Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences
The Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences (GSMCAS) offers programs of study leading to the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Arts (M.A.), and Master of Science (M.S.). In addition, GSMCAS may admit as Special Students those students not seeking a degree who are interested in pursuing coursework for personal enrichment.
The Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences also offers several dual degree options. The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) are offered in cooperation with the Lynch School of Education Graduate Programs. The Master of Arts/Juris Doctor (M.A./J.D.) and the Doctor of Philosophy/Juris Doctor (Ph.D./J.D.) are offered in cooperation with the Boston College Law School. The Master of Arts/Master of Business Administration (M.A./M.B.A.), and the Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Business Administration (Ph.D./M.B.A.) are offered in cooperation with the Carroll Graduate School of Management. The Graduate School also offers, through select departments, a Fifth Year Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) program for high-achieving BC undergraduates wishing to pursue an accelerated graduate program.
The Deans’ Office of the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences in Gasson 108 is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to assist prospective students with general admissions inquiries and current students with any academic or student services needs. Application information may be found on the Graduate School website: bc.edu/gsas.
The course schedule is available online prior to each semester’s registration period at the Course Information and Schedule link at bc.edu/courses. The International Student Office, the Office of the Dean for Student Development, and the Graduate Student Association provide non-academic services for students.
Master's Degree Programs
Requirements for the Degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science
Candidates for the Master’s degree must be graduates of an accredited college and normally must have at least 18 semester hours of upper division work in the proposed area of study. In case of deficiencies, prerequisites may be earned in the graduate school by achieving a minimum grade of B in courses approved for this purpose. Where there is some doubt about a scholastic record, acceptance may be conditional. The candidate will then be evaluated by the department and recommended to the Dean for approval after completing the first semester of coursework or after earning a minimum of six credits.
The number of graduate credits required for the degree varies by department. No more than six graduate credits will be accepted in transfer toward fulfillment of course requirements, as described more fully under “Transfer Credit Policies” under Academic Regulations.
Fifth Year B.A./M.A. and B.S./M.S.
In cooperation with the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School offers five year B.A./M.A. and B.S./M.S. programs in some disciplines. See the Undergraduate Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences for further information.
Doctoral Degree Programs
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
The Ph.D. degree is granted only for distinction attained in a special field of concentration and the demonstrated ability to modify or enlarge upon a significant subject in a dissertation based upon original research meeting high standards of scholarship.
Requirements for the doctoral degree are specific to departments and may be found under departmental listings. Detailed statements of requirements and procedures should be requested directly from the department in which the student has an interest.
The philosophy of the residence requirement is that a doctoral student should experience the total environment of the University. Residence for at least two consecutive semesters of one academic year, during which the student is registered as a full-time student at the University, is required. A plan of study that meets this requirement must be arranged by the student with the department. Registration in two courses per semester is considered to fulfill the residency requirement for students holding full-year fellowships and assistantships. The residence requirement may not be satisfied, in whole or in part, by summer session attendance.
Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program
Where departmental doctoral programs are unable to satisfy the interests of the student, an interdisciplinary doctoral program remains a possibility. However, students must first be admitted to a departmental program. A student interested in exploring such a possibility should first make an inquiry to the GSMCAS Dean’s Office.
Special Students (Non-degree)
Non-degree seeking students, who are interested in pursuing course work at the graduate level, may apply for admission as special students. Many individuals enter departments of GSMCAS as special students—either to explore the seriousness of their interest in studying for an advanced degree or to strengthen their credentials for possible later application for degree study. Others may wish to pursue coursework in keeping with their intellectual interests or for other purposes. Admission as a special student does not guarantee subsequent admission for degree candidacy. Individuals who are admitted as special students and who subsequently wish to apply for admission as degree candidates must file additional application documents and be accepted for degree study. The number of credits one has earned as a special student that may be applied toward the requirements of a degree is determined by the appropriate department in concert with GSMCAS regulations.
Those admitted as special students may take courses only in the department that has recommended their admission. Permission to continue to take courses as a special student beyond the semester for which admission was originally gained must be obtained from the admitting department’s Graduate Program Director.
Eligibility and Application Information
The Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences is an academic community whose doors are open to all students without regard to race, ethnic or national origin, religion, color, age, gender, marital or parental status, veteran status, disabilities, or sexual orientation. Opportunities and experiences are offered to all students on an equal basis and in such a way as to recognize and appreciate their individual and cultural differences.
Applicants for admission to the GSMCAS must possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and give evidence of the ability and preparation necessary for the satisfactory pursuit of graduate studies. This evidence consists primarily, but not exclusively, in the distribution of undergraduate courses and the grades received in them. Please consult your intended department for additional program-specific requirements.
Individuals lacking a bachelor’s degree generally are not admitted to GSMCAS classes. In order to attend graduate classes, persons lacking the bachelor’s degree should apply for authorization either through the Dean of the Woods College of Advancing Studies or, in the case of Boston College undergraduates, through their appropriate dean and with the approval of the chairperson of the given department. Such students will receive only undergraduate credit for the course taken in the GSMCAS, and the course credit will be entered only on their undergraduate record. For regulations governing the simultaneous master’s/bachelor’s degree, students should consult their department.
GSMCAS accepts two classes of applicants—degree students (degree-seeking) and special students (non-degree-seeking).
A completed application to GSMCAS includes the application form and official transcripts, as well as any program-specific requirements, e.g., GRE scores, statement of purpose, writing sample, letters of recommendation, etc. For these additional requirements, please consult the requirements of the department to which admission is being sought. All application materials should either be submitted online or sent to the Graduate Admissions Office, Gasson 108.
Applicants for special student status are only required to submit an application form, statement of purpose, and official transcripts. All application materials should either be submitted online or sent to the GSMCAS Admissions Office, Gasson 108.
Degree and special students are not admitted officially until the completed application form with a positive department recommendation has been approved by the Associate Dean of Admissions and Administration. Admission should not be presumed without receipt of official notification from the Associate Dean.
Degree-seeking applicants should consult the department of specialization regarding the specific requirements for the various departmental master’s and doctoral programs.
For the necessary application forms and information, students may either address their requests to the department of interest or to the Graduate Admissions Office, Gasson 108.
Information on the GRE and TOEFL tests may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, Box 955, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 or at gre.org.
All documents submitted by applicants for admission become the property of GSMCAS and are not returnable.
Announcements of acceptance or rejection are usually sent no later than April 15 for September admissions, but may vary by department. Decisions are made on the basis of departmental recommendations and the fulfillment of prerequisites. No student should presume admission until he or she has been notified officially of acceptance by the Associate Dean.
Stipends and scholarships are available to aid promising students in the pursuit of their studies, including:
- Graduate Assistantships
- Research Assistantships
- Teaching Assistantships
- Teaching Fellowships
- Tuition Scholarships
- University Fellowships
Individuals whose applications are complete will routinely be considered for financial aid by the department in which they hope to study. No separate application is necessary. The scholastic requirements for obtaining these stipend awards or scholarship awards are necessarily more exacting than those for simply securing admission to GSMCAS.
- Graduate students may not receive University financial aid (stipend and/or tuition scholarships) from two schools or departments simultaneously.
- Graduate students who hold fellowships or assistantships may not be employed full-time without the Dean’s approval.
Fellowships and Assistantships
University Fellowships are available in some departments offering the Ph.D. degree. These awards do not require service to the University.
Teaching fellowships are available in some departments. Duties, including the nature and number of hours (though in no case to exceed 20 hours), and stipend amounts vary by department.
Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships
Graduate and Teaching assistantships are available in some departments. Duties, including the nature and number of hours (though in no case to exceed 20 hours), and stipend amounts vary by department.
Research Assistantships are available in some departments. Research Assistantship duties, including the nature and number of hours (though in no case to exceed 20 hours), and stipend amounts vary by department. Summer research opportunities are available on some research projects. For further information, contact the department’s graduate program director.
Tuition scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement and promise. These awards do not require service to the University.
Procedures for Financial Aid Recipients
At the opening of each school year, or at whatever other time financial aid may be awarded, recipients of fellowships and assistantships must report to the Human Resources Service Center to complete his/her personnel and tax information forms.
An aid recipient who relinquishes a fellowship, assistantship, or a tuition scholarship must report this matter in writing to the department chairperson and to the Dean. These awards may be discontinued at any time during an academic year if either the academic performance or in-service assistance is of an unsatisfactory character. They may also be discontinued for conduct injurious to the reputation of the University.
Other Sources of Financial Aid
Students interested in other sources of financial aid, such as work-study funds and various loan programs, should inquire in the Office of Student Services where all such aid is administered. Refer to the earlier section on financial aid in this catalog.
Full-Time Enrollment Status
Full-time enrollment in the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences is 9 or more credits.
All students are considered half-time with six credits.
Students completing degree requirements in their final semester may be given exceptions to the school’s minimum credit standard for full-time status by their academic dean.
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.
Graduate schools may also define full-time status by a student’s course work or role responsibilities as listed below:
- All doctoral candidates in the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences are considered full-time students.
- Master’s candidates are considered full-time students if they are registered full-time and/or receiving an assistantship or fellowship through an academic unit, e.g., Graduate Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Teaching Assistants, or Research Assistants.
Transfer Credit Policies
Graduate students may request the transfer of no more than six graduate credits. Courses will be considered for transfer if the student has received a grade of B or better and if the course has not been applied to a prior degree. 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. Students are advised to consult with the procedures and policies of their department or school for exceptions to this policy.