Collateral Field

The collateral field is a major requirement for students in both the Social Science and Science track. The collateral field component was designed to ensure a background knowledge that supports critical thinking and creative problem-solving for current Public Health issues. The breadth of this classification provides students the opportunity to explore areas of particular interest and relevance to public health, drawing connections between disciplines in ways that foster awareness of complex issues.

It might be easier to think of the collateral field as your focus area within Public Health. The courses you choose will enhance your understanding of Public Health and better prepare you for being a public health professional. For more information on the collateral field and sample focus areas, please see the "Description of the Collateral Field" form in the Downloads section of this page. 

Options to Fulfill the Collateral Field Requirement

For all options, the courses must be relevant to Public Health and form a coherent set of courses. 18 credits are required with at least 12 credits at the 300 level or higher. Selected courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor. The Collateral Field requirement for both the Social Science and Science Track may be met in one of the following ways:

  1. Completion of a major. Note: See the "Description of the Collateral Field" form in the Downloads section of this page for a complete list of suggested majors.
  2. Completion of a minor. Note: See the "Description of the Collateral Field" form in the Downloads section of this page for a complete list of suggested minors.
  3. Completion of an UMass Amherst or 5 College Certificate Program. Note: See the "Description of the Collateral Field" form in the Downloads section of this page for a complete list of suggested UMass Amherst or 5 College Certificate Programs. The Citizen’s Scholar Program can count towards a student's collateral field requirement.
  4. Create your own.

Getting Approval for the Collateral Field Requirement

You must submit a “Collateral Field Proposal Form”, which demonstrates how you plan to fulfill the collateral field requirement. The form must be accepted by the Undergraduate Program Advisor before courses are able to count toward the requirement. If you want to make any changes after approval, you will have to fill out a “Course Exception Form”. Return form to Peer Advising Office, 330 Arnold. For your records, you should also keep a copy of the form.

What Will Happen if I Don't Fill Out a Collateral Field Proposal Form?

  • There is a chance that a class that you took will not be counted towards the collateral field requirement. If this happens, it may prevent you from graduating on time.