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Frequently Asked Questions

Can congratulatory letters be sent to applicants prior to the Graduate School making the formal admissions process?

If a program wishes to communicate with an applicant prior to his/her formal admission by the Graduate School, the letter must clearly state that the applicant has only been recommended for admission and that the Dean of the Graduate School makes the formal admission decision. If financial assistance is also being offered, the letter must stipulate that the offer is contingent upon the applicant being formally admitted to the Graduate School.

What is the significance of April 15th in the admissions process?

Applicants admitted prior to April 1st may elect to defer his/her admissions decision until April 15th. This date is also very important for those programs that offer financial assistance to an incoming graduate student. According to a resolution from the Council of Graduate Schools, students do not have to make a decision before April 15th.

How long does an applicant have to make a decision regarding the University's offer of admission?

For all Summer/Fall admissions made prior to April 1st , the applicant has until April 15 th to make his/her decision. For offers made after April 1st , or Spring admission, the applicant is given 15 days from the date of the admissions letter to inform the Graduate School of his/her intention to accept the University's offer of admission. If no communication is received the Graduate School will automatically send the applicant a "reminder" letter. If the applicant fails to respond to that letter within 15 days, the offer of admission is routinely withdrawn and no further correspondence will be sent to the applicant. The program is then notified of this action.

Can programs require an earlier response date when an offer of financial assistance is made?

Offers made prior to April 15th should remain open until that date and may be withdrawn anytime thereafter. Financial offers made after April 15th may carry another deadline provided that the applicant is allotted a reasonable amount of time to accept or refuse the offer, (one week is fine). In the latter case, the offer of assistance will be withdrawn but the offer of admission may still remain open.

When can a program expect to receive all its applications and credentials that were submitted prior to the deadline?

Due to the large number of applications that are received prior to the deadline, the processing of credentials can be delayed up to two weeks.

When can an applicant be denied by the program for an incomplete application?

An applicant can be denied only after the program's deadline has passed.

How does the GPD defer an offer of admission from one semester to another without the applicant having to reapply or pay another application fee?

The Graduate Admissions Office will routinely defer the admission of an admitted graduate applicant upon receipt of a written recommendation from the graduate program director. The Graduate School will send a new acceptance letter, confirmation card, and other pertinent information to the applicant.

When will Graduate Admissions send the new acceptance letter?

These materials will be sent 1-2 days after a memo signed by the GPD has been received be the Graduate Admissions office.

How does the GPD recommend the admission of an applicant who was previously denied?

A memorandum must be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office stating that the graduate program has reconsidered the application of a particular applicant and now wishes to recommend his/her admission.

Can the GPD recommend provisional acceptance, and what does it mean?

Yes. A GPD may recommend provisional acceptance which means that after a student completes 12 credits or 2 consecutive enrollment periods, whichever comes first, the department must make a decision to admit the student into a regular status or to terminate. This type of admission is often used if a program has concerns about the applicant's ability to do well in the program. A provisional admittance allows the program to monitor the student's progress for the first 12 credits or first two semesters.

What is a conditional admit?

A conditional admission is an admission with some stipulation that must be completed within a certain period of time. For example, the most common conditional admission requires the student to prove that they have earned a baccalaureate degree. Students that are admitted prior to finishing their bachelor's' degree must show proof of a bachelors degree before they are allowed to register for the next semester. Those that do not show proof of the degree will be put on hold and will not be able to register until they provide the Admissions Office with the appropriate documentation. Those that do not meet the conditions of his/her admittance may be withdrawn from the Graduate School.

Can the GPD recommend acceptance for an applicant with incomplete materials?

Yes, however, the Graduate School will place the applicant on a "hold" status. A letter will be sent to the applicant stating they have been recommended for admission, but that their file lacks certain credentials. In order to be officially accepted, they must send these missing credentials by a specified date. If the materials are not received by the date specified be the letter, the applicant will be denied admission by the Graduate School for incomplete materials. If the applicant provides the missing credentials after have been denied admission, the department must notify the Graduate School if they would still like to accept the applicant.

What happens if the GPD recommends acceptance of an applicant who has a GPA below 2.75?

The applicant is placed on "hold" status, and a memo is sent to the GPD asking for a letter of justification for this applicant. The Graduate School reviews the justification and a decision is made. The applicant and department are then notified of this decision. The Director of Admissions, at her discretion, may admit the applicant provisionally.

How does a newly accepted international student receive his/her I-20?

Once an international student confirms his/her acceptance with the Graduate School, the International Programs Office will send an I-20 form, (provided that the IPO has documentation showing the student has the funding/resources to support his/her education).

A new international student has not arrived yet (because of visa problems), but is expected shortly after the add/drop deadline. What should the department do?

The department should notify the Graduate Records Office before the end of add/drop period.

How are inquiries for applications and Bulletins processed?

Upon receipt of a written request, a request via telephone (545-0721), or over the internet, the appropriate materials are sent from the Graduate School's distribution center. The inquiry is forwarded to the appropriate graduate program (via labels) so that program-related materials can be sent. Domestic applications are sent first class and international applications are sent through bulk mail. The Graduate Bulletin is mailed at book rate and is only mailed to places with a US postal code.

For the forthcoming semester, what are the tuition and fees?

Tuition and fees may be viewed at the Bursar's website.

Can the department check to see the status of a particular applicant or check to see what credentials are in his/her file?

The status of an applicant and his/her credentials may be checked on UMETRX or the Spire Lookup Graduate Applicants page. Both are updated nightly and will display the materials that have been received by the Graduate School.

Can the standardized examination requirement or the five-year statute of limitations rule for the GRE or GMAT be waived based upon an earned master's degree?

The answer to both questions is no.

Can the GRE or GMAT requirement be waived?

Yes. But only if a doctoral degree has been earned in the US from a regionally accredited institution and the Graduate School has proof of the earned degree; or if an applicant has earned an international MD degree and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate has been obtained and documentation of both are on file with the Graduate Admissions Office.

Can the TOEFL requirement be waived?

Yes, if one of these conditions exists:

  • Citizenship of Australia, Botswana, Canada, Caribbean English speaking countries, Dominica, Gambia, Ghana, Great Britain, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, West Indies, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • The student has earned a college or university degree in the United States or in one of the countries listed above.
  • A degree earned from the American University in Beirut, American University in Bulgaria, American College of Greece, or from Bogazici University in Turkey.
  • Current enrollment as a full-time student who will have completed two academic years of college/university work in the United States prior to the date of anticipated entrance at the University of Massachusetts.
  • An Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate has been obtained (prior to June 2005 only.)
What is the minimum TOEFL score an applicant must receive to be considered for admission?

The minimum TOEFL score for the paper-based test is a 550 and a 80 for the computer-based test.

How does the GPD change the status (level) of a currently enrolled graduate student?

If the change is lateral (master's to master's) or a demotion (doctoral or master's/doctoral to terminal master's), then a memorandum should be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office recommending the change. If the currently enrolled graduate student wishes to change from master's to doctoral program, a Reapplication Form is required, but no application fee will be assessed as long as continuous enrollment is maintained.

Can the application fee be waived?

International applicants cannot have the application fee waived or deferred. The application fee may be waived for U.S. citizens provided the applicant qualifies for the GRE fee waiver or is a McNair Scholar and submits a copy of the waiver form to the Graduate Admissions Office. The application fee is also waived for those students that are currently enrolled in the master's program and are applying for a doctoral degree in the same program.

What is the Special Admissions Procedure? Can students without a baccalaureate be admitted for a graduate degree?

An exceptional student may apply through the Special Admissions procedure (guidelines are included elsewhere). All procedures and decisions are administered and determined by a committee of the Graduate Council.

How do you calculate the Undergraduate GPA?
  • Add up the credits taken from all schools
  • Add up the quality points from all schools
  • Divide the total quality points by the total credits
What are the directions to the nearest Thomson Prometric Test Center?

To reach the Thomson Prometric Test Center (413-525-4901; 416 North Main Street, Heritage Park Plaza, East Longmeadow, MA), take I-91 south. Take exit 4 to route 83. Take Route 83 into East Longmeadow. After crossing over a small overpass, there will be a traffic light; go through it to the next light. At this light, take a right into the Heritage Park Shopping Plaza.

Does the University of Massachusetts Amherst attend GRE/CGS Graduate School Fairs?

Staff from the Office of Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention regularly attend the four yearly GRE/CGS Graduate School Fairs. The four locations are:

  • Northeast: either Boston/Cambridge or New York or Philadelphia
  • Chicago
  • West Coast: either San Francisco or Los Angeles
  • Variable


For current fair information, visit the GRE homepage.

What evaluating organizations for foreign credentials does the Graduate School recognize?

A list of these organizations can be found at www.naces.org/members.htm.

Where do I send my personal statement, resume/curriculum vitae or writing sample (if required)?

Your personal statement and resume/curriculum vitae can be uploaded as part of your online application. If the program you are applying to requires a writing sample, please follow any instructions on that program's website. If the program's website doesn't give specific instructions, then it should be emailed to the Graduate Student Service Center at gradadm@grad.umass.edu and it should have fewer than thirty pages. These documents can also be mailed or hand delivered to the Graduate Student Service Center at 534 Goodell Building, University of Massachusetts, 140 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003.

What is the minimum IELTS score an applicant must receive to be considered for admission?

The minimum combined IELTS score needed is 6.5.