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

Degree Requirements



Applying for Graduation

All requirements for any advanced degrees to be awarded in a given degree-granting period (December, June, August) must be completed by the date specified for that degree date. In order for a student to graduate, the degree application form, signed by the student and the graduate program director, must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. The degree application must be accompanied by the $180.00 commencement fee.

The format requirements for master’s theses and doctoral dissertations are published in a booklet available from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Foreign Language Requirements

Each academic program may establish foreign language requirements for its own advanced-degree candidates. The program determines both the number of foreign languages and the level of competence 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/her academic discipline. The term “foreign language” does not include computer languages.

Master’s Degree Requirements

Please consult individual program descriptions for complete requirements.

For programs that include a master’s thesis, it shall be the responsibility of the thesis committee to approve the thesis project, to supervise its execution, and to arrange for the final examination of the student, including public notice. This final examination, which will be at least partly oral, will be conducted by the thesis committee and will be primarily concerned with, but not necessarily limited to, the candidate’s thesis. This examination shall be scheduled when all thesis committee members agree that the thesis is sufficiently complete to undergo defense; approval of the thesis, passing the defense, and/or recommending the degree, however, are not implied by scheduling this examination. Most programs require the student to deliver a public lecture on his/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. If all committee members cast positive votes, the student shall be deemed to have passed the final oral examination. If there is one negative vote, the degree will be held up pending satisfactory resolution by the student of the objections of the dissenting member of the committee; final program approval is represented by the signature of the graduate program director. If two or more members cast negative votes, the candidate will be informed that he/she has failed the examination.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

After completion of their course work and other program requirements, doctoral students are required to pass a preliminary comprehensive or qualifying examination conducted by the program, or successfully complete 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.

Doctoral Candidacy and Dissertation Requirements

As soon as possible after the student has been admitted to candidacy, the graduate program director of the candidate’s program shall recommend a dissertation committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The dissertation committee shall consist of at least three members. At least two members of the committee shall be faculty members in the candidate’s program. Ordinarily, the dissertation committee shall also include a member who is external to the candidate’s program. The external member may come either from within the university or outside of the university. When there is uncertainty about whether a nominee is sufficiently independent of the candidate’s program to serve as the external member, the Dean of Graduate Studies shall determine the nominee’s eligibility. The graduate program director will be responsible for any additional nominations that may be necessary. On a case-by-case basis, graduate program directors may appeal to the Dean of Graduate Studies to approve a dissertation committee consisting of three faculty members in the candidate’s program.

The Dean of Graduate Studies is asked to provide the Graduate Studies Committee with a report annually on both the number of cases in which an exception is made to permit dissertation committees to be made up entirely of faculty in the candidate’s own program and, more generally, on how well the dissertation committee system is functioning.

Policy on Qualifications of Chairs and Members of Dissertation Committees

Qualifications of faculty to chair dissertation committees:

  1. To qualify to chair a dissertation committee, a faculty member must be a full-time faculty member and must have:
    1. A doctoral degree (typically a PhD or EdD, but in some instances a degree such as a JD, MD, or DBS may be appropriate); and
    2. A record of scholarly publications and/or professional achievement within a period of five years prior to the formation of any dissertation committee that the faculty member chairs.
  2. Individual programs may establish additional criteria for eligibility of faculty to chair dissertation committees.
  3. Individual programs are to provide graduate students each year with the names of faculty who are qualified to chair dissertation committees.

Qualifications of faculty and/or outside professionals serving as members of dissertation committees:

  1. Members of dissertation committees must have an appropriate terminal degree (typically a PhD or EdD, but in some instances a degree such as a JD, MD, or DBS may be appropriate).
  2. A record of scholarly publications and/or professional achievement within a period of five years prior to the formation of the dissertation committee.
  3. Individual programs may establish additional criteria for eligibility of faculty to serve on dissertation committees.
  4. Students establish dissertation committees with the advice and approval of their Graduate Program Director and Dissertation Chairperson.

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, including public notice. This final examination, which must be at least partly oral, will be conducted by the dissertation committee and will be primarily concerned with, but not necessarily limited to, the candidate’s dissertation. This examination shall be scheduled when all dissertation committee members agree that the dissertation is sufficiently complete to undergo defense; approval of the dissertation, passing the defense, and/or recommending the degree, however, are not implied by scheduling this examination. Most programs require the student to deliver a public lecture on his/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. If all committee members cast positive votes, the student shall be deemed to have passed the final oral examination. If there is one negative vote, the degree will be held up pending satisfactory resolution by the student of the objections of the dissenting member of the committee; final program approval is represented by the signature of the graduate program director. If two or more members cast negative votes, the candidate will be informed that he/she has failed the examination.

The graduate program director will supply documentation 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 or his/her delegate:

  1. acceptance to candidacy
  2. formation of dissertation committee*
  3. acceptance of dissertation proposal
  4. declaration of intention to defend dissertation
  5. successful defense
  6. completion of the dissertation according to the university’s guidelines for dissertation preparation*

Requirements for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

Please consult individual program descriptions for complete requirements.