Registration takes place online using SPIRE, the university's student information system. 

Degree-seeking graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment each fall and spring semester until the degree/certificate is awarded (see Continuous Enrollment / Program Fee below).

A schedule of course offerings can also be viewed on SPIRE. Course descriptions are listed in the SPIRE Course Catalog and the Graduate Bulletin. Not all courses described in the Catalog and Bulletin are offered every term.

Continuous Enrollment / Program Fee

Degree-seeking graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment by registering every fall and spring semester until their degree is awarded.

If you are not registering for any courses or credits in a fall or spring semester and you are not filing for your degree, you must enroll in the Continuous Enrollment course, also known as Program Fee.  You can enroll in the Continuous Enrollment course in SPIRE prior to the end of add/drop each fall and spring semester.  The Class Number for Continuous Enrollment is found in the Schedule of Classes under GRADSCH 999.

  • An incomplete course from a previous semester does not maintain your enrollment.
  • First semester students are not eligible for Continuous Enrollment. 
  • The cost for Continuous Enrollment/Program Fee is $285.00 which will be billed by the Bursar's Office.
  • Students on Continuous Enrollment are also assessed half of the Graduate Student Senate Tax.

Important Dates

The Graduate School’s academic calendar details all of the important dates for course registration. Early registration is strongly recommended so that financial aid and/or stipend checks can be processed in a timely manner.

Holds on Your Record

Check your Student Center on SPIRE to determine if there are any holds on your record that will prevent your registration. You must contact the office indicated on Spire to remove the hold prior to attempting to register. All holds must be resolved in time to register by the deadline.

Penalty for Late Registration

If you do not register by the last day to add or drop classes for the fall and spring semester, you will be withdrawn from your graduate program. If you wish to enroll after the deadline, you will be required to obtain readmission authorization from your Graduate Program Director and will be required to pay the Readmission Fee of $125.00 in addition to any course fees or retroactive Continuous Enrollment/Program Fees. Readmission under this condition is subject to graduate program approval and is not guaranteed.

Registration for Non-degree Students

Summer / Winter Session Registration

  • Summer and Winter Session courses are offered through University Without Walls (Continuing and Professional Education).
  • The enrollment limit is 9 credits for summer session and 8 credits for the six week winter session.
  • Graduate students are not required to enroll in summer/winter session unless it is needed for financial aid or a stipend.
  • The maximum number of dissertation credits which may be earned during a summer session is nine (9). Registration for thesis and dissertation credits is not permitted in the winter session.


The Bursar's Office sends notification of electronic bills with instructions for students to view and/or pay their bills online.

QuikPAY is the electronic system for all students to view, print and make payments online. To access QuikPAY students should navigate from their Student Center in SPIRE to the Finances Tile > View/Pay Bill.

For more information about QuikPAY, refer to the Bursar's Office website.

Health Insurance

Massachusetts requires college students taking five or more credits to have primary health care insurance.

Students taking five or more credits in an academic semester are automatically enrolled in, and charged for, the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). A waiver system is in place for students already covered under another insurance plan.

Health insurance for students who register for less than 5 credits (or who pay the Continuous Enrollment fee) is not automatic. Visit the University Health Services website for more information.

Five College Interchange

UMass Amherst is a member of the Five College Consortium with Amherst College (Amherst), Hampshire College (Amherst), Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley), and Smith College (Northampton). This consortium, founded in 1965, unites UMass with top-ranked liberal arts colleges to expand research, curricular and cultural resources and facilities for all partners. The consortium facilitates intellectual communities and broad curricular and cocurricular offerings; affording learning, research, performance, and social opportunities that complement the distinctive qualities of each institution.

Graduate students who wish to take a course at one of the other schools in the Five College Consortium can register during the pre-registration period (April for fall classes and November for spring classes) or during the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester. Specific dates are listed on the Five College Academic Calendar.


  • Enrolled in a degree-seeking program;
  • Registered in at least one three-credit course at UMass;
  • Most courses offered by the area colleges are undergraduate level and, therefore, are not necessarily applicable toward graduate degree credit at the University;
  • NOTE: Non-degree students are not eligible to register for Five College Interchange courses.

A link to the Five College Enrollment Request Form can be found on SPIRE under Enrollment—the form will appear only during the pre-registration and add/drop time periods. A copy of the Five College Enrollment Request Form should be returned to the Graduate Student Service Center.  Instructor signatures are required during the add/drop period. The advisor signature is not required. All questions regarding enrollment in Five College courses should be directed to the Graduate Student Service Center at (413) 545-0722 or

SPIRE Problems?

Review the SPIRE Student Self Service Support Articles.

For technical problems, contact Information Technology at (413) 545-9400 or

For registration problems, contact your graduate program or the Graduate Student Service Center at or (413) 545-0722.

All registration problems must be resolved no later than the last day to add or drop classes.

Registration for New Students

  • All graduate students must register for credits for their first semester. If you do not enroll by the last day to add or drop classes, your admission will be voided.
  • Incoming students begin registering for classes during the following time-frames:
    • Spring 2023 entering students: November 7, 2023
    • Summer 2023 entering students: March 13, 2023
    • Fall 2023 entering students: June 1st, 2023
  • Full-time students are required by state law to submit immunization records to the New Student Immunization Program (NSIP) office in University Health Services. The immunization form and all the information can be found on the University Health Services' NSIP website. Please submit your documentation before you arrive on campus to avoid any future semester registration difficulties.