UMass Boston

Graduate Student Statute of Limitations

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.

A student may request an extension in extenuating circumstances. To apply for an extension, students should submit a statute of limitations extension form to their graduate program director with a letter of explanation accompanied by a detailed schedule for completion. If supported, the form is then reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies and Admissions and submitted to the Registrar’s Office for processing if approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Program Fee (Continuous Registration)

Each matriculated graduate student is required to maintain continuous registration until the degree that the student is seeking has been formally awarded. If a graduate student does not register for course, thesis, or dissertation credits during any semester, the student must pay a program fee to maintain continuous registration. One maintains continuous registration by registering for program fee (CAS 600).

 Note: payment of the program fee does not extend the time limit for completion of the degree.

Any student who is required to pay a program fee and does not do so by the last day of the Add/Drop Period will be subject to administration withdrawal from the University. If the student later seeks readmission or applies for graduation, the student must pay all accumulated program fees.

Leave of Absence Policy

A student who has been accepted into a graduate program is expected to remain in continuous enrollment until graduation, either full-time or part-time. However, if circumstances arise that cause an interruption in graduate study, a student may apply for a leave of absence (LOA). Leaves of absence are generally granted only in cases of substantiated illness or disability of the student or family member, military service, or parental leave.

To apply, students should submit the leave of absence request form to their graduate program director with a documented basis for the leave.* If supported, the form is then reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies and Admissions and submitted to the Registrar’s Office for processing if approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.  

  • Leaves of absence are granted in either semester or yearly increments, and students may not be granted more than three years total LOA.
  • If approved, a leave of absence includes an automatic statute of limitations extension for either a semester or year depending on the length of the leave.
  • Students on LOA will not be covered by the health insurance plan until they return to registration
  • Students on LOA do not pay the program fee while on leave and a leave of absence does not make a student eligible for student loan deferments.

* If a student is providing medical information on another person as the basis for a medical leave of absence, the student must have the permission of that person to release the information.

Office of the Registrar
Campus Center, 4th Floor
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125

Registrar Records Area