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Program Information


Students seeking a 33-credit Master of Arts in Science in a Changing World (SICW) should take four required courses, four electives, and three final courses. Alternatively, a Graduate Certificate in Science in a Changing World is available to those who wish to complement a Master’s degree in another program or otherwise do not wish to pursue a full MA 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 MA in Science in a Changing World can be earned completely through face-to-face sections, 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 for a full-time student to complete the master’s program in two academic years, most students combine the program with their ongoing careers and therefore take longer. MA students complete the four foundation courses, four electives, and three final required "research and engagement" courses including a capstone synthesis.

Required courses:


Four electives can be chosen from across the graduate school but it is recommended that the combination of foundation, elective, and research and engagement courses meet minimum numbers in each of the three areas of Science, Interpretation of Science in Context, and Pedagogy and Civic Engagement:

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

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.

Research and Engagement

Admission Information

The following items must be submitted to apply to for the MA 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.

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.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the Master's program students in the CCT graduate program and the Science in a Changing World graduate track are asked to assess themselves in relation to two sets of specific learning goals using a "Plus-Delta" format. These learning goals are introduced to new students as part of the requirement to assemble a Reflective Practitioner's Portfolio during their studies; the pre-capstone course, Processes of Research and Engagement, is structured explicitly around the goals.

The Exit Self-Assessment has been made part of the Capstone requirement given that reflective practice and lifelong learning are overarching goals of the Program. That is, students are led to experiment and take risks in applying what they are learning, reflect on the outcomes and revise accordingly, and build up a set of tools, practices, and perspectives that work in their specific professional or personal endeavors.

The Exit Self-Assessment centers on the student's experience in the capstone or "Synthesis" process, but it allows room to review the learning during the Program as a whole. The Plus-Delta format for Self-Assessment requires the student to describe for each goal:

"My Synthesis Product Shows That..."

  1. I can convey who I want to influence/affect concerning what (Subject, Audience, Purpose).
  2. I know what others have done before, either in the form of writing or action, that informs and connects with my project, and I know what others are doing now.
  3. I have teased out my vision, so as to expand my view of issues associated with the project, expose possible new directions, clarify direction/scope within the larger set of issues, and decide the most important direction.
  4. I have identified the premises and propositions that my project depends on, and can state counter-propositions. I have taken stock of the thinking and research I need to do to counter those counter-propositions or to revise my own propositions.
  5. I have clear objectives with respect to product, both written and practice, and process, including personal development as a reflective practitioner. I have arranged my work in a sequence (with realistic deadlines) to realize these objectives.
  6. I have gained direct information, models, and experience not readily available from other sources.
  7. I have clarified the overall progression or argument underlying my research and the written reports.
  8. My writing and other products Grab the attention of the readers/audience, Orient them, move them along in Steps, so they appreciate the Position I have led them to.
  9. I have facilitated new avenues of classroom, workplace, and public participation.
  10. To feed into my future learning and other work, I have taken stock of what has been working well and what needs changing.

Developing as a Reflective Practitioner, Including Taking Initiatives in and Through Relationships

  1. I have integrated knowledge and perspectives from CCT and other courses into my own inquiry and engagement in social and/or educational change.
  2. I have also integrated into my own inquiry and engagement the processes, experiences, and struggles of previous courses.
  3. I have developed efficient ways to organize my time, research materials, computer access, bibliographies, etc.
  4. I have experimented with new tools and experiences, even if not every one became part of my toolkit as a learner, teacher/facilitator of others, and reflective practitioner.
  5. I have paid attention to the emotional dimensions of undertaking my own project but have found ways to clear away distractions from other sources (present & past) and not get blocked, turning apparent obstacles into opportunities to move into unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory.
  6. I have developed peer and other horizontal relationships. I have sought support and advice from peers, and have given support and advice to them when asked for.
  7. I have taken the lead, not dragged my feet, in dialogue with my advisor and other readers. I didn't wait for the them to tell me how to solve an expository problem, what must be read and covered in a literature review, or what was meant by some comment I didn't understand. I didn't put off giving my writing to my advisor and other readers or avoid talking to them because I thought that they didn't see things the same way as I do.
  8. I have revised seriously, which involved responding to the comments of others. I came to see this not as bowing down to the views of others, but taking them in and working them into my own reflective inquiry until I could convey more powerfully to others what I'm about (which may have changed as a result of the reflective inquiry).
  9. I have inquired and negotiated about formal standards, but gone on to develop and internalize my own criteria for doing work--criteria other than jumping through hoops set by the professor so I get a good grade.
  10. I have approached the CCT synthesis course and the CCT program as works-in-progress, which means that, instead of harboring criticisms to submit after the fact, I have found opportunities to affirm what is working well in the synthesis course and program as a whole and to suggest directions for their further development.

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