University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Amherst: General Education

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Teaching & Advising


Curricular Designations

Students are required to complete courses in five General Education curriculum areas. Each curriculum area has different designations. Click on any of the following for more detailed information about the curriculum area:

  • Basic Math and Analytic Reasoning has two designations: R1 and R2

  • Biological and Physical World has two designations: BS (Biological Science) and PS (Physical Science)

  • Social and Cultural Diversity has two designations: U (Diversity: United States) and G (Diversity: Global). These courses may stand alone or be combined with those in the Social World, or Interdisciplinary, or Science Interdisciplinary (for example, ALG, HSU, IU, SIG)

  • Social World has four designations: AL (Literature), AT (Arts), HS (Historical Sciences), and SB (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

  • Writing

In preparing a syllabus for formal approval, a faculty member must first determine the designation for the proposed course. Faculty may design courses in all of these curriculum areas except Writing; they also have the option to develop I (Interdisciplinary) and SI (Science Interdisciplinary) courses that cross designation boundaries.

Undergraduates may satisfy the Writing Requirement only through completion of a Freshmen writing course, such as Basic Writing or College Writing. These courses are administered by the Writing Program. Faculty may design Junior Year Writing courses within their department. Junior Year Writing is required of all students, but it is technically a requirement of the student’s major. For further information on the Freshman or Junior Year requirements, or for resources available to instructors, please contact the Writing Program.

See Fulfilling Gen Ed Requirements for more information on what students must complete as part of the Gen Ed Program.


Download pdf version of the Goals and Objectives for the Gen Ed Program.