University of Massachusetts Amherst Course Numbering System:
- 100 - 199 Introductory lower division, undergraduate (first year)
- 200 - 299 Other lower division, undergraduate (sophomore)
- 300 - 399 Upper division, undergraduate (junior/senior)
- 400 - 499 Upper division, undergraduate (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 or advanced graduate
Graduate students are eligible to enroll for any regularly scheduled university course, graduate or undergraduate, provided they meet all course prerequisites and space is available. Permission of the course instructor may be necessary. Courses that will be offered, with meeting times, places, and names of the instructors, are listed each semester on SPIRE. For course descriptions, refer to the current Graduate School Bulletin and/or department/school literature.
Five College Interchange:
Graduate students enrolled in degree programs are eligible to register for most courses offered at Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges through the Five College Consortium. Each student must enroll for at least one three-credit University of Massachusetts Amherst course to be eligible to take courses at the cooperating colleges. Note: Most courses offered by the area colleges are undergraduate level and, therefore, are not necessarily applicable toward graduate degree credit at the university. You may register for Five College courses using SPIRE. Each semester there are two registration periods for Five College classes. You can find these dates listed on the Five College Online Academic Calendar. To search for courses, visit the Five College Course Catalog.
Review the course and program offerings on the University Without Walls website.
Students enrolled in an approved off-campus program will receive course and registration information through their program's off-campus office. An "off-campus" student is generally not permitted to register for on-campus courses without being formally admitted to the on-campus degree program; for further information, contact your off-campus program office or the Graduate Student Service Center at gradrec [at] grad [dot] umass [dot] edu (gradrec[at]grad[dot]umass[dot]edu).
Maximum Course/Credit Load:
A graduate student in a full-time degree program may routinely register for up to sixteen (16) credits each fall and spring semester, nine (9) credits during the summer session, and eight (8) credits during the six week winter session. Any student who wishes to register for an additional course in the fall and spring semesters (maximum of 18 credits) must secure the endorsement of their Graduate Program Director. Graduate students in part-time degree programs may routinely register for up to nine (9) credits each fall, spring, and summer semester, and four (4) credits during the winter session.
A graduate student may audit any class; however, such a course does not count towards enrollment status and cannot be used to complete any degree or certificate requirement. Students are assessed full tuition and fees for audited courses, and these courses do not count when calculating status for loan deferment purposes.
A student may register as an auditor through SPIRE. A grade of Audit (AUD) is recorded for students who register for and successfully complete the course requirements for auditing students. The instructor determines what constitutes successful completion. The deadline for registering as an auditor is the tenth class day of the semester. A student may convert an otherwise passing course to an audit up to the last day of classes. The instructor must be willing to make this change and must signify that the student was passing the class at the time of the change. A student may not switch from audit to credit after the end of the add/drop period.
A graduate student may make course changes (both add and drop) during the first ten class days of the semester without penalty or any indication on the transcript. Such changes are made using SPIRE. Courses may be dropped following that deadline; however, the grade of Drop (DR) will be recorded from the third to the eighth week of the semester. A grade of Withdraw Passing (WP) or Withdraw Failing (WF) will be recorded after the eighth week of the semester. Course changes from the third week until the end of the semester require the instructor's approval and the date last attended for any course withdrawal.
Any student writing a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation must register for thesis (699) or dissertation (899) credits prior to filing for the degree. Most graduate programs require a minimum of six (6) thesis and ten (10) dissertation credits. The maximum number of thesis/dissertation credits for which a student can register per semester is ten (10) credits of master's thesis (699) or nine (9) credits of doctoral dissertation (899). 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).
Independent Study/Special Problems:
Independent work may receive credit as Independent Study or Special Problems courses provided that the work is performed under the guidance of a graduate faculty member and the course is properly recorded as part of the student's registration. Grading of such courses follows the standard Graduate School Grading Policies. Students may register for whatever number of independent study courses their advisor recommends; however, a maximum of six (6) credits (12 credits for M.F.A. students) may be used to fulfill master's degree requirements if the student writes a thesis (see also Master's Degree Requirements).
Unless otherwise noted a course may be taken more than once but may be offered only once toward degree requirements. All enrollments and all grades will appear on the transcript and will count in the grade point average.