Student Information

Doctoral Student Information

University policies related to doctoral work may be found in the UMass Lowell Online Graduate Academic Catalog. There are additional policies pertaining to doctoral candidates in the Graduate School of Education which take precedent over university policies.  These policies are listed below and/or appear in specific program handbooks.

Policy Regarding Doctoral Progress

Effective September 2011

Doctoral candidates (Ed.D. and Ph.D.) are expected to work closely with their dissertation chair and committee to develop a dissertation proposal.  Students are expected to make progress during each semester in which they are registering for dissertation credit, and faculty are required to assign a grade to indicate progress or unsatisfactory progress during a semester.  Students who do not make progress on a regular basis are at jeopardy of not completing the dissertation within the eight year time limit.  Any student who has not yet defended her or his proposal and who receives a grade of U for three consecutive semesters or receives 15 credits or more graded U shall be dismissed from the doctoral program.

Doctoral candidates are required to pass a proposal defense prior to proceeding to data collection and analysis. A candidate who does not successfully defend his or her proposal after two attempts is subject to dismissal from the program.  The eight year limit for completion of a dissertation does not mean that proposal defenses may continue indefinitely.  The normal appeals process for academic matters applies.

Proposal and Dissertation Defense

In order to defend the proposal, Ed.D. and Ph.D. candidates must be registered for three dissertation credits. Proposal hearings are generally scheduled within the semester.  However, with the permission of the entire Committee, proposals may be scheduled during intersession or after the end of the summer session (Revised September 2011).

If the student has completed the required 12 credits of dissertation research, s/he may, with permission of the chair, register for 1 dissertation credit (course #05.760) in order to defend the dissertation within the first two weeks of the semester.  This 1 credit option is for candidates who will not continue to work with their dissertation chair or committee after the dissertation defense.  Students may not defend a proposal or dissertation while registered for Continued Matriculation.

Continued Matriculation

All graduate students must maintain matriculation when not enrolled in a course by registering for continuing matriculation and pay the required fee.  Continued Matriculation does not entitle a student to any use of university facilities, faculty time or resources, but only maintains an active record and provides for appropriate mailings.  Students may not defend a proposal or dissertation while registered for Continued Matriculation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Doctoral students should work closely with their advisor, but the following questions are commonly asked and answers are provided in the FAQ.