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    University of Massachusetts Boston
   
 
  Sep 21, 2017
 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

General Academic Regulations


 


All students should be familiar with the regulations and procedures described below. Please note that none of these regulations or procedures shall preclude the development of more restrictive regulations and procedures by any individual graduate program.

Graduate Course Numbering System

Course Levels

500-599: These are graduate courses equivalent in workload and standards to 600-level courses. 500-level numbers are assigned (a) to graduate courses offered by departments that do not grant a graduate degree; examples are 500-level courses in Mathematics and Spanish that count toward the Teacher Education Track with Professional Licensure; or (b) as a signal to the Registrar that a course given by a graduate degree-granting unit does not normally count toward that degree. 500-level courses are most characteristically found in interdisciplinary programs and certificate programs. The transferability of these courses into a particular degree program, if not indicated in that program’s section of this catalog, should be checked with the program director.

600-699: Master’s or doctoral graduate courses within degree programs.

700-899: Doctoral graduate courses within degree programs.

900-999: Post-terminal degree courses.

Fixed Numbers

691-694, 791-794, 891-894: Seminars, variable titles

695-696, 795-796, 895-896: Independent Study

697, 797, 897: Special Topics, variable titles

698: Practicum

699: Master’s thesis

899: Doctoral dissertation

Graduate Degrees and Certificates

The University of Massachusetts Boston offers graduate degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, certificates of advanced graduate study, and graduate certificates.

  • A degree program is a coherent course of study of at least 30 credit hours leading to the master’s degree or at least 60 credit hours leading to the doctoral degree. A track is a coherent course of study within a degree program; the track curriculum will consist of at least 30 credit hours for a master’s degree or 60 for a doctoral degree, a core portion of which is normally shared by other tracks in the same program. A course of study leading to a degree may further include one or more concentrations of at least nine credits each. Such concentrations are open only to students matriculated in the program.
  • A separate course of study of at least 30 credits beyond the master’s level may lead to a certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS).
  • A coherent course of study of at least 12 hours, but fewer than 30, leads to a graduate certificate at either the post-bachelor’s or the post-master’s level. Graduate certificate programs may be either independent or connected to a degree program.

All students wishing to enroll for graduate degrees, tracks within degrees, certificates of advanced graduate study, or graduate certificates must file applications for admission to those programs through the Office of Graduate Admissions. In some cases, students already matriculated in a graduate program may be admitted to an additional certificate program without filing a formal admissions application through Graduate Admissions.

Academic Honesty Policy

It is the express policy of the university that every aspect of graduate academic life, related in whatever fashion to the university, shall be conducted in an absolutely and uncompromisingly honest manner by graduate students. For complete information on university policy in this area, see Code of Student Conduct.

Graduate Grading Policy

For graduate students, the university has used a system of letter grades that are equivalent to numerical “quality points,” according to the following table: 

  Letter Grade Quality Point Equivalent
  A 4.00
  A- 3.75
  B+ 3.25
  B 3.00
  B- 2.75
  C+ 2.25
  C 2.00
  F 0.00

 

The quality points for each grade are multiplied by the number of credits for the course, and the totals for all courses are added; this result is the student’s cumulative quality point figure. The cumulative quality point figure is divided by the number of cumulative credit hours carried; this result is the student’s cumulative quality point average. Graduate students may also be given grades of “NA” (Not Attending), “Inc” (Incomplete), “Y” (In Progress), “SAT” (Satisfactory), “AUD” (Audit). Explanations of these grades appear below.

The lowest passing grade for a graduate student is a “C.” Grades lower than “C” which are submitted by faculty will automatically be recorded as “F.” This graduate grading policy also applies to graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses.

The instructor of a class has full responsibility for grading and is the best judge of student performance; there may, however, be instances in which a graduate student believes that a grade has been assigned unfairly. In such cases, the student should discuss the grade with the instructor. If they are unable to resolve the issue between them, the student should make a written request to the graduate program director asking for a formal meeting among the three parties to explain, discuss, and/or reconsider the grade. Although the graduate program director serves as mediator in this meeting, the faculty member remains the final authority for any grading decision.

Not Attending (NA)

The Not Attending (NA) grade signifies that, although a student registered for a course and appeared on the class roster, the student never attended the class. The NA grade is not a substitute for dropping or withdrawing from a course. A student is still responsible for all tuition and fee charges for courses designated NA on his/her record. The NA grade has no effect on the student’s cumulative grade point average.

The NA grade designation may be replaced on a student’s record by a “W” (withdrawal), provided that the student submits a withdrawal form to the Office of the Registrar before the withdrawal deadline.

Incomplete (INC)

A grade of Incomplete (INC) is not automatically awarded when a student fails to complete a course. Incompletes are given at the discretion of the instructor. They are awarded when satisfactory work has been accomplished in the majority of the course work, but the student is unable to complete course requirements as a result of circumstances beyond his/her control. The student must negotiate with and receive the approval of the course instructor in order to receive a grade of incomplete; a copy of a written agreement between the faculty member and the student specifying the work to be completed and the terms and deadline for completion must be kept on file in the program office.

Please note: The initiative in arranging for the removal of an “Incomplete” rests with the student.

After a one-year period, if a grade is not submitted by the faculty member, a Failure will be recorded, turning the grade on the transcript to an IF. After the end of this period, the student must re-register for the course, pay for it again, and complete all its requirements in order to receive credit and a grade.

Please note: individual programs may set more stringent rules on incompletes, and individual faculty members may set more stringent timetables for completion of course requirements than the general one-year deadline.

“Y” and “SAT” Grades for Practicum (698), Thesis (699), Dissertation (899), and Capstone Credits

The required number of practicum, thesis, dissertation, and capstone credits varies by program. While in progress, these credits will be graded Y (in progress) for thesis and dissertation credits and, at the discretion of the program, for practicum and capstone credits. Normal tuition rates will apply. Upon satisfactory completion of these projects, these credits will be converted to SAT (satisfactory).

Audits

A graduate student may audit any class on a space-available basis, but may not use an audited course to complete any degree requirement. Registration for audits is not permitted during pre-registration.

To register as an auditor, a student must complete the regular registration or add/drop form (including written permission from the instructor to audit the course), write “AUD” in the course credit column, and submit the form to the One Stop Student Service Center by the end of the add-drop period. Once the course is designated “AUD,” the student cannot receive a grade for it. Students are assessed full tuition and fees (including lab fees) for an audited course. Conditions for the audit are negotiated by the student and the instructor.

Undergraduate Courses

In some graduate programs, graduate students may take a maximum of three upper-level (300-400) undergraduate courses from UMass Boston toward their graduate degree, with the prior permission of their graduate program director. These courses must include additional work in order for graduate students to receive graduate credit. Lower-level (100-200) courses may be taken as prerequisite or preparatory courses but do not count toward the graduate degree. Please note that individual programs may set more stringent requirements regarding undergraduate courses. For information about such requirements, please refer to individual program descriptions in this publication or the program’s handbook.

Academic Average for Graduate Degrees and Certificates

A student must maintain a cumulative average of at least 3.0 during his/her studies. The computation of the grade point average will include all graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses (taken as a matriculated student) that are eligible to count toward the student’s graduate degree or certificate program. Grades for any courses taken at UMass Boston as a non-matriculated student but later transferred into the program are also included in the calculation of the GPA; grades for courses transferred into the program from other institutions are not calculated into the GPA. Graduate students with a cumulative GPA lower than 3.0 will not be eligible to graduate until they raise their GPA to a 3.0.

Satisfactory or Reasonable Progress, Academic Probation, and Academic Dismissal

A student must make satisfactory or reasonable progress toward completion of a degree program within the university’s policy on time limits for that degree. A student who is not making satisfactory or reasonable progress is subject to probation and dismissal upon the recommendation of the graduate program director to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduate probation and dismissal decisions are based on the criteria stated below. Individual graduate programs may establish more stringent quality standards, which are stated in the program section of the Graduate Catalog and enforced for all students in that particular program.  

  1. Graduate students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 will automatically be placed on academic probation and are not considered to be in good standing academically.  Both the student and his/her graduate program director will be notified of this probationary status.
  2. A student who in any two semesters, consecutive or otherwise, has semester grade point averages of below 2.8 is subject to academic dismissal for failure to make satisfactory progress, upon recommendation by the program director to the Dean of Graduate Studies. 
  3. Any graduate student who has accumulated four (4) or more INC or IF grades will be considered not to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, will be placed on probation, and will normally be barred from registering for additional classes until the INC/IF grades are cleared. 
  4. Students may also be placed on probation for failure to meet program requirements upon the request of the graduate program director.

While on academic probation, a student shall be ineligible to hold office in any recognized student organization or recognized professional association, or to represent the university in any sense on or off campus. Students on probation will normally not be allowed to hold a graduate assistantship. Students will be removed from academic probation either when their cumulative grade point average meets or exceeds 3.0 or upon approval of a formal request by the relevant graduate program director to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

A student who in any two semesters, consecutive or otherwise, has been placed on academic probation will automatically be dismissed from the program and the University. In collaboration with the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Graduate Studies will review transcripts of graduate students who, based on approved criteria, are subject to dismissal and will make dismissal decisions. The Office of Graduate Studies will communicate recommendations for dismissal to the Graduate Program Director for review and recommendations. A recommendation for dismissal can be waived by the graduate program director upon request to the Dean of Graduate Studies.  A request for a waiver should include the terms for successful continuation in the program. Final dismissal decisions will be communicated to the affected graduate student, the Graduate Program Director, and the Office of the Registrar.    

Graduate students may appeal dismissal decisions in writing to the relevant Graduate Program Director. Program directors who support reinstatement for the student will forward a written recommendation, stipulating the terms for successful continuation in the program, to the Dean of Graduate Studies who makes a final determination as to whether to rescind the dismissal.  In addition, the Dean of Graduate Studies may add further stipulations to the reinstatement.  All students for whom the dismissal is rescinded are automatically continued on academic probation. Failure to meet any terms identified within the probationary letter will result in automatic dismissal without recourse to appeal. 

Statute of Limitations Policy

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. Time limits for completion are included on students’ grade reports, class schedules and invitations to register.

In exceptional cases, an extension of the time limit may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies. In such cases, the student must submit a request to the graduate program director with a letter of explanation accompanied by a detailed schedule for completion. A letter from the student’s graduate program director concurring with the request must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies with the student’s request.

Continuous Registration

Each degree-seeking graduate student must maintain continuous registration until the degree sought by the student has been formally awarded. If in any semester, for any reason, the student does not register for course, thesis, or dissertation credits, he/she may maintain continuous registration by paying a program fee. For further information, see under “Program Fee ” in the “Tuition and Fees ” section of this publication.

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 one semester maternity or paternity leave.  A student should document the basis for the leave.* A leave of absence must be approved by the graduate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  • Leaves of absence are granted in yearly increments, and students may not be granted more than three years total LOA.
  • Time spent on leave approved by OGS does not count toward the Statute of Limitations (SOL). The “SOL clock” is stopped for the period 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, s/he must have the permission of that person to release the information.

Transfer Credit

Transfer of Courses and Credits

Applicants who have completed graduate course work at other accredited institutions may transfer towards the completion of a UMass Boston graduate degree up to the equivalent of 6 credits from courses in which the applicant received a grade of B or higher, provided these are courses that

  • have not been used to fulfill requirements for another degree, and
  • were earned no more than seven years before matriculation in the program into which the student wishes to transfer credit.

Transfer credit is subject to the final approval of the graduate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Transfer of UMass Boston courses and credits taken over and above credits earned for a bachelor’s degree

A University of Massachusetts Boston undergraduate student in the senior year who will earn during this year more credits than needed for the bachelor’s degree may register concurrently for graduate credits at the University of Massachusetts Boston, after securing the permission of the graduate program director and of the graduate course instructor. A maximum of six credits earned in this way will be accepted, provided that they are from courses in which the student received a grade of “B” or better. After completing such a course, if the student wishes to transfer its credits to a graduate program, the graduate program director should submit a transfer credit approval form to the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar. The student should obtain from the undergraduate registrar a statement certifying that the course was not used to fulfill requirements for the bachelor’s degree. Please note: Pass/fail credits may not be transferred.

For intercampus programs (Biology, Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology, Marine Sciences and Technology PhD, Nursing PhD and DNP, and Professional Science Master’s™), courses taken at other UMASS campuses will not be subject to the 6-credit or 12-credit limit, but will require the approval of the graduate program director for transfer.

Registration Procedures

Both newly accepted and currently enrolled students must begin the course registration process by conferring with their graduate program directors. New student registration is scheduled by each individual graduate program. Currently enrolled degree-seeking (matriculated) students register, using the University’s touch-tone telephone registration system, during the advanced registration periods beginning in April (for the fall semester) and November (for the spring semester). An “add/drop” period, usually five days in length, is provided at the beginning of each semester for students wishing to make changes in their schedules. All changes must be approved by the appropriate faculty member and graduate program director.

Full-Time and Part-Time Status

For most purposes, full-time graduate study is defined as nine or more credits, part-time as eight or fewer credits, and half-time as six credits. Doctoral candidates engaged in dissertation research may be considered full-time students for some purposes regardless of the number of dissertation credits for which they register, provided their graduate program director certifies that they are working full time on dissertation research. Students seeking financial aid should be certain to obtain detailed information about full-time and part-time status requirements from the Office of Financial Aid Services.

Maximum Credit Load

A graduate student may register for up to 12 credits during the fall and spring semesters and nine credits during the summer. Any student who wishes to register for more than the maximum credit load must secure written permission from the graduate program director.

Retaking Courses

A student may repeat any course, provided the student has not taken and passed a more advanced course for which it is a prerequisite. The course may be repeated regardless of the grade received, but there may be only one such repetition per course. If a student repeats a course, both grades will appear on the student’s transcript, but only the second grade will be computed in the student’s cumulative average.

Course Changes and Withdrawals

Adding or Dropping Courses

During the “add/drop period”—usually five days at the beginning of each semester—a student may add, drop, or change courses without penalty; that is, no entry will be made on the student’s permanent record. No courses may be added after this period. Please note: a student enrolled in only one course and wishing to drop that course must either pay the program fee to remain active in the program, or withdraw from the program.

Withdrawing from Courses

After the add/drop period, a student may withdraw from a course by completing a course withdrawal form before the withdrawal deadline noted for each term in the academic calendar. Withdrawal forms are available from the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar and must be submitted to that office by the published deadline. A grade of W will appear on the student’s transcript for a course the student has withdrawn from.

Withdrawing from the University

The effective date of withdrawal from the university is that on which all forms are completed, signed, and returned to the One Stop Student Service Center. The last day students may withdraw is the last day of classes of the semester. Students withdrawing receive a W for each course in which they are enrolled. Failure to complete a withdrawal form will result in the recording of the grade of F (failure) for all courses at the end of the term. To withdraw from the university, a student must do the following:

  1. Consult with the graduate program director.
  2. Receive clearance from any university office in which financial charges have been incurred.

Refunds and Reductions

Please note: Students receive a full tuition refund for each course dropped during the add/drop period. No refunds are given for course withdrawals after the add/drop period. Students withdrawing from the university may receive partial refunds depending on when the withdrawal takes place. For complete information, please see the university’s graduate bulletin.

Readmission

Graduate degree candidates must maintain continuous registration, either by enrolling for course, thesis, capstone or dissertation credits; or by paying a program fee. Any student who has failed to maintain continuous registration and who wishes to resume his or her pursuit of the degree must apply for readmission, and will be subject to the policies and requirements in effect at the time of readmission. The applicant must complete a readmission application form and pay readmission and all back program fees before the application will be considered. Before the applicant can be readmitted, the application must be approved by the appropriate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies. The deadline for readmission applications is one month before the beginning of the semester for which application is being made.

Readmitted students must meet the program requirements that pertain at the time of their readmission. Courses older than seven years at the time of rematriculation cannot be used toward the degree, except with the prior written permission of the graduate program director at the time of readmission. In addition, it is within the program director’s discretion to disallow any previously taken courses from counting toward the readmitted student’s degree program.

Any student wishing readmission should contact the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Registrar for further information. Eligibility for readmission is limited to students who were in good standing at the time of their withdrawal, and who are still in compliance with the statute of limitations policy governing the completion of the degree. For complete information, please see the University’s graduate bulletin.

Administrative Withdrawal and Reinstatement

A student may be administratively withdrawn from the university if, after due notice, the student fails to satisfy an overdue financial obligation to, or to comply with certain administrative requirements of, the university.

Rules and Regulations Governing Administrative Withdrawal

  1. Conditions Warranting Administrative Withdrawal
    Any of the following conditions may warrant administrative withdrawal.
    1. Failure to comply with administrative requirements, specifically:
      1. Failure by a student to satisfy an overdue financial obligation to the university, consisting of tuition, loans, library charges, or other student charges, including orientation, student activities, health services, child care, and other such fees as may be established from time to time.
      2. Failure to comply with other administrative requirements, such as the submission of health forms, etc.
    2. Forgery, fraud, or falsification of information on any official university form or document, such as grade report, recommendations, transcripts, etc.
    3. Certified physical health or mental health problems of a hazardous nature.
  2. Effects of Administrative Withdrawal
    If administratively withdrawn, a student shall:
    1. Cease to be enrolled and not be allowed to complete the current semester or to register for future semesters;
    2. Return his/her identification card and any and all other property belonging to the university currently in his/her possession;
    3. Receive no further material or notification from the Office of the Registrar concerning university affairs.
  3. Procedures for Implementing Administrative Withdrawal
    1. Procedures to be applied to cases brought under the conditions of Section I.A.
      1. The appropriate administrative official may recommend to the Office of the Registrar that a student be administratively withdrawn from the university.
      2. The administrative official shall make his/her recommendation in writing to the Office of the Registrar, detailing his/her compliance with the following requirements:
        1. The recommendation must be based on one of the grounds set forth in Section I.A.
        2. The facts upon which the recommendation is based must be ascertained and stated precisely and accurately.
        3. An attempt to resolve the matter must have been made by the administrative official by mailing to the student at his/her last known address a written notice of the proposed recommendation for withdrawal and the reasons therefore, such matter not having been successfully resolved within fourteen calendar days of the mailing of said notice.
      3. If the director of the Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee is satisfied that the conditions specified in paragraph 2 of this section have been satisfied, he/she shall send a certified letter to the student at his/her last known address setting forth the recommendation for withdrawal and the reasons therefore, and notifying said student that he/she may within fourteen calendar days after said letter is mailed request a hearing on the matter with the director. The director shall include with the certified letter a copy of the Rules and Regulations Governing Administrative Withdrawal.
      4. If the student does not request a hearing with the director or take action satisfactory to the director to resolve the matter within the time allotted in paragraph 3 of this section, the director shall administratively withdraw the student from the university no sooner than the fifteenth calendar day following the mailing of the notice provided for in said paragraph.
      5. If a student requests a hearing within the time allotted in paragraph 3 of this section, the director shall schedule a hearing at the earliest practicable date. If the director decides in favor of the administrative withdrawal, the director shall forthwith withdraw the student.
    2. Procedures to be applied to cases brought under conditions B and C of Section I.
      1. The appropriate administrative official may recommend to the Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee (see “V”) that a student be administratively withdrawn from the university.
      2. The administrative official shall make his/her recommendation in writing to the Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee detailing his/her compliance with the following requirements:
        1. The recommendation must be based on one of the grounds set forth in Section I.B or C;
        2. The facts upon which the recommendation is based must be ascertained and stated precisely and accurately;
        3. An attempt to resolve the matter must have been made by the administrative official by mailing to the student at his/her last known address a written notice of the proposed recommendation for withdrawal and the reasons therefore, such matter not having been successfully resolved within fourteen calendar days of the mailing of said notice.
      3. If the Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee is satisfied that the conditions specified in paragraph 2 of this section have been satisfied, it shall send a certified letter to the student at his/her last known address setting forth the recommendation for withdrawal and reasons therefore and notifying said student that he/she may within fourteen calendar days after said letter is mailed request a hearing on the matter with the committee.
      4. If the student does not request a hearing with the committee or take action satisfactory to the committee to resolve the matter within the time allotted in paragraph 3 of this section, the committee shall instruct the director of the Office of the Registrar to administratively withdraw the student no sooner than the fifteenth calendar day following the mailing of the notice provided for in said paragraph.
      5. If a student requests a hearing with the committee within the time allotted in paragraph 3 of this section, the committee shall schedule a hearing at the earliest practicable date. The student shall have the right to testify and to present witnesses or such other evidence as may be relevant; in addition the student shall have the right to have a physician or attorney present, or to cross-examine witnesses; or all of these. The committee shall hear the case and decide whether facts exist which warrant administrative withdrawal under Section I.B or C. If the committee decides in favor of administrative withdrawal it shall submit to the student a written statement of its findings, its decision, and the conditions under which the student may be reinstated.
      6. The student may appeal a decision by the committee in favor of withdrawal to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs (Dean of Students) within seven calendar days of the committee’s decision. If the student does not appeal the committee’s decision within the seven calendar days allotted, the committee shall instruct the director of the Office of the Registrar to withdraw the student. If the student does appeal to the Dean of Students within the time allotted, the Dean shall schedule an appointment at the earliest practicable date and at that time shall confer with the student, accompanied by counsel if the student so wishes, regarding the committee’s finding, decision, and determination of reinstatement conditions. If the Dean affirms the committee decision, he/she shall notify the student of his/her decision, and instruct the director of the Office of the Registrar to withdraw the student. On appeal from the student, the Dean of Students may modify the reinstatement conditions.
  4. Reinstatement
    1. Reinstatement from administrative withdrawal brought under the conditions of Section I.A.
      1. Any student who has been administratively withdrawn under Section I.A may make arrangements with the director of the Office of the Registrar for the resolution of the matter. Upon such a resolution satisfactory to the director, the director shall forthwith reinstate the student to active enrollment status. The determination of whether a reinstated student shall receive credit for the period for which he/she was withdrawn shall be made by the instructor for each course involved.
      2. A student who fails to resolve the matter in the semester during which he/she is withdrawn can be reinstated in a subsequent semester upon satisfaction of the administrative requirements at issue in the university’s withdrawal of the student.
    2. Reinstatement from administrative withdrawal brought under conditions B or C of Section I.
      Any student who has been administratively withdrawn under conditions B or C shall be reinstated only upon satisfaction of the conditions established by the Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee, or by the Dean of Students where the Dean has changed reinstatement conditions appealed by the student.
  5. Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee
    The Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee shall be appointed each year by the Chancellor. The director of the Office of the Registrar shall not be a member of said Committee except that the director shall sit in place of a regular member in any case wherein said regular member is the administrative official recommending withdrawal. The committee shall be empowered to make decisions concerning administrative withdrawal as provided above.