The Bulletin: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

GSAS Student Handbooks

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is the academic unit responsible for all post-baccalaureate degree and certificate programs offered through the School of Arts and Sciences. The advanced degrees offered are the master of arts, master of science, master of fine arts, master of arts in teaching, master of public policy, educational specialist, doctor of occupational therapy, and doctor of philosophy.  as well as graduate certificates in a variety of disciplines. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences also partners with other Tufts schools and several Boston area colleges and universities to offer joint and dual degrees, including juris doctorate, master of public health, and master of business administration.

Through its doctoral programs, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences aims to advance knowledge and to develop intellectual leaders in selected areas of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In order to encourage the close association of doctoral candidates and faculty, the number of programs offered is relatively small and the number of students admitted to each is limited. Through its wide variety of master’s and certificate-level programs, the school provides students with a focused education and specific skills to further their professional and academic careers.

Please refer to the individual department sections of this bulletin to obtain further details on specific programs offered at the Graduate School. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website and specific departmental websites will provide more information on program offerings. The Graduate Student Handbook should be referenced for information on the policies specific to graduate students.


Graduate program and application information is available online. The application must be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee. The fee is waived if the applicant is a current Tufts undergraduate, graduate, or certificate student. The admission deadlines and requirements vary by program, as do scholarship packages.

Reserving Graduate-Level Courses While an Undergraduate

Tufts undergraduate students may reserve graduate-level courses taken prior to completion of their baccalaureate degree that are not needed for completion of those degree requirements. In order for a course to be held for graduate study it must be a graduate-level course and the grade earned must be B- or better. Through arrangement with the registrar, these courses are designated on the transcript and, with faculty approval, may be applied toward a graduate degree at Tufts or elsewhere. Tufts students who pursue a graduate degree with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are limited to transferring at most two (2) courses from their undergraduate reserved courses or from external institutions.

Undergraduate students must complete the appropriate form to reserve courses for graduate education.

Fifth-Year Master’s Degrees Program with the School of Arts and Sciences

TThe School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) offer Fifth-Year Master’s Degree Programs through select departments. The Fifth-Year Master’s Degree is one way of recognizing the increasing number of undergraduates entering college with exceptional preparation in certain areas. Students seeking admission to these programs should consult their undergraduate major advisor, their Associate Dean of Advising, and their prospective graduate advisors before applying to the Graduate School.

Some Fifth Year Master’s Programs permit counting up to two program eligible 100-level or above courses, with a minimum grade at or above a B-, towards both the bachelor’s and master’s programs. Eligibility varies, and courses must be approved by the graduate program faculty before they are counted for both the undergraduate degree and graduate degree programs. 

Fifth-Year Master’s Program students are eligible to petition for a total maximum of four courses, two of which could be double counted for the undergraduate degree and master’s degree and two of which could be transferred in through reserved graduate courses or external transfer of credit. All courses are subject to faculty approval. The maximum number of courses that can be double counted for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees is two. The maximum number of courses that can be transferred from reserved courses taken at Tufts and from an external institution is two. 

Courses reserved for the graduate degree are not calculated into the undergraduate GPA and can’t be used to satisfy any undergraduate degree requirements, including:

  • The minimum number of credits needed to graduate
  • Major and minor requirements
  • Foundation and Distribution requirements

Admission to the Fifth-Year Master’s Degree Program is typically during the junior year or early in the senior year. All admission decisions for graduate programs are made at the program level by faculty. Students interested in the program should discuss their plans with their advisors early in their academic career to facilitate program planning.

 Fifth year master’s students must matriculate as a graduate student immediately following graduation with the bachelor’s degree, e.g., graduate in May and matriculate in August of the same year. A student must graduate with their bachelor’s degree from Tufts before they can matriculate as a graduate student in a Fifth Year Master’s Program. 

 Transfer of courses for all incoming students, including Tufts undergraduate students, must be approved by the department/program faculty and adhere to the transfer of credit policy. For Tufts undergraduate students, approved courses taken as an undergraduate student at Tufts that meet all eligibility requirements, and have been reserved for graduate credit via the appropriate forms, will be posted on the graduate transcript. This is effective as of September 1, 2024. 

A student may elect to withdraw from the program at any time by filing the appropriate petition. A list of participating programs and application details are available online. Interested students should contact their department or program of interest for the most up-to-date curriculum information.

Certificate Programs

A number of advanced certificate programs are offered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Each program consists of a coherent set of credit-bearing courses in an emerging or rapidly evolving field. The certificate can serve as a credential for professional advancement or as an intermediate step toward a master’s degree. More information is available online.