Jul 24, 2024  
2018-2019 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Information for International Graduate Students

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is very much interested in attracting to its campus superior students from abroad. This chapter summarizes information of special interest to international students. Please study the information about us carefully to be sure that we can meet your educational and personal needs.

Overview of our Campus and Region


The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s 710-acre campus is situated near woods and farms, family residences, and commercial areas. Large metropolitan areas, with their variety of libraries, museums, theaters, and other educational institutions, are within an hour’s driving distance—Boston to the north and Providence, Rhode Island, to the west; the smaller urban centers New Bedford and Fall River are just minutes away. Recreational sites are close to our campus, including ocean beaches, hiking, and cultural and night-life opportunities, and a good number of stores, restaurants, and shops are close to campus.

However, the university is not in an urban center. For students with a car, access to urban centers is very convenient. For others, public transportation is used. Buses provide access to and from the nearby cities of Fall River and New Bedford, although planning is necessary because the scheduled hours of public transportation are limited at night and on weekends. Students walk or bicycle to homes and shops near the campus, including a sizable shopping area (shopping mall). Many students find much that they need on campus, because we offer a full range of health, support, recreational, and cultural programs and services, and because students can purchase meals, snacks, and personal as well as academic items on campus.

Apartments can be rented locally, and graduate students often share an apartment or house. Prior arrangements must be made with the UMass Dartmouth Housing office if you wish to live on campus.

The university has organizations specifically for international students, and a number of other student organizations have an international, multicultural component. The International Student and Scholar Center and the Office of Graduate Studies help with eligibility and immigration requirements and provide many other kinds of assistance.

Exchange Agreements


UMass Dartmouth has formal exchange agreements with a number of academic institutions in other countries. Students interested in coming here under those agreements will apply for admission through the offices or contact persons identified in their home institution.

Arrangements for Housing


On-campus apartment-style graduate housing is available on campus. Also, privately owned apartment or house rentals are available near the campus and at driving distance in surrounding communities. We recommend you discuss these options with people already here; the International Student and Scholar Center can help you make connection to an appropriate international student group for help.

New students desiring on-campus housing must indicate their preference early, because of competition for limited spaces. Do not assume you can sign up for on-campus living just at the start of the semester.

To rent an apartment locally, if possible you should seek assistance from an acquaintance who is already here. The university’s Housing Office maintains a listing of local rentals and may be contacted at 508 999-8140; or write Office of Housing and Residential Life, UMass Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300; or e-mail housing@umassd.edu.

If you will live off campus, you may make your housing arrangements after your arrival, while staying with a friend. Or you may stay in one of the commercial accommodations available close to the campus (however, these accommodations are expensive).

If you plan to live with a relative who will provide your housing and meals while you are a student here, send us the person’s name, address, and phone number and indicate the relationship to you. Please have that person write to us to verify that housing and meals will be provided, indicating that they will be cost-free or the charges you will be responsible for. Without such verification, we will use “off-campus apartment or room” charges on your I-20 form.

Application Procedures (International)


The Admissions section of this catalogue gives complete details, which are not repeated here. Here, we give information of special concern to international applicants.

Application and Fee Payment


Your application form and the application fee should reach the Admissions Office well before the date when you plan to enter. UMass Dartmouth does not offer admission fee waivers to graduate applicants. All documents supporting your application should be received as soon as possible thereafter. To help us process your application as quickly as possible, please try to submit all required forms and records together.

Please note that the doctoral and master’s degree programs in Nursing are unable to accept international students, until they obtain a Massachusetts nursing license (RN).  International applicants seeking admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program should consult the Graduate Studies & Admissions Office.

Records of Previous Schooling


You must provide transcripts of undergraduate and any graduate academic records, including lists of courses or subjects studied and grades earned, and also (if applicable) the school leaving certificate and/or your national examination results. If not in English, these records must be accompanied by certified English translations. Please explain in detail any limitations in your ability to provide full, certified, translated school records.

Test of English as a Foreign Language


Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate that they are proficient in English. Most do this by taking the TOEFL, which is administered worldwide. For information about testing locations and dates, contact the College Entrance Examination Board, Box 6155, Princeton, NJ 08541-6155; phone 609-771-7100. The College Entrance Examination Board must report official scores to us, using UMass Dartmouth’s code 3786.

International applicants to any of UMass Dartmouth graduate programs are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived for:

  • Applicants with undergraduate degree from the United States or from countries where English is an Official Language and the Language of Instruction in Higher Education. (See list of countries below *)
  • Applicants with a degree earned from the American University in Beirut, American University in Bulgaria, The American College of Greece, or from Bogazici University in Turkey.
  • Applicants who can demonstrate that they have completed at least two academic semesters of full-time college/university study (excluding ESL or test-prep) in the USA by the date of submission of the application for admission to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 

*Australia, Belize, Botswana, Canada (except Quebec), Caribbean English speaking countries, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

TOEFL/IELTS scores are valid for five years.

The university does not offer a program for students to overcome serious deficiencies in English, although supplemental instruction may be available, perhaps at an extra charge. A number of academic institutions in our region offer intensive English-language institutes. Students who need to gain proficiency in English may seek admission to such a program, complete it successfully, and then apply for entrance to UMass Dartmouth.

Other Required Tests


Tests such as the GRE and GMAT may be required for the program to which you are applying. The results must arrive in time for us to evaluate them before final admission consideration can occur.

Ability to Meet Expenses


International students are required to document their ability to meet estimated instructional costs and living expenses before the university will issue an I-20 form. You should do this by using the Declaration and Certification of Finances form included in our application packet. Accepted applicants for whom we lack the Declaration and Certification of Finances Form will receive another copy along with our letter of admission, with instructions to complete and submit it. We will issue an I-20 form only after we receive your financial declaration, properly completed and signed, with all of the required documentation. Early submission of this form can shorten the admissions process.




Many international graduate applicants receive assistantships. Assistantships help support many UMass Dartmouth international graduate students and are the university’s sole means of offering financial support to international students.

The value of assistantships varies a great deal, depending on the graduate program and degree level, the applicant’s qualifications, and whether a full-time or  less-than-full-time assistantship is offered. Assistantships can include a stipend, and/or waiver or reduction of tuition consistent with the terms of the appointment. Waiver information is available on the graduate web site. If an assistantship is offered, its monetary value will be indicated in the official contract that we send you and on your I-20 form. If the assistantship will not cover all costs, the I-20 form that we issue will require an additional amount of support from your own resources or from a sponsor. Therefore, some assistantship students are required to submit the Declaration and Certification of Finances Form together with required documentation to demonstrate that additional financing is available.

Assistantships are awarded competitively, and they are not offered to all accepted students. The academic departments, not the Graduate Admissions Office or the Office of Financial Aid, make assistantship recommendations. Students wishing information about the criteria for assistantships and the timing of award decisions may contact the department in which they will be studying.

Initial Charges at the University


Some of your payments are split approximately equally between fall and spring semesters. For example, at the start of your first semester, you will be expected to pay approximately half of the annual tuition and fees charge, based on each semester’s registrations. The university makes available the services of a private financing program to assist those students who wish to spread their tuition and fee payments out rather than paying the entire amount at the beginning of each term. Upon request, we will send you an application form for this service. It is important to make these arrangements before you arrive on campus.

On the other hand, one will need an initial larger amount of money at the start of your program, and in subsequent fall semesters, to cover up-front costs:

  • Our health insurance charge, which all international students must purchase per Commonwealth of Massachusetts law, is assessed fully in the fall semester and covers the entire calendar year.
  • Some other academic charges, such as an orientation fee or transcript fee, are charged at the beginning of one’s first semester.
  • Many landlords require initial payment of a deposit in the form of one month’s rental charge as well as payment of the first month’s rent, before one can move into a house or apartment.
  • If you are to receive a graduate assistantship, your income will assist you in paying your bills. However, one receives one’s first paycheck only after rendering a few weeks to one month of service, and one is paid only the amount earned in that time period. Furthermore, many international students experience delays in receiving their initial pay because of the time it takes to receive a U.S. Social Security Number.

Admission and Your Visa


If you meet the requirements for admission, we will send you a letter of acceptance, but we can send your visa papers only after you confirm your intention to enroll and after you prove that you have sufficient financial resources.

Accompanying the letter of acceptance will be a form requesting confirmation of your intention to enroll. If you have not already done so, we will usually also request that you submit the form for Declaration and Certification of Finances. When we receive appropriate confirmation and financial documentation, we will send you the I-20 form. Accepted students sometimes must wait for a period of time before learning if they are to receive an assistantship.

The I-20 form is a United States immigration requirement for the issuance of the F-1 temporary student visa. An I-20 form can only be offered to those who have received admission into a regular academic program of the university and have proven their financial ability. The I-20 form will indicate the specific date and semester of your arrival and the length of your program; it is valid only while you remain in active degree status for the stated program. Also with your I-20 form we will enclose additional information, about travel to the United States and to North Dartmouth; local accommodations, services, and personal needs; and important dates.

With the I-20 and letter of acceptance you may apply to a U.S. Consul for the F-1 student visa that will allow you to come to the United States. The U.S. Consul will require you to have a valid, current passport from your country, which should extend at least six months beyond your stay in the United States. The U.S. Consul will also need to see your acceptance papers and proof of financial resources. Generally, you can show copies of the same documentation that you submit to us.

In some cases, a regularly-admitted graduate degree student may be eligible for a J-1 visa rather then the F-1 visa. If you think you qualify for J-1 admission, please correspond with the Graduate Admissions Office about the special circumstances in your case.

Maintaining Your Student Status; Employment While a Student


F-1 graduate students must be registered for a full-time course load of at least 9 credit hours at the university each semester, remain in good standing, and make regular progress toward completion of their degree. Exceptions are given only after a formal review.

International students holding F-1 visas may not accept off-campus employment during their first year of study (9 months) in the United States. If after one year of study your financial circumstances have changed and documented evidence is available, you may apply, via the International Student and Scholar Center, for permission to work off-campus. However, there is a strict limit to the total amount of employment you may have.

In some cases, students may qualify for Practical Training employment either near the end of their program of study or after they receive their degree. There are important conditions, however, and the extent of such employment is limited. Students on Practical Training may work no more than twenty hours while school is in session and full-time over breaks and summer.

When the student’s academic program allows, students may qualify for Curricular Practical Training. This is applied academic work in the field of one’s academic program. Curricular Practical Training work must be accompanied by paid registration in an experiential learning, internship, or independent study/research course. A one-month work experience should be accompanied at least by a one-credit registration, a two-month experience by two credits, and a three-month experience by three credits; and the student does significant academic work for the credits earned. This course must be a requirement or be allowed as an elective in the degree program. A letter from the proposed employer is obtained. Then, the student must obtain a memorandum from the supervising faculty member, approved in order by the Department Chairperson (for undergraduates) or the Graduate Program Director and the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies to verify that the conditions have been met; then, the International Student  and Scholar Center will issue the approval paperwork.



All students are encouraged to attend a graduate student orientation program at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.  Students who receive assistantships are required to attend.  In addition, international students are required to attend a compulsory orientation program held during the week before fall classes begin. Please arrange your travel plans so as to be able to attend. A one-time orientation fee is charged to all international students.

International Student Services


The International Student and Scholar Center prepares initial I-20 forms required to obtain the F-1 student visa. The Graduate Studies & Admissions Office sends the paperwork to admitted graduate students and assists with any additional documents or information required in the visa process.

The International Student and Scholar Center staff provides ongoing support with visas and other immigration forms and applications as well as assistance with documentation that students need while studying at the University. The staff at the Center also provides general advice and assistance with campus life and personal needs. Workshops are offered during the course of the year pertaining to employment, taxes, and other subjects of particular interest to international students. The Center maintains and email list, which is an e-mail service sent regularly to all international students to keep them informed about visa requirements and other matters of interest. Cultural events are co-sponsored by the Center and other organizations on campus.