Coursework, Grading and Academic Standing

Course Numbering System at the University of Massachusetts

001-099    Noncredit
100-199   Lower division undergraduate; freshman level.
200-299   Lower division undergraduate; sophomore level.
300-399   Upper division undergraduate; junior level.
400-499   Upper division undergraduate; senior level. Graduate credit may be awarded only to candidates outside the department's own graduate program when taught by a member of the Graduate Faculty.
500-599   Combined graduate/undergraduate; suitable for graduate and upper division undergraduate students.
600-699   Master's or first-year graduate courses
700-899   Doctoral or advanced graduate courses
900-999   Post-terminal degree

Fixed Numbers (Graduate/Undergraduate)

590    Experimental courses
591-595   Seminars, variable titles
596   Independent study/Special Problems courses
597   Special topics seminars, variable titles

Fixed Numbers (Graduate)

690, 790, 890    Experimental courses
691-695, 791-795, 891-895   Seminars, variable titles
696, 796, 896   Independent study/Special Problems courses
697, 797, 897   Special topics seminars, variable titles
698   Practicum/Field Experience
699   Master's thesis
899   Doctoral dissertation

Retaking Courses

Unless otherwise noted a course may be taken more than once but may be offered only once toward degree requirements. All enrollments and all grades will appear on the transcript and will count in the cumulative grade point average.

Grading Policy

The following letter grades can be given to graduate students in graduate-level courses: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, F. These grades carry the following numerical equivalents for purposes of computing cumulative averages: A = 4.000, A- = 3.700, B+ = 3.300, B = 3.000, B- = 2.700, C+ = 2.300, C = 2.000, and F = 0. Graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses may receive grades of C-, D+ and D (C- = 1.700, D+ = 1.300, D = 1.000).


The grade of Satisfactory (SAT) may be assigned as an alternative to a letter grade. Students should check with their instructor at the beginning of the semester regarding the instructor's policy about pass/fail grades. The grade of 'SAT' is equivalent to 'Passing for Graduate Credit', which requires an underlying letter grade of C or higher. A minimum of one-half of the total required credits for a master's degree must be on a letter-graded basis. Any portion of the remaining credits may be graded Satisfactory subject to prior approval by the student's department/program. The decision as to which courses may be taken on a pass/fail basis (graded SAT) rests with the department rather than with the individual student.


When the grade of Incomplete (INC) is assigned, the student must contact the instructor to determine what must be done to complete the course and the date by which the work is to be completed. A student can obtain credit for an "incomplete" only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. At the end of that period, if a grade is not submitted an IF (Incomplete Failure) will be recorded. The initiative in arranging for the removal of an "incomplete" rests with the student. This regulation does not apply to thesis and dissertation credits but does apply to terminal project credits.

Academic Average for Graduate Degrees

In the courses which a student is offering to satisfy degree requirements, a minimum standard for satisfactory work is a 3.000 average.

Academic Dismissal

A student who in any two semesters, consecutive or otherwise, has semester averages of below 2.800 is subject to academic dismissal upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Director and approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Satisfactory or Reasonable Academic Progress

A student must make satisfactory and reasonable progress toward completion of a degree program within the Statute of Limitations for that degree. A student who is not making satisfactory or reasonable progress is subject to academic dismissal.

Thesis and Dissertation Credits

(Thesis 699 and Dissertation 899) The required number of thesis and dissertation credits varies by program. They range up to a maximum of 10 for master's theses and from a minimum of 10 to 18 for doctoral dissertations. No student is exempt from this requirement; normal tuition rates will apply. These credits will be graded IP (In Progress) until the thesis or dissertation has been accepted by the Graduate School at which time these credits will be converted to SAT (Satisfactory).

Transfer of Courses and Credits Taken Over and Above Credits Earned For a Bachelor's Degree

An undergraduate student in the senior year at any of the Five College institutions, including the University, who will earn during that year more credits than are needed for the bachelor's degree may register concurrently for graduate credits at the University of Massachusetts after securing the permission of the graduate course instructor. The student registers for these credits in the normal registration process. The Graduate School will accept a maximum of six credits earned via this method, provided that (1) the student is accepted into a Master's program, (2) the student's graduate program director recommends the transfer, and (3) the undergraduate registrar certifies that the courses were over and above those needed by the student for the Bachelor's degree. Acceptance of such courses follows transfer guidelines in force at the time of petition.  Approved Accelerated Master's Programs allow transfer of a larger number of credits.