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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I hold my defense during the time that face-to-face instruction is suspended?

The defense or hearing can proceed remotely and committee members can join the hearing electronically via Zoom or other online collaboration tools. 
If a student wishes to share their dissertation defense with others they can record the presentation in Zoom and share it electronically, or invite guests to join at the scheduled time.

What if I need academic advising (course selection, etc.)?

The Office of Graduate Student Services and graduate coordinators are available by phone and online. Contact the Graduate Coordinator in your academic department.  
The Office of Graduate Student Services may be reached at or 978-943-2173. 

Can I use an alternative collaboration tool for my defense?

Students can use any collaboration tool with the prior approval of their advisor.

Who should I contact with questions about my registration, billing, financial aid related matters?

Please contact The Solution Center at 978-934-2000 or

What about the university requirement to hold a public defense?

The requirement to hold public defenses has been suspended; there should not be a public meeting for the defense. However, announcements should still be posted in Today@UMass Lowell.

What if I have an immunization hold?

Immunization Holds can only be released by Health Services.  Please contact or 978-934-6800.

How will I submit the signed “Signature Page” for my defense?

It is not feasible for students to secure committee member signatures on their Signature Page at the time of a Zoom defense. As a temporary measure, committee members may sign off on a copy of the thesis/dissertation signature page, and submit a scanned or photo copy of the page electronically. The signed signature page(s) should be sent to the Registrar’s Office at AND along with a confirmation email from the advisor. 
When the dissertation is electronically submitted, instead of including the signed signature page (or multiple pages), an unsigned page, which lists the advisor and committee members will be included.

What if I have questions for the Graduate Student Association?

GSA questions should be directed to the appropriate Executive Committee Chair.  A list of contacts can be found on the GSA website.

My thesis/dissertation defense must be rescheduled due to coronavirus precautions, and now I can’t make the thesis submission deadline. Does that mean I can’t graduate?

Please contact with any questions.

What if I have a question about admissions or my application?

Admissions-related questions should be directed to the Graduate Admissions Office at 978-934-2390 or

My comprehensive exam is scheduled this semester. What should I do?

Comprehensive exams should also be conducted remotely if your exam is scheduled during the period of coronavirus precautions.
Because the form and structure of comprehensive exams are highly variable across departments and programs, not all comp exams will lend themselves to remote participation. Your department will advise you if your exam will be held remotely or rescheduled.

Will I continue to receive my Graduate Research Assistantship (RA) for the remainder of the Spring?

We expect that you will continue to be paid on your spring semester contract while you work on non-laboratory activities such as literature reviews, modeling, experimental plans, data analysis, etc. Guidance from several federal agencies suggests that RAs can continue to be paid even if their lab work has been reduced by not having access to facilities during campus closures.

I am a student being paid hourly from a grant. Will I be able to continue in this position?

Hourly students may continue to be paid, at the discretion of the PI.  Many hourly students may not be able to contribute easily through remote methods.  Please talk with your PI to discuss your work arrangements.

What is a Professional Science Masters degree?

A Professional Science Master's (PSM) is an innovative graduate degree, typically two years academic training in an emerging or interdisciplinary area of science, mathematics or technology. The PSM also contains a professional component, internship and "cross-training" in business, management and communications. All are developed in concert with industry and are designed to dovetail into professional career opportunities.

How do I apply?

Submit an Application for Graduate Admission to the Graduate Admissions office, along with all of the required documentation such as transcripts, recommendation letters and GRE scores. See Graduate Admissions for more information on applying.

What kinds of students pursue a PSM?

Students who want to pursue a technical or scientific Master's degree but who hope to engage not only in research, but in a wide variety of tasks and leadership roles within their chosen fields.

What are the requirements to enter a PSM program?

Students must have earned a bachelor's degree, meet the requirements of the UMass Lowell and the degree granting department.

Is a thesis a required component of a PSM program?

Students in the PSM program will not write a thesis, but will participate in a required internship and review seminar.

I work full-time. Can I still complete a PSM?

Yes, PSM students may be full-time or part-time. Students who work full-time will be required to complete a special project in lieu of an internship, but will still participate in the review seminar.

What if I already have an advanced science degree?

Students with graduate degrees are welcome to apply for a PSM. Contact the PSM Coordinator for more details.

What is the degree and how will it appear on my transcript?

Students earn a Master of Science degree in their academic field. The PSM option does not appear on the student's diploma, but it will be on the student's transcript.