UMass Amherst Home
 [Home]  [Programs and Courses]  [Degree Requirements]  [Application Procedures]  [Financing Your Degree]  [Site Index]  [Apply Now]
Program Listings:  [Program Listing: A-D]  [Program Listings: E-L]  [Program Listings: M-Z]  [Program Listings: Show All]

General Regulations

1. Course Numbering System at the University of Massachusetts
001-099 Noncredit
100-199 Introductory lower division (freshman)
200-299 Other lower division(sophomore)
300-399 Upper division (junior/senior)
400-499 Upper division (junior/senior); graduate credit may be awarded only to candidates outside the department’s own graduate program when taught by a member of the Graduate Faculty.
500-599 Combined graduate/undergraduate
600-699 Master’s or first-year graduate
700-899 Doctoral and advanced graduate
900-999 Post-terminal degree

Fixed Numbers (Graduate/Undergraduate)
590 Experimental courses
591-595 Seminars, variable titles
596 Independent study
597 Special topics, variable titles

Fixed Numbers (Graduate)
690, 790, 890 Experimental courses
691-695, 791-795, 891-895 Seminars, variable titles
696, 796, 896 Independent study, variable titles
697, 797, 897 Special topics, variable titles
698 Practicum
699 Master’s thesis
899 Doctoral dissertation

2. “More Restrictive” Program Regulations
Any Graduate School regulation or procedure shall not preclude graduate programs from developing specific regulations or procedures which are more restrictive or selective.

3. Retaking Courses
Unless otherwise noted a course may be taken more than once but may be offered only once toward degree requirements.

4. Grading Policy
The following letter grades can be given to graduate students in graduate-level courses: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, F. These grades carry the following numerical equivalents for purposes of computing cumulative averages: A = 4.000, A- = 3.700, B+ = 3.300, B = 3.000, B- = 2.700, C+ = 2.300, C = 2.000, and F = 0. Graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses may receive grades of C-, D+ and D (C- = 1.700, D+ = 1.300, D = 1.000).

5. Academic Dismissal
A student who in any two semesters, consecutive or otherwise, has semester averages of below 2.800 is subject to academic dismissal.

6. Academic Average for Graduate Degrees
In the courses which a student is offering to satisfy degree requirements, a minimum standard for satisfactory work is a 3.000 average.

7. Satisfactory or Reasonable Progress
A student must make satisfactory and reasonable progress toward completion of a degree program within the Statute of Limitations for that degree. A student who is not making satisfactory or reasonable progress is subject to termination.

8. Maximum Credit Load
A graduate student may register for up to 16 credits during the fall and spring semesters and nine credits during the Summer Session. Any student who wishes to register for more than the maximum credit load must secure written permission from the graduate program director in the major department and the Graduate Dean’s approval.

9. Continuous Enrollment
Graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment each semester by registering for course/thesis/disseration credits or by paying the Program Fee. Failure to be properly enrolled will result in a student’s withdrawal at the end of the Late Registration Period.

10. Full/Half/Part-Time Student Credits
The Graduate School defines full time as nine or more credits, part time as eight or fewer credits, and for loan deferments, half time as six or more credits. Master’s and doctoral candidates may be considered full-time or half-time students regardless of the number of thesis or dissertation credits for which they register, provided the major department certifies that they are working full time on research.

11. Statute of Limitations
Doctoral students are required to complete their program within five years of achieving candidacy.Candidacy is recommended by the academic department upon satisfactory completion of coursework and passing the qualifying examination. Master’s students have three calendar years from acceptance into the program (or four years for the M.F.A. and off-campus programs in engineering, music education, and management) to earn the degree. Part-time students may be granted an additional year upon petition to their Graduate Program Director.

12. Leaves of Absence

A. Personal
A leave of absence is requested when the student, because of unexpected circumstances, is not able to actively pursue his or her graduate program of study. Graduate students who request a leave of absence must petition their Graduate Program Director who, in turn, provides justification for the request to the Graduate Dean. If the Dean grants a leave of absence, the student’s statute of limitations is extended appropriately. However, graduate students on leave of absence must maintain continuous enrollment by paying the Continuation Fee every semester during their leave.

B. Health
When a student’s health or mental health problem precludes successful completion of his or her academic course work, the student may receive a health leave of absence or withdrawal from the University, upon recommendation by the appropriate physician or therapist of the University Health Services. Normally, the leave of absence/withdrawal will result from the student’s voluntary efforts. In exceptional circumstances involving life-threatening behaviors, a student may be asked to leave the university involuntarily until serious life-threatening circumstances have been controlled.

1. A voluntary health leave of absence/withdrawal may be requested by any student with a serious health problem who, in the opinion of the attending physician/therapist, cannot complete his/her course work. All such leaves/withdrawals will be reviewed and approved by the Medical Director or Mental Health Director. In order to remove the conditions of the health leave/withdrawal, a student must present evidence that the health problem no longer precludes successful completion of academic work. At least one academic semester must have passed before readmission for a mental health leave/withdrawal can be considered.

2. An involuntary leave of absence/withdrawal for health reasons may be recommended by a physician or therapist on the staff of the University Health Services. An involuntary health withdrawal must involve a strong likelihood of: serious risk of physical harm to the student him/herself, manifested by evidence of threats of suicide or attempts at suicide or other serious bodily harm; serious risk of physical harm to other persons in the community, including evidence of homicidal or other violent behavior; or a reasonable risk of physical impairment or injury to the person him/herself because of impaired judgment that would not allow the person to live independently or protect him/herself in the community. All recommendations for an involuntary health leave/withdrawal must be approved by either the Medical Director or the Mental Health Director. The reasons for the recommendation must be documented. Once documented and approved, the terms of the leave/withdrawal become effective immediately and the student may be required to leave campus immediately, even though he/she will be able to subsequently appeal the decision.

A student who has been given an involuntary health leave of absence/withdrawal has ten (10) business days to appeal the decision in writing to the Executive Director, University Health Services, stating the reason for the appeal and the desired resolution. An Appeals Panel will be constituted by the Executive Director of the University Health Services and the Dean of the Graduate School, and will be composed of two non-involved physicians, one of whom must be a psychiatrist, and the Dean of the Graduate School or his/her designee. The Appeals Panel will consider the case within five (5) business days of the request for the appeal. At the time of the hearing, the student will have the opportunity to contest the decision and will be permitted to have an adviser present.

The decision of the Appeals Panel is final. Only in cases of procedural irregularity will a further appeal be possible through the Graduate School’s Grievance Procedure. In order to remove the conditions of the involuntary health leave/withrawal, a student must present evidence that the health problem no longer precludes safe attendance at the university. The student will also be examined by the Medical Director or Mental Health Director, or designee, originally involved. At least one full academic semester must have passed from the time of the leave/withdrawal and/or after the appeal before the student can re-enroll if the leave/withdrawal was for mental health reasons.
During the period of a health leave of absence the student must maintain his/her status by paying the Continuation Fee. Accordingly, the Graduate School will adjust the student’s statute of limitations for the duration of the leave of absence.

13. Course Withdrawal Regulations

a. To add, drop, or change a course, students must use the web-based SPIRE registration system. Certain courses and/or departments may require written approval of the instructor concerned and/or faculty adviser. Signed approval forms are to be filed with the Graduate Records Office.

b. Up to and including 10 academic days from the beginning of a 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 date.

c. After period (b) but within six calendar weeks after the beginning of a semester a student may drop courses with a grade of DR (Drop) provided approval is obtained from the instructor and the student’s major adviser.

d. During periods (b) and (c) a student may withdraw from the university without academic penalty. Grades of DR will be noted on the record. After six weeks, grades of WF (Withdraw Failing) or WP (Withdraw Passing) will be entered unless special permission is obtained from the Dean of the Graduate School. No student may withdraw from courses after final examinations begin.

14. Incompletes
A student can obtain credit for an “incomplete” only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. At the end of that period, if a grade is not submitted an IF (Incomplete Failure) will be recorded. The initiative in arranging for the removal of an “incomplete” rests with the student. This regulation does not apply to thesis and dissertation credits but does apply to terminal project credits.

15. Thesis and Dissertation Credits
(Thesis 699 and Dissertation 899) The required number of thesis and dissertation credits varies by program. They range up to a maximum of 10 for master’s theses and from a minimum of 10 to 18 for doctoral dissertations. No student is exempt from this requirement; normal tuition rates will apply. These credits will be graded IP (In Progress) until the thesis or dissertation has been accepted by the Graduate School at which time these credits will be converted to SAT (Satisfactory).

16. Transfer of Courses and Credits Taken Over and Above Credits Earned For a Bachelor’s Degree
An undergraduate student in the senior year at any of the Five College institutions who will earn during that year more credits than are needed for the bachelor’s degree may register concurrently for graduate credits at the University of Massachusetts after securing the permission of the graduate course instructor. The student registers for these credits in the normal registration process. The Graduate School will accept a maximum of six credits earned via this method, provided that 1) the student is accepted into a Master’s program, 2) the student’s graduate program director recommends the transfer, and 3) the undergraduate registrar certifies that the courses were over and above those needed by the student for the Bachelor’s degree. Acceptance of such courses follows transfer guidelines in force at the time of petition.

17. Grievance Procedure
For the purposes of this procedure: A grievance is defined as a complaint by a currently enrolled graduate student(s) alleging that some member(s) of the university community has caused the student(s) to suffer some specific harm related to a matter within the authority of the Dean of the Graduate School. However, complaints that concern 1) matters of academic judgement, or 2) the substance (as opposed to the administration) of university, campus, or Graduate School policies and regulations shall not be considered grievances under this procedure, and grievances which have been brought to a hearing under another campus grievance procedure shall not be brought to a hearing under this procedure.

The Graduate School Grievance Procedure is available from the University Ombuds Office and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

18. Academic Honesty Policy
It is the expressed 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.

Apparent and alleged breaches in this policy are covered in the Student Academic Policy (Sen. Doc. no. 07-040A). A copy of this policy is available in the Ombuds Office, Faculty Senate Office, and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

19. Graduate Student Honor Code
We, the graduate students of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, hereby affirm that graduate students do not lie, cheat, or steal, or willingly tolerate those who do.

We do not plagiarize the work of others, falsify data, or knowingly allow false data to be generated or published with our compliance.

We do not harass or discriminate against others for reasons of race (phenotype), creed, sexual orientation, or political belief, or keep faith with those who do.

20. Hazing Policy
Under Chapter 269 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts “hazing” of a student by another student is a crime punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. Students may also be subject to civil lawsuits by victims of hazing. A copy of the statute is available in the Office of the Dean of Graduate School.

21. Absences for Religious Reasons
Chapter 151C of the Massachusetts General Laws as amended states:

“Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in an examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.”

22. Administrative Withdrawal
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 campus of the University of Massachusetts at which the student is registered.

Section 1. Conditions Warranting Administrative Withdrawal
Any of the following conditions may warrant administrative withdrawal:

(a) 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, board, room fees, 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 prior conditions on admission to the university imposed by the Graduate School in compliance with university policies.

(b) Forgery, fraud, or falsification of information on any official university form or document, such as Bursar’s Clearance Card, grade report, recommendations, transcripts, etc.

(c) Certified physical health or mental health problem of a hazardous nature.

Section 2. Effects of Administrative Withdrawal
(a) If administratively withdrawn, a student shall cease to be enrolled and shall not be allowed to complete the current semester or to register for future semesters.

(b) The student shall return his/her identification card and any and all property belonging to the university currently in his or her possession.

(c) The student shall receive no further material or notification from the Registrar concerning university affairs.

Section 3. Reinstatement
Any student who has been administratively withdrawn may at any time during the semester in which the withdrawal was made make arrangements with the Registrar for the resolution of the matter. Upon such a resolution satisfactory to the Registrar, the Registrar shall forthwith reinstate the student to active enrollment status. Any student who has attempted to resolve the matter but has failed to satisfy the Registrar may petition for reinstatement by mailing or delivering to the Administrative Withdrawal Committee a written statement describing the actions he/she has taken to resolve the matter and the reasons why the student believes himself or herself entitled to reinstatement. The Committee at its discretion may decide the matter on the written petition of the student and such answer as the Registrar may submit, or may schedule a hearing on the matter at the earliest practicable date. If the Committee decides in favor of reinstatement, the Registrar shall cause the student to be reinstated forthwith upon receipt of the decision. 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.

Section 4. Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee
The Administrative Withdrawal Review Committee shall be appointed each year by the Chancellor. The Registrar shall not be a member of said Committee except that he/she 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.

23. Picketing Code
1. All students, undergraduate and graduate, have a right to demonstrate on university premises provided, however, that no such demonstration shall be permissible which for any reason of time, place, or type of behavior materially disrupts class work or other university business, or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.
2. Campus buildings are for university business. Any form of demonstration that interferes with university business in office or classroom spaces is a violation of this Code.
3. Students are prohibited from blocking free entry to or free exit from buildings, interfering with free movement, or presenting obstacles to regular university activities. “Interfering with free movement” is defined as any physical denial or restriction of a person’s ability to freely reach or leave a given geographical area, or harassment as defined in the Code of Student Conduct. “Obstacles” are defined as physical devices, bodies, or signs which cause interference with free movement, or sounds which prevent normal aural communication.
4. There shall be no interference with demonstrations on the grounds of content of speech, except for any speech or demonstration which incites immediate, violent action and represents a clear and present danger to the campus community, which shall be a violation of this Code.
5. No student shall intentionally and substantially interfere with the freedom of expression of another person on university premises or at university-sponsored activities.
6. Failure to cease any activity in violation of this Code immediately following either written or oral notice by a university official shall also be a violation of this Code.
7. Any violation of this Code may subject a student to expulsion from the university or such lesser sanction(s) as may be deemed appropriate by the university.

24. Foreign Language Requirements
Under Graduate Council policy, each academic program establishes foreign language requirements for its own advanced degree candidates. The program determines both the number of foreign languages, which may include computer literacy, 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.

25. Privacy of Educational Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 protects the privacy of student records, ensuring that the university will not release a transcript or personal information about a student to a third party without the student’s knowledge and consent. Only those data items which have been defined by the university as directory information are released without prior student consent.

The university defines directory information as a student’s name, local (mailing), home and email addresses, major, local telephone number, date and place of birth, acknowledgement of a student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, date(s) of attendance, degrees, certificates, awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. For graduate students who are teaching/assisting credit courses and for graduate students who are employed as assistant residence directors, the work department, office address, and employment category will also be considered as directory information.

The university will make public some or all of this information, unless the student specifically requests in writing that his/her prior consent be obtained. Requests by individual students to suppress from public distribution the above-mentioned information are to be made annually to the Graduate Records Office in person or in writing.

A document titled Family Education Rights and Privacy Act at the University of Massachusetts explains in detail the procedures established by this institution for compliance with the provisions of the Act. A copy is available for inspection in the Graduate School.

26. Sexual Harassment Policy
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing students, faculty, and staff with an environment in which they may pursue their studies or careers without being sexually harassed. Sexual harassment, as here defined, is a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. For purposes of this policy, it is defined as follows:
Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic work; or
2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment.

The Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office will be responsible for administering this policy and its procedures. Further information and the complete text of the policy are available from the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office, the Ombuds Office and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

27. Intellectual Property Policy
Any graduate student who expects to be involved in research with potential commercial implications should carefully consult the university’s Intellectual Property Policy (Doc. T96-040). Particularly important are the sections on ownership of intellectual property, the administrative procedures associated with inventions and copyrightable works, and the university’s role, if any, in protecting the work in question. The full text of the policy is available on the Web at www.umass.edu/research/ora/intel.html. Individuals who need clarification of any points in the full policy should contact the university’s Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property, tel. (413) 545-3606; email: cvip@research.umass.edu.

28. Human and Animal Subjects
The university has policies and procedures in place to protect humans and animals in relation to research. Specific information concerning these policies is available from academic department offices and the Vice Provost for Research.

29. Misconduct in Research and Scholarly Activities
Misconduct in scholarly activities is injurious to the university’s teaching, research, and public service missions and cannot be tolerated. The Research Council of the Faculty Senate has established guidelines for investigations of allegations of misconduct in scholarly activities. It is written to comply with federal regulations requiring such procedures and also to maintain and enhance the integrity of research on our campus. Copies of these guidelines are available in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement.

30. Joint Authorship
The Graduate Council of the Faculty Senate has approved a Policy Statement on Joint Authorship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The statement provides guidelines for authorship and coauthorship of scholarly works by collaborators. Copies of this policy are available in the Office of the Graduate Dean.