Academic Regulations - Graduate
All students should be familiar with the regulations and procedures described below. Note: none of these regulations or procedures shall preclude the development of more restrictive regulations and procedures by any individual graduate program.
Graduate Course Numbering System
500-599: These are graduate courses developed and offered by units other than degree programs. For example, CSR 501 and 502, developed by the Center of Survey Research and intended for students in policy doctoral programs, and anthropology courses which form the core of the history/archaeology master's track. 500-level courses are often found in interdisciplinary and certificate programs. The transferability of these courses into a particular degree program, if not indicated in that program’s section of the graduate bulletin, should be checked with the program director.
600-699: Master’s or first-year graduate courses within degree programs.
700-899: Doctoral and advanced graduate courses within degree programs
900-999: Post-terminal degree courses
5A00-5Z99: Post-baccalaureate courses. In response to the educational and training needs of the public and private sectors, the University offers a wide range of professional development courses that are not transferable to graduate or undergraduate degree programs. Currently most reside in the Graduate College of Education and carry the prefix PRFDVL, e.g., PRFDVL 5T22. The GCOE courses are designed to support the efforts of school districts and other educational groups seeking to effect system-wide improvements, and to provide practitioners necessary knowledge and skills, particularly related to the curriculum, instruction, assessment and state mandated change.
691-694, 791-794, 891-894:
Seminars, variable titles
695-696, 795-796, 895-896:
Independent Study, variable titles
697, 797, 897:
Special Topics, variable titles
699: Master’s thesis
899: Doctoral dissertation
Graduate Degrees and Certificates
At the graduate level the University of Massachusetts Boston offers degree programs, certificates of advanced study, and graduate certificates.
- A degree program is a coherent course of study of at least 30 hours leading to the master’s degree; or at least 60 hours leading to the doctoral degree. A track is a coherent course of study of at least 30 hours within a degree program. A degree program may contain one or more tracks. Such a course of study leading to a degree may include one or more concentration of at least nine credits each. (Concentrations and are not open to non-matriculated students.)
- A separate course of study of at least 30 credits beyond the master’s level leads to a certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS).
- A coherent course of study of at least 12 hours leads to a graduate certificate at either the post-bachelor’s or the post- master’s level. Certificates may be either independent or connected to a degree program.
Graduate Grading Policy
For graduate students, the University uses a system of letter grades that are equivalent to numerical “quality points” according to the following table.
|Letter Quality Point||Grade Equivalent|
The quality points for each grade are multiplied by the number of credits for the course, and the totals for all courses are added; this result is the student’s cumulative quality point figure. The cumulative quality point figure is divided by the number of cumulative credit hours carried; this result is the student’s cumulative quality point average. Graduate students may also be given grades of “NA” (Not Attending),”Inc” (Incomplete), “Y” (In Progress), “SAT” (Satisfactory), “AUD” (Audit). Explanations of these grades appear below.
Please note: The Human Services Program, which has a competency-based curriculum, does not award letter grades or compile a cumulative quality point figure. Students in other programs who take courses in human services may receive a grade of SAT.
Graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses are graded according to this graduate grading policy; they may not elect the pass/fail grading option.
The instructor of a class has full responsibility for grading and is the best judge of student performance; there may, however, be instances in which a graduate student believes that a grade has been assigned unfairly. In such cases, the student should discuss the grade with the instructor. If they are unable to resolve the issue, the student should make a written request to the graduate program director asking for a meeting with the faculty member to discuss a fuller explanation of the grade and/or reconsideration of the grade. Although the graduate program director serves as mediator in this meeting, the faculty member remains the final authority for any grading decision.
Not Attending (NA)
The Not Attending (NA) grade signifies that although a student registers for a course and appears on the class roster, the student never attended the class. The NA grade is not a substitute for dropping a course, since a student is still responsible for all tuition and fee charges for courses designated NA on his/her record. The NA grade has no effect on the student’s cumulative grade point average.
The NA grade designation may be replaced on a student’s record by a “W” (withdrawal) provided that the student submits a withdrawal form to the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar before the withdrawal deadline.
A grade of Incomplete (INC) is not automatically awarded when a student fails to complete a course. Incompletes are usually awarded when satisfactory work has been accomplished in the majority of the course and the student is unable to complete course requirements due to circumstances beyond his/her control. Incompletes are given at the discretion of the instructor. The student must negotiate with and receive the approval of the course instructor in order to receive a grade of incomplete. A copy of the written agreement between the faculty member and the student which specifies the work to be completed and the deadline for completion must be kept on file in the program office.
The initiative in arranging for the removal of an “Incomplete” rests with the student. This regulation does not apply to thesis, dissertation, or capstone credits.
In all cases, a student can obtain credit for an “Incomplete” only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. At the end of that period, if a grade is not submitted an F (Failure) will be recorded. Please note that individual programs may have more stringent rules on incompletes.
“Y” and “SAT” Grades for Practicum (698), Thesis (699), Dissertation (899), and Capstone Credits
The required number of practicum, thesis, dissertation and capstone credits varies by program. While in progress, these credits will be graded Y (in progress) for thesis and dissertation credits and, at the discretion of the program, for practicum and capstone credits. Normal tuition rates will apply. Upon satisfactory completion of these projects these credits will be converted to SAT (satisfactory).
A graduate student may audit any class on a space-available basis, but may not use that course to complete any degree requirement. Registration for audits is not permitted during pre-registration. To register as an auditor, a student must complete the regular registration or add/drop form (including written permission from the instructor to audit the course), write “AUD” in the course credit column, and submit the form to the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar by the end of the add-drop period. Once the course is designated “AUD,” the student cannot receive a grade for it. Students are assessed full tuition and fees (including lab fees) for an audited course. Conditions for the audit are negotiated by the student and the instructor.
Academic Average for Graduate Degrees and Certificates
A student must maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 in courses taken to satisfy requirements in order to graduate. For complete information on degree requirements, please see the University’s graduate bulletin.
A student is placed on probation when the graduate program director or department chair requests such action. A memorandum explaining the reason(s) for the recommendation along with the recommended criteria which the student must meet before the status is removed is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies and placed into the student’s file. Probation can be removed only by the Dean of Graduate Studies and only upon the recommendation of the graduate program director or department chair. Justification for either restoration to degree-seeking status or dismissal must accompany the request.
A student who in any two semesters, consecutive or otherwise, has semester averages of below 2.8 is subject to academic dismissal upon recommendation of the graduate program director to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Statute of Limitations Policy
Achievement of a master’s or doctoral degree or a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study signifies mastery of one’s chosen discipline. Rather than being merely a collection of courses, a graduate degree requires intense commitment to scholarship and practice within a specific period of time. Such focus and coherence is lost if the degree is not completed within a reasonable time period. Therefore, each program requires that students complete their course of study within designated time limits.
Each program has established its own time limit, approved by faculty governance. A student who fails to complete a program within that established time limit is subject to dismissal. Specific information about time limits is available from each program office. Time limits for completion are included on students’ grade reports, class schedules and invitations to register.
In exceptional cases, an extension of the time limit may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies. In such cases, the student must submit a request to the graduate program director with a letter of explanation accompanied by a detailed schedule for completion. A letter from the student’s graduate program director concurring with the request must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies with the student’s request.
Leave of Absence Policy
A student may obtain a leave of absence up to a maximum of two years by filing a request that must be approved by the GPD and the Dean of Graduate Studies. A leave of absence extends the time limit by the length of the leave, but the student must pay the program fee for each semester of the leave.
Satisfactory or Reasonable Progress
A student must make satisfactory or reasonable progress toward completion of a degree program within the University’s policy on time limits for that degree. A student who is not making satisfactory or reasonable progress is subject to probation and dismissal upon the recommendation of the graduate program director to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Transfer of Courses and Credits
Applicants who have completed graduate course work at other accredited institutions may transfer towards the completion of a UMass Boston graduate degree up to the equivalent of 6 credits from courses in which the applicant received a grade of B or higher, provided these are courses that
- have not been used to fulfill requirements for another degree, and
- were earned no more than seven years before matriculation in the program into which the student wishes to transfer credit.
Transfer credit is subject to the final approval of the graduate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Transfer of UMass Boston Courses and Credits Taken Over and Above Credits Earned for a Bachelor’s Degree.
A University of Massachusetts Boston undergraduate student in the senior year who will earn during this year more credits than needed for the bachelor’s degree may register concurrently for graduate credits at the University of Massachusetts Boston, after securing the permission of the graduate program director and of the graduate course instructor. A maximum of six credits earned in this way will be accepted, provided that they are from courses in which the student received a grade of “B” or better. After completing such a course, if the student wishes to transfer its credits to a graduate program, the graduate program director should submit a transfer credit approval form to the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar. The student should obtain from the undergraduate registrar a statement certifying that the course was not used to fulfill requirements for the bachelor’s degree. Please note: Pass/fail credits may not be transferred.
Both newly accepted and currently enrolled students must begin the course registration process by conferring with their graduate program directors. New student registration is scheduled by each individual graduate program. Currently enrolled degree-seeking (matriculated) students register, using the University’s touch-tone telephone registration system, during the advanced registration periods beginning in April (for the fall semester) and November (for the spring semester). An “add/drop” period, usually five days in length, is provided at the beginning of each semester for students wishing to make changes in their schedules. All changes must be approved by the appropriate faculty member and graduate program director.
Maximum Credit Load
A graduate student may register for up to 12 credits during the fall and spring semesters and nine credits during the summer. Any student who wishes to register for more than the maximum credit load must secure written permission from the graduate program director.
A student may repeat any course, provided the student has not taken and passed a more advanced course for which it is a prerequisite. The course may be repeated regardless of the grade received, but there may be only one such repetition. If a student repeats a course, both grades will appear on the student’s transcript, but only the second grade will be computed in the student’s cumulative average.
Full-time and Part-time Status
For most purposes, full-time graduate study is defined as nine or more credits and part-time as eight or fewer credits. Doctoral candidates engaged in dissertation research may be considered full-time students, for some purposes, regardless of the number of dissertation credits for which they register, provided their graduate program certifies that they are working full time on research. Students seeking financial aid should be certain to obtain detailed information about full-time and part-time status requirements from the Office of Financial Aid Services.
Course Changes and Withdrawals
Adding or Dropping Courses
During the “add/drop period”—usually five days at the beginning of each semester—a student may add, drop, or change courses without penalty; that is, no entry will be made on the student’s permanent record. No courses may be added after this period. Please note: a student enrolled in only one course and wishing to drop that course must either pay the program fee to remain active in the program, or withdraw from the program.
Withdrawing from Courses
After the add/drop period, a student may withdraw from a course by completing a course withdrawal form before the withdrawal deadline noted for each term in the academic calendar. Withdrawal forms are available from the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar and must be submitted to that office by the published deadline. A grade of W will appear on the student’s transcript for a course the student has withdrawn from.
Withdrawing from the University
The effective date of withdrawal from the University is that on which all forms are completed, signed and returned to the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar. The last day students may withdraw is the last day of classes of the semester. Students withdrawing receive a W for each course in which they are enrolled.
Failure to complete a withdrawal form will result in the recording of the grade of F (failure) for all courses at the end of the term. To withdraw from the University, a student must do the following:
- Consult with the graduate program director.
- Receive clearance from anyUniversity office in which finan cial charges have been incurred.
Refunds and Reductions
Please note: Students receive a full tuition refund for each course dropped during the add/drop period. No refunds are given for course withdrawals after the add/drop period. Students withdrawing from the University may receive partial refunds depending on when the withdrawal takes place. For complete information, please see the University’s graduate bulletin.
Each degree-seeking graduate student must maintain continuous registration until the degree sought by the student has been formally awarded. If the student does not register in any semester for course, thesis, or dissertation credits, he or she may maintain continuous registration by paying a program fee. For complete information, please see the University’s graduate bulletin.
Graduate degree candidates must maintain continuous registration, either by enrolling for course, thesis, capstone or dissertation credits; or by paying a program fee. Any student who has failed to maintain continuous registration and who wishes to resume his or her pursuit of the degree must apply for readmission, and will be subject to the policies and requirements in effect at the time of readmission. The applicant must complete a readmission application form and pay readmission and all back program fees before the application will be considered. Before the applicant can be readmitted, the application must be approved by the appropriate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies. The deadline for readmission applications is one month before the beginning of the semester for which application is being made. Any student wishing readmission should contact the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar for further information. Eligibility for readmission is limited to students who were in good standing at the time of their withdrawal, and who are still in compliance with the statute of limitations policy governing the completion of the degree. For complete information, please see the University’s graduate bulletin.
Academic Honesty Policy
It is the expressed policy of the University that every aspect of graduate academic life, related in whatever fashion to the University, shall be conducted in an absolutely and uncompromisingly honest manner by graduate students. For complete information on University policy in this area, please see the “Code of Student Conduct” below.