Graduate Student Handbook: Resources for Supporting Your Success

Graduate Student Handbook: Resources for Supporting Your Success


Welcome to the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS)! We are excited for you to be part of our world-class faculty and diverse student body. You have a great team of faculty and staff supporting you every step of the way. We are dedicated to creating opportunities for engagement, and fostering a diverse, safe and inclusive environment.

Whether you just arrived in SPHHS or have been in the program for a few years, we hope this handbook supports you during your graduate studies at UMass. We included an overview of our school as well as links to common forms and to school and university resources. This handbook contains information that is relevant to all SPHHS graduate students. Your department will provide additional information on its policies and degree requirements.

Your academic advisor, graduate program director, and department chair are invaluable resources for answering your questions about your program. You are also welcome to contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns.

We wish you success in your graduate studies, and we look forward to getting to know you!!

Megan Griffin, MPH
Assistant Dean for Student Success

Katherine Reeves, PhD
Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Studies

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Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Each degree program sets its own requirements; refer to your program’s website to access the most up-to-date version of its student handbook and degree tracking forms. Remember, you are held to the requirements that were in place at the time you enrolled in the program, so pay attention to the enrollment dates specified on the degree tracking forms. Use links below to navigate to your program’s degree requirements.

Additionally, the UMass Graduate School sets policies that apply to all graduate students enrolled at UMass Amherst. You should familiarize yourself with their policies as well. To learn about the UMass Graduate School’s specific degree requirements, submission deadlines, and submission processes for master’s and doctoral students, start here with the Graduate School’s student handbook.

Below, we include links to information that SPHHS students most frequently ask about: credit transfers, graduation requirements, and formatting of the thesis/dissertation document.

Credit Transfers

To transfer graduate credits from a non-degree program or undergraduate program at UMass, or from another institution, use one of the following forms:

Graduation Forms and Degree Milestones

Master’s students:

Doctoral students:

For a more comprehensive list of graduate forms, check out the Graduate School Website.

Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations

Check out the Graduate School’s guidelines for master’s theses and doctoral dissertations on its website.

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Information Technology

Information Technology

UMass Information Technology (UMass IT) provides support for all your computing needs on and off campus. Additionally, the SPHHS Information Technology Office (ITO) supports faculty, staff, and students within the school.


Central UMass IT

NetID, SPIRE, and IT Help

Your UMass NetID is your primary user name for your IT account and gives you access to the campus network, SPIRE, and your UMass email. If you’re having any issues with your NetID or need help finding or changing your password, check out the University Information Technology’s Understand Your NetID & Password page.

SPIRE is the university’s secure online student information system. On SPIRE, you can register for classes, view your class schedule, change your meal plan, view and pay your bills, manage any holds on your account, and much more. To learn more about the resources on SPIRE, check out the university IT’s SPIRE Information page.

If you have any other IT questions, please start by emailing the SPHHS ITO at sphhshelp [at] umass [dot] edu and they will assist where they can; if they can’t help, they will direct you to Central IT support.

Computer Resources

High-Performance Computing

SPHHS ITO maintains the only HIPAA compliant cluster for UMass Amherst researchers. The cluster is located in the MGHPCC. This is a place where SPHHS researchers can collaborate with other UMass and outside entities on projects that need to meet NIST level compliance.

SPHHS provides access to a seven-seat computer lab in the basement of Arnold House. These computers are for use by research assistants, graduate students, and students taking graduate-level courses in SPHHS. The computers are networked, and share common software and printers. They are connected to the university fiber optic network to provide fast Internet access. Computers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additional computer access is often available in individual departments or through computers on research projects and grants.

UMass IT manages a number of computer classrooms and labs across campus. For additional information on campus computing resources, please visit the Computer Classroom Resource page.


In addition to the software in the computer labs, students can request access to a virtual machine if their current machine is not capable of handling the required software for a specific course.

Students can get access to some free or discounted software. UMass IT-supported software license information

Email Safety

Please view this from Google for Education presents: Stay Safe From Phishing and Scams

If you receive a questionable email, please forward it to: itprotect [at] umass [dot] edu

Wireless and Eduroam

Eduroam allows UMass Amherst students, faculty, and staff to obtain free wireless connectivity at participating institutions in the U.S. and abroad, by simply opening their device. This makes connecting to the Internet easy and convenient when visiting other campuses for conferences, research, or other reasons.

  1. Setting up Edu-roam on Windows
  2. Setting up Edu-roam on Macintosh
  3. Setting up Edu-roam on iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, mobile)
  4. Setting up Edu-roam on Android devices
  5. Setting up Edu-roam on Ubuntu Linux
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Financial Support and Graduate Assistantships

Financial Support and Graduate Assistantships

Complete information about funding for your graduate studies, including policies and job postings, can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships, including teaching assistant (TA) and research assistant (RA) positions, are an important source of funding for many graduate students, in addition to offering opportunities to develop research and professional skills. These positions are managed by your department; please refer to your department’s website for up-to-date lists of positions and how to apply. Accepting a TA or RA position from a department other than the one in which you are enrolled requires pre-approval from your department Chair. Please note that students enrolled through the University Without Walls (UWW) program are not eligible for assistantships per University policy.

Financial Aid and Bursar

Information on financial aid available to graduate students, including federal student loans and grant programs, can be found on the UMass Amherst Financial Aid Services website.


The Bursars Office will send an email to your UMass student email when your bill is ready to view in SPIRE. To view your bill, log onto your SPIRE account, click on “Main Menu,” click on “Finances,” and then click on “View/Pay Bill.” The due date for your payment is listed on your SPIRE account.


The SPHHS offers a variety of scholarships to support you and help you reach your academic and professional goals. All SPHHS awards are administered through AcademicWorks, which automatically matches you with the scholarships and financial awards for which you’re eligible. You will need to have an updated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form on file with the Office of Financial Aid.

Students will need to complete the application each academic year, and will be notified via their email account when the new application cycle is open. By completing the UMass General Application, students will automatically be considered for several scholarships. In addition, many scholarships require a current FAFSA to be filed each year. Most SPHHS applications are open from November to February annually.

Simply enroll in AcademicWorks, and fill out both the UMass general application and the SPHHS application to get started. These include funding for internships, study abroad, financial need, and research.

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Resources to Support Your Success

Resources to Support Your Success

Graduate school can often be a time of unique challenges for students. We all bring different strengths to the table, but we also all face different challenges. To support students, UMass has a number of both academic and non-academic resources. Please see several highlighted university and school resources below. You are also encouraged to visit the Graduate Student Senate website for additional information related to graduate students and available resources.

If you have questions or need assistance getting connected with campus or community resources, or aren’t sure where to begin, please fill out the Dean of Student’s Office Student Support Request/Referral Form or contact acaddean [at] schoolph [dot] umass [dot] edu.

SPHHS Center for Student Success

The SPHHS Center for Student Success offers centralized resources for students in the school. The center is dedicated to helping SPHHS graduate and undergraduate students achieve their highest potential through thoughtful support and career planning. It creates and complements other campus-wide programs that increase student retention; support timely progress toward degree completion; and enhance wellness, student engagement, and career exploration.

The center supports all SPHHS undergraduate and graduate students academically, professionally, and personally through:

Contact: acaddean [at] schoolph [dot] umass [dot] edu ()

Career Advising

The Office of Career Planning works with all SPHHS students on a wide range of career planning activities, such as: identifying career interests; cover letter and résumé writing, practicum/job search strategies, interviewing and salary negotiation skills. Additionally, they host employer information sessions, career fairs, and panels. Connect with the Office of Career Planning early, utilize Handshake and read their Career Snaps, delivered directly to your UMass inbox.

Additionally, the Graduate School Office of Professional Development offers graduate students professional skills training on career preparation, communication, grants and fellowships, personal development, and teaching.


There are many housing options for graduate students both on and off campus. To learn about which options may work best for you, check out the Graduate Student Senate’s website.

Academic and Inclusive Learning

Disability Services at UMass Amherst is committed to full access for all persons at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and embraces the philosophy of social justice, promoting the empowerment of people with disabilities and their full integration into campus life and the community. Direct services are provided for all types of disability. Disability Services also provides information and referral on issues of accessibility, coordinates guest accommodations, and provides training and staff development to the university community.

If you have a disability and require accommodations, please register with Disability Services (413-545-0892). Information on services and materials for registering are available on their website.

UMass Writing Center: Provides support for developing writing skills, tutoring, and editing of written work.

English as a Second Language Program: Provides support for non-native English speaking students.

Well-Being and Support Services

Community and Support Services

Parking and Transportation

There are many ways to commute to campus: bike, PVTA bus system, or car. Please check out the parking and transportation website for more information. Please note that students who are only enrolled through UWW do not have access to parking and transportation services at UMass.

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Resources and Services @UMass Amherst Libraries

Resources and Services @UMass Amherst Libraries

Subject Librarians

  1. Ellen Lutz, Health Sciences Librarian, lutz [at] umass [dot] edu: Schedule an Appointment


Articles, Books, Streaming Media, and Other Resources

Other Services

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Conflict Resolution and Grievances

Conflict Resolution and Grievances

The SPHHS promotes a healthy and respectful work and learning environment. Occasionally, issues arise that may require assistance to resolve. We would like to let you know how and where you can seek guidance.

Department Support

The most common issues that students encounter can be resolved informally at the department level. If it is an issue in the classroom, students are encouraged to start by discussing the issue with their instructor to see if it can be resolved informally. If not, or if a conversation with an instructor is not possible, students are encouraged to initiate a conversation with the Graduate Program Director, Department Chair, or Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs.

If the individual you contact cannot or does not know how to resolve your issue, they may consult with other members of the department or staff. You may also be referred to the following offices for help resolving grievances:

The Ombuds Office

The Ombuds Office is a confidential and neutral place for UMass Amherst students, faculty, and staff to talk confidentially about any campus concern, issue, or conflict. Students concerned about an academic issue are encouraged to contact the Ombuds Office for assistance in determining if the situation is an academic grievance and to further understand the conflict resolution process. The Ombuds Office can help students and instructors weigh their options, understand relevant policies and available resources, and receive referrals for more formal measures when circumstances warrant. The Ombuds Office can also provide informal mediation services.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EO&D)

The EO&D office is a resource for discrimination, sexual harassment, and equal opportunity complaints. This office has responsibility for the sexual harassment grievance procedure, which is a separate and distinct process. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and therefore a violation of federal and state laws and university regulations.

Academic Honesty and Grievance Office

The Academic Honesty and Grievance Office is the process manager for academic grievances. It is responsible for ensuring that only those matters properly defined as academic grievances are pursued through this procedure, for advising all concerned parties of their rights and obligations under this procedure, for convening hearing panels, and for scheduling hearings.

Graduate School Academic Grievance Procedure

The Graduate School Grievance procedure exists to deal with complaints by current or former graduate students against the university, one of its administrative or academic units, or one of its faculty or staff concerning “Very Serious Academic Matters." Refer to the graduate school website for additional details.

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