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Graduate Students & Assistantships

We understand the importance of financial assistance and practical experience in your field of study.

Discover how to secure a graduate assistantship, explore available funding opportunities tailored for graduate students, and familiarize yourself with the necessary requirements to successfully earn your graduate degree at UMass Boston. We are dedicated to helping you thrive academically and professionally as you pursue your advanced studies.

Finding a Graduate Assistantship

These positions are assigned by the student's department/program and are subject to the agreement between UMass Boston and UAW/Graduate Employees Organization (GEO). All requests and inquiries for graduate assistantships should be directed to the Graduate Program Director (GPD) in a department/program.

AY23-24 Graduate Assistantship Stipend Guide

Graduate Research Funds

At UMass Boston, we recognize the significance of research in advancing knowledge and fostering innovation. That's why we offer Graduate Research Funds, empowering graduate students to pursue their research goals and make meaningful contributions to their respective fields. Through these funds, you can access financial support for research-related expenses, including data collection, travel to conferences, and specialized equipment.

Graduating from UMass Boston

Although we hold commencement ceremonies each May, UMass Boston awards degrees in May, August, and December. All requirements for any advanced degrees must be completed by the degree conferral date. Submit an application to graduate and read FAQs about graduation and commencement.

Graduation Degree Requirements

All requirements for any advanced degrees to be awarded in a given degree-granting period (December, May, August) must be completed by the degree date. Your degree application is due in the Registrar’s Office by the published deadline. In addition, the $200 Graduation Processing Fee will be billed to your student account through the Bursar's office and can be paid using your previous payment methods. Contact bursar@umb.edu with commencement fee and bill-related questions.

The format guidelines for master's theses and doctoral dissertations contain information about the university's standard format for these requirements. This publication is available from each graduate program director, or from the Office of Graduate Studies & Research.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The doctoral degree is conferred on graduate students who have met the following requirements:

Successful completion of all courses and projects specified by the student's advisor or guidance committee within the guidelines of the candidate's graduate studies program and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.

Satisfactory completion of the foreign language requirements of the candidate's graduate program.

Registration for the required number of dissertation credits (see "Graduate Grading Policy").

Passing a preliminary comprehensive or qualifying examination conducted by the program, or successfully completing a qualifying paper. Any student who fails the comprehensive examination may, at the discretion of the examining committee, be permitted a second and final examination. On successful completion of the preliminary examination the student will be admitted to candidacy.

As soon as the student has passed the preliminary comprehensive examination and has been admitted to candidacy, the graduate program director of the candidate's program shall recommend to the dean of Graduate Studies the names of at least three members of the faculty to serve as a working dissertation committee. At least two of the faculty so nominated shall be from the candidate's program.

Each dissertation committee must have one external member designated by the dean of Graduate Studies as the dean's representative. At the option of the program, the dean's representative may serve as a working member from the inception of the committee, or may participate only at the time of the defense. In either case, the dean's representative is a voting member of the committee and must sign the dissertation. Specific information is available from each program director.

Passing a final (at least partly oral) examination conducted by the dissertation committee. This examination shall be primarily concerned with, but not necessarily limited to, the candidate's dissertation. This examination shall be scheduled when all the dissertation committee members and the Office of Graduate Studies agree that the dissertation is sufficiently complete to undergo defense; approval of the dissertation, passing the defense, and/or recommending the degree are not implied by scheduling this examination.

It shall be the responsibility of the working dissertation committee to approve the dissertation project, to supervise its execution, and to arrange for the final examination of the student. All members of the committee must tentatively approve the dissertation before the final oral examination is scheduled, and agree that it is time for this examination to be held. Most programs require the student to deliver a public lecture on his or her research, usually on the day the final oral examination takes place. The final oral examination itself is attended by the candidate, the committee, and any invited guests. Only the committee members may vote, and the student can pass the final oral examination only with their unanimous approval. If, at the final examination, two members cast negative votes, the candidate will be informed that he or she has not passed the examination. If there is only one negative vote, the degree will be held up pending satisfactory resolution of the objections by the student and the dissenting member of the committee. Final program approval is represented by the signature of the graduate program director.

Documentation supplied by the graduate program director to the Office of Graduate Studies of each of the following stages in a doctoral student's progression. Those marked with an asterisk must be approved in writing by the Dean of Graduate Studies:

  • acceptance to candidacy
  • formation of dissertation committee*
  • acceptance of dissertation proposal
  • declaration of intention to defend dissertation*
  • successful defense
  • completion of the dissertation according to the University's guidelines for dissertation preparation*
  • a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all UMass Boston courses counting toward the degree.
  • if required by the candidate's program, a period of full-time residency at the University. The residency consists of a minimum of two consecutive semesters, either a fall-spring or a spring-fall sequence. In order to qualify for full-time status, a student must be enrolled for nine or more credits per semester, either in regular graduate courses or for doctoral dissertation credits (899) or in some combination of both. To be in residence a student must be physically present on the campus for some part of each week during the semester.

Requirements for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study

CAGS programs provide professional development for educators beyond the master's degree level. All credits must be earned at the University, and candidates must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students interested in pursuing the CAGS should contact the appropriate graduate program director.

Master's Degree Requirements

The basic requirements for the master's degree are given below. Students should consult the individual program descriptions for further requirements.

Each degree candidate must earn at least 30 graduate credits.

Each master's program will include as a graduation requirement a capstone experience that may consist of, but need not be limited to, a thesis, paper, written or oral comprehensive exam, or a seminar. In the case of the thesis option, the work will be evaluated by a committee of at least three members, two of whom must be UMass Boston faculty. In the case of other options, at least one faculty member other than the primary instructor must be involved in assessing the quality of the student's work.

Some programs require that the capstone be a thesis, which shall be under the supervision of a committee, comprising members recommended by the graduate program director and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The thesis shall follow the University's guidelines for thesis preparation, and shall require a formal defense. The thesis must be approved by all members of the committee, the graduate program director acting on behalf of the program, and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students submitting a thesis may earn up to six credits through independent study, and up to ten credits through the thesis.

Some programs may require a general exam in addition to or instead of a capstone or thesis.

Foreign language requirements are determined by each master's degree program.

Course credits used by the student to fulfill the requirements for a master's degree may not be used by the student to fulfill the requirements for any other master's degree at this University.

The candidate must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all UMass Boston courses counting toward the degree.

Foreign Language Requirements

Each academic program establishes foreign language requirements for its own advanced degree candidates. The program determines both the number of foreign languages and the level of competency required. A foreign language is defined for this requirement as a language other than the candidate's native tongue, in which there is a significant body of literature relevant to his or her academic discipline. The term "foreign language" does not include computer languages.

For information about the College of Education and Human Development, visit their website.

Theses and Dissertations

Policies and Forms for Theses and Dissertations

Deadlines for Theses and Dissertations

Initial Submissions:

  • By 11:59 PM (EST/EDT) on the dates below, you must submit a copy of your defended and revised thesis/dissertation, approved in full for content by your program, to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) via the UMass Boston/ProQuest/UMI ETD website.

                 July 20            for an August degree date
                December 1    for a December degree date
                April 20            for a May degree date

Standards for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations at the University of M

UMass Boston Graduate Studies
Campus Center 2nd Floor, Suite 2100
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
617.287.4000
graduate.studies@umb.edu