Graduate Student Center (scroll down to Boston Public Transportation, MBTA for the cost of passes and application form).

If commuting to campus with a car, you will have to apply for a parking permit for on-campus parking. Visit the Department of Public Safety for application instructions and cost for the permit.

Getting to Campus from the Airport

If you intend to reach Brandeis by plane, Boston Logan International Airport is the closest international airport. We are unable to offer airport pick-up services.

Students flying into Boston will need to take ground transportation from Boston Logan airport to Waltham. Once in Boston, you have several options available to you to get into Waltham. The transportation instructions below are more general directions for getting to central Waltham from Logan Airport. Google maps can be used for more exact directions to specific addresses.

By bus and subway

From the airport, catch the Silver Line bus to South Station. Take the Red Line Subway Outbound (towards Alewife) to Central Square. From there, catch the 70 or 70a bus into Waltham. You can also walk to Surface Artery at Beach Street and catch the 505 (towards Central Square via Waltham), 553 (towards Roberts) or 554 (towards Waverly) express bus into Waltham.

Schedules and maps are available here.

Paying your transportation fare for the bus/subway

On the bus, you have three options for paying your fare: with cash, with a Charlie ticket (paper ticket) or with a Charlie card (plastic smart card). Subway fares can only be paid using a Charlie ticket or Charlie card. Both the Charlie ticket and Charlie card are reusable and rechargeable but the Charlie Card is more affordable, versatile and convenient. With a Charlie card you pay standard T fare and get discounted transfers while with a Charlie ticket you pay standard fare plus a surcharge.

The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Travel Authority) has a very helpful website to help you compare Charlie tickets and Charlie Cards (including rates) and learn more about entering stations, boarding vehicles, and using fare machines. Please visit the Charlie Card website for more information.

Fares are subject to change. Please visit MBTA fares for more information.

More information on commuting to campus via shuttle bus, MBTA bus, commuter rail, and car is available on the Graduate Student Affairs website.

Note: Charlie cards and Charlie tickets cannot be used on the commuter rail. You will need to buy commuter rail tickets at the vending machines or ticket window at the station. Commuter rail tickets purchased on-board the train will have a $3 surcharge.

Directions to Heller

For detailed directions to campus, please see Directions and Parking.

The Heller School is located adjacent to the Tower parking lot at the highest point of campus along the peripheral road. The Security Gatehouse at the Brandeis University main entrance can provide you with a parking pass and directions.

Campus map

Arrive with cash and/or credit and ATM (debit) cards

When you arrive, you will need cash in US currency or a credit or debit card to which you can charge expenses. You should aim to bring $200-$500 in US currency to cover expenses in the first few days of your stay here. Bring enough small bills ($1s, $5s, and $10s) so that you can buy any snacks or anything else that you may need upon arrival. You may also bring travelers’ checks but please note that they may not be accepted everywhere. Make sure to check with your credit card company and/or your bank to ensure that you will be able to use your card(s) here in the US upon arrival.


You may want to open a US bank account once you arrive. There are a number of local banks around Brandeis where you can get help to open an account.

On campus, there is a Sovereign Bank ATM in the Usdan Student Center, a Citizens Bank ATM in the Shapiro Campus Center and a Bank of America ATM located in Gosman Gym and just off campus in the Village Market Shopping Center. All three banks have student checking account options and branches on Main Street in Waltham. Bank of America also has a branch on Moody Street.

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For students with children: Public Schools and Child Care Information

If you plan to bring your children with you while you study at Brandeis University, please be aware that to be eligible for public (no cost) education, your child  must be five years old as of September 1 of the year that the child will be enrolled.

If you child will be 5 years old by the start of the school year, you will be able to enroll your child in a public kindergarten.   Kindergarten, which is part of the public elementary school system and accessible based on the city/town where you live, generally runs from 8:00am to 2:30pm with children having lunch in school.   There are some school systems that have only half days (ending at 11:45) for kindergarten.

While there are after school programs in the public schools, any time that is not officially part of the school day will be at a cost to the parents.

Any child care that is available before a child is eligible for public kindergarten must be arranged by the parent.  Child care for children younger than five is often oversubscribed and usually costly.   Parents generally arrange for this child care in spring or summer for the next year, so waiting until you arrive in the U.S. in mid- or late-August to make child care arrangements will be very difficult.

Please be sure to bring with you a medical history of your child.   Public school systems are strict about children having up-to-date vaccinations before being enrolled.  

If your child will be of the age to attend the Waltham Public Schools, please go to  for more information.  If you plan to live in another city or town local to Waltham, you will need to contact the public school administration office for that city or town.

The following websites will be helpful if you need childcare apart from the public school system in the Waltham area:

Review and remit your bill

The Fall 2019 bill will be sent by Student Financial Services. One paper bill will be mailed to students' permanent home addresses in early July. All subsequent student account activity will be reflected on Sage only. We expect that you will have settled your account by the time you arrive on campus. However, if this is not the case, you will have to make your tuition payment as soon as you arrive. For questions about your bill and the billing schedule please contact Student Financial Services.

To review your bill, go to your student account in Sage. The amount owed is in the Finances Section in the Account Summary box. Details on your fall charges and credits can be viewed by selecting the “View Account and Manage Payments” link in the Finances section. Next, select the “activity” link. The “Balance through current term” is the amount due. Your outstanding balance due can be paid on Sage through Nelnet by clicking the appropriate payment button at the bottom of the screen. The payment links are also available on the main page of the Student Center in the Finances section.

Nelnet accepts MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Visa cards. A user paid fee applies to all credit card transactions. Nelnet can also process an electronic withdrawal from your US checking or savings account for no fee. You may also mail a check to: Brandeis University, Post Office Box 28197, New York, NY 10087-8197 or pay your bill in person at the Office of Student Financial Services in the Usdan Student Center.

Please note that accounts not paid in full by the due date will be subject to a late fee equal to 2% of the total balance due, or $100, whichever is greater.

For the estimated cost of your program, please refer to our cost of attendance section of our website. We also encourage you to visit our Financial Aid section for information on our financial aid resources.

Upon arrival at the Heller School in August

Check in at the admissions desk

When you arrive at the Heller School please check in at the Admissions desk, located to the right of the main entrance. You will be provided with a Welcome Packet, including a Pre-Orientation To-Do List, which summarizes many of the steps presented here.

Get your student ID card

There will be orientation coordinators to assist you in getting your Student ID card once you have checked in. If you are unable to obtain your ID card at that time, you can do so later by visiting the Campus Card Office on the ground floor of Kutz Hall, (781) 736-4230. Their normal business hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This ID card is used at campus libraries, dining services locations, marked vending machines, and for printing and copying at the University Copy Center, as well as for door access to the athletic center and labs.

Attend orientation

Admitted students will receive Fall 2019 orientation information and instructions from their program(s) administrator during the summer (June-July). The first day of class is Wednesday, August 28, 2019. Please note all students are required to attend orientation.

MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence:

  • Pre-Orientation (optional):
    • Thursday, August 22nd 
    • Friday, August 23rd
  • Heller Orientation (required): 
    • Monday August, 26th
    • Tuesday, August 27th
  • Contact: Sandra Jones, Deputy Director,

MS in Global Health Policy and Management:

  • Pre-Orientation (optional):
    • Thursday, August 22nd 
    • Friday, August 23rd
  • Heller Orientation (required): 
    • Monday August, 26th
    • Tuesday, August 27th
  • Contact: Mary Ward, Temporary Program Administrator,

MA in Sustainable International Development:

  • Pre-Orientation (optional):
    • Thursday, August 22nd 
    • Friday, August 23rd
  • Heller Orientation (required): 
    • Monday August, 26th
    • Tuesday, August 27th
  • Contact: Victoria Felson,

Social Impact MBA:

  • Heller Orientation (required): 

    • Monday August, 26th
    • Tuesday, August 27th
  • Contact: Norma DeMattos, Program Manager,

Master of Public Policy: 

  • Heller Orientation (required): 

    • Monday August, 26th
    • Tuesday, August 27th
  • Contact: Norma DeMattos, Program Manager,

PhD in Social Policy:

  • Heller Orientation (required): 

    • Monday August, 26th
    • Tuesday, August 27th
  • Contact: Cheryl Sweeney, Program Manager,

Advising and Course Registration

You will have a scheduled appointment with your faculty advisor to discuss your course options and create an individual academic plan during Orientation Week. You will receive specific instructions on how to register for courses within your program during orientation. Course descriptions and an academic calendar can be found through the Office of the University Registrar (scroll down to Courses of Instruction). 

Students with documented disabilities may be eligible to receive certain accommodations. If you will require any special assistance while you are studying at Heller, we ask that you complete and return the Disability Notification Form before August 9, 2019. Brandeis University provides complete information on Student Accessibility Support.

Working on campus

Many graduate students work on campus to earn additional money during their time at Brandeis. Student Financial Services hosts a database of on-campus jobs that are available to all students enrolled half time or more. Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are permitted to work on or off-campus.

International students are also generally eligible to work on-campus while pursuing graduate study. However, you should first consult the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) guidelines for international student employment before applying for on-campus positions. Most international students are not eligible to work off-campus.

Registering to work

In order to obtain a job on campus or receive your stipend, you must be able to present original identification to the university that satisfies the requirements of Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). You will also need to sign up for Direct Deposit. To sign up for Direct Deposit in Workday enter "Payment Elections" in the search bar and the Payment Elections task will appear. From there you can add or edit your bank account information.

You may apply for jobs as soon as you see a job posted that interests you or fits your skill set, and you may apply for as many jobs as you wish. If the hiring department is interested in your candidacy, they will contact you with further instructions.

The university's Office of Student Employment maintains a list of on-campus job opportunities that you can search. Typically, incoming students are not able to confirm on-campus job placement before arriving at Brandeis, as most departments will want to interview candidates in person before making an offer. It is also important to ask around and network since Brandeis is a fairly small community. 

The process for campus job registration and application will be covered in more detail during orientation.


Since Waltham and the Greater Boston area will be your home for at least the next year, you should spend time exploring all that the area has to offer. Boston is one of the world's great cities and is an internationally known center of student life, host to one of the largest concentrations of students in the world. It's also the unofficial capital of New England, set in a region abounding in historical and cultural attractions, music and dance, theater, concerts, vibrant nightlife and professional sports teams. Boston combines European-style architecture with the energy of an American center of learning, health care, and high technology. You can attend a range of festivals, go on guided tours of the city or explore on your own, visit museums and historical monuments around the city, go on a cruise on the Boston Harbor, go hiking and even go wine tasting for free.

The Boston Calendar also has a list of weekly events happening in and around the city. 

For guided tours, check out Boston by FootTrolley Tours and Boston Duck Tours. Also visit these 10 best museums in Boston.

Brandeis's Office of Graduate Student Affairs  offers discounted tickets to area movies and cultural events as well as MBTA discounted semester passes, and provides a series of workshops to enhance your Brandeis experience as well as free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. See the website for more details.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) hosts movie nights, cultural excursions, and gatherings. A calendar of events and club listing is available on the GSA's website.