Global Education Requirement

Knowledge about society and its problems is outstanding preparation for individuals to be intelligent and committed citizens of the world. Exposure to diverse cultural perspectives is essential to the development of an understanding of society and oneself. Therefore, all undergraduate majors in Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Journalism, Legal Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Social Thought and Political Economy, are required to satisfy the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Global Education Requirement.

Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Resource Economics majors are waived from the Global Education Requirement.

Double-major students may waive the Global Education requirement if their primary major is in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Engineering, the Isenberg School of Management, the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, or the Bachelor of Science program in Psychology. However, it is important to remember that all the requirements of the primary major still apply, even if the Global Education Requirement doesn't.

Fulfilling the Requirement

Students must select one of four options for completion: the Foreign Language Option, the Regional Study Option, the Individualized Option, or the Certificate or Minor Option. All options require the completion of at least 15 credits; all require that at least six of these be in a foreign language at a level above current ability.

Students must declare a Global Education option at the time they declare a major by completing a "Global Education Option Declaration Form." The completed form must be submitted to the SBS Advising Center. The option may be changed at any time at the same office.

All credits earned to satisfy the Global Education Requirement, except those taken to meet the Certificate Option (see below), must be in addition to credits earned to satisfy General Education and Major Requirements. All credits must be graded; they cannot be taken on a Pass/Fail basis.Credits can be earned in education abroad programs, with the approval of the Global Education Coordinator or a Certificate Program Advisor (if the Certificate Option is chosen).

Students with documented learning disabilities that impair language acquisition, and students who are certified by Disability Services Office as having significant hearing impairment that seriously limits the auditory reception of language, may substitute non-language courses for language courses. The course substitutions must be approved by the College's Global Education Coordinator.

Foreign Language Placement: Whether foreign language courses start at a level above current ability should be determined by high school coursework and University placement exams. Credit earned through Advanced Placement, CLEP, and SAT II exam or University foreign language placement testing may be applied to the Global Education Requirement. If you plan to continue studying the same language you studied in high school, you should take a foreign language placement exam as soon as you arrive on campus. Discuss the test result with your advisor to determine the appropriate level of your foreign language course and enroll in that course your first semester. Placement exams are offered during summer orientation for first-year students. Transfer students should contact Admissions for more information about foreign language testing. If you are beginning a new language, no placement exam is necessary.

Global Education Options

1. Foreign Language Option

15 credits of one foreign language starting at a level above current ability.

Foreign Languages offered at UMass.

Foreign Languages offered at the Five Colleges.

2. Regional Study Option

Six (6) credits of one foreign language starting at a level above current ability, and 9 credits, in any combination of additional regional foreign language courses, or courses taught in English which focus on the contemporary culture of the region of the world where the foreign language being studied is used. These 9 credits may be chosen from courses in language departments, or in the departments of History, Economics, Anthropology, Political Science, or a related department. The regions, and the associated languages and courses are listed on pages 11-16 in the Undergraduate Advising and Requirements Handbook. The courses listed for this option focus on contemporary cultural understanding and are regularly offered. Experimental, special topics and Five College courses are not included in this list, but may be used to fulfill this requirement with the approval of a college advisor. Additionally, ALL courses offered by the foreign language departments that are conducted in the foreign language may be applied to the regional study option as long as they are within the same regional area. (Even though these language courses are not individually listed on the Approved Course List, no special approval is required.)

3. Individualized Regional Study Option

Students can create a regional or international study option different from the choices listed above. This must include 6 credits of one foreign language starting at a level above current ability, and 9 credits, in any combination of additional foreign language courses, or courses that focus upon a region or country, or on international topics. The credits may be chosen from Education Abroad courses, courses in a language department or in the departments of History, Political Science, Economics, Communication, Anthropology, the Isenberg School of Management, or another related department. The 6 credits of foreign language may be earned by completing 6 credits of foreign language taught at the university, or by completing four 1.5 credit courses of one language not offered at the university, using the Five College Self Instruction Language Program. This option requires that the student create a plan of study and receive prior approval from the Global Education Coordinator.

4. Certificate or Minor Option

This option requires the successful completion of a UMass Amherst or Five College Area Studies Certificate program or the Modern European Studies Minor Program. Courses taken for this option may also be used to fulfill major or general education requirements. Please discuss requirements for this option with your Certificate Program Advisor. You can choose from the following programs:

African Studies Certificate: Contact Joye Bowman, 631 Herter Hall, 545.0098

Asian Studies Certificate: Contact Department of Asian Languages and Literature, 545.0886. This certificate program will be accepted only if 6 credits of one Asian language is completed as part of the program.

Latin American Studies Certificate: Contact Gloria Bernabe-Ramos, 924 Thompson Hall, 545.4868

International Relations Certificate: Contact MJ Peterson, 326 Thompson Hall, 545.2436

Modern European Studies Minor: Contact Jacqueline Urla, 208 Machmer Hall, 545.2869. This minor will be accepted only if 6 credits of one modern European language is taken as part of the program. These courses must be more advanced than the fourth semester language course (240-249), unless it is the student's second European foreign language, in which case it must be at or above the second semester level (120-129).

After you finish the requirements for the certificate or minor, you must provide the Advising Center with a Certificate Option form that has been completed and signed by your Certificate Program Advisor. Forms are available at the SBS Advising Center, 128 Thompson Hall.

Questions? Go to Global Ed FAQs.

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