Jul 24, 2024  
2011-2012 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2011-2012 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Special Learning Opportunities

Individualized Courses, Alternative Credit, Experiential Learning, Internships Study at Other Institutions

Students may desire educational experiences that extend beyond the regular courses of the university. The university thus offers various individually-initiated learning experiences to its students.  These include Independent Study, Contract Learning, and Directed Study; study at a nearby university through cross-registration; study abroad; and receiving credit through a variety of standardized examinations.

Special Course Opportunities


Directed Study

Students who wish to take a regular university course in a term when it is not offered may seek to do so through a Directed Study option. However, students must understand that, because the appropriate faculty must be available and approvals must be granted, the option of Directed Study for a particular course is not always available.

In Directed Study, the faculty member must agree to provide the student with close supervision, in achieving the same course objectives that would have been accomplished had the student taken the course on a regular class basis. Permission for Directed Study must be obtained from the subject/course faculty member, the student’s department chairperson, and the college dean, after consultation with the faculty advisor.

Forms for enrolling in Directed Study are available at the Registrar’s Office. Directed Study courses will be so designated on the student’s transcript, displaying the title of the course undertaken. Directed Study courses are offered at each course level, 1xx, 2xx, 3xx, and 4xx, in order to match the level of the course of record.

Independent Study

Independent Study, which is faculty-supervised research or readings into areas of study outside the current curriculum, offers students the opportunity to investigate a research topic or readings independently, under the close supervision of a faculty member. Independent Study will only be approved for research into areas of study that do not duplicate the University’s current curriculum of courses.

The student will be responsible for meeting the requirements of the Independent Study as outlined and approved, and the faculty sponsor will assume responsibility for coordinating the Independent Study, evaluating its results, and determining an appropriate grade.

Upper Division students may request to do Independent Study, upon recommendation of a faculty sponsor and approval of the student’s department chairperson and college dean. Twelve semester credits is the maximum of Independent Study allowed for an undergraduate academic career. The student must submit a written proposal and outline of the program of study to be undertaken, which, if approved by the sponsor and the department chairperson, will become a guide for evaluating the student’s performance and accomplishment.

Forms for enrolling in Independent Study are available at the Registrar’s Office. Independent Study courses will be so designated on the student’s transcript, displaying an annotation of the topic undertaken.

Internships, Practicums, and Experiential Learning


Students in any major may arrange for an external learning experience. Most departments list the course Experiential Learning for their majors; it offers lower-division work experience at an elective level. Some of the university’s majors offer upper-division internship or practicum opportunities for students.

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning provides an opportunity for practical application of academic training while earning academic credit.

Under the direction of a faculty sponsor, and with approval of the appropriate Dean, arrangements are made to work under the immediate supervision of a supervisor at a work site, which may be located on or off campus. The range of project types and settings is almost limitless, creating exciting ways to enrich one’s academic studies, to test a tentative career choice, and to gain valuable experience.

The program is administered through the Career Resource Center, where students obtain assistance in finding a faculty sponsor and a work setting and in completing the required forms.

The Experiential Learning contract is an agreement to undertake a significant academic learning experience:

  • Participating students maintain a log or journal of experiences. They also receive assessments from the individual they are working for, the supervisor at the work site.
  • In all cases, the student must submit a work of writing and reflection to the faculty sponsor for evaluation. The exact assignment is determined by the sponsoring faculty member.
  • The faculty sponsor evaluates the project and assigns either a CR or NC grade.

Students wishing to participate must submit a contract proposal and receive the required approvals. The Career Resource Center assists students in making these arrangements.

  • Students must propose a contract and receive an initial approval before the deadline for registration.
  • By another deadline, the student must submit a formal written proposal to the faculty sponsor that both specifies the goals and objectives of the internship and details the activities and academic work to be performed.
  • By the same deadline, the student must obtain approvals from the faculty sponsor, his/her department chairperson, and her/his college dean.

The following are some of the academic limitations and definitions:

  • Students must be at least sophomores to participate.
  • Although the typical internship contract would earn three credits, internships proposing a greater/lesser number of credit hours are also possible. Experiential Learning credits are part of the normal student credit load and subject to university policy with regard to credit hour limitations.
  • Experiential Learning courses may not be used to fulfill distribution or general education requirements but serve as free electives and may be accepted toward the requirements of some majors.
  • Experiential Learning credits are lower-division credits.
  • Students on academic probation are not eligible for Experiential Learning, unless ineligibility is waived by their college dean.
  • The work assignment is to comprise at least 45 clock hours per academic credit, for the semester.
  • Supervision of students doing projects under the Experiential Learning program shall in all cases exclude individuals who are themselves undergraduate degree candidates; and a faculty member cannot serve as both supervisor and sponsor.

Students in the College of Business are offered a junior-level Internship course in lieu of Experiential Learning. They may contact the Career Resource Center for assistance.

General Limitation on Internship Credit

No more than 1/8th of the graduation credits required for the student’s major may be earned in optional internships, including Experiential Learning.

Internships, Clinical Experiences, and Practicums in the Majors

In some of the university’s majors, students are required to have an upper-division internship, practicum, or clinical experience; in some others, an optional course is offered. These studies range from an experience nearby in a course the student takes along with other on-campus courses that semester, to a semester or even a year in an extensive experience which may be well away from campus. Consult the requirements section for your major to learn of these opportunities. 

Cooperative Education in Engineering

The College of Engineering offers cooperative education experiences to qualified students. Students in the program alternate a semester/summer in coursework with a semester/summer on the job full time. Please consult the front of the catalogue section on the College of Engineering. 

Internships Away from Campus through Affiliated Programs

Some programs that may be available to UMass Dartmouth students, like those of The Washington Center or Disney Enterprises, offer a full semester at an internship site. The university has formulated procedures whereby the student can maintain an appropriate enrollment status to participate in such internship programs.

Financial arrangements, enrollment status, and credit that can be earned vary, depending on the program.

Study Abroad


The university encourages its students to study abroad. A number of exchange agreements have been established to facilitate study abroad, together with procedures for academic advisement, registration, and planning personal finances. In addition, a wide variety of programs are available, both of short duration and for a semester or a year.


The university has formal exchange agreements that include: the University of Grenoble (France), the Baden-Württemburg Universities (Germany), Centro de Arte e Communiçãcao (Lisbon, Portugal); Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Industries Textiles of the Universite de Haute Alsace (France), and Minho University (Portugal, The University of Messina (Italy), various universities in Quebec (Canada), all the institutions of the state of Hessen Germany and others.  See the International Programs Office for details.

Policies and Procedures

The Office of International Programs provides general oversight over exchange programs.  Financial aid may be obtained, if the student is eligible and pursuing the study abroad experience to earn credits toward degree requirements. Students should contact their Financial Aid counselor. Furthermore, a special scholarship, the Mary Louise Walsh Fund for International Study, makes assistance available in the form of grants to undergraduates and graduating seniors. There are other scholarships and discounts available that are specific to particular programs and vary widely; students may discuss specific program interests and funding considerations with International Programs Office advisors.  vary

Students who wish to participate in a UMass Dartmouth approved study abroad program will be listed as in Study on Exchange status (sometimes called Study Away or Study Abroad). This status allows students to remain in current, registered status while they pursue full-time studies at another higher-education institution, which is usually located in another country. They may thus remain matriculated students and continue to qualify for their financial aid benefits. A modest fee is charged for Study on Exchange status. Forms may be obtained in the International Programs Office.

Students seeking to study abroad must first apply to the International Programs Office to confirm eligibility for participation.  They must then plan with their faculty advisors the program of study that they intend to pursue at the other institution and receive departmental approval of this study plan.

For full information on Study Abroad procedures, grade policies, etc. see the International Programs Office section of this catalog.  Application instructions, forms, current program lists and other details are available on the International programs Office website at www.umassd.edu/ipo



Receiving Credit Through Standardized Examinations


CLEP Examinations

The University has approved the use of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). The CLEP exams are offered by the College Entrance Examination Board. The program enables those who have reached the college level of education outside the university to demonstrate their achievement and to use the test results for college credit and/or placement.

The equivalency of CLEP examinations to this university’s courses shall be determined by the department that teaches that subject matter. CLEP credits may not be used to duplicate or replace credits for coursework taken here or elsewhere. The Office of the University Registrar maintains a current list of CLEP examinations accepted for credit; we advise current students to consult us before deciding to take CLEP tests.

CLEP credits are defined as transfer credits and will not be reflected in an individual’s grade point average. No more than 30 credits earned by CLEP Examination may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Two types of CLEP examinations are offered:

Subject Examinations
One semester’s course credits (usually 3) or two semesters’ course credits (usually 6) may be awarded for a score at or above 50, as reported on the CLEP score report. Such credits are generally used to satisfy university distribution requirements or may be used as elective credits. We do not accept all CLEP Subject Examinations for credit. One that we do not accept is the Freshman College Composition test.

General Examinations
Credit is not awarded at UMass Dartmouth for the CLEP General Examinations.

Advanced Placement—AP Credit

Advanced placement and/or college credit are awarded to entering freshman students presenting Advanced Placement Examination grades of three or higher (four for credit in Psychology) in most AP fields. AP courses taught in high schools are college-level courses, and the students’ mastery of the content is validated by the AP Examination series administered by the College Board. Such course credits may be used to satisfy degree requirements, general education requirements, or will allow students to place into a more advanced initial course.

Advanced Placement—Dual Enrollment Credit

Some freshman students enter the university with college credit already earned, from courses taken at a college or university while they were in high school, many through the Massachusetts Dual Enrollment program.

Military Service Training

For Military Service School training, credit may be awarded according to the recommendations contained in the most recent Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services of the American Council on Education. These credits cannot be applied to the student’s major field of studies. Additional information is available at the Office of Admissions.


SACHEM Cross-Registration

UMass Dartmouth students may cross-register for courses at other SACHEM (Southeastern Association for Cooperation in Higher Education in Massachusetts) institutions on a space-available, prior-approval basis. Likewise, students at these other institutions may cross-register for courses at UMass Dartmouth. Institutions involved in the program, in addition to UMass Dartmouth, are:

Bridgewater State College
Bristol Community College
Cape Cod Community College
Dean College
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Massasoit Community College
Stonehill College
Wheaton College.

Tuition and fees established by the “away” institution are suspended, provided that the matriculated student is a degree-seeking student at the home institution and carries and pays for a full-time load there. Further information and appropriate forms may be obtained in the Registrar’s Office.