At UMass Amherst, most of your academic decisions are up to you (with the help of an advisor, of course). However, you will have many requirements that you need to fulfill.
These requirements were put in place to make sure you get a well-rounded education (which is what you're paying for after all). They give your education coherence, breadth, and depth. The variety of requirements ensures that you know more than just math, or natural resources, or literature; that you can apply learning and problem solving techniques to a range of subjects; that you can think critically; and that you can express yourself in a variety of ways. Requirements also give you an opportunity to explore a lot of academic options. In short, the requirements prepare you well for what life throws your way after graduation.
Type of Requirements
Your requirements fall into three categories:
General Education Requirements:
All UMass Amherst students must meet the General Education (Gen Ed) requirements. Our general education program establishes areas of learning and knowledge common to all undergraduate programs of study. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of courses to fulfill these requirements. For example, there are more than fifty classes that fulfill the History Gen Ed requirement alone. You can find the list of General Education Requirements on the Gen Ed website.
School or College Requirements:
These requirements are set by your specific school or college, such as the College of Engineering or the College of Humanities & Fine Arts, and will support your expertise in your field of choice. You will find the basic requirements for your college on your school or college website.
Major Department Requirements:
Major requirements are courses set by the department of your major (and minor if you choose one). These, along with the college requirements, assure that your education has a certain depth and a coherent focus. Learn more about your major here.