Jul 24, 2024  
2019-2020 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 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. Students must register during the designated registration period. 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.Once a student has registered for classes, failure to attend class(es) does not constitute a withdrawal from the University and does not excuse a student from their financial obligations.  Students who stop attending or abandon their classes without officially withdrawing will remain on all class rosters until they officially withdraw from the University or until the end of the semester at which point they will be graded accordingly.  The Student Leave of Absence/Withdrawal form can be found at umassd.edu/registrar/forms/student-forms 

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

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


The academic calendar clearly designates the add/drop period for each academic semester. Up to the end of the first week (five class days) of the semester, a student may add or drop courses without record. In the case of courses that meet only once per week, the add/drop period shall be two weeks.In the case of courses that meet only once a week, the Add/Drop period shall be two weeks. 

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.

Some programs allow 400 level courses to count toward a graduate degree. 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 (and all international students) must be enrolled full-time unless they have less than 9 credits remaining for degree completion.

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.


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 and thesis/dissertation credits, graduate students who continue to work on a thesis, dissertation 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/Withdrawal from the University


Graduate students who wish to take a Leave of Absence or Withdraw from the University must complete and submit the Student Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form with all required signatures indicated to Office of University Registrar, Foster Administration Building, Room 116. The Graduate Student Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form is available at https://www.umassd.edu/registrar/forms/student-forms/ A student may request a leave of absence for a period no longer than one calendar year, subject to specific limitations for that graduate program.  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 will be subject to re-admission procedures. Likewise, students who discontinue studies without an approved leave of absence or official withdrawal will be subject to applying again for admission (see Re-Admission Procedure).  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 during a semester without submission of a Graduate Student Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the University and will be subject to the readmission procedures of the University.

Readmission 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


Students are expected to keep their accounts current and to pay their financial obligations to the University. Students are required to ensure that their charges are paid in full or covered by other sources such as financial aid awards, external payment plan contracts or other forms of coverage prior to the start of the semester.

Students who do not attend but are registered for courses must officially withdraw from UMass Dartmouth otherwise they will be responsible for all outstanding charges.     

In appropriate circumstances, the Bursar’s Office may impose various restrictions in order to enforce payment of an obligation, including withholding of official transcripts, registration and the diploma. The Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Fiscal Services/designee hears appeals of difficult cases.

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 or P/NC

Passing/Failing or Credit Received/No Credit or Pass/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. For the spring 2020 semester only, a Pass/No Credit grading basis was made available for undergraduate and non-law graduate students and required for law students. A P grade designates successful course completion with a a C or higher for graduate students. A NC grade designates failure or non-completion of a course taken on a Pass/No Credit basis, with a C- or lower for graduate students.


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, NC, 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. Faculty may not change course grade of a student based on extra/additiona work unless such an option is made available to ALL student in the class.

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 and Confidentiality of Education 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, manages schedule of classes, enforces  many academic regulations, and issues official transcripts. Requests 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 students’ enrollment to the National Student Clearinghouse, the Veterans Administration, insurance companies, banks, and student loan agencies.

Confidentiality of Records (FERPA)

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) which is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA affords eligible students certain basic rights with respect to their education records including:

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day UMass Dartmouth receives a request for access.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
  • The right to provide written consent UMass Dartmouth discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by UMass Dartmouth to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202

According to the law, a person becomes a student for purposes of FERPA when they are “in attendance” at an institution. This includes attendance in person or remotely by videoconference, satellite, Internet, or other electronic and telecommunications technologies. At UMass Dartmouth, we define a student as someone currently or previously enrolled in any academic offering of the University. This does not include prospective students or applicants to any academic program of the University.

At UMass Dartmouth, FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes for those newly admitted students who have scheduled at least one course. A student who accepted an admission offer but did not schedule at least one course, or a newly admitted student who canceled his/her registration either before or after the semester begins, is not covered by FERPA.

Education Records

Education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by UMass Dartmouth or by a person acting for the University. Education records take many forms, including paper and electronic. Education records include:

  • Grades
  • Class lists
  • Student course schedules
  • Disciplinary records
  • Student financial records
  • Payroll records for employees who are employed as a direct result of their status as students (e.g. work study, assistantships, resident assistants)

The following records are excluded from the definition of education records:

  • “Sole possession” records made by faculty and staff for their own use as reference or memory aids and not shared with others
  • Personal observations
  • University law enforcement records
  • Medical and mental health records used only for the treatment of the student
  • Alumni records
  • Peer graded papers and exams prior to the grade being recorded in the instructor’s grade book

Disclosure of Education Records

Under FERPA, student education records may be disclosed only with the student’s prior written consent. The prior written consent must:

  • Specify the records to be released
  • State the purpose of the disclosure
  • Identify the party(ies) to whom disclosure may be made
  • Be signed and dated by the student

UMass Dartmouth students who wish to have information released must complete the FERPA Authorization To Release Confidential Information Form found at https://www.umassd.edu/registrar/forms/

Prior written consent is not required when disclosure is made under the following conditions:

  • To “University Officials”* who have a legitimate educational interest.
  • To schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • To authorized state and local representatives, subject to the requirements in Sec. 99.35.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or received.
  • To certain state and local officials or authorities, subject to the requirements in Sec. 99.38.
  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions.
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To parents, as defined in Sec. 99.3, of a dependent student, as defined in Sec. 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • In connection with a health or safety emergency.
  • Information the educational agency or institution has designated as “directory information”.
  • To the parent of a student who is not an eligible student or to the student.
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements in Sec. 99.39.
  • In connection with a disciplinary proceeding at an institution of postsecondary education, subject to the requirements in Sec. 99.39.
  • To a parent of a student at an institution of postsecondary education regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if:
    • The institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession and
    • The student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent.
  • The Solomon Amendment which requires institutions to release certain directory information to military recruiters. (If a confidentiality request was made by the student, then information will not be released.)

*University Official” is defined as any individual employed by the University of Massachusetts’ (“System Office’) or one of its campuses, (the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, including the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, (including its school of law, University of Massachusetts School of Law, Dartmouth); the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; the University of Massachusetts Worcester, a/k/a the University of Massachusetts Medical School,) (individually a “Campus”) who has a legitimate educational interest in the student information.  These individuals include; but, are not limited to instructors; faculty; advisers; admissions counselors; academic advisers; employment placement personnel; deans; department chairpersons; individuals serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; individuals assisting a University Official; directors; law enforcement personnel; health staff; counselors; attorneys; Advancement Office employees; the president; members of the University of Massachusetts’ Board of Trustees; auditors; collection agents.

A University Official may also be an outside contractor or other agent of the University of Massachusetts’ Campus or the System Office, where the Campus or the System Office or both are outsourcing institutional services or functions, and:

(a) The outside contractors or other agents are under the direct control of the Campus or the System Office or both with respect to the use and maintenance of the education records; and

(b) The outside contractor or other agent may not disclose the information to any other party without the student’s consent, and may not use the information for any purpose other than the purpose for which the disclosure was made.  In addition, further disclosures may only be made upon the prior written authorization of the respective Campus or System Office.

FERPA permits university employees to have access to student education records in which they have “legitimate educational interest.” Such access does not require prior written consent of the student. A University Official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University of Massachusetts.  

Directory Information

FERPA permits each institution to define a class of information as “directory information.” FERPA permits public disclosure of directory information without the student’s consent. UMass Dartmouth’s directory items include the following:

  • Name
  • Address (permanent residence and electronic mail)
  • Telephone number
  • Class level (semester class or level: first-year, sophomore, junior, senior, etc.)
  • Major field of study
  • Acknowledgment of a student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight/height (athletic teams)
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or not enrolled)
  • Date of graduation
  • Degrees, certificates and awards received
  • Most recent educational institution attended
  • Graduate students who are teaching credit courses only: work department, office address, and employment category

Note: Although the above items are designated by UMass Dartmouth as directory information, only a limited amount of this information is disclosed by UMass Dartmouth officials. The University retains the discretion to refuse to disclose directory information if it believes such disclosure would be an infringement of the student’s privacy rights. Lists of students including directory information above are not normally allowed to be released for non-UMass Dartmouth purposes.

Preventing the Release of Directory Information

FERPA requires each institution to allow students to block disclosure of their directory information. The following are consequences of a student placing confidentiality on their record:

  • Student name will not appear in the commencement program.
  • Verification of enrollment, graduation, or degrees awarded will not be provided to third parties, including potential employers and insurance companies.
  • No information will be released to any person on the telephone or via email.

To block disclosure of directory information, students must download the FERPA Restriction of Release of Directory Information Form available on the UMass Dartmouth Registrar’s website at https://www.umassd.edu/registrar/forms/ Requests for confidentiality are permanent until removed in writing by the student. 

Procedure to Inspect Education Records

Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the Office of University Records. The student should submit a written request that identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect. The Registrar’s Office 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 forty-five (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 that relate to him/her.


For additional information, visit https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/ and https://www.umassd.edu/registrar/


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 all degree requirements in December 2017 had the degree conferred on January 31, 2018, as did students completing degree requirements in the January 2018 Intersession. Students completing all degree requirements in spring 2018 had the degree conferred in May 2018, 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