UMass Boston

Graduate Students & Assistantships


Academic FAQs

Where is the Office of Graduate Studies and what are its hours?

The Office of Graduate Studies is located on the second floor of the Campus Center, in Suite 2100. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the office by phone at 617.287.4000 or by fax at 617.287.5699.

If I am expected to do a thesis or dissertation, how do I learn about the requirements?

Requirements for a thesis or dissertation vary by program. To find out the requirements specific to your program contact the committee chair. The university has a standard format that a thesis or dissertation must follow. It is recommended that you follow that formatting from the beginning rather than reformatting your paper at the end. These formatting standards are available to you on the Theses & Dissertations page.

How many credits are required to be considered a full-time student?

To be considered full-time, a student must be enrolled in classes totaling nine (9) or more credits per semester. Anything less than nine (9) credits is considered part time. Doctoral candidates engaged in dissertation research may be considered full-time students provided their graduate program certifies that they are working at a full-time status. Students seeking financial aid should obtain detailed information about full-time and part-time requirements from Financial Aid Services.

How do I find out what is offered through the Continuing and Professional Studies?

Continuing and Professional Studies offers online, off campus, weekend and evening courses in various programs and certificates. All courses are credited by UMass Boston and are transferable. For more information on courses, registration, programs, and certificates please visit the Continuing and Professional Studies website or call 617.287.7900.

If I am a non-degree student, how do I register, and what are the regulations and requirements as a non-degree student?

Non-degree, or non-matriculated students, can obtain information on the Non-degree Students page. Please note that only six (6) credits taken as a non-degree student can be transferred into a UMass Boston graduate program.

To whom do I speak regarding the required courses, electives, waivers, or transfer credits in my program?

The graduate program director is the best resource for information regarding your academic program requirements. For contact information, please view the List of Graduate Programs and Directors.

Where do I find assistance in the event of readmitting after leave of absence, incomplete grades, and the statue of limitations in completing my program?

Your graduate program director is the best resource for information on academic rules and regulations and particularly how they apply to you. Please visit the Academic Regulations - Graduate page for more information.

Where do I get information about student rights, university guidelines and other policies at UMass Boston?

University policies can be found on the Academic Regulations - Graduate page.

Where do I find access to registrar forms for graduate program change, student withdrawal, leave of absence request, statue of limitation extension, and readmission?

These and other forms are available on the Forms page of the Office of the Registrar website.

When is the deadline to declare graduation upon completing the program?

Students should be aware that if they declare late, it could result in postponing their graduation to a future date. For deadline information on graduation declaration, visit the Graduation page on the Office of the Registrar website.

Financial FAQs

Where do I go if I have questions about financial aid?

Information on financial aid can be found on the Financial Aid Services page.

Who do I contact with questions concerning my bill/tuition and fees?

Billing information is accessible through your student WISER account or by contacting the Bursar's Office.

How do I learn about graduate assistantships, work on campus, and work study jobs?

Assistantships within your academic program are awarded by the graduate program director, whom you should contact for further information. For a complete list of graduate programs and directors please see the academic program contacts page. For graduate assistantships outside your program, please visit the Human Resources page and search for open assistantships.

Please note: All on-campus and off-campus (federal work study) positions are listed on the MyCareer Online website.

Where can I find out about services and financial aid for veterans, including the GI Bill and benefits?

Assistance and advising is available to veterans through Enrollment Management.

Online FAQs

How do I sign up for access to a free student email account?

For help activating a new email account, forwarding email, changing a forgotten password, or logging into the student email system, please go here.

What is WISER?

WISER is the web-based, self-service system used by students, faculty, and staff at UMass Boston. Students can access information regarding their account and use online features to update and maintain their personal, academic, and financial information.

How do I access UMass Online for online courses and Blackboard Learn for retrieving class material?

Blackboard Learn is an online learning tool used by students and faculty to assist with academic courses. Blackboard allows you to have discussions with your professor and peers, submit papers, and check or post your assignments. To access UMass Online and Blackboard Learn, click here

How do I register for classes, add/drop a course, view grades, or request transcripts?

Matriculated students can use the WISER system to view or update academic information on classes, grades, audits, and transcripts.

How do I access library services such as student computer labs and printing?

Student computer labs are located on the upper level and third floor of the Healey Library. Printing is available in the computer labs as well. Make sure to know your student email address and password, as it is needed to verify print jobs. To learn about other services offered by the Healey Library and for online resources, visit the Healey Library's website.

How do I access the university's academic calendar?

The academic calendar can be found Academic Calendar.

Student Life FAQs

Where do I go for a student ID and valid ID sticker which gives me free access to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Beacon Fitness Center, etc.?

To acquire a student ID you must go to the BeaconCard Office, located in McCormack Hall, on the second floor, in Room 615. You must present a valid picture ID or three (3) printed proofs of address to receive a student ID. To obtain a library barcode sticker on your ID, which allows you to use library resources, please visit the front desk in Healey Library. For more information regarding student IDs go here.

What about housing? Can I live on campus?

UMass Boston has residence halls for first-year undergraduate students. There are a number of near campus living options available at the Harbor Point and Peninsula Apartments as well as rentals and room-shares in the area. Visit the Office of Student Housing for information.

Where do I find transportation and parking services information for commuting to UMass Boston?

Please go to the Office of Transportation Services page.

How do I learn about or become involved in extracurricular activities, student clubs, student life resources, etc.?

The Division of Student Affairs provides opportunities for student growth and development, which complement the traditional academic mission in the classroom. These include student government, student leadership programs, student clubs, student events, and artistic opportunities.


The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is the graduate students' governance body and serves as the voice of graduate students on the UMass Boston campus. The GSA is dedicated to enhancing the academic and professional development of graduate students. This includes support for graduate research and skill development through the recognized professional associations, Spayne Master's Thesis/Project Grant, Bollinger Doctoral Thesis Grant, and professional development grants.

Where do I go for printing, faxing, binding, poster, and banner services?

Some of these services are offered to graduate students through the Graduate Research Center located on the fifth floor of the Healey Library. For other print and/or copy services, contact Quinn Graphics.

I'm feeling overwhelmed and in over my head. What services are available to me?

Graduate school can feel overwhelming sometimes, but there are a number of counseling resources available to you. The Counseling Center is available to you if you feel that you need assistance. The center provides a range of services to help with managing time and improving academic performance, responding to traumatic events, dealing with challenges associated with various social and cultural factors, and identifying and managing self-destructive behavioral patterns, including eating disorders and problems with alcohol and drug abuse.

Graduate Assistantships FAQs

What is a graduate assistantship?


  • Teaching Assistant I (TA I): A graduate student employed on a salaried basis who is primarily assigned to instructional support activities.
  • Teaching Assistant II (TA II): A graduate student employed on a salaried basis that is the instructor of record for a lecture section of a course and has independent responsibility for its teaching and grading.
  • Research Assistant (RA): A graduate student who is employed on a salaried basis to perform work primarily related to academic research or other similar work.
  • Administrative Assistant (AA): A graduate student who is employed on a salaried basis to perform work of an administrative or technical nature.

Under the terms of the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) contract, a full-time assistantship is defined as 18 hours a week. However, all students, including international students, are permitted to work 20 hours a week on campus while classes are in session.

Graduate assistantships may be awarded to matriculated doctoral, certificate of advanced graduate study, and master's students who are in good academic standing (e.g., GPA of 3.0 or higher). Graduate certificate students are not eligible to receive assistantships. There is no credit minima required to hold an assistantship. Those students on program fee status are eligible for assistantships. International students must hold an F1 visa in order to be eligible to be employed as a graduate assistant.

Who do I ask about a graduate assistantship?

First, make sure that your GPD (graduate program director) knows that you want an assistantship since the GPD awards the assistantships in your program. For assistantships outside your program, you should visit the Human Resources website and search for open assistantships.

As an international student, are there additional requirements for employment?

Yes, international students doing a complete course of study and holding the F-1 Visa are only allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. International students must complete the Non Resident Alien Form and complete the Windstar interview process in the Human Resources Department.

What is the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO)?

The GEO is the Graduate Employee Organization at UMass Boston, the graduate employees’ union.