Jun 14, 2024  
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Registration, Academic Regulations, and Degree Requirements

All rules in this section and others are subject to change in accordance with existing and hereafter adopted university policies. Official changes will be clearly stated in university policy documents. Notations may indicate when specific regulations became or will become effective. If there is no notation, regulations are in effect as of the date of the catalogue.  

Catalog Commitments


The catalog which is in effect when a student first enters the university (as a regularly admitted student) is generally the one that will govern that student’s course and program requirements. However, circumstances may occur that require modification of this principle.

Changes may occur in the requirements for academic programs or regulations. When possible, such changes will be phased in, with the class affected and year when the changes first apply being stated. If a formerly required course or courses should no longer be offered, substitutions will be considered in individual program planning; the institution will attempt to respond flexibly in such cases.

For students who return after a period of withdrawal or dismissal (in other words, who do not maintain continuous registration or who leave without a granted leave of absence), the governing catalog will become that which is in effect when they are re-admitted. Individual requests to be allowed to revert to the earlier catalog will be reviewed by the dean of the student’s college.

Students who entered under one governing catalog may prefer the requirements in a subsequent catalog. They may request permission to have that newer catalog apply to them; in such cases, however, they shall then adopt all requirements from the newer catalog.

Because each edition of this catalog is prepared significantly in advance of its distribution and it may not be re-edited every year, changes may go into effect before the next edition is printed. Such changes will be clearly stated in university policy documents.

Issues concerning the catalog that governs for individual students are resolved at the level of the college dean.



Registration is the process by which students enroll in courses each semester. Continuing students should register during the established registration periods, which occur during the previous semester. New students may register after being accepted as degree candidates and after receiving academic advisement and course approval. Some programs automatically register new students into initial courses.

Registration must be completed by the end of the Add/Drop period as shown on the academic calendar for the semester.

Only after the student meets all financial obligations to UMass Dartmouth will the registration be considered final and official. 

Academic Advisement


The Graduate Director or Department Chairperson assigns each graduate degree candidate a faculty advisor. Newly admitted students should contact the department for information about the assignment of an advisor.

Advisors will inform their advisees about the program’s course and progress requirements and any options that must be decided and will also discuss related educational and career concerns. Students should see their advisors in advance of registering and receive approval of their next semester’s course schedule. However, the student, not the advisor, is ultimately responsible for seeing that his or her program fulfills any and all requirements for the degree.

The advisor can call a conference with the student at any time, with reasonable notice. 

Add/Drop Period


Students may change their course schedules up to the end of the first week (five class days) of the semester, during an Add/Drop period, without record on the transcript and without financial obligation. In the case of courses that meet only once a week, the Add/Drop period shall be two weeks. Students present an add/drop form approved by the faculty member into whose course the student wishes to enter, at the Student Enrollment Services Center. 

Withdrawal from a Class


Students who withdraw from a course after the Add/Drop period and up to the completion of the tenth week of the semester shall receive a W grade. A W grade confers no academic credit and does not affect a student’s GPA. After the completion of the tenth week of the semester, students may not withdraw from courses. A student who withdraws from all courses shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the University.

Course Credits and Levels


Courses numbered 500/600/700 are graduate courses. Courses numbered 300/400 are advanced and specialized undergraduate courses normally requiring prerequisites.

No more than 6 credits at the 400 level may be applied toward a graduate degree; 300-level courses may not be used. Only 400-level courses in which the student receives a grade of B (not B-) or better may be accepted toward degree requirements. 

Courses are the basic units of teaching at UMass Dartmouth. A course is a segment of an academic or professional field which provides insight and understanding of those topics, skills and approaches to knowledge which is determined by the University to be important to students’ educational development, personal growth and/or career preparation. Each course at UMass Dartmouth carries the number of credit hours specified in the course description.

A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class work each week for approximately fifteen weeks (includes exam week) for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time.

2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, clinicals and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

This federally mandated credit hour policy applies to all courses at all levels (graduate, professional and undergraduate) that award academic credit (i.e., any course that appears on an official transcript issued by the University) regardless of the mode of delivery including, but not limited to, online, hybrid, lecture, seminar and laboratory.  Academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy.

The expectation of contact time inside the classroom and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course whether it is fully online, a hybrid of face-to-face contact with some content delivered online, or one delivered in lecture or seminar format.  Courses that have less structured classroom schedules, such as research seminars, independent studies, internships, practica, studio work, clinicals or any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, at a minimum, should state clearly learning objectives and expected outcomes and workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above.


Credit Longevity


Master’s students must complete all coursework requirements for the degree within six (6) years of being accepted to the program.  Doctoral students must complete all coursework requirements for the degree within seven (7) years of being accepted to the program.  In extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal to the department.  The department may then send a recommendation and justification for a waiver to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval. 

Course Load


A course load of 9 credits per semester is considered full-time in a graduate program. Students awarded assistantships must be enrolled full-time unless they are in their final semester or year. 

A course load of at least 7 credits is required for 3/4 time status and of at least 4 1/2 credits for half-time status.

A department or college may impose additional restrictions on course loads.

In some cases, a student may actually be pursuing full-time study without being enrolled formally in 9 credits. This situation can occur in programs with heavy internship duties or near the end of the program of study when a student is completing a project, thesis or dissertation, or for other reasons. UMass Dartmouth offers a means whereby the academic department and college can verify a student’s full-time status in such circumstances.  Note that this verification method does not qualify a student for an assistantship.  Contact the academic department or the Office of the University Registrar for information about this process. 

Continuation or Interruption of Registration


To maintain status as degree candidates, full-time graduate students must remain enrolled continuously (exclusive of summers) or receive an approved leave of absence. Those who must interrupt progress toward their degrees should seek formal leave of absence. If a student neither requests a leave of absence nor registers for “Program Continuation” as described in the next paragraph, it is presumed that the student has abandoned pursuit of the degree; such a student must apply again for admission to resume work for the degree.

Students studying part-time will have their degree status kept open unless they do not register for one full calendar year.

After completing their formal course requirements, graduate students who continue to work on a thesis or project must remain in “Program Continuation” enrollment status for every semester in which they work on it, until the thesis/project is completed, including the semester in which final approvals are given. These students register for Program Continuation at the Registrar’s Office and pay in lieu of tuition and regular fees a fee for each semester that they are in that status.

Leave of Absence


A student may request of the Graduate Director a leave of absence for a period no longer than one calendar year, subject to specific limitations for that graduate program.  The approval of the Graduate Director should be forwarded to the Graduate Office through the College Dean.  A second year of leave may be granted in exceptional circumstances. Students on leaves of absence who exceed their stipulated time on leave will be considered to have withdrawn and so will be subject to the re-admission procedures. Likewise, students who discontinue studies without an approved leave of absence will be subject to applying again for admission (see (Re)Admission Procedure). 

Withdrawal from the University


A student who wishes to withdraw from UMass Dartmouth during any semester or term should file a Withdrawal Notice Form with the Registrar. If a student does not re-enter the University in the following semester but plans to at some later time, he or she should apply for a leave of absence, or be subject to the re-admission procedures, described below.

Students may withdraw from the university and receive “W” grades through the end of the tenth week of the semester. If they withdraw after the withdrawal deadline, they are subject to standard grades for that term. A student who withdraws from all courses shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the University.

(Re)Admission Procedure


Former graduate students who withdrew without an approved leave of absence and/or who were dismissed must apply again for admission through the Office of Graduate Studies & Admissions.  (Dismissed students may not be re-admitted until at least one fall or spring semester has elapsed between their dismissal and their re-entry.)  Students requesting re-admission will thus compete for entrance along with new applicants to the program. With permission from the relevant graduate program and the Office of Graduate Studies & Admissions, students may re-use materials from the former application that are still current; but they must submit any new or updated information and will be required to submit another application form and pay again the appropriate application fee. 

Financial Obligations


As noted earlier, a student is expected to meet his or her financial obligations to the university. Any student who has an outstanding financial obligation to the University will not be considered officially registered for courses and will have official transcripts and diploma held. The obligations include tuition, fees, housing charges, Campus Store balance, library fines, loan balances, parking fines, health forms, etc. Financial clearance must be obtained from the Bursar’s Office. 

Class Attendance


Individual faculty members establish rules and policies on class attendance, participation, and student performance. Students are responsible for adhering to class rules and policies and are subject to penalties for violations. 

Repeating of Courses


Whether or not a student may repeat an individual course is subject to regulations of the student’s department or college. In the event that repetition of courses is allowed, students may repeat individual courses once but only if space is available and with the consent of the department. Only the appropriate UMass Dartmouth course may be used; no course taken at another institution can replace a UMass Dartmouth course’s grade. Only the repeat course grade (whether higher or lower) shall enter into calculation of the cumulative grade point average presented for satisfaction of degree requirements. However, all courses attempted by the student will be a part of the permanent record. 

Grades and Grading System


Grades are determined and assigned by instructors according to the definitions indicated below. Each student’s academic achievement and the eventual fulfillment of degree requirements are reflected in the transcripts which are updated at the end of each semester.

UMass Dartmouth’s grading system include plus and minus grades which are used in computing grade point averages.

The grading system—as applicable for graduate study—includes the following letter grades and quality points:

A Excellent

    Quality Points:
A+           4.000
A   4.000
A-   3.700

B Good

    Quality Points:
B+          3.300
B   3.000
B-   2.700

C Satisfactory

    Quality Points:
C+   2.300
C   2.00
C (not C-) is the lowest grade acceptable for
graduate credit. 

C-, D, F Unsatisfactory/Failure

                                Quality Points:
C-   1.700
D+   1.300
D   1.000
D-   0.700
F   0
No credit awarded toward degree, but
reflected in G.P.A.


Quality Points: 0
An F assigned for failure to complete a course within a year after the assignment of an “I” notation. 


Official withdrawal by the student from a course after the Add/Drop period, and up to the completion of tenth week of the semester. No credit awarded. W grades do not affect a student’s G.P.A. 


Work Incomplete. May be given only in exceptional circumstances at the instructor’s discretion and at the student’s request made no more than 48 hours after the final examination or last class. The student must be passing at the time of the request or must be sufficiently close to passing for the instructor to believe that upon completion of the work the student will pass the course. If the work is not completed within a year of recording of the “I,” the grade will become an F(I). “I” grades cannot be changed to W.

P/F or CR/NC

Passing/Failing or Credit Received/No Credit. Grades applied in a graduate course such as thesis, project, or dissertation that does not assign letter grades of A-F, and that is so identified in the course description. Indicates satisfactory completion of course requirements. 


In Progress. Notation used in certain courses to indicate that academic progress covers more than one term; e.g., that a grade will be assigned on the completion of the task involved. This grade is used when students continue their work on a graduate thesis, project, or dissertation beyond one semester. The “IP” notation is replaced upon receipt of the official grade. Until or unless replaced by an official grade, the notation “IP” will remain on the transcript. 


Grade not reported by instructor at time of grade processing—a temporary mark only. 


Audit. Registration and permission of Instructor are needed for auditing, submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later than the end of the add-drop period. This notation is used when no examinations, evaluation, or credit are involved. 

Major Days of Religious Observance


University policy and Massachusetts state law require faculty to offer makeup assignments or exams to students who are absent for religious observance. As an aid to curriculum planning, the list of major religious observances is made available by the Office of the Provost. Faculty, staff, and students are advised that the list is not exhaustive of observances of any religion. Jewish, Baha’i, and some Islamic religious observances begin at sundown of the previous day. Students planning to be absent from classes due to religious observance must notify their instructors at least one week in advance, and otherwise follow university policy regarding attendance. 

Scholastic Standing


A grade point average (G.P.A.) is determined for each student at the end of each term’s program of courses. A G.P.A. is computed by multiplying the credit of each UMass Dartmouth course by the quality points of the grade received in that course; the sum is then divided by the total course credits. Grades such as P, CR, I, W, WP, WF, IP, AU are not included.

Which courses’s grades are or are not calculated in the G.P.A. for graduate degree students is discussed in the chapter on Degree Requirements. 

Change of Grade


Whether for a one- or two-semester course, the grade received at the end of each semester stands as the final grade for the semester. For certain special coursework (e.g., thesis, research, dissertation) in which it is extremely difficult to assess academic progress on the basis of one term, the notation “IP” (In Progress) is used. The “IP” notation is replaced upon receipt of the official grade, or remains as the final grade.

Grade change/correction requests must occur within one year from the date that the grade was placed on the student’s record. In extreme and exceptional cases, on request of the student, the instructor and the appropriate college dean may authorize changes in grades which are over one year. 

Grade Appeal


Grade appeals are pursued through a formal process, which is conveyed in the university’s Grade Appeal Policy.  The following paragraphs summarize the grade appeal process.

Students and faculty should make every effort to resolve questions about grades without seeking a formal grade appeal. Grade Appeal is a last resort. A grade appeal will be pursued only if there is a valid basis and evidence. 

What Can Be Appealed

  1. Only final course grades may be appealed.
  2. Grades may be appealed that are alleged to be caused by: 
    1. Unfair and unequal application of grading standards.
    2. Unfair or unannounced alteration of assignments, grading criteria or computational processes.
    3. Computation dispute about calculation of a final grade or its transmission to the Registrar.
    4. Failure to document a finding of plagiarism that results in a punitive final grade. Definitions of appropriate kinds of documentation are provided by the Academic Ethics Committee in its Plagiarism Policy report approved in April 2004.

Grade Appeal Officer


A faculty member is identified as the Grade Appeal Officer, who serves students and faculty as an ombudsperson for grading issues. S/he provides students and faculty with someone to approach with questions relating to grading fairness and process; provides the first level of adjudication when issues related to grading arise between students and faculty by conducting an informal investigation of the issue and suggesting a non-binding solution where possible; and serves as facilitator for a formal grade appeal process when one is to occur. 

Rights Concerning Grading Practices


At the beginning of a course, students have a right to be told what and how much work will be required and the detailed basis of grading in the course. Any modifications must be communicated clearly and in a timely manner.

Both during a course and at its end, students have a right to know how their work was evaluated and the bases for the calculating of scores and grades. If an instructor is no longer available, the department chairperson is responsible to facilitate this communication. In matters of grading, the chairperson can act for a faculty member who is no longer working at UMass Dartmouth.

Faculty have a right to judge their students’ academic work. Others’ judgments will not be substituted. 

Timing of a Formal Appeal


A formal appeal is submitted in writing to the Grade Appeal Officer explaining the basis and providing the evidence for the formal appeal, with copies to the faculty member and to the faculty member’s department chair. This must be done within the first 20 class days of the following semester, excluding summers, or within 25 working days from the date that the grade is made available to the student by the Registrar’s office, whichever is later; or by a specific later date set by the Grade Appeal Officer. 

Academic Ethical Standards


All UMass Dartmouth students are expected to maintain high standards of academic integrity and scholarly practice. The University does not tolerate academic dishonesty of any variety, whether as a result of a failure to understand proper academic and scholarly procedure or as an act of intentional dishonesty.

A student found guilty of academic dishonesty is subject to severe disciplinary action which may include expulsion from the University. Refer to the Student Handbook and Student Judicial Code for due process. A high standard of academic integrity promotes the pursuit of truth and learning and respect for the intellectual accomplishments of others. These are values that are fundamental to the mission of this University. Such values are undermined by academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is defined as attempting to obtain academic credit for work that is not one’s own. Examples include: (1) copying another student’s answers on an examination; (2) obtaining, or attempting to obtain, the answers to an examination in advance; (3) submitting a paper that was written by someone else; (4) submitting a paper that includes phrases, sentences and paragraphs that were copied verbatim, or almost verbatim, from a work written by someone else, without making this clear without indicating that these words were someone else’s through the use of quotation marks or other appropriate citation conventions; (5) collaborating on a homework assignment when this has been expressly forbidden by the professor; (6) using unauthorized materials in completing assignments or examinations; (7) submitting the same paper for more than one class without the express permission of the instructors involved. This list of examples should not be considered exhaustive.

This definition of academic dishonesty applies to information submitted in other forms besides paper. Submitting a project of a musical or artistic nature where all or part of the project is someone else’s work, without acknowledging this fact, constitutes academic dishonesty. Submitting computer files that do not represent one’s own work is also considered to be academic dishonesty; examples of computer-based academic dishonesty would include submitting a computer program or text file created by someone else as one’s own, or submitting the output of a computer program written by someone else, and claiming to have written the program that generated the output.

For all forms of academic dishonesty, students who knowingly allow other students to use their work are themselves considered to be academically dishonest. Examples would include students who knowingly allow other students to copy their exam answers, and students who give papers that they have written to other students so that the other students can submit them for credit.

A faculty member is appointed by the Faculty Senate to act as an Academic Ethical Matters Facilitator. This individual will offer advice to both students and faculty about the issues involved in penalizing academic dishonesty, and the process of appealing such penalties.

Penalties assessed by faculty members for academic dishonesty generally consist of a reprimand, a requirement to resubmit the work in a more acceptable form, a lowering of a grade, failure in the course in which the alleged infraction took place, or a combination of these.

Instead of (or in addition to) assessing such penalties, a faculty member may refer the matter to the UMass Dartmouth Student Judiciary. Decisions made by the Student Judiciary may be appealed to the University Appellate Board.

Maintenance of University Records


The Office of the University Registrar maintains the official educational records of all graduate and undergraduate students.

The Registrar’s Office also conducts registration, arranges schedules, enforces certain academic regulations, and issues official transcripts from the university. Petitions to receive credit toward one’s university degree for courses which have been taken elsewhere must be filed with the Registrar. The Registrar also certifies enrollment to the Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration, insurance companies, banks, guaranteed student loan agencies, and other agencies including higher education loan agencies. 

Confidentiality of Records (FERPA)


The university policy on the confidentiality of records is consistent with the requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

The policy is designed

  • to protect the privacy of educational records,
  • to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records and
  • to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings.

Students also have the right to file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC 20202-4605 concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the Act.

Directory Information


The university is allowed to disclose certain basic information about students without their assent, and is in fact required to do so by state statutes. Such disclosable information is called “Directory Information.”

The university has designated the following categories of student information as directory information: student’s name, major field of study, acknowledgment of a student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, date(s) of attendance; degrees, certificates, awards received; the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student and appointment as a Resident Assistant or Community Development Assistant.  For graduate students who are teaching credit courses, work department, office address, and employment category are also defined as directory information. 

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of the above categories of information by submitting the required form to the Registrar’s Office. Once a non-disclosure request has been filed, it will remain in effect until further notification from the student. The university assumes that the absence of a student’s request to withhold public information indicates his/her approval of disclosure. This applies both before and after graduation. We wish to alert students to possible negative consequences of withholding disclosure of directory information; i.e. employment reference checks.

UMass Dartmouth makes its current Directory available not only to students but to members of the general public, including political groups, public or private agencies, and advertisers; however, phone numbers are not included. The full directory is offered as a whole in printed form (computer print-out), for a fee that recovers our expenses. It is not offered electronically or sorted by special categories.

Access to Individual Educational Records


FERPA restricts significantly the right of others to view a student’s educational records. The following are categories of individuals who by federal law and the procedures established for UMass Dartmouth may view or receive a student’s educational records:

  1. The student him or herself (except materials to which the student has waived the right of access, such as confidential letters of recommendation).
  2. Persons whom the student authorizes by name in a written, signed statement that names the records to be released. In addition to special circumstances, this rule covers requests to send transcript copies to others, such as employers or other educational institutions. Such disclosure may also be incorporated within signed agreements to participate in any activity or program—for example, receiving a scholarship.
  3. Individuals who are “officials” of the campus and university and who have a “legitimate educational interest” in the record or a “need to know” information in the record. At UMass Dartmouth, “officials” includes—
  • Persons employed or contracted by UMass Dartmouth in an administrative, supervisory, teaching, research, or support staff position (in some cases including students hired as support staff);
  • Officers of the UMass central administration;
  • Students or others serving on committees where legitimate “need to know” exists (examples are persons serving on a committee that recommends award of scholarships or serving on the board of an honor society). Such officials have a “legitimate educational interest” or “need to know” if performing a task that includes each of the following —
  • It falls within the context of their assigned institutional duties or responsibilities;
  • It relates to the functioning of the office, position, or committee involved;
  • It relates to the education or the disciplining of the student; and
  • It is consistent with the purposes for which the information is kept. 
  1. Parents who have established that the student is a dependent on their most recent federal income tax return, and then only in individual cases by special request. Other-wise parents have no right of access to their daughter’s or son’s educational records.
  2. Persons or organizations providing financial aid to students or determining those aid awards, as necessary to determine eligibility, amounts, or conditions of an award or to enforce its terms and conditions.
  3. Persons in compliance with a judicial order or lawful subpoena. The university will make a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of such release of information. In the case of a Federal Grand Jury subpoena, notification is not given.
  4. Appropriate parties in an emergency if the knowledge or information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others.
  5. Officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request and with appropriate documentation.
  6. Certain officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.
  7. State and local officials or authorities to whom such information is specifically required to be reported;
  8. Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university.
  9. Accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
  10. An alleged victim of any crime of violence, of the final results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
  11. Post-secondary institutions may disclose the final results of any disciplinary proceeding for a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense to anyone if the institution determines that the student committed a violation of its rules with respect to the crime.
  12. Post-secondary institutions may disclose to a parent or legal guardian, information regarding a student’s violation of any law or institutional rule or policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is under the age of 21 and the institution has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation.

Persons authorized to view or retain a student’s educational records, as above, may in no case transmit, share, or disclose the information to any third party. All third-party requests for information should be addressed to the Office of the University Registrar.

A complete copy of the university’s procedures and policies regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is available for inspection at the Office of the University Registrar. The complete statement gives additional details and categories and also defines what records are deemed to be “educational records” in this context.


Access to One’s Educational Records


Students may inspect and review their educational records upon request to the Office of University Records. The student should submit a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect.

The Office of University Records will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given in 45 days or less from the receipt of the request. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the portion of the records which relate to him/her. 

Requests for Transcripts


Transcripts may be obtained through the University Enrollment Center or from the Registrar’s Office. Both official and unofficial copies are available. Degree students pay a one-time transcript fee; transcripts are provided to them, and to all others, at no cost both now and for the future. Requests for transcripts must be made in person, in writing, or by fax, because the student’s signature is required as a release. The Registrar will enforce policies to see that transcript requests are reasonable. 

Unofficial transcripts and certain other academic information are also available to students through COIN (Corsair Online INformation).

Student ID Card


New students are issued a photo identification card, called the UMass Pass, and each continuing student’s ID card is revalidated. At any time during the year, lost or damaged ID cards may be replaced for a fee. The UMass Pass can also serve as a debit card used to make transactions otherwise requiring cash (e.g., campus food operations, Campus Store, vending machines, laundry services).

Students must carry their ID cards at all times and must present them to any university official upon request. Student ID cards serve many purposes, such as obtaining library services, participating in athletic or social events, and validating checks in the Campus Store. 

Student ID/Social Security Number


The university issues a special student identification number for use in campus transactions; the Social Security Number will not be used in such transactions. Per federal law, it remains a requirement that all students submit their Social Security Numbers (except international students who lack them); this number is used in tax reporting and in some financial aid and hiring situations. The university will respect and protect students’ privacy and their Social Security Numbers. 

Change of Student Information


Students should notify the University Enrollment Center or Registrar’s Office of any change in their student information, such as a change of name or address. Students may also input address information themselves via their COIN account.  Current and accurate information is important, and for some purposes mandatory (for example, for international students to retain visa status). 

Degree Conferral and Commencement


Completion of degree requirements is certified at three different times during the year. Diplomas and transcripts show the date of degree conferral as in the table below.

To give an example, students who completed final required courses in December 2008 had the degree conferred on January 31, 2009, as did students completing a final required course in the January 2009 Intersession. Students completing final required courses in spring 2009 had the degree conferred on May 23, when graduate commencement was held that year. (See below, under “Commencement Exercises,” for the policy allowing some students who will not yet have completed requirements to participate in the graduation ceremony.) Students completing requirements in between June 1 and the add/drop deadline for the fall semester will earn the August 31 conferral date.

Candidates for graduation must declare their intention to graduate formally at the Registrar’s Office by filing an Application for Diploma. The deadlines for that filing are shown in the table. At about the same time that they declare intention to graduate, students should review their academic records with their graduate program director to ensure that all requirements will have been met properly.

Course grades are recorded for the term in which the student registered for the course. In the case of incompletes, the actual work will be completed after that term. If a student cannot graduate at the end of his or her last term because one or more courses required for graduation have incomplete grades, the student will not receive the diploma or the final transcript until after the incomplete work is made up and the professor has assigned the appropriate new grade. In other words, diplomas and final transcripts are given out after all work required for the degree is completed, but the date on the diploma corresponds to the term in which the final grade is registered.

Graduate students have an exception to this rule for a thesis, project, or dissertation that is not completed by the time that all coursework for the degree is completed. These students register in a special “continuation” status for each term needed to complete their work, and the date of the degree conferral is that for the end of the term in which that work is completed and approved for graduation.

Once a student graduates, the transcript is closed to subsequent changes (with the exception of correction of errors), to preserve the accuracy of the certification.

Commencement Exercises


UMass Dartmouth holds one formal graduate commencement ceremony each year, at the conclusion of the spring semester.  Degree-seeking students who have completed graduation requirements in July/August or December/January may participate in the upcoming spring graduation ceremony if they have not already participated in the previous spring.  An individual may participate in only one graduation ceremony per degree.

A master’s degree candidate having a thesis requirement may participate in the Spring commencement ceremonies only if the student has completed all course requirements prior to commencement and has the reasonable possibility of finishing the thesis by the end of the fall semester following commencement. In the MFA program, the visual thesis must also be completed prior to commencement. Master’s students with a non-thesis option may participate in the graduation ceremonies only if they:  (a) have three (3) or fewer credits to complete to earn their degree; (b) complete those three (3) or fewer credits in the summer immediately following commencement and prior to the start of the ensuing fall semester; (c) are registered for those three (3) or fewer credits by Commencement day; (d) are expected to complete any other graduation requirements (e.g., project report) by the end of the ensuing fall semester; and (e) have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.000.  

Doctoral candidates must complete all degree requirements prior to participating in the commencement ceremonies.  Alternatively, doctoral candidates may participate in the ceremony if they have received the written approval of all committee members, successfully defended their dissertation, and any necessary revisions to finalize the dissertation are minor and will be completed by May 31.  The Associate Provost for Graduate Studies shall make final decisions regarding doctoral candidates’ eligibility to participate in commencement ceremonies.


Completion occurring Date on diploma Deadline to declare intention to graduate
By May 31 Day of commencement March 15
By add/drop deadline for fall semester August 31 July 1
By add/drop deadline for spring semester January 31 November 1