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Academic Regulations and Procedures

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

To earn a UMass Dartmouth undergraduate degree, a student must:
•    Be admitted to degree status as a UMass Dartmouth undergraduate student.
•    Meet the residency requirement.
•    Satisfy the general education requirements.
•    Satisfy the distribution requirements of the college and the academic major.
•    Complete a UMass Dartmouth academic major.
•    Have a grade point average of at least 2.000 in all courses taken in the major.
•    Have at least 30 course credits in advanced and specialized courses.
•    Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.000.
•    Complete 120 credits of courses (minimum—some programs require a higher number of credits for the degree). Each of these requirements is explained in detail in the University catalogue.

General Education Requirements

The Course Listings booklets for each term state the general education requirements and give the most recent list of approved courses.

Role of the Academic Advisor

UMass Dartmouth’s faculty takes their obligation to advise students seriously. Students consult their advisors for assistance in:
•    Forming their academic goals and career objectives;
•    Establishing an overall plan for their program of study;
•    Understanding and meeting degree requirements, requirements in the specific academic program or major, distribution requirements and college requirements, and general education requirements;
•    Understanding academic regulations and procedures;
•    Monitoring their progress toward completion of their degree;
•    Identifying campus services appropriate to their needs;
•    Planning for any special programs like an experiential learning experience or study abroad; and
•    Responding to academic difficulties.

Students must see their advisor before they register each semester. In this contact, the advisor should review the student’s academic progress, review the student’s career plans, and assist the student in selecting the next semester’s courses. The advisor must sign to approve the student’s course selections before the student registers; in many cases, the advisor can register the student directly from his or her office. Students may see their advisor at other times. The advisor can call a conference with the student at any time, with reasonable notice.

Role of the Deans of the Five Colleges and Three Schools

Students may consult the office of the Dean of their College for information or inquiries about the departmental programs or academic requirements, regulations, and processes. A role of the Deans is to approve special academic petitions and requests or to waive an academic regulation, due to hardship or special conditions. Another role is to give assistance with any student’s concerns, or to handle complaints and special appeals. 

Statement on Outside Work

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is committed to delivering the highest quality education to all of its students. In this context, we believe that for each credit, students should expect at least three hours of related academic work outside of class. While the campus is cognizant of the necessity of students having outside employment, full-time students should think carefully about the number of hours they spend in outside employment. Faculty members offer students a workload that challenges students to get the most out of their educational experience. Each student at the University registered for 15 credits should expect at least 60 hours of academic work per week.

Full-Time Course Load

The catalog states specific policies regarding requirements for maintaining a full-time load of studies.

Grades, Grade Point Averages

The grading system is explained in detail in the catalogue. Students have access to a formal process for grade appeals. The complete text of the policy is outlined in the catalog.

Informing You of Your Grades

Students may access COIN at any time to learn their enrollment status, grades, warning or probation status, and other information. 

Academic Sanctions: Warning, Probation, and Dismissal

It is important for you to understand the university’s regulations for maintaining academic good standing, which can affect your continuation at the University, participation in athletics or student activities, and also financial aid eligibility.

The catalog gives full details on Academic Warning, Academic Probation, and Academic Dismissal. If you become subject to Academic Warning or Academic Probation, take it seriously!  See your advisor for help; formulate a specific plan for retaking courses, changing your academic emphasis, or changing your habits. Warning and Probation are intended to help students get on the right track.

Eligibility to Participate in Athletics or Student Activities

Students who have been placed on academic probation may not serve on university committees, hold leadership positions in student government and other major co-curricular organizations, or represent the university in intercollegiate athletics.

A permanent Academic Eligibility Appeals/Review Committee is established as a subcommittee of the university’s Student Faculty Academic Affairs Committee (SFAAC). This committee is composed of two faculty members from that committee (elected by the SFAAC, one elected chair), two students from that committee (elected by the SFAAC as observers, non-voting), the Faculty Athletic Advisor, and the Associate Dean of Students (ex-officio, non-voting). This committee may review requests for waiver of academic eligibility sanctions.

To be eligible for leadership positions in co-curricular organizations, non-Continuing Education students shall be enrolled full time (at least 12 hours) and Continuing Education students shall be enrolled at equivalent full-time levels for their specific programs. Participation in intercollegiate athletics is also governed by enrollment status conditions.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat courses, but there are specific regulations for this. Only the appropriate UMass Dartmouth course may be used; no course taken at another institution, even within UMass, can replace a UMass Dartmouth course’s grade.

Withdrawal from Courses

Students may withdraw from a course only through the end of the tenth week of classes of the semester. A grade of W will be recorded. More than 24 credits of W makes the student subject to dismissal from the University through the action of the Dean of the student’s College. Grades of W do not affect a student’s GPA.  A student who withdraws from all courses shall be deemed to have Withdrawn from the University unless s/he has requested and received a Leave of Absence.

Class Attendance and Absence for Religious Observance

The catalog states specific policies regarding students’ rights and responsibilities for class attendance.

Degree Conferral

Candidates for graduation must declare their intention to graduate formally at the Registrar’s Office. We strongly advise meeting with one’s academic advisor during the previous semester to plan the final semester’s selection of courses. The catalogue gives instructions and processes for qualifying to graduate.

Participation in the Graduation Ceremony

The catalogue explains our policies for allowing graduating students to participate in graduation ceremonies. However, actual degree achievement is shown only by an official diploma or an official transcript showing completion of requirements.

Leave of Absence and Withdrawing from School

The catalog states important processes for temporarily or permanently leaving school. If you are considering leaving, it is very important to study the regulations carefully and receive assistance from an advisor or staff member in the Office of Student Affairs. Choices you make will have an effect on your future options:  be sure you make the right ones! Withdrawal from the university can have consequences regarding need-based financial aid. Obtaining a Leave of Absence can be a better choice than withdrawing.  Students who simply stop attending are considered withdrawn from school.

Obtaining a Leave of Absence or Withdrawing from the University is done in the Office of Student Affairs.  New students who change their minds about attending should contact the Admissions Office. For more information: http://www.umassd.edu/studentaffairs/forms/

UMass Dartmouth Student Academic Integrity Policy*

I Academic Integrity

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 required academic and scholarly procedure or as an act of intentional dishonesty.

A student found responsible of academic dishonesty is subject to severe disciplinary action which may include dismissal from the University. Refer to the Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct 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 freedom is a fundamental right in any institution of higher learning. Honesty and integrity are necessary preconditions of this freedom. Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Joint efforts are legitimate only when the assistance of others is explicitly acknowledged and deemed appropriate by the instructor of the course. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses.

Maintenance of the standards of academic integrity and the successful administration of this policy depend on the mutual cooperation of faculty and students.

Faculty cooperation is essential for successful application of the procedures defined by this Academic Integrity Policy. Faculty members promote academic integrity by making clear on their syllabi their expectations concerning homework assignments, collaborative student efforts, research papers, examinations, computer-based infractions, and the like. Efforts should be made to detect and to prevent cheating and plagiarism in all academic assignments. If faculty members have evidence of academic dishonesty, they are expected to report such evidence promptly.

Students must assume responsibility for maintaining honesty in all work submitted for credit and in any other work designated by the instructor of the course. Students are also expected to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the instructor or dean of the instructional unit.

The intent of this policy is to make clear the standards of academic integrity at UMass Dartmouth.

II Violations of Academic Integrity

The various ways in which academic integrity can be violated are discussed below. The comments and examples within each section provide explanations and illustrative material, but do not necessarily exhaust the scope of these violations.

A. Cheating
Cheating is the use of unacknowledged materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise. The use of books, notes, calculators, phones and conversation with others is restricted or forbidden in certain academic exercises. Their use in these cases constitutes cheating. Similarly, students must not request others (including commercial term paper companies) to conduct research or prepare any work for them, nor may they submit identical work or portions thereof for credit or honors more than once without prior approval of the instructor.

B. Fabrication
Fabrication is the falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. "Invented" information may not be used in any laboratory experiment or other academic exercise without authorization from the instructor. It is improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and covertly "invent" data based on that single experiment for several more required analyses. The student must also acknowledge reliance upon the actual source from which cited information was obtained. A writer should not, for example, reproduce a quotation from a book review or other secondary source and indicate that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.

C. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
Students who knowingly or negligently allow their work to be used by other students or who otherwise aid others in academic dishonesty are violating academic integrity. Such students are as guilty of intellectual dishonesty as the student who receives the material even though they may not themselves benefit academically from that dishonesty.

D. Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise. To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or by appropriate indentation and must be properly cited in the text or in a footnote. Acknowledgment is required when material from another source stored in print, electronic or other medium is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "to paraphrase Plato's comment..." and conclude with a footnote identifying the exact reference. A footnote acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material. Information which is common knowledge such as names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc, need not be footnoted; however, all facts or information obtained in reading or research that are not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged.

In addition to materials specifically cited in the text, only materials that contribute to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography. Plagiarism can, in some cases, be a subtle issue. Any questions about what constitutes plagiarism should be discussed with the faculty member.

E. Denying others access to information or material
It is a violation of academic integrity to deny others access to scholarly resources, or to deliberately impede the progress of another student or scholar. Examples of offenses of this type include: giving other students false or misleading information; making library material unavailable to others by stealing or defacing books or journals, or by deliberately misplacing or destroying reserve materials; or altering computer files that belong to another.

F. Proprietary/Confidential Information
Related to academic integrity is the unauthorized use without written permission of proprietary and/or confidential information in any school assignment.

G. Human and Animal Subjects
Research involving human beings requires review and approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects and informed written consent. Research involving the use of animals requires review and approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).  

III Academic Integrity Infractions and Consequences

Any violation of academic honesty is a serious offense and is therefore subject to an appropriate penalty. Faculty may address instances of student academic dishonesty in their classes under their authority to evaluate and assign grades, even if the consequences exceed those written below. They may also refer the incident for further action, utilizing university procedures that can document repeat offenders and adjust consequences accordingly. Those who refer instances of academic dishonesty for further action can do so through Student Judiciary processes, initiating action by completing a Student Academic Dishonesty Incident Record.

Violations at UMass Dartmouth are classified into three levels according to the nature of the infraction. For each level of violation a corresponding set of sanctions is recommended. Faculty, Deans, members of the student judiciary, or others involved in adjudicating incidents are not bound by these illustrations, which are intended as general guidelines for the academic community. Since adherence to a code of conduct can be seen as a function of socialization into the group whose norms are reflected in such a code, culpability may be assessed differentially for those with more and less experience as members of the academic community; thus, violations of academic integrity by graduate students will presumably be penalized more severely than violations by first semester first year students. Examples are cited below for each level of violation. These examples, too, are illustrations and should not be considered all-inclusive.

Level One Infraction


Plagiarism:    The student represents the work of another as his/her own in a limited academic exercise, or in a limited or    minor portion (1-2 instances) of a larger exercise, and the faculty member believes this is not an accidental act by the student.
Cheating:       Working with another student on a laboratory or other homework assignment when such work is prohibited.


•    Letter to student in lieu of hearing* and the faculty member’s choice of the following consequences:
•    redo the work to be graded without prejudice
•    redo the work with a lowered grade for the work
•    failing grade for the work

*student may request a hearing

Level Two Infraction


Plagiarism:    The student represents the work of another as his/her own in any academic exercise for a major portion (consistently throughout the assignment, > 50%); a Level 1 violation by a student who already has committed one or more Level 1 infractions.
Cheating:       Copying on exams; using prohibited materials such as calculators or notes during exams; and/or collaborating before an exam to develop methods of exchanging information during an exam.


•    Letter to student in lieu of hearing* and the faculty member’s choice of the following additional consequences:
•    redo the work while still receiving a failing grade for the work
•    failing grade for course

 *student may request a hearing

Level Three Infraction


Plagiarism:    The student represents the work of another in its entirety (whether purchased or obtained by other means) as his/her own in any academic work; a Level 2 violation by a     student who already has committed one or more Level 2 infractions.
Cheating:       Infractions of academic honesty in ways similar to criminal activity such as forging a grade form, stealing an examination from a professor or from a university office, or buying an examination.


•    Referral for a Judicial Hearing, with recommendation for a minimum of a one semester suspension up to and including dismissal from the university.

Appropriate Evidence

Faculty who apply penalties for academic dishonesty, or refer the matter to the Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution Office, should maintain copies of documents or other evidence that led to the charge of academic dishonesty and have this material available for inspection if required in an appeal. Examples: material printed from the internet (or derived from other sources) that is substantially the same as work submitted by the student or written work in which the voice, usage, diction, and/or sentence structure are significantly different from the rest of the student’s work (especially an observed writing sample). Records should also be kept of contacts with the student regarding the matter.

Process of Adjudication

1.     Level 1 and Level 2 offenses may be handled between the student and the faculty member, utilizing the Student Academic Dishonesty Incident Record. The student has the option to avoid a Conduct Hearing in favor of an Administrative hearing. Faculty or staff members empowered to conduct the Administrative hearing shall be designated by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or designee.

2.    Level 3 offenses will include the generation of a Student Academic Dishonesty Incident Record, but students are encouraged to use the full Judicial process, since the recommendation for a level 3 offense is a minimum of a one semester suspension.

3.    Actions at any Level may be appealed.

IV Additional Consequences of Violating the Academic Integrity Policy

Students committing acts of academic dishonesty not only face university discipline but run a serious risk of harming their future educational and employment opportunities. Prospective employers and other educational institutions frequently use recommendation forms that ask for judgment and comment on an individual's moral or ethical behavior. In all cases in which a grade of "F" is assigned for disciplinary reasons, moreover, the "F" will remain on the student's transcript, even if the course is retaken and a passing grade is achieved.

* This policy is substantively derived from the “Policy on Academic Integrity for Undergraduate and Graduate Students” of Rutgers University, available online through the Teaching Excellence Center of Rutgers University (http:/teachx.rutgers.edu).

Grade Appeal Policy

In Spring 2004, The Student-Faculty Academic Affairs Committee approved this revision of UMass Dartmouth’s Grade Appeal Policy and recommended it to the Faculty Senate for approval. The Faculty Senate in turn recommended it to the Chancellor, who approved it in May 2004.


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. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for changing a grade rests with the student making the appeal. The process is nonjudicial and the same for all University of Massachusetts Dartmouth students in all courses.

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.

I. What Can Be Appealed

A. Only final course grades may be appealed.

B. Grades may be appealed that are alleged to be caused by:

1)     Unfair and unequal application of grading standards or applying grading criteria to one student or some students in a manner that treats them differently.

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.

II. Role of the Grade Appeal Officer

The Grade Appeal Officer serves students and faculty as an ombudsperson for grading issues. S/he provides students and faculty with someone to “go to” with questions relating to grading fairness and process.

The Grade Appeal Officer 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.  The Grade Appeal Officer serves as facilitator for a formal grade appeal process when one is to occur.

III. Selection of the Grade Appeal Officer

The Grade Appeal Officer will be appointed by the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on the recommendation of the President of the Faculty Senate. The President of the Faculty Senate will recommend only from a list of three tenured or emeriti/or faculty members proposed by the Student Senate.

•    The Grade Appeal Officer will be appointed for three years.

•    The Grade Appeal Officer’s name and function shall be widely publicized, especially at the end of each term.

IV. Process for Grade Appeal

A. Informal Resolution

Students with questions concerning final grades should first contact the faculty member involved to ask about the issue. The student may also notify the Grade Appeal Officer at the same time. If the student and faculty member do not reach accommodation, the student should bring the issue formally to the Grade Appeal Officer, who will then attempt to gather information from both parties and find a solution acceptable to both. If that adjudication stage does not bring closure to the issue, a formal grade appeal action may begin.

B. Formal Appeal

1) 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.

2) Using this written statement, within ten days the Grade Appeal Officer will determine whether the basis for the appeal is valid and whether the student has evidence to support the appeal. When the basis is valid and evidence is present, the Grade Appeal Officer will inform the student, the faculty member, and the chair in writing and a formal appeal will continue. If the complaint does not have a valid basis or does not contain evidence, the Grade Appeal Officer will return the appeal to the student with a written explanation and so notify the faculty member and the department chair. The student may either discontinue or submit a revised appeal. Only one revised appeal is allowed and must be submitted within ten days of the Grade Appeal Officer’s finding of no basis or evidence. A final finding of no basis or evidence ends the Grade Appeal process.

3) If the Grade Appeal Officer finds a sufficient basis and evidence, the student may proceed with the appeal process. In order to continue the procedure, the student will so inform the Grade Appeal Officer in writing within five class days.

4) The formal appeal is considered by a Grade Appeal Committee (GAC) within ten class days from the date of the student’s written request for a formal hearing.

The GAC is a standing three-person appeal committee with staggered three-year terms, appointed and charged by the Faculty Senate President annually to hear all formal grade appeals. The Grade Appeal Officer will be present in an advisory, non-voting role. The student and the faculty member shall have the right to attend and may produce witnesses and evidence, question witnesses, and examine all evidence presented. The standing motion before the GAC will be to support the appeal. The GAC will deliberate this motion in closed session. A majority vote is required to pass this motion. The decision is conveyed in writing to the student, the faculty member, the chairperson, the Grade Appeal Officer, and the Dean of the College of that department. The Dean will implement the decision.

5) Within ten class days of receiving the decision of the GAC, either the student or the faculty member may, with sufficient cause, appeal the decision of the GAC in writing to the Dean of the College. “Cause” is defined as new evidence or procedural error.

Within ten class days of receiving the written appeal, the dean must notify the student, faculty member, department chair, and Grade Appeal Officer of his/her decision and will direct the Registrar to make the change. The Dean’s decision is final. For more information: http://www.umassd.edu/provost/resourcesforfaculty/

Approved May 2004