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Standards & Requirements

Admissions Standards

All freshman applicants are evaluated using standards determined by both the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the university.

Entering freshmen in fall 2014 had an average GPA of 3.43 and an average combined Critical Reading and Math SAT score of 1150*.

No Test Option

Applicants for the fall 2016 semester will have the option to decide whether to have standardized test scores used in the evaluation process. Applicants should carefully read the No Test Option FAQ Sheet before they select this option. The faq is also available in pdf format (pdf).

Admissions counselors and policy makers are sensitive to the factors that may result in accomplished students having a lower-than-expected GPA or SAT score. The applications of students who don’t meet the standards, but for whom UMass Lowell otherwise seems like a good match, are reviewed individually.

*Along with all other public universities and colleges in the Massachusetts system, UMass Lowell is not using the Writing Score.

Academic Requirements

Starting in your sophomore year, it will be helpful to know the academic requirements – the high school courses that a college asks you to complete – of the colleges that interest you. Then you can make sure to include the classes you need before graduation.

Successful UMass Lowell applicants will have completed the following college preparatory level courses by the end of senior year:

  • English: 4 Courses
  • Mathematics: 3 Courses (Algebra I & II and Geometry or Trigonometry, or comparable coursework). Beginning with the freshmen class entering in Fall 2016 we will require 4 courses (Algebra I & II and Geometry or Trigonometry, or comparable coursework) including mathematics during the final year of high school.
  • Sciences: 3 Courses (including 2 courses with laboratory work). Beginning with the freshmen class entering in Fall 2017 we will require 3 courses (drawn from Natural Science and/or Physical Science and/or Technology/Engineering), including 3 courses with laboratory work.
  • Social Sciences: 2 Courses (including 1 course in U.S. History)
  • Foreign Language: 2 Courses (in a single language)
  • Electives: 2 Courses (from the above subjects or from the Arts & Humanities or Computer Sciences)


  • If you are interested in studying Math, Science or Engineering, it is strongly recommended that you take four years of Math and Science.
  • Students who have documented learning differences may not need to fulfill the foreign language requirements if appropriate paperwork is submitted.

The 2016 Redesigned SAT

In March of 2016, the College Board will launch the redesigned SAT exam. UMass Lowell will accept current and redesigned SAT scores beginning in spring 2016 for purposes of admission and merit based scholarship consideration. More information regarding the new SAT can be found on the College Board website.

Alternative Admissions Programs

At UMass Lowell, there are several special entrance programs that provide non-traditional admissions pathways to students who do not meet the standard admissions requirements.

  • MCC Connections Program
    Students take classes at Middlesex Community College in order to gain the academic standing needed to be assured admission and a successful start at the university.
  • Mass Transfer
  • Navitas UMass Lowell
    Navitas is an independently administered pathway to admission for international students who do not meet the standard admissions requirements.
  • CERNET at UMass Lowell (for students from China)
    Students admitted to UMass Lowell’s CERNET program spend one or two semesters at the Massachusetts International Academy (MAIA) in Marlborough, Massachusetts, 30 miles from Boston. MAIA assists students in improving English language skills and becoming accustomed to the American education style, and provides a dynamic extracurricular program. Students become comfortable in environments similar to those they will encounter during their university experiences. Contact or visit the MAIA website.