Master's Students Policies and Procedures
lynch school of education
(Updated June 2011)
The following policies and procedures are specific to the Lynch School. In addition to the information contained here, please also consult the web pages for your particular program and the following Lynch School and University-wide websites for more information.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Beginning a Master's Program
Admission to the Master’s Programs in the Lynch School
Non-degree (Special) Students
Fifth Year Program (For Boston College Juniors)
How to check/update your personal information in the BC computer systems UIS and Agora
Graduate Full-Time Enrollment Status
Assistantships & Fellowships (General Information)
Information on Conference Reimbursement (GEA)
Academic Programs and Requirements
Designing a Master’s Program
Role of the Academic Advisor
Program of Study
Changes to Programs of Study
Transfer of Credit
Human Subjects Reviews
Comprehensive Examination: Master's
Registration for the Comprehensive Examination
Critical Literature Review
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
Leave of Absence
Withdrawal from the University
Boston-Area Consortium (fall/spring only; not available in summer)
Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (fall/spring only; not available in summer)
Academic Standards Committee
Formal admission to the master’s program occurs only when the student receives a signed letter of acceptance to a master’s program in the Lynch School from the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services.
Students not seeking a degree, but interested in pursuing course work at the graduate level, may apply for admission as a Non-degree Student. Many individuals choose Non-degree Student status either to explore the seriousness of their interest in studying for an advanced degree and/or to strengthen their credentials for possible later application for degree status. Others are interested in taking graduate course work for personal enrichment or professional development.
Although there is no limit on the number of courses a Non-degree Student may take outside his or her degree program, no more than four courses (12 semester hours), if appropriate, may be applied toward a degree program in the Lynch School of Education. Courses taken as a Non-degree Student may be applied to a degree program only after official acceptance into a degree program and with the consent of the student's advisor. Certain restrictions apply to courses available to Non-degree Students. Professional course work associated with teacher licensure or counseling psychology licensure (including practicum course work) is reserved for matriculated degree students in these programs. A listing of restricted courses is available in the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services each semester. Please visit the Lynch School’s Admissions website at http://www.bc.edu/schools/lsoe/admission.html for more information on applying for Non-degree Student status.
The Fifth Year Program is an accelerated master's program (for undergraduates at Boston College) which combines the Bachelor of Arts or Sciences with the Master of Arts or Master of Education in the Lynch School. For more information on the program and application process, please click here.
All International students who apply to the Lynch School of Education must meet the same testing requirements as domestic students in addition to any TOEFL requirements. When making an admission decision, faculty will use TOEFL scores and other relevant information to evaluate the student, recognizing that an international candidate’s performance on the GRE may not adequately represent the candidate’s potential for graduate work (1/4/2008).
Students can register for classes on the Agora Portal using their assigned PIN number. Students can also register by phone at 617.552.8800 (seven days a week during registration period).
If you are trying to gain access to a course that requires permission or is closed or restricted, you should contact the Department Office for the department in which the course is offered. The department will do one of the following: decline permission, add your name to a wait list, or provide you with a stamped override form that you should bring to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services, where the staff will add the course to your schedule. Overrides are granted on an individual basis at the discretion of the Department and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
Agora is where Boston College faculty, staff and students conduct campus business, perform transactions, such as registration, and gather information related to their roles at the University. Agora is a secure, web-based environment restricted to the members of the BC community. It can be accessed from on or off campus using a web browser, such as Netscape Communicator or Internet Explorer. Information transmitted during an Agora session is encrypted to ensure security.
Graduate students should plan to adjust their personal preferences upon receiving an Agora account. Doing so will prevent you from missing out on valuable information later. Please follow the instructions listed below:
Website instructions for releasing personal information:
- Enter the Agora website: https://portal.bc.edu/
- Enter your ID and PIN number; click on Login
- In the pull-down “menu for (see your name appear here),” click on U-View–Your Personal Records
- Scroll to the bottom, under the title “All Other Information” click in the box in front of privacy preferences, click on submit request
- Click on the gray box at the bottom of the page “Update privacy preferences”
Please choose RELEASE information to the BC Community. You do not need to release info to the public but you if you do not release your information to the BC community we have will have a difficult time getting in touch with you by mail or phone.
- Enter your pin number at the bottom and click on “Update preferences”
- Click on the drop-down menu and logoff
UIS (University Information System) instructions for directing email to your favorite email address:
- You will be assigned an email account from Boston College. You may choose not to use this email address, but you should activate the account and then direct all mail to your email of choice by following the instructions below:
- Enter the UIS system
- Enter username and pin number
- Choose #1 “UIS – Administrative System”
- At the prompt where it reads “enter selection # or transaction ID,” type the letters PROF and hit enter
- Follow the instructions and specify where you want all your email directed. (Please note: Option D allows you to specify an email address other than the BC email address.)
- Type in PIN number, press return.
In the Lynch School of Education, all students enrolled in 9 or more credits per semester (6 or more credits in summer) are considered full-time. Students completing degree requirements in their final semester may be given exceptions to the school minimum credit standard for full-time status by their academic dean. During the academic year, all students are considered half-time with six credits. However, Graduate students registered for less than a full-time course load may be considered full-time if they are Graduate Assistants for academic departments, Teaching Fellows, or Research Assistants. Graduate students are considered full-time if they are enrolled in a full-time Student Teaching Practicum or Internship. Graduate students registered for Interim Study or Thesis Direction are considered full-time.
The credit amounts listed above are used to determine a student's enrollment status for loan deferments, immunizations, medical insurance requirements, and verifications requested by other organizations.
Financial aid for Master’s students at the Lynch School of Education is available through a variety of both internal and external sources. The following are some helpful links to information on sources of funding:
BC Financial Aid Main Page—links students to student loan information, including various financial and administrative graduate student forms, including a FAFSA form, and information about their their financial aid application status
Financial Support for Lynch School Graduate Students—Upon admission to graduate study in the Lynch School, students are given access to information regarding financial aid, including federal loan-based aid, general graduate assistantships, and non-Boston College based aid for the current year. Additionally, the Lynch School provides many competitive awards and scholarship opportunities for students.
All financial aid recipients must maintain satisfactory progress in their course of study. Satisfactory academic progress is defined by the dean of each school at Boston College. Financial aid is not available to students with a grade of "Incomplete," and students with graduate or teaching assistantships or fellowships may not carry an "Incomplete." If a student is not maintaining satisfactory academic progress, the student should consult with the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies to determine what steps must be taken to reestablish his or her status and, thus, eligibility to receive financial aid.
Please note: non-degree students are not eligible for any form of financial aid. You must be enrolled in a degree program to apply or be considered for aid.
The Lynch School offers a range of assistantship opportunities and scholarships to our doctoral and master’s students. In general, teaching and research assistantships are reserved for doctoral students, but there are some research assistantships available for a limited number of master’s students. The greatest number of assistantship opportunities for master’s students are in administrative offices both in the Lynch School and across campus. Each year, the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services compiles a listing of assistantships, paid internships, and work-study positions both on campus and off-campus. There are a number of academic departments, schools and organizations with which we have partnerships. At the Open House for admitted master’s students in April, the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services coordinates a Funding Providers Forum, offering an opportunity for incoming students to meet individuals and offices that are seeking to hire Lynch School graduate students as graduate assistants or paid interns. The Murray Graduate Center also maintains a list of funding opportunities each year.
An assistantship with a faculty member or administrator usually requires approximately twenty hours of work each week between the months of September and May. The assistantships generally include tuition remission plus a monthly stipend. There are a number of half-time assistantships available also. The specific times that students work are negotiated with the supervising faculty member so as to not conflict with any courses that the student may be taking. Persons who have graduate assistantships should be aware that vacation days during the year follow the University employee calendar, not the student class calendar. Awards are given for one year and students seeking continued funding must reapply on an annual basis. All students are required to complete a confidentiality form and return it to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services prior to beginning their assistantships.
It is important to note that the program cannot guarantee that graduate assistantships will always be available.
The Graduate Education Association has prepared information on funding possibilities for graduate students presenting at professional conferences. Please see their website http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/svp/st_org/gea/ for more information.
Role of the Academic Advisor
Following acceptance into the Lynch School, students should meet with their academic advisor (identified in the acceptance letter or shortly thereafter by the Program Coordinator or Department Chair) at their earliest opportunity.
The advisor will assist in the initial design and, if necessary, later modification of your Program of Studies. The academic advisor must approve any transfers of credits from other universities and must approve, if necessary, a Petition for an Extension of Time to complete studies. Students may request a change of advisor after consulting with their current advisor and clarifying the availability of a new advisor and obtaining their approval. Requests should be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services after approval of the new advisor.
All Master’s students, except for those in the Counseling Program, should complete a Program of Study form following extensive consultation with their advisor by the second semester of enrollment in the program, prior to the opening of registration for the third semester of enrollment. Master’s students in Counseling should complete their Programs of Study during third semester of coursework, prior to opening of registration for fourth semester. Once the Program of Study receives appropriate approval signatures, the Associate Dean of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Services acknowledges this in a letter sent to the student. Please consult individual program descriptions for specific requirements. The programs of study are available in PDF format on the Lynch School website: http://www.bc.edu/schools/lsoe/academics/pos.html. Students should be sure to keep copies of all official documents in their records.
Students who fail to submit an approved Program of Study to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services prior to these deadlines will not be allowed to register for courses for their following semester of study. The registrar will place a block on the student’s account until he or she files a complete Program of Study. (Effective for students entering summer 2006 or later).
Any time it is necessary to change a student's approved Program of Study, a Masters Transaction Form must be completed. The student is responsible for getting appropriate approval signatures.
Since the approved Program of Study form is the document used to clear the student for graduation, any changes to it should be properly approved in a timely manner. Approval for any course substitution must be obtained prior to registering for the course in question.
Students who wish to have credits transferred from another university to their master’s program at the Lynch School must comply with the following regulations. All graduate students may request transfer of not more than six graduate credits. Only courses in which a student has received a grade of B or better, and which have not been applied to a prior degree, will be accepted. If approved, the transfer course and credit, but not the grade, will be recorded on the student's academic record. Credit received for courses completed more than ten years prior to a student's admission to his or her current degree program are not acceptable for transfer. N.B.: Courses taken within the Boston-area Consortium during fall or spring semester are not considered transfer courses, since the student registers for these through Boston College. However, all summer courses taken outside of Boston College (including summer courses taken within the Consortium) are considered transfer credits and count towards the 6 credit limit for transfer credits.
A Masters Transfer Request Form should be completed and signed by the student's academic advisor and then sent to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services.
Lynch School of Education students must consult the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services before they can audit a course. An audited course cannot count toward the degree requirements. After the drop/add period, graduate students who wish to change a course from credit to audit or audit to credit must go to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services and complete a Masters Student Transaction form.
Students in Teacher Education who plan to complete a practicum experience as part of their degree should consult the Practicum Office website. Their site contains the official policy and procedure guide for the professional practicum experiences program for both graduate and undergraduate student teachers in all fields of licensure. Students in the MA program in Developmental and Educational Psychology who plan to complete a practicum experience should speak to the Coordinator their MA program.
Master’s students who plan to conduct research with human subjects must have a certificate indicating that they have completed the required training course before submitting a proposal to the IRB (Please see the IRB website for a list of courses online and at BC). Students are also required to complete an Application for Approval of Research Project Involving Human Subjects form (doc) and submit it to the advisors and Department Chair for approval. Before submitting this form, students should become familiar with APA (American Psychological Association) and AERA (American Educational Research Association) ethical standards and principles. Once the application is approved within LSOE, the student should submit it to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Students should also visit the IRB website for further details on this process. It is the policy of the Boston College IRB that no data may be collected for research prior to the approval of the Human Subjects Review application.
Students should be advised that if their proposed studied is “high risk” it must be reviewed by the full Human Subjects Review committee and that this committee is not required to meet regularly during July and August.
Registration for the Comprehensive Examination
Students who have completed most of their coursework or are in the final semester of coursework should sit for the master’s comprehensive examination. All students must have completed any “Incompletes” and have filed an approved copy of their Program of Study before registering for the comprehensive exam.
Specific requirements for the exam are set by the program faculty, and students should make inquiries regarding format, length, and scheduling of the exam to the appropriate program faculty. Registration for comprehensive examinations will take place directly with Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services. Questions on the nature and the exact date of examinations should be directed to the department office.
The following grading scale is used: pass with distinction (PwD), pass (P), and fail (F). A candidate who fails the Master's Comprehensive Examination may take it only one more time. Students must register for ED/PY 888 in order to take the Master’s Comprehensive Examination, but no credit is granted for the Comprehensive Examination and the student’s account is not charged.
The Critical Literature Review requirement serves as the comprehensive exam in the Master’s program in Developmental and Educational Psychology. The purpose of the Critical Literature Review is to demonstrate proficiency in reviewing, synthesizing, and critically analyzing the scientific literature in an appropriately limited area of developmental or educational psychology. Please visit the program website for more information about the Critical Literature Review. In order to complete the Critical Literature Review, students must first follow the Critical Literature Review instructions (see above link to page) and complete a Critical Literature Review form (PDF) along with a Master's Request to Graduate form.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
Master's students who do not register for courses or Interim Study (ED/PY 885.01) in any given semester must file a Graduate Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form. The request will be reviewed by the Director/Coordinator (if applicable) and the Department Chair. Once the form has been signed, it should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services for approval by the LSOE Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Approved leave frees the student from registering for courses and paying fees. A leave of absence is granted for no more than two consecutive semesters.
All requirements for the master's degree must be completed within five consecutive years from the commencement of master's studies. Master's studies commence with the first term in which a student is officially registered for a course at Boston College following admission to the program. Leave time is considered a portion of the total time limit for the degree unless an exception has been approved by the Program Director/Coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the time the form is submitted.
Graduate students (master's and doctoral) requesting readmission from a Leave of Absence must contact their Department Chair and the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services at least six weeks prior to the semester in which they expect to enroll to insure appropriate class and field placement. The Readmission Request Form for Master's Students should initially be submitted to the student’s Program Director/Coordinator and Department Chair for approval. Once department approval has been obtained, the form should be sent to the LSOE Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.
Deferral of Admission
Graduate students (master's and doctoral) who have not begun coursework are not required to file a Leave of Absence Form. However, they are required to obtain a deferral of admission by contacting the LSOE Director of Admission and Financial Aid at least six weeks prior to the planned start date for their program. [Please note: Not all doctoral programs allow deferral of admission.] Doctoral students should contact the Program Director/Coordinator and Department Chair of their intended program prior to requesting a deferral. Deferrals are granted for no more than one year. If a student does not take courses after one year following admission to the program, he/she is required to apply for readmission and pay a readmission fee.
Withdrawal From the University
Graduate students may choose to withdraw from the program if they are unable to complete their program of studies in a consistent and timely manner. Students who wish to withdraw must complete the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form and submit it to the Department Chair where the student is completing the degree. Once the form has been signed by the academic department, it should be sent to the LSOE Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.
Students may sometimes take an Independent Study/ Readings and Research course as part of their Masters coursework. Permission must be secured from the supervising faculty member and the proposed course must be an approved part of the student’s program of study. Students must complete the Readings and Research form(pdf), get it approved by the faculty supervisor and then return it to the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services who will sign them up for the appropriate Readings and Research course through Agora in order to register for an independent study. The maximum number of Readings and Research courses that are permitted within any given degree is limited by University policy to the number of electives within a student’s degree program. The Department Chairs and/or Program Coordinator may choose to further limit the number of Readings and Research courses permitted in a particular program.
Graduate students in the Lynch School may cross register for one elective course each semester at Boston University, Brandeis University, Hebrew College, Pine Manor College, or Tufts University if a similar course is not available at Boston College. Students should contact their Program Directors to review the department’s special rules and regulations. Cross registration materials are available in Lyons Hall. NB: Courses taken within the Boston-area Consortium during fall or spring semester are not considered transfer courses, since students register for these courses through Boston College. However, all summer courses taken outside of Boston College (including summer courses taken within the Consortium) are considered transfer credits and count towards the limit of 6 transfer credits per degree. Students must complete a Graduate Transfer Request Form in order to receive transfer credit.
Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies (fall/spring only; not available in summer)
The Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies (GCWS) at MIT (formerly housed at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University) is an inter-institutional enterprise established to advance the field of women's studies and enlarge the scope of graduate education through new models of team teaching and interdisciplinary study. Faculty and students are drawn from six member schools: Boston College, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, MIT, and Tufts University. The Consortium offers graduate courses for credit that are open to all students at participating institutions. Graduate students enrolled in degree programs at Boston College may with the permission of their department apply to MIT to participate in this program. Course registration forms will be mailed to accepted students. Please consult the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies website for courses and procedures for registering and credit. Students should also complete the cross registration form available in Lyons Hall in order to receive course credit from Boston College. NB: Courses taken within the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies during fall or spring semester are not considered transfer courses, since students register for these courses through Boston College. However, all summer courses taken outside of Boston College (including summer courses taken within the Consortium) are considered transfer credits and count towards the limit of 6 transfer credits per degree. Students must complete a Graduate Transfer Request Form in order to receive transfer credit.
Boston College expects all students to adhere to the accepted norms of intellectual honesty in their academic work. Any form of cheating, plagiarism, dishonesty, or collusion in another individual's dishonesty is a fundamental violation of these norms.
Cheating is the use or attempted use of unauthorized aids in any exam or other academic exercise submitted for evaluation. This includes
- data falsification
- fabrication of data
- deceitful alteration of collected data included in a report
- copying from another student's work
- unauthorized cooperation in doing assignments or during an examination
- use of purchased essays, term papers, or preparatory research for such papers
- submission of the same written work in more than one course without prior written approval from the instructor(s) involved
- dishonesty in requests for either extensions or papers or make-up examinations.
Plagiarism is the deliberate act of taking the words, ideas, data, illustrative material, or statements of someone else, without full and proper acknowledgment, and presenting them as one's own.
Collusion is assisting or attempting to assist another student in an act of academic dishonesty.
Master’s students ought to already know how to work cooperatively in a community of scholars and fruitfully utilize the work of others without violating the norms of intellectual honesty. Students have a responsibility to know the parameters of collaboration and the proper forms for quoting, attributing, summarizing, and paraphrasing. If a student has any questions or doubts about the parameters of cooperative intellectual activity, they should consult their academic advisor, the coordinator of their master’s. program, or the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services.
Faculty members who detect any form of academic dishonesty have the responsibility to take appropriate action. The faculty member also has the responsibility to report the incident and penalty to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Such reports will remain in students' files until they graduate.
Students are expected to be familiar with the ethical standards of their profession. See the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct and the Ethical Standards of the American Educational Research Association. Students are held to the professional standards outlined in these documents. .
A student must earn an average of "B" in all graduate courses and credit hours applicable to the degree except those that are listed as pass/fail. Only courses completed with grades of "C" or above may be applied to credit hour requirements for the degree.
In the Lynch School of Education Graduate Programs, a student who receives a grade of "C" or "I" in two courses (six semester hours) or a grade of "F" in an elective course (three semester hours) may be reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee and put on academic probation. A subsequent grade of "C" or "F" in an elective course may be grounds for dismissal from the Lynch School. A grade of "F" in a required course is grounds for review by the Academic Standards Committee and possible dismissal from the Lynch School.
A student who has been dismissed may not register for further study unless reinstated by a majority vote of the faculty in her or his department. Under certain conditions, and with the recommendation of the student's Department Chair, a student may apply to the Associate Dean for reinstatement. Ordinarily, at least one semester or summer session must pass before reinstatement.
The program faculty will review a student's progress each academic year and will notify a student of any deficiencies that require correction. All required work in any course must be completed by the date set for the course examination.
All required work in any course must be completed by the date set for the course examination. A student who has not completed the research or written work for a course taken in the fall or spring semester or is absent from the course examination in either semester, may, with adequate reason and at the discretion of the instructor, receive a temporary grade of Incomplete (I). All such I grades will automatically be changed to F on March 1 for the fall, August 1 for the spring, and October 1 for the summer. In extraordinary cases, the student may petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Student Services for an exception. A “J” grade is used for a course that continues across two semesters, in which participation in both semesters is required for full credit to be granted. A “J” grade may not be used in place of an “I” grade for uncompleted work.
Financial aid is not available to students with an "Incomplete." Students with graduate or teaching assistantships or fellowships may not carry an "Incomplete." Failure to comply with this requirement may jeopardize financial aid or result in a failing grade or dismissal from the program.
Grading Policy on Incomplete Grades
All required work in any course must be completed by the date set for the course examination. A student who has not completed the research or written work for a course taken in the fall or spring semester or is absent from the course examination in either semester, may, with adequate reason and at the discretion of the instructor, receive a temporary grade of Incomplete (I). All such I grades will automatically be changed to F on March 1 for the fall, August 1 for the spring, and October 1 for the summer (5/22/2007).
Academic Standards Committee
The Academic Standards Committee is comprised of faculty members and academic administrators in the Lynch School. This committee reviews all cases in which a student's academic record is poor and it recommends to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies what action should be taken.
As a result of this review, the committee may recommend the student be placed on academic probation or dismissed from the program, depending on the severity of the academic problem. Students who have been placed on Academic Probation must complete the terms specified by the Committee before they can be considered for readmission to their program.
Students who believe they have a grievance should meet as soon as possible with the faculty member(s) or administrator(s) immediately involved. If such a meeting results in a mutually agreeable solution, the matter shall be considered closed. If a mutually acceptable disposition cannot be achieved, the student may pursue the complaint under the guidelines set forth in the Lynch School’s Grievance Procedure.
The University awards degrees in May, August, and December of each year, although commencement ceremonies are held only in May. On the day before May Commencement, the Lynch School hosts a graduate and undergraduate Awards and Robing Ceremony.
Students who have completed all requirements for the degree before a specific graduation date are eligible to receive the degree as of that date. A diploma will not be dated before all work is completed. Students should check with the Office of Student Services in Lyons Hall to ensure no grades of "Incomplete" remain on their transcript, that they have completed all program and Lynch School requirements, all fees are paid, and they are on the graduation clearance list. These checks ensure the graduation clearance process will go smoothly. Students can also check most of this information through Agora.
In order to ensure timely clearance, all students who plan to graduate should confirm their diploma names online at http://portal.bc.edu by the following dates:
- Last day of drop/add in January
- August 15
- November 15