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Program Information


Students seeking a 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Science in a Changing World (SICW) should take two of the four required courses and three electives. Alternatively, a Master of Arts in Science in a Changing World is available to those who wish to complement a Master’s degree. Students with particular interests in the broader concepts of thinking and reflective practice may instead choose to pursue a related track called Critical and Creative Thinking, which places an emphasis on applications of critical and creative thinking to work, educational, and personal spheres and also leads to an MA degree or Graduate Certificate.

The Graduate Certificate in Science in a Changing World can be earned completely through face-to-face sections or completely through online sections, or a combination. SICW courses also allow students from other graduate programs to fulfill elective requirements.

Non-degree students can also take SICW courses; this opportunity, together with workshops, summer institutes, monthly evening forums, and invitations to join online communities of practice further extend the range of educational experiences offered by the Program. To accommodate the schedules of teachers and other professionals, courses are offered after 4 pm, in intensive sessions during the summer, and online. While it is possible to complete the Graduate Certificate in two semesters, most students combine the program with their ongoing careers and therefore it may take longer. Graduate Certificate students complete the two of the four foundation courses and three electives.

Required courses

Choose two from the following list:


Three electives can be chosen from across the Graduate School but it is recommended that the combination of foundation and elective courses be spread across the three areas of Science, Interpretation of Science in Context, and Pedagogy and Civic Engagement. The Program Director, in consultation with the Program faculty, determines which distribution area(s) any course counts for. Contact the program for a current list of courses and areas in which they fit. Courses offered by departments in the College of Science and Mathematics, with the exception of policy-oriented courses, automatically count for the Science area. They are explicitly included in the list only if they also count for another area.

Certificate students can take more than 2 foundation courses and count the extra ones as electives.

Subject to the approval of the Program Director, up to two undergraduate courses (300-level or above) may count as electives.

Admission Information

The following items must be submitted to apply to for the Graduate Certificate in Science in a Changing World. Please refer to the general Graduate Admissions page for additional information about fees, application materials, and applying as an international student.

  1. Undergraduate Transcripts: The Critical and Creative Thinking program that houses the Graduate Certificate in Science in a Changing World looks for a generally distinguished undergraduate transcript with an average of at least 3.0 in advanced undergraduate work. For students with a strong record of accomplishment in other areas, the SICW Admissions committee will recommend provisional admission with the stipulation that the student completes two courses in the program with a course grade of B+ or better. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Program, we do not require that you come from any specific program of study.
  2. Letters of Recommendation: Three letters are required from people who have worked closely with you and who have direct knowledge of your abilities. The people you ask to recommend you should be able to comment in detail about your academic strengths, work experience, or life experience.
  3. Statement of Interest and Intent: The Program’s admissions requirements call for an essay of at least 1200 words in which you explain your intellectual, artistic, professional or personal reasons for wanting to pursue a degree in Science in a Changing World. Your essay should include specific accounts of your past work and current direction. You should provide a detailed discussion of your specific interests and priorities as a student; the projects you have completed in the past; the problems and topics you want to focus on in future study; and how and why you believe the SICW degree can help you accomplish your goals. The SICW Admissions Committee will read your essay as a demonstration of how you write and how you think about issues, as well as determine if your interests and goals match those of the Program.
  4. Test Scores: GRE scores are optional to apply for our program. International students should check with Graduate Admissions to inform you of your required tests.
  5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Required from students from countries where English is not the primary language
  6. Declaration and Certification of Finances: Required from all International Students taking face-to-face courses before an I-20 is issued, with which the student applies for a student visa. For current financial support requirements and other information, visit the Graduate Admissions page for International students or call 617.287.6400.
  7. Personal Disclosure Form

Transfer of Courses

With the approval of the Graduate Program Director, the University allows graduate students to transfer up to 6 credits of graduate work from outside UMass Boston and up to 6 credits of UMass Boston courses taken before matriculating into the Program. Grades must be a B or higher, and an official transcript is needed for courses taken outside UMass Boston. Students starting their coursework in the summer do not matriculate until the fall but may submit a pre-matriculation waiver so that all credits taken in the summer count.

Course Waivers

If you bring an unusually strong background in a particular subject area and have written documentation to verify this, it may be appropriate to have a course waived and have another course substituted in its place in your program. If you wish to apply to have a course waived, write a clear letter of request to the Program Coordinator, attaching copies of the appropriate documentation and identifying the course you wish to substitute. Allow at least one month for such requests to be processed and responded to.

Non-Degree Students

Non-degree students who have an undergraduate degree may enroll in SICW courses on a space available basis. Non-degree students can enroll in courses during the registration period set aside by the University. If your experience as a non-degree student leads you to decide to apply to the Program, please do so before you take a third course because only 6 credits of UMass Boston courses taken before matriculation can be counted toward your degree. Any exceptions to this policy must be addressed by submitting a Pre-Matriculation Waiver Form which must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Tuition and Fee

Please visit the Bursar’s Office for a complete breakdown of current tuition and fees.


Core Faculty and Staff

Arthur Millman

Associate Professor and Department Chair of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
Learn more about Arthur Millman

Jeremy Szteiter

Critical and Creative Thinking Assistant Director
College of Advancing and Professional Studies
Learn more about Jeremy Szteiter

Peter Taylor

Professor of Critical and Creative Thinking
Program Director and Coordinator of Science in a Changing World track
Learn more about Peter Taylor

Associate Faculty

Gonzalo Bacigalupe

Professor of Family Therapy
College of Education and Human Development
Learn more about Gonzalo Bacigalupe

Arthur Eisenkraft

Distinguished Professor of Science Education
College of Education and Human Development, and Director of the Center of Science and Math in Context (COSMIC)
Learn more about Arthur Eisenkraft

Rick Kesseli

Professor of Biology
College of Science and Mathematics
Learn more about Rick Kesseli

David Levy

Professor of Management and Marketing
College of Management
Learn more about David Levy

Scott Maisano

Associate Professor of English
College of Liberal Arts
Learn more about Scott Maisano

Rosalyn Negrón

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
College of Liberal Arts
Learn more about Rosalyn Negrón

Louise Penner

Associate Professor of English
College of Liberal Arts
Learn more about Louise Penner

Rachel Skvirsky

Associate Professor of Biology
College of Science and Mathematics
Learn more about Rachel Skvirsky

Robert Stevenson

Professor of Biology
College of Science and Mathematics
Learn more about Robert Stevenson

Bala Sundaram

Chair-Physics Department
College of Science and Mathematics
Learn more about Bala Sundaram

Brian White

Associate Professor of Biology Education
College of Science and Mathematics
Learn more about Brian White

Part-time Faculty

Mark D. Robinson

Assistant Professor
Creighton University
Learn more about Mark D. Robinson

Contact Us

For further information, please contact Peter Taylor, Graduate Program Director:

Telephone: 617.287.7636

Program Office:

Wheatley Hall, Fourth Floor, Room 170.
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393