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University of Massachusetts Amherst - 2016

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Engineering Information

Degree Requirements

Bachelor's Degree Requirements

To receive a baccalaureate degree, a student must satisfy requirements related to credits, grade point average, program of study, and courses. The university maintains some of these requirements in concordance with nationally recognized expectations of academic performance and achievement. Other requirements, such as the General Education program, have the additional purpose of identifying those elements which give coherence to an undergraduate education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Through the General Education program, the major courses of study, and the offering of elective courses, the University provides students with both breadth and depth of study. It is the university’s hope that, through these, students will gain an appreciation for the value of learning as a lifelong process.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements for graduation are fulfilled in timely fashion. To assist students in this, the Registrar’s Office provides an Academic Requirements Report for each student, specifying all the university, college, and major requirements, and indicating whether the student has met the requirement and, if not, what the student must do to meet the requirement. The Registrar’s Office certifies completion of university requirements and clears students for graduation; undergraduate deans and chief undergraduate advisers authorize this clearance for college and major requirements. The requirements for graduation can be found in the University’s Academic Regulations document:

Master's Degree Requirements

1. A minimum of 30 graduate credits, of which not more than six credits of grade B or better may be transferred from other institutions with the consent of the candidate’s major department and approval of the Graduate Dean. These transfer credits must have been awarded within three years of a student’s entrance into the master’s degree program. A minimum of 21 credits must be in the major field, unless a higher number is required by the student’s program. If a thesis option is chosen, at least six credits must be earned in 600-800 series courses (at this University) in addition to any thesis credits, and Special Problems/Independent Study courses shall be limited to 6 credits. If a thesis is not offered, at least 12 credits must be earned (at this University) in 600-800 series courses. A minimum of half the required credits for a master’s degree in each department must be on a letter graded basis. Transfer credits cannot be used as part of the required component of one-half credits of letter grades. No more than 10 credits may be earned by means of a thesis.

2. The thesis is optional with the school or department; if one is required, however, it shall be under the supervision of a Thesis Committee. This committee shall consist of one or more members of the Graduate Faculty appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Director or the Head or Chair of the Department. A copy of the candidate’s thesis outline must be signed by each member of the Thesis Committee to indicate that the outline has been approved. A signed copy of the thesis outline shall be sent to the Graduate Dean four months prior to the thesis defense. The thesis must be approved by the Thesis Committee and the Department Chair or Head. If the candidate prepares a thesis, Special Problems courses shall be limited to six credits.

3. Candidates who do not write a thesis may be required to pass a general examination (written or oral), depending on program requirements. The Examining Committee usually consists of three graduate faculty members, and the positive recommendation of at least two of the three members of the Examining Committee shall be requisite to receiving the degree.

Additional information may be found at the Graduate School website:

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The doctoral degree is conferred upon graduate students who have met the following requirements:

1. Successful completion of all courses and projects specified by the adviser/guidance committee within the guidelines of the candidate’s graduate studies program.

2. Satisfactory completion of foreign language requirements under Graduate Council policy. (These requirements are listed in the departmental sections of this Bulletin.)

3. Passing a preliminary comprehensive examination conducted by the major department. Any student who fails the comprehensive examination may, at the discretion of the examining committee, be permitted a second and final examination.

4. Submission of an approved dissertation prospectus to the Graduate School at least seven months prior to the Final Oral Examination (defense of dissertation).

5. Preparation of a dissertation satisfactory to the Dissertation Committee and the Department Head/Chair.

6. Passing a final (at least partly oral) examination conducted by the Dissertation Committee on the Amherst campus. This examination shall be primarily upon, but not necessarily limited to, the candidate’s dissertation. This examination time and date shall be submitted to the Graduate Dean for announcement to the Graduate Faculty when all of the Dissertation Committee members and the Department Head/Chair agree that the dissertation is sufficiently complete to stand defense; approval of the dissertation, passing the defense, and/or recommending the degree are not implied by scheduling this examination.

7. Registration for the required number of dissertation credits (refer to the Policies and Regulations section of this Bulletin.

8. A doctoral candidate must spend the equivalent of at least one continuous academic year of full-time graduate work (nine credits per semester) in residence at the university. The residency year must be either in fall/spring or spring/fall sequence. During this year, the student must spend some part of each week physically on campus. Doctoral students enrolled in recognized off-campus programs may satisfy this regulation at their off-campus site.

9. Doctoral students are required to complete their program within five years of achieving candidacy. Candidacy is recommended by the academic department upon satisfactory completion of coursework and passing the qualifying examination. Two-year extensions to this policy will be considered upon recommendation submitted to the Graduate School by the student’s Graduate Program Director.

Additional information may be found at the Graduate School website: