Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Academic Program Rule Changes for CICS Graduate Students - April 1, 2020

Dear CICS Graduate Students, 

This message provides details on how the University's changes to the  Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading policy will be implemented in the Computer Science Masters and PhD programs. As a reminder, on March 22nd, the University notified students that the limit on the number of courses that students can take under Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading has been removed for this semester. The University's original email on this policy change is available here

Following consultation with the University administration regarding the updated Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading policy, CICS is confirming the following changes to the program rules for the Computer Science MS and PhD programs:
  • For this semester, CICS graduate students may arrange for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading in any number of graduate courses. Students must earn a C or better to receive a SAT (satisfactory) grade in 600+ level courses. Students who earn C- or below will receive a failing/F letter grade.
  • A SAT (satisfactory) grade in a graduate elective course taken this semester will satisfy an elective requirement.
  • A SAT (satisfactory) grade in a graduate core course taken this semester will satisfy a graduate core requirement and can be used as part of the PhD portfolio process (admission to PhD candidacy) in this or any later semester. That includes satisfying conditional passes of the portfolio process from earlier semesters.
  • Courses taken under Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading this semester will not count toward the total number of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses a student can take as part of their degree.
Students who wish to use Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading in a course this semester will need to submit a request. Students have until May 7th to make these requests. Please consult with each instructor for the requirements to earn a SAT grade in their class. Please note that as in all semesters, not earning a passing grade in a course where you have arranged for satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading will result in an F on your transcript and will be reflected in your GPA.

PhD students should consult with their faculty advisors and master's students should consult with Elizabeth Parolski, Master's Program Advisor, about the potential benefits of retaking courses completed with low SAT grades this semester. Students may otherwise find themselves under-prepared to take more advanced courses in future semesters.  

More details about these changes are available in this CICS FAQ. For additional questions about these program changes, PhD students should reach out to their faculty advisor or the Graduate Program Manager, Eileen Hamel (ehamel@cs.umass.edu). Master's students should contact the Master's Program Advisor, Elizabeth Parolski (eparolski@umass.edu), and/or make an advising appointment

Eileen Hamel
Graduate Programs Manager 

Elizabeth Parolski
Master's Program Advisor

Christine Holbrook
Director of Academic Programs

Mark Corner
Master's Program Director

J. Eliot B. Moss 
Graduate Program Director