Students in the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences are expected to have high standards of integrity and abide by the University's Academic Integrity Policy. Any student who cheats or plagiarizes on examinations or assignments may be subject to dismissal from GSAS.
A Committee on Academic Integrity with both faculty and student members is to be constituted annually.
When a faculty member determines that a student's work violates the standards of academic integrity the faculty member is encouraged to discuss the matter with the student but, in any case, the faculty member should notify the student of the substance of the violation and the action that the faculty member proposes to take. If the faculty member decides to impose a grading penalty a letter of notification describing the incident and the proposed grading penalty is to be sent to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
On receipt of such a notification the associate dean will notify the student of the allegation and the grading penalty proposed by the faculty member. The student will be given an opportunity to respond to the faculty member's notification in writing. While a case is pending, the student may not withdraw from or change status in the course.
Each reported violation of the standards of academic integrity will be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Integrity of the student's school. In cases involving students from more than one school, or students in joint or dual degree programs, the Committees on Academic Integrity of the pertinent schools will cooperate in their review.
The faculty member bringing the accusation and the student will be notified that the case is under review by the Academic Integrity Committee. The student will be given an opportunity to respond to the faculty member's notification letter in writing. The committee at its discretion may interview any individual with knowledge pertinent to the case. The associate dean will serve as a non-voting administrative resource, and will maintain the committee's record of notifications and relevant materials.
The committee will decide a case by simple majority vote, and the associate dean will convey to the faculty member and the student the committee's findings as to responsibility and recommended sanctions. The associate dean will compile a complete file of each case, to be kept confiidential in the dean's office. Files on students found not responsible will be destroyed.
Penalties for students found responsible for violations will depend upon the seriousness and circumstances of the violation, the degree of premeditation involved, and the student's previous record of violations. The committee may simply affirm the faculty member's penalty and issue the student a "warning," which will be kept in a confidential file in the dean's office until the student graduates and will not be reportable to professional schools or outside agencies; or it may recommend a different grading penalty and/or impose additional administrative penalties. Such penalties may include university probation, suspension or expulsion, all of which become part of a student's academic record and are reportable to graduate/professional schools and outside agencies.
Appeal of the committee's decision may be made by written request to the dean of the school no later than 10 days following notice of the committee's decision and the dean's decision will be final.
As part of their regular departmental evaluations, students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative average of 3.0. In their evaluation of student academic standing, departments may require a higher cumulative average. Students are subject to periodic review of academic progress toward their degrees. See departmental policies and procedures.
The Academic Grievance Policy of the Graduate School of of Arts and Sciences provides a procedure for the constructive and timely resolution of serious academic grievances of students against faculty members. Resolution of such grievances should involve all parties working cooperatively and respectfully to obtain mutually agreed solutions. The grievance process first strives for mediated outcomes and only moves to directed outcomes when such efforts at mediation fail. All parties should seek resolutions at the lowest possible administrative level. Because the availability of evidence diminishes over time, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will not consider a grievance initiated after the close of the fall or spring semester immediately following the term in which the action giving rise to the complaint occurred. Further, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences eschews and discourages frivolous complaints.
II. Any student who believes he or she has a grievance should communicate with the faculty member(s) immediately involved as soon as possible after the action being grieved, but by no later than the close of the fall or spring semester immediately following the term in which the action giving rise to the complaint occurred. If communication results in a mutually acceptable solution, the matter shall be considered closed. If either party wishes to have a written statement of the outcome, the parties shall put the solution in writing, sign it, and each retain a copy.
III. If, however, a mutually acceptable solution cannot be reached, the student may present the matter in writing in a timely manner to the chairperson of the department or program in which the faculty member(s) resides administratively. The written statement must clearly specify: (a) the nature of the complaint and (b) the remedy requested. The department or program chairperson must handle the matter in accordance with department or program procedures approved by the university. If there are no such procedures, the chairperson should proceed as follows:
A) After consultation with both the student and the faculty member(s) affected, the chairperson should proceed in a timely manner either to mediate the matter personally or assign it for mediation to one or more members of the department or program.
B) The chairperson or designated faculty mediator(s) shall then meet formally with the faculty member(s) involved and obtain a written answer to the grievance with a full explanation of the faculty member(s)’ position. After a full investigation, the chairperson or assigned mediator(s) should meet again with the faculty member(s) and student involved, either separately, or jointly, or both, in order to work out a settlement of the problem. If the chairperson or assigned mediator(s) succeeds in resolving the grievance, he/she shall put the agreement in writing, obtain the signatures of all parties to the document, and provide copies of the agreement to all parties involved in the process.
Should the chairperson or assigned mediator not obtain a resolution, the chairperson, after conducting such further proceedings as he/she may determine to be necessary or desirable in his/her sole discretion, shall prepare a written decision and provide a copy of it to the student and the faculty member(s) involved.
IV. A student grievant may appeal a decision of the department or program chairperson to the Dean. The appeal must be made in writing within two weeks of the decision of the department or program chairperson and must specify clearly: (a) the nature of the grievance; (b) the remedy sought; and (c) the reason or reasons why the proposed resolution emanating from step (III) above is not acceptable. Upon receiving the written appeal, the Dean or the Dean’s designees must meet with the chairperson, faculty member(s) and student involved, separately or jointly, to seek a timely solution to the issues. If such procedures produce an outcome mutually acceptable to the parties involved, it shall be put in writing and copies given to all of the parties.
If no such mutually acceptable outcome should be achieved, the Dean or the Dean’s designees shall expeditiously gather all written statements and evidence accumulated up to that point and conduct such review or such further proceedings, including hearings, as the Dean or the Dean’s designees may determine in their sole discretion to be reasonably necessary to reaching an ultimate disposition of the issue(s). In the event of a hearing, the faculty member(s) and student shall each be entitled to bring an advisor drawn from the Boston College community for consultative purposes only. If the above process culminates in a mutually agreeable solution, the Dean or the Dean’s designee(s) must put the agreement in writing, obtain the signatures of all parties to the document, and provide copies of the agreement to all of the parties.
If the Dean or the Dean’s designee(s) arrives at no mutually acceptable solution, the Dean shall in a timely manner convey his/her decision and report (or the report of his/her designee(s) as applicable) to the chairperson and the parties involved. The Dean’s decision shall be final.
Graduate and professional students should consult their school or department for specific policies regarding audits.
Boston College recognizes the importance of family issues to its graduate students. Any full-time Morrissey College doctoral student in good academic standing who is the primary caregiver of a newborn child or an adoptive child under the age of 13 newly placed in the home is eligible for an accommodation. This student accommodation is not an employee medical leave or a leave of absence from the academic program. In connection with the birth of a child, a doctoral student who is the primary caregiver of the child is eligible for an accommodation extending for a period of up to eight consecutive weeks. A doctoral student who is the primary caregiver of an adoptive child under the age of 13 newly placed in the home is eligible for an accommodation extending for a period of up to eight consecutive weeks immediately following the placement of the child in the home. During the accommodation period, the doctoral student will be relieved of the service requirements that accompany his or her funding. During the remainder of the semester (before and/or after the accommodation period), the student’s program will assign service duties consistent with the academic nature of a graduate assistantship. During the accommodation period, the doctoral student may attend classes and work on course assignments to the extent possible. The student and their graduate program director should work with the professors in these courses to adjust, to the extent reasonably possible, attendance requirements, assignment deadlines, and exam dates during the accommodation period. Graduate program directors and professors should work with doctoral students to establish appropriate timetables for completing course work and exams during the semester in which the accommodation is taken. Funding provided by the University, including funding for health insurance, will continue during the accommodation period. - The accommodation policy will not extend the total number of years of funding available to a student. - For students with 9-month stipends, funding is for the academic year only. Students funded by government grants or other external sources must follow the policies of their funding agency. If external funding is suspended or reduced during the accommodation period, the university will assume funding responsibility for the accommodation period. Details of the arrangement should be worked out in writing between the student and their graduate program director and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and reported to the Vice Provost for Faculties before the accommodation period begins. A doctoral student anticipating a childbirth or adoption accommodation must notify their advisor and submit a written request to their graduate program director and the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean will inform the Vice Provost for Faculties of all such requests. Requests for accommodation should be made no less than three months before the expected start of the accommodation period in order to allow appropriate arrangements to be made to cover any teaching, TAing, or research responsibilities. Departments are encouraged to work out specific arrangements with students, on a case-by-case basis, within the broad framework of this policy.
Management of dissertations at Boston College is online-only. The public dissemination of research fits with university social justice values supporting global access to scholarship. The University policy with regard to dissertations is as follows:
All final dissertations must be submitted and published online through ProQuest/UMI, as well as BC’s open access institutional repository, by the University required deadline.
The ProQuest ETD Administrator system is used for student submission, school administration approval, and library management of the process, as it is at the vast majority of Carnegie Tier 1 schools. BC also supports an institutional repository (IR) as its system of record, in which we are legally obligated to preserve all dissertations, and where materials are made available Open Access online according to Creative Commons licensing of the student’s choosing. For both repositories, embargoes may be placed for up to two years. Embargoes can be extended up to five years with school approval. Each system carries its own set of licenses, terms and options (e.g. ProQuest license, BC IR license.)
Exceptions to the requirement to submit digitally will be based on decisions made by individual schools or by the Provost. BC Libraries provide support, instruction, and infrastructure to enable the collection, approval, description, security, access and preservation of all Boston College dissertations and theses.
The Ph.D. degree is granted for distinction attained in a special field of concentration, by the demonstrated ability to modify or enlarge a significant subject in a dissertation based upon original research scholarship. The minimum requirement is that the doctoral student follow a unified and organized program of study.
Detailed statements of requirements and procedures should be requested directly from the academic 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.
Academic departments are responsible for the language requirements.
Students frequently spend one or two semesters preparing for comprehensive exams following the completion of their course requirements. During this interim students should register for Doctoral Comprehensives (xx998.01). No credit is granted
Student eligibility for taking the doctoral comprehensive exam is determined by the department. Students should consult with their department about the nature of this exam and time of administration. Departments use the following grading scale: pass with distinction (PwD), pass (P), and fail (F); one of these three grades will be recorded on the student’s transcript. Generally within two weeks, the department will send the results in writing, to the Office of Student Services and to the individual student. A student who fails the exam may take it once again but not sooner than the following semester and at a time designated by the department. In case of a second failure no further attempt is allowed.
A student attains the status of a doctoral candidate by passing the doctoral comprehensive exam and by satisfying all departmental requirements except the dissertation. Doctoral candidates are required to register each semester and to pay a doctoral continuation fee until completion of the dissertation.
Each doctoral candidate is required to complete a dissertation that demonstrates original and independent research and that represents advanced scholarly achievement. The subject of the dissertation must be approved by the major department and the research performed under the direction of a faculty advisor. The manuscript must be prepared according to style requirements of the departments and of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Please review Dissertation Guidelines.
Dissertation Committees in the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences should be composed of at least three members. Two members must be from Boston College; the chair must be a tenured or tenure-track member of the departmental faculty. Committee composition is subject to departmental approval.
Following departmental approval, the Graduate Program Director must file the committee composition with the Office of the Dean using this form.
Dissertations should ordinarily be written in English. In exceptional cases where there are substantial academic reasons for doing so, departments—with the approval of the associate dean for academic affairs—may accept dissertations in a language other than English
As soon as possible after a student’s admission to candidacy, a Dissertation Committee will be appointed to judge the substantial merit of the dissertation. The dissertation shall be defended by the candidate in a public oral examination. Official approval of the dissertation by the Committee is required. Committee members certify their acceptance by signing the title page of the dissertation.
Doctoral candidates should review the Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines by the middle of the semester in which they plan to graduate for detailed instructions concerning dissertation publication requirements and commencement procedures.
Upon submission of a completed doctoral dissertation or master's thesis in the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, a student may request an embargo for not more than two years without special permission. To request an extension beyond two years, but for no more than five years, a student must submit a written rationale to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Candace Hetzner. Please carbon copy Bryan Fleming. Requests for more than five years will be granted only for extraordinary reasons.
All requirements for the Doctoral Degree in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences must be completed within eight consecutive years from the beginning of doctoral studies. Extensions beyond this limit may be made only with departmental recommendation and the approval of the Dean by use of the petition for time extension form.
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 Graduate School Dean’s Office.
Additional requirements may be established within the individual academic departments.
In each graduate course, in which a graduate or professional student is registered for graduate credit, the student will receive one of the following grades at the end of the semester: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, F, W, J, U, P, or I. The high passing grade of A is awarded for superior work. The passing grade of B is awarded for work that clearly is satisfactory at the graduate level. The low passing grade of C is awarded for work that is minimally acceptable at the graduate level. The failing grade of F is awarded for work that is unsatisfactory.
A pass/fail option is available for a limited number of courses. A U grade is recorded for ungraded courses such as doctoral continuation.
Please refer to your school’s regulation for additional information on grading.
It is a Boston College Policy that Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, and Non-BC Students may work no more than a total of 20 hours per week for Boston College during the academic year. This aggregate limit applies to all assistantships, stipends in compensation for services, and hourly positions. Students may work more than 20 hours per week (but less than 30 hours) between semesters and during school breaks. During the summer period a student may work more than 30 hours per week (to a maximum of 40 hours), but any period during which a student averages 30 or more hours per week may not exceed 12 weeks per year.
Ph.D. students receiving a service stipend are being compensated for 20 hours of departmental service each week. By exception to the generally applicable Boston College policy, these students can accept part-time employment at the University outside of their departmental service responsibilities that averages up to 9 additional hours per week. Graduate program directors are responsible for ensuring that graduate students (in Ph.D. programs or masters’ programs) with multiple positions at Boston College are not being compensated for more than 29 hours of Boston College work each week.
With the permission of the GPD, a Ph.D. student may accept a part-time position at the University that requires more than an average of 9 hours of work each week so long as the additional hours are understood to be included as part of the student’s 20-hour departmental service responsibilities and, therefore, are not subject to compensation beyond the normal stipend.
Under immigration rules, international students on a student visa are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year. Therefore, international students are not permitted to accept part-time employment on or off campus beyond their service stipend. Ph.D. students who are receiving a non-service stipend are expected to be focusing their full-time efforts on their academic work. No additional part-time position at Boston College should be accepted without the approval of the GPD and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the additional work should average no more than 9 hours per week.
Doctoral students who are ABD but beyond their years of stipend funding are sometimes hired to teach courses on a part-time basis. By university policy, colleagues teaching on a per course part-time basis (including beyonders) are limited to teaching 2 courses per semester. Exceptions allowing a third course to be taught in a given semester have on occasion been made when exigent circumstances exist. On those rare occasions when this sort of exception is granted, the department must ensure that the part-time colleague’s multiple assignments are not providing compensation for more than 29 hours of Boston College work each week.
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 temportary 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.
A faculty member may only assign a grade of J for a 2-semester course when the grade in the first semester is dependent on the grade issued at the end of the semester. The J grade has no GPA value. Instructors should assign a grade for each semester at the end of the second semester.
Graduate students who do not register for course work, Thesis or Dissertation Direction, or Interim Study in any given semester must request a leave of absence for that semester. Leaves of absence are not usually granted for more than two semesters at a time, and are rarely granted for students on Doctoral Continuation. Students may apply for a personal or medical leave of absence. As described below, appropriate documentation is required for a medical leave of absence.
Students may obtain a personal or medical leave of absence form online at www.bc.edu/studentservices and submit it for their school’s Associate Dean’s approval.
Leave time for either a personal or medical leave of absence will normally be considered a portion of the total time limit for the degree unless the contrary is decided upon initially between the student and the Associate Dean.
Students on an approved personal leave of absence should contact the Associate Dean’s Office at least six weeks prior to the semester in which they expect to re-enroll. The appropriate Associate Dean will make the decision on the readmission request.
If a student is unable to complete the coursework or other course of study for a semester due to medical reasons, the student may request a medical leave of absence. Medical leave, whether requested for mental health or physical health reasons, must be supported by appropriate documentation from a licensed care provider and be approved by the student’s Associate Dean.
The University reserves the right to impose conditions on readmission from a medical leave, which may include: length of time on leave; the submission of documentation from the student’s health care provider; the student’s consent for the provider to discuss the student’s condition with University clinicians, and/or an independent evaluation of the student’s condition by University clinicians; and/or making use of University or outside professional services.
The conditions will be specified at the time of leave, and students will be asked to acknowledge their acceptance of them.
Students seeking to return from leave should contact the appropriate Academic Dean prior to seeking readmission no later than four weeks prior to the desired admission date. However, students seeking to return to a practicum, clinical or field education placement must contact the appropriate Academic Dean expressing the intent to seek readmission at least a full semester before the desired return.
Students on Boston College’s medical insurance policy may be eligible to continue their health insurance the semester in which they take a medical leave of absence and the following semester. Students should consult with Student Services and can learn more about this policy at: www.bc.edu/medinsurance. Students granted a medical leave may be entitled to a semester’s tuition credit to be provided upon readmission, and should consult their school’s policy regarding the tuition credit.
Students may be separated from the University for academic reasons (please refer to specific school or department policies for more information) or for reasons of health, safety, or when a student’s continuance at Boston College poses significant risk to the student or others. For additional information, visit this website.
Students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may not take courses counting toward the degree pass/fail. A pass/fail option is available for a limited number of other courses when approved by the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Services. A grade of "P" has no effect on the GPA, but if a student fails a course that is being taken on a pass/fail basis, the grade of "F" is calculated into the GPA.
All requirements for the Doctoral Degree in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences must be completed within eight consecutive years from the beginning of doctoral studies. Extensions beyond this limit may be made only with departmental recommendation and the approval of the Dean.
All requirements for the Master's Degree in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences must be completed within five consecutive years from the beginning of master’s studies. Extensions beyond this limit may be made only with departmental recommendation and the approval of the Dean.
All students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 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 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.
Graduate students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Connell School of Nursing, and the Lynch School of Education may receive funding for one conference per fiscal/academic year (June 1 - May 31) with authorization from Associate Dean Candace Hetzner prior to travel. Reimbursement requests must be received during the same fiscal/academic year during with which the conference took place. Conference reimbursement guidelines should be carefully followed when filing your reimbursement, otherwise it will be delayed. Incomplete files cannot be processed and will be returned.
Graduate students may not receive University financial aid (stipends and/or tuition scholarships) from two schools or departments simultaneously. In addition, graduate students may not receive both internal and external fellowships simultaneously. Any exceptions, must be approved by the Dean. Graduate students who hold fellowships or assistantships may not be employed full-time without the Dean's approval.
Boston College is committed to the policies, principles and practices of equal opportunity, affirmative action and nondiscrimination in all of its activities, including, but not limited to employment. Boston College commits itself to maintaining a welcoming environment for all people and extends its welcome in particular to those who may be vulnerable to discrimination, on the basis of their race, ethnic or national origin, religion, color, age, gender, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, veteran status or disabilities. The University, in its Notice of Nondiscrimination, has designated the Executive Director of the Office for Institutional Diversity, to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities to prevent discrimination in accordance with state and federal laws. Any applicant for admission or employment, and all students, faculty and staff, are welcome to raise any questions regarding this policy with the Office for Institutional Diversity. In addition, any person who believes that an act of unlawful discrimination has occurred at Boston College may raise this issue with the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education. For more information about policy and compliance matters, follow the links to the left.
Boston College maintains a large number of records regarding its students in the administration of its educational programs, as well as its housing, athletics, and extracurricular programs. The University also maintains employment and financial records for its own use and to comply with state and federal regulations. Boston College is committed to protecting the privacy interests of its students and to maintaining the confidentiality of student records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
Policies are written expressions of management philosophy and direction intended to ensure the consistent conduct of University affairs in conformity with the mission, values and legal obligations of the University.